I acquired a PreSonus Audiobox USB last Christmas, and although I have very little experience with amps (or headphones, for that matter), am thinking it might be a keeper. At the $130 price point (sometimes as low as $40 on Guitar Center Used), it has a Cirrus CS4270-CZZ DAC, which offers 24-bit, 192khz of...something. It's no Wolfson...but at least you can listen to all of those HD-CDs that never got made. Apparently, that's a decent number, especially for $50 plus shipping. Plus the mic pre-amps are pretty good, so that's a plus.
I own a FiiO E5, and while this is not a great comparison, it's the best comparison I have. For starters, this thing gets plenty loud with ATH-M50s...which doesn't mean much, but still. I find myself only turning the all metal volume knob (all metal chassis...actually. Only plastic on it is the ports.) to 9 o'clock (it starts at about 7), and it's plenty loud for me. But even if I turn it all the way to 12 or 1, I hear no static or other noise. Unfortunately, I have no way to measure it, and I have little experience with amps/DACS, so I really don't know if it's good or not, or even what to test/look for.
Does anyone who owns/has listened to the AudioBox USB have any measurements or opinions on it? If anyone is willing to take a gamble on it, it's going for $50 from a Guitar Center in Texas. You have to search for an AudioBox USB, and it'll appear.
Worst case scenario, I'll update this thread with impressions after I attend the Central Michigan Head-Fi meet mid-August.
Hopefully, we have a winner on our hands.
Edited by CashNotCredit - 6/25/12 at 11:13pm