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Good DAC/amps for under $200 USD?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey guys; it feels great to be back on the forums!

 

I'm now in the market to upgrade my computer audio. Since I already have some decent headphones, I'd now like to upgrade my computer audio hardware.

 

It can be desktop or portable, either is fine. I'd like a DAC/amp combo or two separate units totaling $200. I have K81's, MS1's, and Sony V6's, but I'm also looking to upgrade my headphones sooner or later, so it would be really nice to have something that could power the higher end models as well.

 

I'll be using a MacBook for 80% of playback and a iPod Classic 6g for 20%. EDIT: I'm using 320kbps music files from iTunes.

 

Thanks!


Edited by iHelp - 6/30/12 at 5:12pm
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

bump
 

post #3 of 12

I've heard the EF2A's are pretty good. They're an amp and dac combo. http://head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=74 You can find them there for $170. I'm planning on buying them in about a month.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Those look nice, but I've heard of some QC problems. Any other EF-2A fans out there?

 

How about the E17? I was thinking I could use the E17/E9 combo to power 300Ω/600Ω stuff.

post #5 of 12

From what I've heard, the EF2-A's have a ridiculously high gain, too much even for HD650's. I suppose they would be suited for Hifiman's own orthos.

The E17 is a good pick. On the other hand, if you want to be able to have a lighter portable rig, I would suggest the E11, and then the E10 for home use. The HUD-MX1 is supposed to be pretty decent as well.

post #6 of 12

ODAC

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by iHelp View Post
Hey guys; it feels great to be back on the forums!

I'm now in the market to upgrade my computer audio. Since I already have some decent headphones, I'd now like to upgrade my computer audio hardware.

It can be desktop or portable, either is fine. I'd like a DAC/amp combo or two separate units totaling $200. I have K81's, MS1's, and Sony V6's, but I'm also looking to upgrade my headphones sooner or later, so it would be really nice to have something that could power the higher end models as well.

I'll be using a MacBook for 80% of playback and a iPod Classic 6g for 20%. EDIT: I'm using 320kbps music files from iTunes.

As apple products seem to come with decent audio support.

Instead of a DAC/Amp, why not just buy some Denon AH-D2000 headphones, only 25-Ohms

The Macbook and iPod should easily drive 25-ohm headphones.

 

Or Audio Technica ATH-AD900 (open headphone), they are only 35-Ohms

post #8 of 12

ibasso d7 for portable

audio-gd 12 or 15 for desktop

yulong u100 for desktop

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys! I don't really want to buy another pair of headphones yet; I'd rather make the SQ better for all the headphones I have.

 

I also have a desktop Dell Inspiron 530s (decently old) with Amarok and FLAC's. So I don't know about the soundboard on that. Again, portability isn't an issue. I do most/all of my "quality" listening at my desk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AVU View Post

ibasso d7 for portable

audio-gd 12 or 15 for desktop

yulong u100 for desktop

Haven't heard about the yulong u100. Research time!

post #10 of 12

also the dr dac 2.

 

I could throw up a lot of things, but those tend to be the best recommended at that price point.  The Audio-Gd 12 and 15 are new models, so there won't be many reviews.  However, I owned and loved the Sparrow, and there's one on the used list now for $140 (vs about $200 or so new, when they were available).  I think you'll find very little difference between these units, other than the fact that the AC-powered units like the audio-gd will tend to give you more power to run more power-hungry headphones.

 

I think my head-fi "journey" with dac/amps was something like:

 

no dac (macbook pro), "penguin" cmoy, senn h580

ibasso d4, senn 580

modded ibasso d4, senn 580

Audio-Gd Sparrow B, senn 580

Augio-Gd Sparrow A (new revision) senn, 580

Audio-Gd Sparrow A, JH13

dacport, JH13

dacport, Corda XXS, JH13

dacport, iBasso PB1 "Pelican", JH13

dacport, RSA Shadow, JH13

dacport, ibasso T3D, JH13

Yulong D100, JH13

Yulong D100, Pico Slim, JH13

Dacport LX, Pico Slim, JH13

Peachtree Dac*IT, Pico Slim, JH13

Eastern Electric Minimax, Pico Slim, JH13

Eastern Electric Minimax (heavily modded), Pico Slim, JH13

 

Eastern Electric Minimax (even more heavily modded), Tube Buffer, Pico Slim, JH13

 
blink.gif   So just be forewarned...   rolleyes.gif
post #11 of 12

Are you looking for portability as well with good features? The UHA4 is around $200.00, is great with Sensitive IEMs (has a digital potentiometer for low volume listening without channel imbalance). It has cross-feed, hi and low gain, mute feature and a DAC.
 


Edited by lee730 - 7/3/12 at 8:52pm
post #12 of 12

Yeah. Fiio, iBasso, Audio-gd, Yulong, Audinst...

 

HRT HeadStreamer is another one that fits into this category.

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