After my recent troubles with the otherwise pretty nice sounding HiFiMan EF2A, though I'm not entirely ruling out giving a replacement EF2A a chance, I feel I should be keeping my ears open for something else to take its place, as I'm now a bit wary of HiFiMan's quality control issues.
In general, I love the sound of tubes, and if well implemented, they do seem to alleviate some of the "congestion" I sometimes feel with headphones (even though I truly enjoy my "open" HD600 phones - with the wrong amplification, even they can feel a bit claustrophobic to me).
So then, this potential new DAC/amp should be able to make my Sennheiser HD600 phones sing, and my heart leap (or is the latter simply asking too much? ;)).
Though I obviously do care about the sound, headphone listening is something I do only when I really need to (when away from home and speakers), so I'm not looking to "break the bank" in the collection of headphone gear. It would be great if I could find something for $200 USD or less, but if something is truly spectacular, I may consider spending up to around $300 USD. I'm happy to purchase used gear in great shape, thereby perhaps getting a bit more bang for my buck, considering the just mentioned preferred budget. Either way--new or used--I'd love to know about some very nice sounding portable tube DAC/amps.
PS: My Audioengine D1 (w/DAC) has analog outputs, so if an appropriate "amp only" solution is found (provided it has a pair of analog RCA inputs), I would consider that as well. It's just that I really like the idea of a small, combined DAC/amp for greatest convenience/portability.
Edited by willkayak4food - 7/3/12 at 12:37pm