So I currently have a E9 amp sitting next to my computer, powering both my trusty HD580 and HD25-1 II, with desktop computer. The computer has a decent sound card (HT Omega Stryker 7.1), but obviously its no Xonar.
Now here's my dilemma: should I pair my E9 with cheap but excellent E10 (use it as DAC), or E17 (not as cheap but can be used separately for my tablet/notebook/phone)? Which one is a better DAC, E10 or E17? Portability of DAC/Amp is not vital - phone + HD25 is often times "good enough", no need to clutter more stuff while traveling to lessen the portability and convenience.
Or, should I just sell E9 and get some sort of hybrid DAC+AMP? My absolute budget is $150, but if getting new DAC+AMP I would just sell the E9 first, so a bit more cash on top of the $150. I do like the E9 because it comes with TWO headphone sockets, allowing me to switch around headphones easily with different music. If I'm getting a new DAC+Amp, I'd like to have two headphone sockets. Not mandatory of course, but it is very convenient.
Or, should I just buy a Xonar DG and save some money? The reason I don't really want to change sound card is because with the E9 and Stryker 7.1, on higher volumes I can hear "hissing", probably due to bad shielding of sort. Not sure if Xonar will be subjected to the same noise...
Any advice would be appreciated :)