I've been looking into getting a usb dac for the past few weeks but haven't been able to dig up the info I need. I already have a Hot Audio Thunderbolt amp that I use with my ipod. I really like the sound of the amp. I now do a lot of listening on my laptop while at work and would like to have access my lossless collection (ipod music is down converted to save space). I've looked into usb amp/dac options (narrowed to fiio e17 w/L7 or a Hot Audio Dac Extasy) but I'll need to stretch my budget atm to get either setup. I started looking at usb powered dacs but am not sure about the quality of the cheaper fiio products. Most reviews of the fiio D5 use the built in amp which is understandably cheap sounding. But what about as just a dac? Any other dedicated, usb powered, budget dac options?
Laptop usb -> fiio D5 via line out -> Thunderbolt -> headphones
I'm a student trying to save a buck and am just trying to avoid paying for a second amp I don't really need.
Edited by Mzisman4 - 7/18/12 at 4:51pm