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$350 for Portable DAC/AMP Nirvana...Is it Possible?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I'm a musician and I'm on the hunt for a beautiful DAC/headphone amp that work equally well in the office and can be used in my home recording studio as well to feed my power amp/speakers. I need something that has the following features -

 

1. Both USB and SPIDIF inputs (so i can get a digital out from my recording interface)

2. Analog in to plug in the iphone when on the go

3. Battery Powered

4. Speaker Left and Right out (to feed my power amp at home)

5. A REALLY nice sounding headphone amp to feed AT-MH50 and AKG K701 and possibly Beyer Dynamic (880 250 ohm)

 

24/44.1-96 is fine

 

I've been reading so many reviews my head is spinning. It seems these things either fall into the $150 range (E17) or $500 and up range.

 

I'm not opposed to spending $150 on a Fiio 17....I would like to get something that really inspires me. I want to be dazzled by the minutia in the music to be able to hear reverb tales and the tiniest of details in the mixes.

 

One that's stood out so far are - iBasso D12 Anaconda.

 

Thoughts and suggestions much appreciated!

 

Thanks,

Jacob

post #2 of 23

I have the Fiio E17 and soundwise it doesn't quite give you what you are looking for.No "reverb tales or tiniest of details" here.

But maybe thats just me being used to a better amp/dac and E17 always reminds me of what I am missing.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback on the E17, i kind of thought that would be the case. I still have hope that there is something out there to meet my needs but i may be asking for too much from one box?!! Can anyone else share there thoughts on this?

post #4 of 23

You can do right and left with RCA with the E17 line out..or just regular.

 

If you drop S/PDIF requirement,.....a WHOLE slew of amp/dac combo's fall through. Like iBasso, Nuforce and headamps (also have DAC on some model like the pico usb dac)

 

Or do this:

Get the e17 for portable and it will have all those features ($130 new)

and get a home desktop unit for the rest with the

NFB 12.1, a used ODAC/O2 (probably not possible) or use the e17 and line out into a used $80 O2 amplifier


or get the e11 for portable amp($60 new)

and get a desktop unit(Maverick D1 or NFB), ODAC/O2 combo or whatever.

 

 

 

OR...a sound card if you have a desktop PC.

So you could get a STX or titanium HD and have good gaming surround (you have to set it up)


Edited by bowei006 - 7/23/12 at 11:25am
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

At the home studio i use a roland octa-capure as my usb recording interface. right now it acts as my preamp/dac. it sound very good, but I've been spoiled by hanging out in mastering studios and listening to DACs like the benchmark DAC1 which seem to reveal a whole new level of detail to the sound. So that's why i need the S/PDIF in so i can take the digital feed out of the roland and then simulaniously feed my poweramp and headphones.

 

Although I had a thought that i might me able to use the optical out on my macbook pro to feed the portable dac instead of S/PDIF. Prob is i only have two usb outs on the mbp one for the interface and one for my keyboard synth.

 

I'm starting to think i may need to break this hunt into two pieces and get one specific for the studio and one for my portable rig?

 

Hmmmm?
 

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobgolden View Post

At the home studio i use a roland octa-capure as my usb recording interface. right now it acts as my preamp/dac. it sound very good, but I've been spoiled by hanging out in mastering studios and listening to DACs like the benchmark DAC1 which seem to reveal a whole new level of detail to the sound. So that's why i need the S/PDIF in so i can take the digital feed out of the roland and then simulaniously feed my poweramp and headphones.

 

Although I had a thought that i might me able to use the optical out on my macbook pro to feed the portable dac instead of S/PDIF. Prob is i only have two usb outs on the mbp one for the interface and one for my keyboard synth.

 

I'm starting to think i may need to break this hunt into two pieces and get one specific for the studio and one for my portable rig?

 

Hmmmm?
 

USB out possible? It looks like that USB is input though :(

 

You may be listening to the DAC 1's but at this price point, you will not be able to hear teh difference between USB or S/PDIF coaxil..if the insides of the Roland are done correctly so as to not add more noise or distortion on each.

Here:

http://youtu.be/FXJm0XmVyus

 

You may not know this yet but muscician devices aren't always audiophile. Not saying the roland isn't good at producing it, but it's usually not as focused on. Some name brand companies like Denon have had pretty bad DAC chips and sections while other times the Denon's have a good one. It depends on model and batch really...and nobody will have your receiver oneline with so much knowledge to compare

post #7 of 23

I'm hearing good things about the Leckerton UHA-6S MKII DAC/AMP which goes for $279.  It seems to meet just about all of your requirements, although I haven't heard it myself.  Initial impressions from users look good, though.


Edited by sunninho - 7/23/12 at 1:22pm
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Looks really cool but doesn't have line outs to feed my power amp. Thinking of splurging on the Cambridge Audio Dac Magic Plus (it has all the connectivity i need and from what i've heard sounds really nice) and then picking up something small and portable for out and about. Although that's getting way out of my budget....

post #9 of 23

I am now wondering...what headphones and audio equipment (speakers) do you have?

post #10 of 23

I was going to suggest the e17 then saw you list it yourself.  It has all the requirements you need.  I like mine.  It may not be a high-end solution but it's amazing for what it can do and for  the price.

 

as already stated, dropping the spdif opens a lot more doors (though I don't like being stuck with a usb-only dac myself)

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

My Headphones are - ATH-M50 and AKG K701

My speaker setup is

Totem  - http://totemacoustic.com/en/hi-fi/compact/model-1-signature/

powered by a

Parasound amp http://www.parasound.com/halo/a23.php

post #12 of 23

With those headphones, spending more on a amp and DAC than the headphones is not recommended.

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

With those headphones, spending more on a amp and DAC than the headphones is not recommended.

What rule is this?

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by silversurfer616 View Post

What rule is this?

Not really a rule but something I and most go by. With M50 and K701's, spending more on an amp and DAC would in my opinion not be worth it as much as getting another headphone that is higher up on the food chain considering he already has a Roland kit.

post #15 of 23

I thought that would get a comment
 

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