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USB DAC and seperate headphone amp OR combo USB DAC headphone amp

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have a big dilemma on my hands. I am trying to get a good nice hi-fi setup for listening to lossless audio files. Without getting into the nitty gritty, I plan to use a min-itx computer as my source of totally lossless files as a standalone unit (i.e. no networking at all). I want to send the signal out to a Asynchronous USB DAC to a headphone amp to a set of headphones (most likely Beyer DT-770’s). Here is where I need some help. I am looking for either a USB DAC and a separate headphone amp, or a combo unit. I need them to be ~200-250. Used is totally an option.

 

If going with a USB DAC headphone amp combination unit, I need it to have volume control on the unit, rather than controlling playback through the computer’s volume (ie Musiland Monitor 02) as I plan on having a 7” touchscreen to control everything and would prefer to not have to constantly mess with the volume through that. I don’t need the unit to be super portable, and having an external Powersupply rather than using USB for power is actually preferred.

 

I am aware that with this low of a budget there will be some compromise on the setup, and I am ok with that for now. Eventually I plan to move to better units, but for now I want to get the computer built setup and running with high quality files and then after a couple months upgrade to a better headphone amp and/or DAC On my radar right now is the older Yulong U100 and that’s honestly about it. I know there is the HUD-MX1, and the Audinst HUD-MX1 and the Audinst HUD-Mini, but I believe the Yulong U100 has been said to be better than both those others. I like the Schiit Asgard but buying one of those used leaves me with almost no cash for a USB DAC.

 

Looking forward to whatever suggestions folks have for me.


Edited by EndersShadow - 8/13/12 at 7:22am
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

I did find a Audio GD Compass for within this range and am curious as to what everyone thinks about that particular unit.

post #3 of 12

nuforce HD ? tongue.gif

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Curious on thoughts on both the Audio GD-Compass as well as the Audio GD-NFB16 and NFB-5 (a bit over the budget but might be worth it)

post #5 of 12
With your budget, it does not necessarily mean compromise. I recommend NFB-15.1. All you need and then some. Just a few dollars above your budget shipped.
Cheers!!!


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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatFan12 View Post

With your budget, it does not necessarily mean compromise. I recommend NFB-15.1. All you need and then some. Just a few dollars above your budget shipped.
Cheers!!!
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What's the difference between the 15.1 and 12.1? I don't see anything obvious. I like the fixed output option for sure. Though I must say the front on the 12.1 and 15.1 look pretty ugly compared to the 16 frown.gif
post #7 of 12

Dac Destoryer, USB-DAC, sell for around $50-$55 on eBay.

Muse 6N11 tube headphone amplifier, sells for $50 on Amazon.

Will need an RCA to RCA cable to connect them to each other.

post #8 of 12

Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 DAC w/ GE 5670 Tube: $219

 

Hard to do better in this price range, and it's versatile enough (includes a preamp) to build a system around. I liked its headamp with the low impedance/efficiency K701.

 

A used Matrix Mini-i would be a step up ($300 new), but the USB input is its weak link. Which means that you can further improve it later with a decent USB to spdif converter. IME it works well with higher impedance headphones like the HD600.

post #9 of 12
ES, I don't own the 12.1. If you click on the NFB-15 on the site, it states the upgrade.
The front is lovely. Lol
I own the 15.1 & 16. The 16 I move all around the house and plug various sources to it since it's battery powered. The 15.1 is larger and stays stationary.


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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatFan12 View Post

ES, I don't own the 12.1. If you click on the NFB-15 on the site, it states the upgrade.
The front is lovely. Lol
I own the 15.1 & 16. The 16 I move all around the house and plug various sources to it since it's battery powered. The 15.1 is larger and stays stationary.
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Thanks. Looking at the NFB-5 as well. It's a bit better I believe than those other units. Might pop on it.
post #11 of 12
Cheers!!!

There is a dedicated thread on the NFB-5, which might help you out should you have questions.


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post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatFan12 View Post

Cheers!!!
There is a dedicated thread on the NFB-5, which might help you out should you have questions.
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Yup been reading up on it.
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