What a wonderful piece of Chinese engineering! As it appears that this Aune T1 DAC/AMP is as good as the Schiit Magni & Modi (Combo), better than the Audioquest Dragonfly and hence, many, many more pieces of sophisticated equipment. Especially for such a modest price, it seems too good to be true. I just have a few questions on it.
1) I have a Mac, and many people see Macs as having quite good audio cards. Would there still be a big difference in the quality, I currently use a Macbook Pro (2010)?
2) I am thinking of using the analog output of the Aune to act as a DAC for a pair of speakers, perhaps the Audioengine A2s. Is it possible to use it as a DAC only system, without the amp. Or can the amp still be on, I am not sure how all this works exactly. Please explain.
Thank you. :)
The audio chips in the Macbook Pro are quite good although well built external DACs will typically be superior because extra care has been put into making something for a very specific purpose. In good faith I can't comment on that portion and I'm sure there are MANY threads here discussing the MBP audio out.
To answer differently, yes you will see a change in your audio quality. If not only because there's an amplifier driving your headphones now. Because the T1 is a "tube DAC" you'll be able to switch out tubes and thereby change many aspects of the audio coming out of the T1 to your liking.
I'm fairly sure you could hook the T1 up to your A2s through the headphone/amp out and be fine. However because the A2s are self amped you should likely use the Line Outs on the back of the T1 to run RCA cables to your A2s. This would be the best solution. You could still likely use the amplifier built into the T1 with headphones if you wanted to.
Do yourself a favor and buy at least Monoprice heavy gauge RCA cables. If you're feeling spendy, get pure silver or silver clad wiring.
Edited by inphu510n - 6/5/13 at 10:05am