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New To Portable Hi-Fi -- Suggestions Requested

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm new to this forum... I've done a bit of research here, but I'm hoping to get some personal suggestions or be pointed in the right direction.

I recently picked up a pair of headphones, Audio Technica ATH-M50's, and I've been thinking about the best path for me to get into portable hi-fi. I mostly listen at my house, but do a little bit of traveling as well. Even when I'm at the house, I'd prefer not to be tied to my computer. I've seen some really nice reviews out there... A portable amp like a Ray Samuels, or Graham Slee Voyager, look like it could be up my alley, but I don't know exactly how I would feed one with a high quality signal.

I guess my question is... should I be looking at a portable DAC/headphone amp combo? Do separates typically sound better? I'm up for using my iPod (ALAC files) or getting another digital music player like a Cowon, Sansa, even my Samsung Galaxy SIII for playing FLAC files... I'm assuming I will need a line-out dock as well, to bypass the internal DAC on my digital music player.


I listen to all types of music, so I'd like something versatile if possible, with a good soundstage.


My budget can probably go to about $500 USD, give or take a bit... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, I'll be doing as much research here. There is a ton of information to sort through, that's for sure.

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

Also, where I'm new to this forum, I apologize that my first post is requesting assistance. I hope to learn a bit, and offer some help to others along the way.  Thanks again.

post #3 of 5
Hi - I can field question number one: Seems a rule of thumb is no DAC necessary if your running off an iPod. In this case you only need an amp and the LOD for the iPod/iPhone out. If you will use it with your computer as well then the DAC/AMP combo comes in handy so if its not going to be doing double duty, an amp alone will suffice. My two cents smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 5

If you have an S3 then you can use it via USB to bypass the internal DAC, lots of great DAC/amp combos in your price range work with the S3 like the RSA Intruder, Apex Glacier, HeadAmp Pico. A DAC/amp combo gives you the flexibility to use it with your desktop and laptop also.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies... that information was exactly what I needed.  I just picked up a RSA Hornet through the Classifieds, and will start with that, along with a line out dock.  From what I understand, the LOD will bypass the volume control and amp sections of my iPod, which is what I'm looking for.


I will definitely keep an eye out for a USB/DAC combo... like you said, that would work well with my computer if I decide to go that way.


So much great information on this forum, it just took me awhile to dig through some of it.  Kind of mind-boggling!



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