I'm currently looking for a nice next-step DAC/Amp combination (or integrated) above the Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII for use with an AKG K702 AE and a Beyerdynamic T5p. Source is a Macbook (i.e. USB), price should be kept below ~ €800,- These devices caught my interest:
*) Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus (~€500,-)
I like the visual appearance and the fact that it has a symmetrical output option. The unlabeled volume control is not perfect.
*) Audiolab M-DAC (~€800,-)
Nice except for the display (which I find distracting). Seems to be quite well regarded around here.
*) Meridian Explorer + Lake People G109P (~€750,-)
I'd prefer to feed the G109 via its balanced inputs, but the DAC is of course upgradeable in this constellation.
I lean towards the Lake People amp, as their philosophy 'No sound' aligns quite well with my preferences: the amp is said to be neutral, very clean and of good build quality, giving a more 'analog' feel. First reports on the Explorer seem to indicate a quite well executed DAC that is also portable. I'd prefer a DAC with symmetric outputs in that price range though -- which seems to be a somewhat lost case...
The two headphones mentioned represent my sonic preferences quite well. When using headphones I listen almost exclusively to EDM (of a wide variety, ranging from Dubstep to more vocal oriented genres as well as crossover with Rock etc.). Nevertheless I appreciate the finer details in my music and can't stand bloated bass or aggressive treble.
Ideas / alternatives / comments welcome...