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Trying to decide on a portable amp/DAC

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've lurked for a while doing my fact checking, but I'm having trouble making a final decision on a portable amp/DAC combo.

 

I'm planning to listen primarily from a laptop and am thinking to pair it with either a Beyer dt 1350 or V moda m80.  I heard the dt1350 was good for rock and more balanced, so I was leaning toward it over the m80.  As far as the amp, originally I was looking at either a Practical Devices XM6 or Audioquest Dragonfly, but after hearing about some other great under 500 amp/dacs, I've also been looking at the Apex Glacier and Ray Samuels Predator.  Sadly, I have no way of test listening to any of these, so I was hoping for some suggestions on which of these would pair with the dt1350 or m80 or any other amp/dacs under 500 that might work.  If it helps at all, my home setup is a Senn HD650 powered by a Schiit Asgard and I very much like its sound.  I listen to primarily rock, but also a lot of vocal stuff.

 

Any sort of advice or input would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 5
If need AMPs/DAC portable and home use then JDS Labs O2 are highly recommended either buy with battery option to use for on the go with MP3Players or buy combined one peice or two peices units. The others AMPs/DAC like ALO International(idevices, pc use), Meier Audio PC Step, RSA The Intrudor and iBasso D6 are recommended and few are compatible with idevices. The DT1350 are better balance sounding headphones but M80 vastely improve with AMPs help and perform very close to fullsize headphones.
Edited by ZARIM - 3/11/13 at 6:23am
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZARIM View Post

If need AMPs/DAC portable and home use then JDS Labs O2 are highly recommended either buy with battery option to use for on the go with MP3Players or buy combined one peice or two peices units. The others AMPs/DAC like ALO International(idevices, pc use), Meier Audio PC Step, RSA The Intrudor and iBasso D6 are recommended and few are compatible with idevices. The DT1350 are better balance sounding headphones but M80 vastely improve with AMPs help and perform very close to fullsize headphones.

Thanks for the info, Zarim!

 

You've helped me realize what I've already feared: I'll definitely end up with both the DT1350 and M80 at some point because they're both very good in different ways.  I can already hear my wallet crying.

 

As far as the amps, I looked into the ones you mentioned.  Balanced output is still a faraway dream for me so I'm still using single-ended output.  I'd rather get a dac/amp that's only single-ended right now and go all out on a balanced one later, so the Intruder and the International are a bit "too rich" for me.  The JDS 02 looked good, but it turns out the version that also has the ODAC doesn't have a battery and needs external power, and if I'm on the go I really would want it to be powered by the USB from the computer.  The ibasso D6 looked interesting and then I also read about the Leckerton UHA-6S mkii being really good.

 

So now I'm looking at the D6, the UHA-6S mkii, the XM6, and the Predator.  The first two are less expensive, but well regarded, and the latter two are also held in really high esteem.  I don't know if this puts me in a better or worse spot than I was before, but now I need to decide whether I want to put a little more money out for the tried and true models or pocket the dollars and go for one of the newer, less expensive amps.  It's times like these I really wish I could test listen to these and make my decision that way.

post #4 of 5
About JDS Labs O2 here is the solution, first you can buy O2 stand alone DAC separate which power by the USB (it will work fine with laptop on latop battery usage) and it has lineout to connect with AMPs and you can also buy battery powered O2 AMPs(option avalaible). You cannalso buy O2+ODAC together in one unit but iam nit sure if battery option avalaible with this(it run AC adaptor), you can contact JDS Labs abou this and if option available then it willbe amazing combo for much less pricey than others ohighend portable DAC/AMPs no market.
Edited by ZARIM - 3/12/13 at 10:18am
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

I did some checking.  According to the JDS website, the 02 + odac combo doesn't have a battery because they took the batteries out of the amp so they could fit the odac in there.  So if I wanted to use it without plugging it into the wall, my only option would be to get them separately.  In that case I could also just get the odac and use a different amp which opens a whole new world of possibilities, but in either case it's not that portable considering the size and weight.  I was really hoping to just get a single, smallish unit that I could have in a bag with my laptop.

 

Then again, I think I may actually get a chance to listen to the 02 + odac this weekend, so I'll give it a listen and see how I feel about the sound.  I do wish it were smaller and lighter, though.

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