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Help with DAC/Amp Combo for PC with Optical or Coax input-Budget Under $250

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've recently got my downstairs system set up with the Mad Dog headphones and Schiit Magni amp running out of my Squeezebox classic. I'm really enjoying the sound of this set up and want to duplicate it as much as possible up in the office while using the computer. I blew a lot of my "fun" money on the Mad Dog/Magni combo but can probably justify $250 or so for a DAC/amp plus another $100 for headphones/earphones.

 

My motherboard has both optical and coax outputs, so I would like to take advantage of those, instead of using USB. My listening is a little of everything with an emphasis on classic rock, jazz, blues.

 

What should be my top candidates for this? Also, if there is any feedback on either headphones or earphones in the $100 range I'd be interested in that as well. The headphones can be open-backed as it's just me in the compute room, so isolation isn't an issue.

post #2 of 8

I think a twist on this route would be a simple yet effective DAC/Amp combo box with a set of Grados for your listening tastes.

 

The HiFiMeDIY Sabre USB DAC for $55 and a Grado SR325i for $260-295 will float your boat nicely. Don't let that little box fool you, its a quality DAC and it can drive those grados with 1Vrms 32ohms.


Edited by brunk - 3/30/13 at 4:53pm
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

I think a twist on this route would be a simple yet effective DAC/Amp combo box with a set of Grados for your listening tastes.

 

The HiFiMeDIY Sabre USB DAC for $55 and a Grado SR325i for $260-295 will float your boat nicely. Don't let that little box fool you, its a quality DAC and it can drive those grados with 1Vrms 32ohms.

That looks very interesting and the cost is certainly in-line but isn't it a USB only input?

post #4 of 8
Th
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruleof72 View Post

That looks very interesting and the cost is certainly in-line but isn't it a USB only input?
thats correct, didnt you say it was for a pc? Sorry if it wasnt.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

Th
thats correct, didnt you say it was for a pc? Sorry if it wasnt.

It is a PC but I think I want something that can connect to my Squeezebox as well, and it only has optical or coax.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruleof72 View Post

It is a PC but I think I want something that can connect to my Squeezebox as well, and it only has optical or coax.


Ok i did some brainstorming and found a quality setup that can connect USB and Toslink, it also has an amplifier built in and is portable too! Secondly, I have found some good headphones that are used and may or may not be a color you're not crazy about, but we're talking about a tight budget for a tall order.

 

The Fiio E17 with mini Toslink $140

 

Used AKG Q701 $200

 

Total = $340  which is the top end of your budget, but youre getting a USB/Toslink capable DAC/Amp that is also portable, on top of a high quality set of headphones for your genres.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post


Ok i did some brainstorming and found a quality setup that can connect USB and Toslink, it also has an amplifier built in and is portable too! Secondly, I have found some good headphones that are used and may or may not be a color you're not crazy about, but we're talking about a tight budget for a tall order.

 

The Fiio E17 with mini Toslink $140

 

Used AKG Q701 $200

 

Total = $340  which is the top end of your budget, but youre getting a USB/Toslink capable DAC/Amp that is also portable, on top of a high quality set of headphones for your genres.

Thanks for the thoughts on this. I was coming to the same conclusion as you re: the Fiio E17. It seems like a very good option and I think it has shot to the top of my list. As for the headphones, I'm still going back and forth between headphones and earphones. The AKG's look like a good choice, albeit on the high side of the budget. I need to do some more investigating/research. I'm interested in earphones since they could serve me well at home and while on the road. Any ideas?

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruleof72 View Post

Thanks for the thoughts on this. I was coming to the same conclusion as you re: the Fiio E17. It seems like a very good option and I think it has shot to the top of my list. As for the headphones, I'm still going back and forth between headphones and earphones. The AKG's look like a good choice, albeit on the high side of the budget. I need to do some more investigating/research. I'm interested in earphones since they could serve me well at home and while on the road. Any ideas?


Yeah, check out the VSonic GR07 $150-180. If you want to go much cheaper, the HIfiMan RE-400 for $100 is the cheapest i could recommend.

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