Hello, fellow head-fiers. I'm obviously fairly new to the forum, but I have spent many hours reading through reviews and, in doing so, I have really started on my (slightly expensive) quest for the perfect sound production (damn all of you for making me so interested in this stuff).
The first part of my quest has been trying several different brands/models of headphones. Starting with only ATH-M20's and Bose Triports (hush hush), I definitely needed to branch out. With the combined efforts of a friend of mine, we currently have the following headphones: ATH-A900X, Alessandro MS1, Alessandro MS1000, M-Audio Q40, Beyerdynamic DT770/80 Pro, and Sennheiser HD600. Now, as far as music we listen to goes... pretty much everything. I primarily listen to EDM and rock with the occasional classical or newage.
Now for the question: what is the best USB Amp/DAC setup for the $150-300 range? I've read a lot about the E17+E9K combo but is this the best bang for the buck? Obviously the E17 is nice by itself for portable usage, but I have a pocket amp and, from what I've seen, iPods have decent DAC's built in. Now, the HD600's seem to have a little trouble with the pocket amp (which is as expected considering this is the highest impedance 'phone in the bunch). Would they perform much better with the E17? Since I'm not majorly concerned with the portability of the HD600's (as I would probably just use them on the computer anyway - and they are actually my buddy's), is there a better option for a desktop Amp/DAC combo in that price range?