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looking for a transportable dac amp combo

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi Folks;


I end up at the same hotel for 72 hrs each month on business with thousands of flacs on the HD and no dac amp combo to use with them. I'm looking for a dac /amp combo for $300 ish to use on the layovers. I sleep on the plane so battery power is just a bonus. Headphones will be either Shure e4-c's or Shure 840's. The laptop does NOT have an optical out in the headphone jack, so no optical or toslink at all. USB only. Silly Lenovo. I've considered the following..


AQ Dragonfly                easy to carry. Nice Dac

Meridian Explorer          Don't know a lot about it

Leckerton uha6s-mk2    Nice amp, weaker dac, but battery powered

Schiit Magni/Modi         Heavier and need a power cord.

Audio GD 11.32            Larger/heavier needs a power cord

Audio GD 15.32            Larger/heavier needs a power cord


I'd give up a little sound quality for weight, but then again, I listen to flacs in the hope they sound a bit better. I'd appreciate any thoughts you folks have. If you have other suggestions on hardware for 300 ish please make them. Thanks.



post #2 of 3

I listened to the Dragonfly on my own system last year at the LA Headphone meet up at LAX and I wasn't impressed.  I know there are a lot of fans out there but the only thing I really liked about it was the form factor.  It sounded tinny especially compared to my Centrance DACport.  I listen to Apple Lossless files from my laptop or iPad with AKG 550s.  The Dragonfly might have better synergy with other headphones but for me it was barely an improvement over the onboard sound from my computer.  I would highly recommend looking at the DACport because it is extremely portable and runs off the power from your laptop (needs battery powered hub for iPad).  The price has also dropped to $299 new and you can often find one in the Head-fi sale forum for $200 or less which is a bargain for the sound quality and convenience of this little DAC/Amp.


The new Meridian seems to be picking up a lot of fans but I have never heard it myself.  As for your other choices, going with a desktop solution (power cord needed) limits where you listen to music.  You won't always have power plugs at coffee shops, poolside, or at restaurant/home patios.  I really got tired of lugging the power supplies and cords for the Headroom Microstack that I used to travel with and use on my deck.  I also tired of buying 9 volt batteries at Costco.

post #3 of 3

Audioengine D1? - does 24/96 usb, sounds great and drives my HD600s to uncomfortable levels.

Easy use, small and is usb powered.

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