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Looking for (USB) DAC with HP-Amp

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 



I am looking for an external (usb) DAC with headphone output, to pair with my HD598.


Therefore I need:


-low output impedance: it should be < 7 ohm for the headphones (<5 would be nice)

-volume wheel: so I can control the volume

-(RCA) output: I want to hook a speaker amp to it (probably the Indeed Tripath TA2021, but I'm open to suggestions as well)

-1/4" headphone in: since I don't want to use an adapter with the HD598


optional, but would be nice:

-Toslink in: so I can hook my soundcard (Xonar DG) to it to enjoy dolby headphone for games


additional information:

-inexpensive: < 200€, but thats my absolute maximum, lower budget would be nice

-size: as it's for my desktop, size doesn't really matter

-purchase: for inexpensive devices I am willing to get it from ebay



Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 12

Not sure about the impedence issue, and it does have the 1/4 inch headphone jack, but the AudioEngine D1 hits all the other marks well for about half of your budget.



Edited by Bones13 - 6/4/13 at 10:22am
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
It has 10 ohm impedance and isn't available in my country, so I crossed it out already.
Although it's pretty neat, I just want to get the perfect match.

//edit: Oh, it is available, but at 170€. Thats about 220$. Thats probably too much for something that doesnt fit me quite right.
//edit2: It doesn't have a 1/4 jack, thats 1/8.
Edited by AllTernative - 6/8/13 at 5:08am
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well, I did a lot of research the last few days, and today I stumbled across the Xonar U7.

This seems a pretty good compromise, and since it's available in my country and I don't have to pay tax (additionally) or customs, I will probably order it later.


I still need an amp for the speakers, but I guess have a look at amazon again, or just order the Indeed T2021 from ebay (china).

post #6 of 12

I am in a similar situation as u, and i just ordered it for $110 shipped in the Czech Republic! Should be coming in by friday


here is the only review i found if u are interested:




here is a much more detailed review, but its in croation.... 


Edited by pcharouz - 6/19/13 at 1:27pm
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I ordered it yesterday, it hopefully gets here this week.

Unfortunately I do not speak croatian, but the other review seems quite good.
post #8 of 12

me neither, google translate to the rescue! right click in chrome and "translate to english"


from the croatian one, it seems like its a usb counterpart of the phebeus

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I just read it.

Looks promising, but what I do not seem to find: does it feature a 32-150 ohm output impedance OR output for headphones up to 150 ohm impedance?
The distortion would be crucial, if I drive my 50ohm hd598 with 32 ohm.
post #10 of 12

just got it,

the worksmanship is great, feels much less plasticky than i would have thought. 

I pluging it straight into the usb on my win 8 64bit desktop, the card lit up and started working within seconds, hovewer when i tried to manually install all the software/drivers, it said it did not recognize my asus xonar u7?!? after 15mins, i have discovered that the USB switch was set to 1.1. Set it to 2.0 and everything was fine! Installed, restarted and started listening...


Bear in mind that i never had a dedicaded headphone amp, i plugged in my v-moda m80, and started listening to some Infected Mushroom- Im The Supervisor, Kanye West -Yeezus, and some oldies; all in Flac. The first thing that i noticed was that that i could set the volume to max without getting unconfortable, Isnt the "Headphone Amp" supposed to make em louder? So i checked the setting and under headphone settings (u have to right click on the headphones, took me quite a while :D) the are 3 Gain settings

Low Gain (-12db for <32 ohms)

Medium Gain (-6db for 32-64ohms)

High Gain (0db for >64ohms)


Hovewer this was already set at max gain, i set it to medium for the v-modas, and for my 90% volume was ok (75% on low gain on my shure e500). This leads me to conclude that the headphone amp is not all that powerfull, since both these should be easily drivable...

from asus.com, "Headphone : 1.3 Vrms (3.677 Vp-p)"  Does this number sound about right? (I have no idea)

A pleasant suprise was that there is ABSOLUTELLY no noise at any volume/gain on my shure e500.



Bear in mind that i am not an audiophile, i just enjoy listening to music, i have found that i can hear more of the low-low frequencies, and very high as well than from my onboard sound, I have no problem with the sound this card makes, but i would rather leave this on someone with more experience, and better equipment... I quite like the software, and the surround features, and inteligent equilizer(on-the-fly equalizing, leveling volume) work quite nice, without overly changing the music. For example there is a Eq present to open up soundstage/frequency response.


If u have any questions feel free to ask

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey, thanks for your reply. Whats the impedance rating on your headphones? I guess the U7 has a low impedance output after all. This is good news, since my hd598 only have 50ohm and I tend to listen rather to lower volumes.

I am also not an audiophile and have only a Xonar DG as comparison. When I get my U7 (hopefully some day soon) I will post my impressions here too.
Edited by AllTernative - 6/21/13 at 3:18am
post #12 of 12

v-modas are 28.5, shure e500 18omhm, if u  dont like the music blasting ur eardrums, that i think you would be very happy! I also just found out that the volume leveler makes it about 15-20% louder, maybie my music is just low volume... :D


u can check the new thread, although i just copied most of it :)


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