I am maybe interested in the HP-A4, but I have a few questions... :)
I am hoping some of you here on this thread can help me out...
I want to buy a new DAC-Amp combo for my desktop.
I currently use just a Fiio E17 with either IEMS (JVC FX700) or Over-hears (Citispace Uptowns).
I recently pulled the trigger on some Mad Dogs 3.2 and those are the headphones I will be mostly using on my desktop.
That is until the upgrade bug bites again...
Anyway... I have a few options I am considering.
The first one is the least expensiva and it is to keep my current E17 and pick up a Fiio E09K to complement it.
The E17 would be used only as a DAC and the E09K would do the Amplification.
Next option is to buy a new DAC-Amp combo and here I am torn between either the HP-A4 or the Asus Essence One (The non muses edition).
The Fostex costs 3 times what the E09K costs and the Asus is even a bit more expensive than the Fostex.
Both of these go to 24/192 over USB and that is an upgrade over the E17 24/96.
From what I read around the web, both the FOstex and the Asus use the same brand of DAC chips, so sound should be similar.
The Asus has the upsampling feature that I am not sure is good or useful. What makes me think about the Asus is because I read here that the Amp on the HP-A4 is on the weak side... So the asus might be better as it is rated to drive phones up to 600 Ohms.
Based on what I said, what can you tell me?
Are either the Fostex or the Asus worth the premium over the E09K for sound quality?
How does the HP-A4 drive the Mad Dogs? Will the Asus do a better job?
On a general note, what is your opinion about E09K vs HP-A4 vs Essence One?
Cheers and thanks!