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Best DAC/AMP for 200$ or less

Poll Results: Best DAC/AMP 200$

 
  • 13% (2)
    Hifiman EF2A
  • 0% (0)
    Audioquest Dragonfly
  • 20% (3)
    Fiio Alpen-E17
  • 13% (2)
    NuForce uDAC-2
  • 53% (8)
    other- specify
15 Total Votes  
post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hello! well im going for my next step, 3 months ago i acquired my lovely ATH A900X i love them and now i want to correctly connect them to my pc, first i thought of buying a new sound card specifically the Xonar Essence STX but i realized that i cant change my laptop sound card, so now im going for an external DAC/AMP, first of all is this a right choice for my next step? buying and using a DAC/AMP? i listen to all my music in this laptop and i will use this for my A900 X and for a pair of rokit 5, if this is the right step which should i buy? i have a top budget of 200$ and the impedance of the A900 X is 42 ohms and for the input of the rokit is 10 k ohms balance.

 

so this are some options that i have read around, please help me choosing or recommending another one and why should it be the best.

 

Hifiman ef 2 a

http://www.amazon.com/HiFiMAN-EF2A-HIFIMAN-EF-2A-HEADPHONE/dp/B004357WL8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&srs=2593503011&ie=UTF8&qid=1381299756&sr=1-1&keywords=hifiman

 

Audioquest Dragonfly

http://www.amazon.com/Audioquest-15660-AUDIOQUEST-DRAGONFLY-USB/dp/B00882U782/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381300134&sr=8-1&keywords=dragonfly+dac

 

Fiio Alpen-E17

http://www.amazon.com/Fiio-E17-USB-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B0070UFMOW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1381300513&sr=1-1&keywords=Fiio+Alpen-E17

 

NuForce uDAC-2

 

 

Please help!! thank you so much.

 

P.D: i dont need it to be portable.


metta

post #2 of 31

A Fiio E10, USB-DAC-Amp, $75, would do the job.

post #3 of 31

Take a look at the Audioengine D1 - I believe it suits your requirements.

post #4 of 31
Audioengine D1 would be a particularly good choice because it has pre-amp outputs for hooking up your speakers, too, instead of just one jack to switch out between your headphones and speakers. Also look at the Maverick Audio Tube Magic D1. It has the same capability. You then control your speaker volume via the volume knob on these DAC/amps. Aune T1 is another popular DAC/amp with line outs for speakers (not sure if the volume control on the T1 controls the speaker volume).

E17 can be setup to plug in a set of speakers, too, with it's line out capability. Although I found it to be a little bit of a pain with the way that then you have three cables hooked into it in coming out of three different directions and have to lay it flat on your desk. And you can't control the line out volume to the speakers with the volume control on the E17.
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 

Wow thank you so much to everyone! but now i have to declare that i LOVE tube amps, i have listen just to one, and old sony amp, but what i have read and the aesthetic in thems just blows me, so now my two favourite are the Hifiman ef 2 a and the Aune T1 that cel recommended i have seen that there are more of them around at 200$ so if you have another favousrite tell me or choose between this two please! the aune is right now is in disccount!

PLEASE HELP ME TO CHOOSE ONE! AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP! :)

 

http://www.amazon.com/Aune-T1-Upgrade-Version-Amplifier/dp/B00A2QJMRY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381338017&sr=8-1&keywords=Aune+T1

post #6 of 31
The problem with the hifiman one is that it does not seem to have a line level or pre-amp output for speakers. You'd have to plug your speakers into the headphone amp output. Double amping your speakers through the headphone amp can work, but it is not optimal.

Given that, I would focus on the Aune T1. There's quite a large discussion thread for the T1 here on Head-Fi where you could learn more.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 

OK OK!! now i understand, so the aune is really winning this then, but from what i have read in the post u gave me the aune use the tube just in the dac section and in the amp is solid state, is out there a DAC/AMP as good as this one that use tube for both dac and amp? thankyou so much for your help y also found this two, maybe they can do what i ask or are as good as the aune:

 

Little Dot MK II

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Dot-MKII-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B00A2QMAI2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_8

 

and

 

Qinpu A3

http://www.amazon.com/Qinpu-3-A3-Integrated-Amplifier/dp/B0057ODYX4/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_21

but i dont knoe why i think this tu are just amps xD

post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikephone View Post

OK OK!! now i understand, so the aune is really winning this then, but from what i have read in the post u gave me the aune use the tube just in the dac section and in the amp is solid state, is out there a DAC/AMP as good as this one that use tube for both dac and amp? thankyou so much for your help y also found this two, maybe they can do what i ask or are as good as the aune:

Little Dot MK II
http://www.amazon.com/Little-Dot-MKII-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B00A2QMAI2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_8

and

Qinpu A3
http://www.amazon.com/Qinpu-3-A3-Integrated-Amplifier/dp/B0057ODYX4/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_21


but i dont knoe why i think this tu are just amps xD

Those two ARE just amps. No DACs built in. You'd have to buy the DAC separately.
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 

jajajaja just as i thought, so you dont know about any DAC/AMP that use tube in the amp section? :)

post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikephone View Post
 

jajajaja just as i thought, so you don't know about any DAC/AMP that use tube in the amp section? :)


As the ATH-A900X are only 42-Ohm, my $27 Fiio E6 could drive them, so the A900Xs really do not need a lot of juice to drive them.

Also it would be preferred to use an amplifier with an output impedance of 5-Ohms or less, for better detail in the audio.

So whatever amplifier you finally decide on, make sure it works well with 42-Ohm headphones.

 

Personally I would have thought the Audioengine D1 would be a good pick.

post #11 of 31

Keep in mind that you will need to use an external DAC with the MK II or A3, as they are both simple amplifiers. Seeing as you wish to keep your spending below $200, those two amps are not viable options. I too place my vote with the T1 if your budget is a strict $200, but understand that when you inevitably scale up to better headphones, you will regret not having purchased a heftier DAC/AMP. If you are certain that you will never upgrade your headphones, then, by all means, purchase the T1.

post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 

purple angel the d1 looks as a great choice but idk what the **** i feel with those tubes but i want one!!!! sorry :( maybe im being capricious with that, do you know and dac/amp that uses tubes for amp? and well sooner or later as fatman says i will change my a900x, i dont think it will be reeeeeally soon, i really love them for now and i want a lovely thing for making them better.

 

fatman so what you recommend? i will sooner or later upgrade my hps but i dont see myself doing that in less than 2 years.

any of you know any DAC/AMP as good as the t1 that uses tube for amp?

thanks for the help :)

post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 

purple angel here are the specifications of the aune t1, it says that the impedance is 10 ohms that is more than what you suggest me, but at the same time it says that the suitable headphones are from 30 ohms to 600 ohms, this will be a problem? and please remember the rokit monitors that i will use with this DAC/AMP too!! thank you so much

 

Specification

Product : T1 24BIT TUBE USB DAC
Color : silver , black
Weight : 2KG
Size : 15.5*9.7*4cm 
Frequency response : 20hz-20khz
Signal to noise Ratio : >=120db  
Lint out : 2Vrms
Suitable headphone Impedance : 30ohm~600ohm
Headphone Amp output : (biggest is 20V) 32ohm--1000MW ,120ohm--400MW ,300ohm--150MW
Line out insider impedance : 100ohm
Headphone amp insider impedance :10ohm
USB support : 24bit/96kHz
Input jack : analog RCA jack*1 , USB jack *1
Output jack : analog RCA jack *1 , 6.5mm jack *1 Unpack : T1 24bit tube USB DAC ,power adapter(220/110V) ,PC USB cable , 6.5mm to 3.5mm stereo F adapter , User manual.

Headphone Amp part AP measured curves: (tube output test) 

post #14 of 31
The ATH-A900X has been measured and it doesn't have any wild impedance swings. With an output impedance of 10 ohms, you might notice a little bit of difference in the bass response over if it had lower impedance, but probably nothing to worry about. In other words, not optimal, but not bad smily_headphones1.gif
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikephone View Post
 

Purple Angel here are the specifications of the Aune T1, it says that the impedance is 10 ohms that is more than what you suggest me, but at the same time it says that the suitable headphones are from 30 ohms to 600 ohms, this will be a problem? and please remember the rokit monitors that i will use with this DAC/AMP too!! thank you so much

 

Specification

Product : T1 24BIT TUBE USB DAC
Suitable headphone Impedance : 30ohm~600ohm
Headphone amp insider impedance :10ohm

I plug my ATH-A900X into my STX all the time and the STX has the 10-Ohm output impedance, a 5-Ohm or less would be preferred, but it's not mandatory.

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