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Small thumb-drive form factor DAC/amp combos

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I'm looking for a portable USB DAC/amp combo for my laptop. I want something very small, in a thumb-drive form factor, that does not need external power or charging batteries (draws power from USB). So far I've only found the Dragonfly and the new GEEK OUT, are there any other good ones?

 

Will be primarily using IEMs with it so I need the noise floor to be very low (main purpose is to get rid of the base hum noise from my laptop headphone out). For anyone with experience with the Dragonfly, how is the noise floor with something like the SE530 or IE8? Also how does it compare to something like the Pico DAC/amp combo which I currently have (intend to replace as it's a bit too big for me)? Thanks!


Edited by Jd007 - 11/3/13 at 6:49pm
post #2 of 10

A few more more for your consideration: the just-announced Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS ($189, 24/192 capable), HRT MicroStreamer ($189, 24/96 capable), and the Audioengine D3 (24/96 capable, also $189, but has higher output impedance that may not be IEM friendly).

 

No idea how it would compare to your Pico DAC/AMP, but these might be worth checking out. All three of these have line-out capabilities so if they do not have enough power for you, you could still connect them to your Pico if necessary. 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. I really wanted something as small and as simple as possible so having the USB plug on the DAC itself is preferred. The Audioengine D3 is cool, but in the end I decided to go for the Dragonfly.
post #4 of 10

Good call on the AQDF.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post
 

Good call on the AQDF.

Thanks! Seeing as you own one with a bunch of IEMs, can you tell me a bit about the noise floor of the Dragonfly with sensivie IEMs? I bought it primarily to get rid of the background hum out of my laptop's headphone port, so I'm hoping that it'll be better?

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jd007 View Post
 

Thanks! Seeing as you own one with a bunch of IEMs, can you tell me a bit about the noise floor of the Dragonfly with sensivie IEMs? I bought it primarily to get rid of the background hum out of my laptop's headphone port, so I'm hoping that it'll be better?

The AQDF is really dark, so you don't have to worry about the noise floor.  So unless you have something ultra sensitive, you are not going to hear any hiss from the AQDF.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks DrSheep! I don't have anything ultra sensitive, just SE530 and IE8.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jd007 View Post
 

Thanks DrSheep! I don't have anything ultra sensitive, just SE530 and IE8.

NP, you should be good to go.  Just DON'T lose the end cap for the AQDF.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post
 

NP, you should be good to go.  Just DON'T lose the end cap for the AQDF.

+1

post #10 of 10

There is also this

 

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=123

 

and

 

Stoner Acoustics makes a couple or at least one tiny guy http://stoneracoustics.blogspot.com/

 

Don't have any experience with either but just know of those 2 as well if anyone else is looking.


Edited by kcee - 11/8/13 at 8:21am
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