I bought a XianSheng DAC-01A 8 months ago to connect my M-Audio BX5a speakers to my PC and a couple other sources. It works great except for one small feature that is missing; the rear RCA outputs remain active when headphones are connected. There are internal jumpers to modify the output of the rear RCAs but they only toggle whether or not the volume knob alters the volume, doesn't achieve what I need to happen.
So, I'm looking for a different USB DAC that also has a preamp for additional inputs and outputs as well as a built-in headphone amplifier. There are a few devices I've found that would meet what I need, I'm just looking for advice on what would be the best use of my money. I would also like the device to be as compact as possible,the DAC-01A is relatively substantial. The DAC-01A cost me about $180 so I'd like to stay around that but am willing to spend a bit more. I'm willing to buy second-hand, no problem with that.
My leading choice is the Fiio E07k + E09k combo. I like the idea of being able to take the E07k with me for travelling but still having the E09k on my desk connected to me active speakers. The aux analog input would be used for temporarily connecting a portable device. Besides USB I don't foresee a need for another digital input or I would pick the E17 instead. From what I've seen this combo would cost around $250.
Next is the Nuforce HDP which I believe is discontinued. It has the analog input I want and another digital one. The only thing the Fiio combo has over this is the mudularity / portability otherwise I consider them equal.
Finally I'm also considering the Creative X-Fi HD USB because it has all the same features but also because it is by far the least expensive. In this case I'm aware I would get what I pay for and am not too thrilled about relying on Creative's drivers rather than native OS functionality the other two devices have.
I've also looked at the new Asus Xonar Essence III which would be perfect except for cost. The Emotiva XDA-2 is close except for the lack of analog inputs and size but its price is $270 on their website.
Are there any other devices I should add to my list or should I exclude any?