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DAC + AMP upgrade

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello fellow head-fiers. I currently own a fairly simple, and cheap DAC + AMP combo by a chinese company called "Fort".

 

http://dx.com/en/p/smsl-fort-mini-music-usb-dac-earphones-headphones-amplifier-black-172391

 

This is actually an excellent product in terms of sound quality, at least to my ears. I would wholeheartedly recommend this product to first time buyers (I also recommend buying a shorter usb cable because the one provided is loooooong and cumbersome). However there are a few issues that bother me:

 

1) At lower volumes, the amp tends to alternate volume between my right and left earcup so that one is louder than the other. So in order for the amp to be enjoyable I can't play music at very low levels

 

2) There is crazy interference I get from this product when it is near something like a cell phone

 

3) This amp is meant to be kept on a tabletop, but I tend to use my computer on my lap on a couch. As such, I tend to accidentally adjust the volume quite frequently

 

I should stress that these are rather minor complaints, but issues I would love corrected nonetheless. I am really happy with the sound quality and please with how much I paid ($50!). Are there any suggestions for a new USB DAC + AMP combo that aren't affected by these issues? I am looking for something really portable and affordable, and I use Shure SRH440 headphones. Thanks the help guys!

post #2 of 4
as for 1) that is pretty common for many amps, when the volume pot is too low there is channel imbalance.  this is one reason to match your gain with your headphones, to keep the pot above the imbalance level
 
i recommend something in the fiio line, for example i have an e17 DAC/AMP that has selectable gain, some EQ adjustments, great sound, very small and well built, and $130.  it has a lock button so no more accidental volume changes, and i often strap it right to my cell phone with absolutely zero problems with interference or anything (that's kind of a weird problem for an amp to have...)
post #3 of 4

The Dragonfly would be really good for you as it can be had for fairly cheap and has a nice form factor.

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post
 

The Dragonfly would be really good for you as it can be had for fairly cheap and has a nice form factor.

Second that. The dragonfly is going for $99 on amazon (retail 250). It's easily mistaken for a USB drive, that's how small it is. Sounds great with a PC, but for some reason it doesn't sound as good on a Mac. Go figure.

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