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Need help choosing a DAC+amp combo about $100 or less

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi guys. I'm Ossaxet and newly registered to the forums. I've always admired the culture here at Head-Fi since I first discovered the forum three years ago, and am glad to be joining it now.


Moving on to the topic of this thread, I'm looking for a $100 DAC+amp combo. I'm looking to drive the V-Sonic GR07 MKII from it, with my desktop and an iPod as a source. Though it is not completely necessary, I would prefer that the amp could be driven by my iPod. With that in mind, that means that I am probably looking for a portable amp with a USB and 3.5 mm input (Is the 3.5 mm input required? Is there a cable for the iPod to USB?).


Browsing through the forum, I've seen recommendations to check out some of the products at Fiio and NuForce. The uDAC-2 looks interesting, as well as the E07K. I see that the E07K is far more portable, and would likely pair better with my iPod, but I'm curious as to the disparity between it and the uDAC-2. Does the uDAC bear some innate advantage? Does it have better sound quality?


If you have any more suggestions for a DAC+amp combo, do tell.



post #2 of 3

If you are planning on solely using the ipod as a source then you really only need an amp since ipods only send out analog signal thus you will be using the it's internal DAC regardless.  You could get a fiio L9 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005N6ZAT2 to send a lineout signal and thus bypass the ipods internal amp in favor of your external one. This would avoid double amping the signal. If this is the case then I would recommend something like the fiio e10 or e12. If you plan on using this with your computer/laptop as well then you would certainly want a DAC included. I have used both e17 Alpen and E07k and they would both get the job done. I've never used the uDAC so I can't speak to it. Good luck


Edit: Reread your post and saw mention of the desktop. So you definitely want the DAC included. When using your ipod you will only be using the amp portion however. 

Edited by Sattelight - 2/25/14 at 8:43am
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input Sattelight. I read around a bit more on the usage of the iPod as a music source. It includes a Wolfson DAC, which seems to be generally well-received around the forums. Further, bypassing that DAC in favor of a new internal one or external one seems to require extensive modding procedures that are quite expensive.


I believe that the GR07s at 50Ω +/- 10% (That is low, right?) have quite a low impedance, and thus wouldn't benefit too greatly from an external amp hooked up to an iPod. At this point, I think I just want to focus fully on the desktop as a music source. Would your recommendations change? Does anyone have any experience with some of NuForce's products?


Also, I would like to focus on sound quality over any other characteristic in choosing an amp+DAC. Portability is not really an issue seeing as I won't be moving it.

Edited by Texasso - 3/1/14 at 8:47am
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