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HELP: recommend a DAC/AMP unit

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Gents (and ladies), please advise upon my weird dilemma. 


Firstly I am a part time novelist, so I do some extensive traveling for research and such as i maraud about the american southwest.  In doing so I always have my macbook pro with me and some cans, mostly the vmoda m80, beyer dt1350 and the denon d5000.  I usually bring the dragon dac vs.1.1 that plugs directly in and at times my ipod/hpp1 combo.  The battery needs replacing in the hpp1 so I usually leave that at home.  So I generally am at the desk of whatever hotel I am at, writing and listening to tunes.  Most of the time shaking my head to a tequila soaked epic tune, you all know what im referring to. 


Now, while the little dragonfly unit is brilliant, I can’t help but wonder if there are better alternatives out there to drive, not just my portable cans, but perhaps my LCD2.2 cans as well.  So has begun my research.  Tube preferred as long as it isn’t ‘fragile’ and will survive being hoisted about in a carry-on bag, meaning no exposed tubes to break.  Or an awesome solid state unit.  An amp/dac unit is what im looking for.  budget is $1500, $2000 max if It’s truly magnificent.  I have compiled the following: 


Resonessense labs concero hp

Asus xonar essense one

Jolida glass fx tube dac

Burson conductor

Benchmark dac2 d

Ami music ddh1


: please advise.  I listen to vocal jazz, vintage jazz, rock and edm.  I have heard the jolida unit, it was good but something was missing, and it wouldn’t drive my LCDs, better tubes perhaps?  I’ve heard and was very impressed with the concerno hd dac though my home amp, but I have not heard the concerno hp unit.  I prefer it be a smaller unit but it is not a requirement.  My home amp is the grommes phi-26 tube amp, a truly impressive unit.



post #2 of 5

If you travel a lot, you might want to consider solid state over tubes, unless you can pull the tubes out and put them back on when stationary. They can get jostled around easily more than discrete components or chips. Among those listed I'd go with the Conductor, but note that it's a lot bigger than it looks in photos.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

thanks maniac.  i'll look into the conductor as a viable option.  i've ruled out the benchmark, although it's a brilliant dac, i was less than impressed with its headphone output.  it's a bit on the bright side, and flat as a ruler, from a tube guy as i am, this was just brutal.  im also looking at the fostex hp-a8c, it's glass front is a concern as i will be hauling this thing from one hotel room to another.  a friend also recommended the new oppo ha-1. 

post #4 of 5

You can also get an AudioGD DAC-Amp and order the Moon HDAMs if you want the sound like that (I like the moon and all but I'm an Earth or Sun HDAM guy).

post #5 of 5

For something portable - Alo Pan Am.   Pairs very well with the LCD2s.

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