Hey there Head-Fiers! I dont have any really good headphones, just some ATH-M50's, but I plan to get some Sennheiser HD598's or a simmilar pair soon. Anyways, Im looking for a good, portable, DAC/Amp setup for ~$100. I mostly use my phone (Galaxy S3 with custom ROM/kernel with audio mods built in, as well as Viper4Android) for listening to music, so thats why I want it to be portable. I've narrowed my DAC selection down to 2 options, the AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.0, or The Stoner Acoustics UD120. The Dragonfly has a built in amp and is $99, But I have seen some great reviews of the UD100 and UD110, and seeing that the UD120 addresses the main problems with the UD110 and adds a proper enclosure, its a steal at $80 ($50, $30 shipping) but it doesnt have an included amp, so for the amp I was planning on just getting a cheap CMoy on ebay and upgrading the op amp to a OPA2228 or AD825. Thoughts on which I should choose or other reccomendations?
Cheap, portable DAC/Amp Setup
Well I've heard it works with some phones, and I added universal usb audio drivers to my phones kernel, so it should work.
Why? The dac on my phone sounds as bad as my PC, if not worse. and I'd use it on my laptop and tablet as well, so it wont be limited to just my phone.
It is the ud120 that has the enclosure. when researching portable dacs to use with your phone, you will need to double check to see if there are any users using that specific dac with your phone as people commonly report a certain dac not working their phone.
if this is your first dac purchase, keep in mind that the money you spend on a dac will have a smaller impact on the sound quality than your headphones. more along the lines of subtle improvements than night-n-day differences. if I was in your position, I would go for the ud120 as I am currently using the ud110v2 which I enjoy for its budget price. I personally experimented with a bunch of dacs and found the sonic differences subtle enough that I am happy just sticking to a cheap, well-recommended dac.
with the m50x, I personally don't think you will need an amp. I tried it amp & unamped and there was no practical difference in sound quality for me. ymmv.
oooh exciting. the old version t50rp or one of the many modded options or the new th-500 rp??? hahah