I'm new here and try to figure out which DAC to get next. Let me tell a bit about my situation first.
My main source for music is my Laptop. I use the inbuilt coax out to drive some active studio monitors (Elac Am150s) that have an integrated DAC. As headphones I use the ATH-ES7 and (usually for portable use) some Hippo VB's.
My musical taste is all over the place, so it's hard to narrow it down, but if I would have to, i guess it would be rock (60's stuff & psychedelic)... I like the analog sound, but still value transparency and good seperation. Uh, I hope i make sense here ;-)
I am thinking about upgrading to a better DAC, because I think the inbuilt one is a bit limited. It would be also nice to try it as a headphone amp. I've been reading quite a bit and narrowed my search down to 2 main contenders:
Matrix mini-i pro vs. Shiit Bifrost
(and maybe the Beresford Caiman mk II)
What I like a lot about the mini-i is that is balanced, and the USB option seems decent as well... Sadly I have no possibility to test any of them, so I would be interested to hear how they compare/ your opinions on them.
P.s: my budget is around 500$, aim is best bang for buck ;-)