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Amp/DACs item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - Affortable, portable, great amp
Cons - Not impressive DAC for desktop
I bought the BitHead as a replacement for my work laptop, where it is a big improvement over the cheap onboard sound card. Trivial to install and sounding very good. Highly recommended for this kind of job.
On my desktop though I get mixed feelings. There I have an Asus D2X and a cheap Behringer HA400 headphone amp. Compared to that the BitHead working as a DAC+amp sounds clearly worse (using Sennheiser IE8 - the cheaper DAC and the noiser USB power is to blame I guess). However, when I connect the BitHead on the D2X directly everything sounds impressively good; it gives additional clarity, soundstage and you will notice new details on favourite songs.
If you are looking for a cheap audiophile soundcard replacement for your desktop, this is not it. You can do better with a D2X or an E-MU 1212M (still far the best sounding source I've owned, Bit-God rest its circuits) - in this range of money.
If you want a sound solution for a work computer or laptop this will be a very good choice.
Pros - Small and rugged
Cons - No EM shielding
I purchased my BitHead mainly to bypass the dismal onboard soundcards on the computers I use at work, and the better but still not so great sound on my netbook and I've been quite pleased with it's performance. It's completely plug and go which is nice if you move from computer to computer on a daily basis. Being driver free is also very nice if you can't install drivers on your work machine. (Though that doesn't apply to me since I'm one of the IT guys.) I didn't expect it to do much for much for my Cowon D2+ and SE530s but much better bass response was just the beginning. I also hooked it up to my Nintendo DS and was impressed with the results, despite the space restraints imposed upon the music. The BitHead's only real flaw is the lack of any EM shielding. I tried velcroing it to the lid of my netbook but the CCFLs put out so much noise, it makes the BitHead sound considerably worse than the onboard sound. Moving it somewhere else solves the problem, but also makes it much less convenient.