~£400 to put between computer and headphones
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Deadeight

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I am looking for an amp/dac solution, using my desktop PC as my music source.
 
I have a pair of Fischer FA-003 (Neutral, 64 Ohm, high sensitivity, closed but great sound stage), and I listen to a range of music from classical to rock to electronic. Mostly all the music has in common many instruments, and being able to identify individual instruments is important to me.
 
I'm looking at something with USB input, and there are a few options I've been researching:
 
  1. Asus Xonar Essence One This is about £340, and there seems to be very little information on it really. Even the Head-Fi thread on it here is not that helpful, as there is a range of opinions varying from "It competes with amp/dacs three times the price and sounds amazing" to "It's pretty good but not as good as other options at the price point".
  2. Musical Fidelity V-Series The V-Dac II is £150,  and the V-Can II is £120, coming in at £270. I have read that the V-PSU II at £150 for this setup is definitely worth it, bringing the setup to £420. I've heard this is great, but again not that many reviews on the MkII versions.
  3. Cambridge Audio DacMagic This is £200, and I've only read fantastic things about it. On top of this there is a shop nearby where I can take my laptop and test in in combination with a few different amps. However, I have no idea what amp I would then pair this with.
 
I've looked into a few other options as well, but I'd love to hear if anyone can tell me what will provide me with the best SQ at this price point. Unfortunately some things like the Schiit are not practical for me as after postage and additional tax it just works out too expensive. 
 
 
Thanks in advance for any advice. 
 
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CJG888

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I am using the Little Dot DAC_1 and Mk III amp (upgraded with Mullard CV4010 driver tubes) with the FA-003s as my PC-based desktop system, and am very happy with the sound (classical and jazz). This could (depending on Customs and shipping costs) put you slightly over budget, though...
 
You will get a good soundstage (for a closed can) and excellent midrange resolution with this setup. If you require more "slam", you might consider switching to the (cheaper) LD Mk I+ hybrid (I haven't heard this in combination with the FA-003 yet, though). Alternatively (and at lower cost), the DAC_1 is also available with a built-in solid-state amp as the DAC_2 (again, I haven't heard this with the Fischers).
 
Either way, the LD DACs are an interesting alternative to the DacMagic.
 
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NinjaSquirt

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If you're using an on board sound card, I'd say a good clean DAC is the biggest improvement for you. I would however, advise you to stay away from the DacMagic. Firstly since it's a DAC with no headphone out and a USB connection I don't even see how you would connect your headphone to them... secondly there's something weird, distant, and thin sounding about it that really turned me off when I had them for trial for a couple of days. Why not just upgrade to a ASUS STX?
 
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