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All in one desktop solution suggestions needed...

  1. sideways
    As the title implies I'm looking for a small form factor amp that would include a usb dac and a headphone section...I don't need huge power output...class D is totally fine...

    Dac I would like to be AK or Sabre base... tired of BB stuff :)

    Headphones I will be using are Grado 60's...AKG 240 Studios... and AKG K550's...

    I had a Teac AH01 that canned on me... and to be honest the dac was only ok... I've taken the Topping TP30 out of my garage for the moment to use... headphone section is definitely no great LOL!!

    I would rather not spend more than a few hundred Canadian... so if anyone has any ideas for me I sure would appreciate it!!

  2. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Class D hasn't really picked up yet for headphones, whether the small low power amps or the slightly larger high output amps, since noise and distortion are still kind of problematic. Speaker amps already tend to be very noisy but it's not a problem if you're sitting 2m away (ie why some A/B and D amps can kick out around 200watts per channel); distortion on some frequencies at higher impedance loads - ie, headphones running between 12ohms and 600ohms - are also still kind of a problem.

    At the same time headphone amps, other than those powered by batteries, don't have to make the same compromises as speaker amps, ie, a Class A amp that kicks out 1W at 32ohms/250mW at 300ohms per channel actually has less heat issues than a 10W per channel at 8ohms speaker amp (ie you can't hook up the headphone 1W Class A amp into an 8ohm load and get 4Watts) so Class A is relatively a lot more common still with headphone amps.

    Most Class D amps out there are either Class D speaker amps with headphone outputs but some might actually be running a Philips headphone driver chip (ie the same kind on integrated amps, and a few headphone amps), or some fairly expensive amps.

    AudioGD NFB-11
  3. sideways
    So you are saying go with separates??

    I wasn't suggesting that the headphone section be class d... only the speaker driver portion... as in the TEAC...the amp was an ICE amp while the headphone section was a totally separate entity...
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Depends. If you're driving headphones and speakers I'd really much rather go with separates. Get a pure power amp for the speakers and feed it a preamp signal from the DAC-HPamp-Preamp, like an NFB-11.

    There are a few single unit ones that can do well on both but they can be more expensive than separates. Like some Macintosh integrated amps that have a relatively low output impedance on the headphone output connected to the amp's output stage. There's also the Cayin CS-55a, but as much as this is half the price of a Macintosh good for driving both, it's still $1,500, and then when the tubes wear out eventually that's potentially another $200++, albeit not in one go (then again, you can easily pull tubes out; if a solid state part conks out and you can't diagnose-desolder-solder yourself, that money just goes to labour and shipping costs, despite cheap chips), but note I've only used this on an HD600 and HD650 which aren't sensitive about output impedance.
  5. sideways

    Tubes are a no go right now...I've spent many years with tubes and at the moment I do not want to venture back :)

    I'm just reading about the new E30 from Fiio... if it's as nice as the ES100 I have then that would probably work well for me... run the output into a little TPA type chip amp (replacing the TP30 I currently have residing in that space) for my desk speakers. Should come in under budget!!

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