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AMP + DAC Suggestion

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by rsharmen, Jul 18, 2012.
  1. rsharmen
    Hi guys!
    Need advise on a portable AMP + DAC for my IEM. Using the Final Audio Design Adagio III. 
    Mostly will be using with my computer. I heard that some amps can improve the soundstage and that would go well with my IEM.
    I might upgrade to the Etymotic Research ER or Audio Technica ATH-CK10.
    Thank you for any suggestion at all.
  2. bowei006 Contributor
    What genres do you listen to? Sample artists please?
    What is your price range?
    So what you want is an amp and DAC unit that is portable, and can be used with computer as a DAC?
    Any features you like? USB? Optical? Etc?
    Do you have an iPod?
  3. rsharmen
    Genres, this is something that I find hard to explain to most people as I listen to mostly Bollywood songs and I can't think of any similar mainstream genres to fit this. The closest that I can think of might be classical? A representative sample would be something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTlt8PWh2EA
    Price range I reckon about $300-400 ( Is this a fair range? If not I could up it a bit) Reason for this range is that my IEMs cost $120 so I don't think an expensive amp would be able to 'help' it much.
    Portable or not is not really an issue as I mostly use it at home or in the office. I have read up a bit but if you might just clarify, does a DAC improve the quality of Youtube songs?
    No particular features as you have mentioned, just good soundstage :)
    I have no ipod, just plain old PCs and Handphone.
    Thanks mate!
  4. bowei006 Contributor
    That's a dillema, Bollywood youtube songs are generally VERY poor in recording. You at this range should not be spending 3X more on an DAC and amp than your headphones. Getting a better pair of headphones would be best. Make sure they are not analytical.
    If it doesn't have to be portable than your options are huge, but again, I would recommend getting better headphones.
    Open headphones would be best, as they generally have good soundstage.
    Only problem is your ... recordings now, teh one you showed me wasn't that bad but I have seen many and most being very poor.
    I would do this:
    $250 open headphones with an $150 DAC and amp to drive them or $300 headphones and $100 amp.
    Headphones that are open at that range(for good soundstage) generally need an amp to be able to get loud enough.
    Quite a dillema
  5. rsharmen
    I agree with what you say but have never been too fond of open headphone as they do not sit comfortably for me and it gets warm etc. IEMs give me good sound isolation and the one I have seems to have really good soundstage over my previous Sennheiser. 
    Too be honest, the playlist that I have generally has good quality songs but if the need arises I will get high quality audio files. 
    So at this stage no point getting an expensive one? I currently have the Hippo box which is terrible so am looking for something else.
    Any recommendation for AMP + DAC for an IEM?

  6. bowei006 Contributor
    There are many well soundstged IEM's. Getting a better headphone or IEM first and then amp and DAC would work. 
    If you JUST use it at office or home, then a desktop DAC and amp. Or a portable one could work. A portable one you can bring to both places, so not sure. What do you prefer?
    There are iBasso's, AudioEngines,Fiio's and what not at this range.
    If you would like, go to the IEM section and make a thread about good soundstage iem or google it.

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