Balanced dongle/portable dac amp
Jul 31, 2021 at 12:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

baycop

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Posts
2
Likes
1
Location
Midlothian, VA
Hi! New here, but also looking for the best options for a portable dac amp/dongle for my iPhone 12.

Criteria:
under $150 usd
Balanced output
Wide stage
Not overly warm (my EarMen Sparrow was too warm)
Small, like BTR5 size or smaller

This will be for my Mangird Teas, which are incredible and very sensitive to source changes. BTR5 on them was good, then I upgraded to the Hidizs S9 Pro and loved it, but noticed an audible hiss when music was playing and returned it.

I’m looking at the E1DA 9038s and iBasso DC04 currently, and the Qudelix 5k a little bit. Any thoughts on the options and any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
Jul 31, 2021 at 12:43 AM Post #2 of 4

miserybeforethemusic

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Posts
1,837
Likes
2,722
Location
Los Angeles, CA
You perfectly described the 5K. Don't even need to use the Bluetooth, but it's really great Bluetooth. Rock solid LDAC on my usage. Bonus points that they're rolling out an update that gives you the AutoEQ database to use in-app, if that's your thing.

I have the 9038D (not S), but I find it's pretty frustrating to use with Android if you have multiple music apps on your phone. It can be tricky making sure the right audio stream is going through. I prefer Qudelix's user experience a lot, but the 9038 is still a beast, even single-ended. You mentioned running iOS, so doesn't seem like you'll have those same issues. Figured I'd mention it anyway.
 
Jul 31, 2021 at 8:02 AM Post #3 of 4

baycop

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Posts
2
Likes
1
Location
Midlothian, VA
You perfectly described the 5K. Don't even need to use the Bluetooth, but it's really great Bluetooth. Rock solid LDAC on my usage. Bonus points that they're rolling out an update that gives you the AutoEQ database to use in-app, if that's your thing.

I have the 9038D (not S), but I find it's pretty frustrating to use with Android if you have multiple music apps on your phone. It can be tricky making sure the right audio stream is going through. I prefer Qudelix's user experience a lot, but the 9038 is still a beast, even single-ended. You mentioned running iOS, so doesn't seem like you'll have those same issues. Figured I'd mention it anyway.
I’ve bought the 5k, gonna try it out. Might also get the 9038s since it’s only $90 and everyone raves about it once they get it figured out
 
Jul 31, 2021 at 12:10 PM Post #4 of 4

miserybeforethemusic

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Posts
1,837
Likes
2,722
Location
Los Angeles, CA
I’ve bought the 5k, gonna try it out. Might also get the 9038s since it’s only $90 and everyone raves about it once they get it figured out
Think you made an excellent choice. I went the E1DA route first with the 9038D and a PowerDAC V2, which I highly recommend if you need a really tiny, really powerful desktop solution (wouldn't use it with a phone, personally), but neither were as dead simple to use as the 5K has been. Had I been trying to use this stuff on iOS, maybe I'd think differently.

Fwiw, it's well worth paying for Tweak9038 (E1DA's companion app...think it runs $10). Not sure if you were on the fence about whether it was necessary, but I don't think the 9038 would be nearly as awesome without it.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top