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Bedside DAC for headphones system

  1. Taz777
    I'm looking for a DAC that can drive most over-ear headphones with ease and produces a decent quality of sound. For my desktop system I have a Topping D50 which I really like, but it doesn't have a headphone out. Ideally, I'm looking for recommendations for a similar USB DAC that is very well made, is quite compact, produces great sound but also has a headphone out socket.
     
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Budget?
     
  3. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Pangea HP101 is a great Class A headphone amp with USB DAC for the money.
     
  4. Taz777
    Sorry, should have said. Along the lines of the Topping D50 - 200-300USD.
     
  5. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Why not just keep using the Topping D50 as the DAC and just connect a headphone amplifier to it?
     
  6. Taz777
    The Topping D50 is wired into my computer-based audio system.

    But you've given me an idea! I've just realised that I've also got an iFi Nano iDSD BL portable DAC/amp that doesn't get used when I'm at home. Whilst that has a headphone amp built in, I'm not sure it will drive the Amiron Home headphones that I've got on order sufficiently. The Nano has a line level output which I could use to connect to a headphone amp that would supply a lot more power into the 250 Ohm headphones.

    Any suggestions on a headphone amp? The Schiit Magni 3 and Arcam rHead seem to get favourable reviews.
     
  7. PurpleAngel Contributor
    With the Arcam, your paying extra for features (like XLR), that i'm assuming you have no need for, get the Magni.
     
  8. ckhirnigs113
    Check out the JDS Labs Atom and Monoprice Liquid Spark. There are threads on both of these amps here on Head-fi. Both are $99 like the Magni 3 and excellent performers at their price point.

    I’d definitely try your Nano iDSD first though. It will likely be able to drive your headphones just fine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018 at 7:24 PM
  9. Taz777
    I got the Amiron headphones today and have tried them out using the direct out on the iFi Nano iDSD BL. They are driven okay and I can get the volume control to the 2 O'Clock position and they seem quite loud. However, the sound, whilst being unnervingly clear and detailed, is quite light and could do with some more weight behind it. Hence, I feel that an external headphone amp is going to be my next step, and I'll just use the Nano as a DAC.
     
  10. Taz777
    Just to update this thread. I managed to get a remarkable deal on the Arcam rHead headphone amp, so bought that in the end. I also bought another Topping D50 to feed the rHead.

    So, my bedside system is now the following:

    • Source: iPhone 7 running the TIDAL app - connected via an Apple USB3 camera kit adapter (allows me charge the iPhone at the same time) to a 0.6m Fisual Havana USB 2.0 Cable, to:
    • DAC: Topping D50 - powered using an iPad charger, RCA analogue outputs connected using a 0.6m QED Performance Graphite twin RCA cable to:
    • Headphone amplifier: Arcam rHead, connected via the 1/4 inch (6.3mm) headphone jack to:
    • Headphones: beyerdynamic Amiron Home
    It's early days yet but the sound is very nice. I went for the Arcam rHead headphone amp due to its Class A amp. It also has plenty of power to drive the Amiron Home headphones and adds the 'weight' to the audio that I was looking for, which the iFi Nano iDSD BL struggled a little with.
     

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