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Best portable source gear solution October 2019

  1. atahanuz
    What is the best gear to drive headphones/ IEMs on the go? AFAIK there are portable DAC/AMPs and DAPs for that purpose.

    Here are the popular devices but according to my research none of them are perfect. Which one is the best?

    Chord Mojo
    iFi xDSD
    Fiio Q5s
    Fiio M11 (Pro)
    Hiby R6 Pro
    iBasso DX220
  2. paul_uk_81
    How portable?

    I really enjoyed using my iPad Pro with a Hugo 2 but that’s more for using when in hotels from travelling. I have an SP1000M I use a lot of the time and that’s good too and a lot more portable.
  3. atahanuz
    Hugo 2 is not portable, cannot be used on the go

    SP1000M is unfortunately overly expensive.
  4. Spie1904
    If the SP1000M is overly expensive lower category dap include: Ibasso DX 220 & Fio M9 PRO I guess :)
    Also, there is no best.. There is preference and what you want from what you buy? More battery, better EQ capabilities, good pairing with IEM?
    Example if you want andromeda at some point, the pair (Output impedance) is important :)
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  5. Chris Kaoss
    It depends on your needs.

    For me, the LG V-Series takes the cake.
    Really good DAC and Amp paired with great battery performance while listening. Streaming whatever you want or able to is possible.
  6. megabigeye
    I'm kinda in the same boat as you.
    I saw your post in the Q5S thread, and I agree, the Q5S just has too many options, none of which really fits my needs. I don't want to spent $350 on a DAC that I then have to spend another $50-$150 on modules in order to really take full advantage of it. Further more, people are complaining about hissing and back-charging, and now there seems to be trouble with firmware causing problems with Bluetooth. No thanks. I've been down the FiiO crappy software road before.
    The xDSD caught my attention for a minute, but it's honestly more than I'd like to spend. Plus I think it looks silly. Plus, if I'm going to do Bluetooth, I'd like to have LDAC, so I can at least pretend I'm getting the best sound possible*. Plus, that silly design. If it didn't have those ridges and dips it could be 10% more pocket friendly.
    Mojo I refuse to buy. It looks like a prop from a bad 1980s sci-fi movie**. When the price dropped I actually considered it, until I looked at the dedicated thread and everybody was complaining. Given all the complaints, I'm honestly surprised it's recommended as often as it is, especially for the price. Plus it's thick and doesn't look pocket friendly. And it's ugly.
    I was excited by the Dragonfly Cobalt when it first launched, but given its poor measurements, that so many units rattle in their case, and some of them even completely falling apart, I'm not at all impressed. I had the DFR, which I really enjoyed, but it stopped working properly after only a little more than one year. Just after the warranty expired. Not at all confidence inspiring.
    I'm kind of sort of considering the single-ended E1DA when it comes out, but I have a feeling that it's going to kill my phone's battery like it's going out of business. I also find it fishy that the app requires locations services to be turned on in order for Bluetooth to work. That doesn't make much sense to me. Probably, hopefully harmless, but even so, it's indicative of not-quite-sorted software, which is not confidence inspiring.
    I tried the ES100, but was honestly not that impressed by its sound. I may as well use my S9's headphone out because the ES100 really didn't sound any better to me.
    I have little desire for a dedicated DAP. Outdated versions of Android and the inability to stream without a WiFi connection just don't appeal.

    Right now, I'm thinking of getting the Topping NX4 DSD. Doesn't have Bluetooth, which I would have liked, and it's not as pocket friendly as the E1DA or Cobalt, which would also be nice, but it is a lot cheaper than most of my other options, it doesn't require a wonky dedicated app to function, it measures well, and the thread is mercifully quiet, which means not much goes wrong with it and/or it's just not very popular.

    Considering the abundance of IEMs and headphones at all prices, it seems there's a bit of a dearth of good, portable DAC/amps.

    *To be perfectly honest, the only time I've ever tried BT was with the ES100 and I could not tell a difference between SBC, AptX, and LDAC. Not that there isn't a difference, simply that I couldn't hear it in my brief listening.
    **Actually, now that I'm thnking about it, the Mojo looks like a prop from Close Encounters of the Third Kind which was a great '80s sci-fi movie. But still.
  7. blockchainhero
    I just listen straight out of my (i)phone. Well I guess you can consider the Apple Lightning to 3.5mm dongle an external DAC/Amp.

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