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Need portable headphone AMP/DAC recommendations

  1. JustASnack
    Hi there! I'm looking to get a portable headphone AMP/DAC combo for use with my phone and office PC. Here are some details about what I'm looking for:

    - I have a budget of 150 pounds/euro/dollars, though I'm willing to stretch that budget to 200 if absolutely necessary
    - Needs to power headphones of up to 300 ohms impedance
    - Connects to phones via USB
    - Ideally, should be plug-and-play with Windows when connecting to PCs via USB

    This will be my first portable AMP/DAC. Many thanks in advance for your help and recommendations :)
  2. boomhaur
    Look into the Audioquest dragonfly red, it may fit all your needs.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  3. buke9
    A Audioquest DragonFly Red is £150 or $200 US and will drive 300 ohm headphones. So I guess this is a +1 for a DFR.
  4. JustASnack
    How is the Dragonfly Red's compatibility with Android? I have a OnePlus 5 and listen to music off of it from Spotify and Phonograph.
  5. megabigeye
    DFR works well enough with Android (I've used HTC One M8, Essential PH-1, and Samsung S9, and each one has been plug-n-play with DFR). The one drawback with DFR and Android is that Android doesn't have many volume steps, so jumps between steps can be large on sensitive 'phones. USB Audio Player Pro mostly solves this issue (and is otherwise a very good app), but it's not compatible with Spotify.

    I'm assuming your 300 ohm headphones are Sennheiser? The DFR will drive the HD 650 to pretty loud levels, but they don't sound as good from the DFR as from a more powerful amp. Not bad, certainly, but not as good as they can be.
  6. JustASnack
    Yes, I'll partly be using the HD6XX, though I mainly plan to make use of the DT 770 Pro (the 250 ohm version). I'm guessing that too would be better off with a more powerful amp then, no? If so, are there any other options aside from the Dragonfly Red which may suffice?
  7. megabigeye
    The DFR is the only portable DAC/amp I've used, so I don't have another recommendation, sorry.

    Another consideration about the DFR is that it runs off of the phone's battery. It performs differently on different phones: in addition to usual battery usage, on my PH-1, I think it used something like 3-5% of the battery per hour; on my S9 it uses more like 7-12% per hour. So if you're regularly using 10%/hour of your phone's battery, with the DFR it could be almost 25%/hour. With high impedance and/or low sensitivity headphones that number will be even higher.
    Honestly, as much as I like the DFR, for your uses I might want to try something else.
  8. JustASnack
    bump. Would like some other recommendations aside from the Dragonfly Red please :)
  9. buke9
    Not too many others in your price range that I know for sure can drive the 6xx’s well . The Chord Mojo is the other I have that can but would Triple your budget for a new one but I have seen them used for right at $300 usd.

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