Peter123's $250+ amp/DAC combo thread 12 amp/dac's compared
Aug 5, 2016 at 3:44 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 70
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The purpose of this thread is to collect my personal experience with as many $250+ amp/DAC combo's as possible in one place. I will also make comparison charts for more hard fact specifications. The goal is to create a kind of guide for people looking for their first or new amp/DAC combo making it easier to make the correct purchase based on their needs. 
I'm also hoping that other users will share their experiences with different units as well, the more the merrier 
gs1000.gif

 
The idea is to do a full review of every unit included in the review section of this forum and post a very short pros and cons here as well as include all untis reviewed in the comparison charts already mentioned. I will also make a short breakdown on a few parameters for each unit, in here I'll use a 1-10 as scale because it gives greater felxibility than the 5 star rating used by default in the review section. Some of the units inculded will be typical desktop units while other will be highly portable and other yet will probably be hybrids between the two extremes. Some will be brand new offerings while other might be well regarded older products. 
 
This thread, given its nature, will be a constant work in progress.
 
To get things started I've finished a couple of reviews already and I've made arrangements to review quite a few more units, some of them has already arrived and more will arrive in the next couple of weeks. 
 
I will publish a review list of items waited to be reviewed in here as soon as they're 100% confirmed. Suggestions for products is very welcome.
 

 
Aug 5, 2016 at 3:45 PM Post #2 of 70
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Setting the standard:
It's important in all comparisons to have a reference, something that remains the same between the comparisons a fixed variable. I also feel that this reference should be somethig that's as close to perfect in as many ways as possible for the other objects to reach for, the one to beat (in one or more areas). 
 
Writing this makes me remember a book I had in my university time, amazingly enough I even remember the name of the author even though it was almost 20 years ago so it must have made some impression 
wink_face.gif

 

 
Burson Audio Conductor V2+ ($1,499):
My choice for refernce unit is the V2+. It is a very complete unit in my opinion and offers both excellent sound as well as top notch build quality and great verstatility. 
 
Although all other units in the comparison section in the review for each product included in this thread may change the V2+ will always be included as one of the objects in the comparison. 
 

 
Pros: Sound, build, design, remote control, 5 year warranty
Cons: DAC sound signature may not suit everybody
 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9.5/10
Build: 10/10
Connections: 9/10
Features: 9/10
Value: 9/10
Portability: 1
 
Full review:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/products/burson-audio-conductor-v2/reviews/15450
 
Review rating: 
5/5
 
Aug 5, 2016 at 3:45 PM Post #3 of 70
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Burson Audio Conductor Air ($499):
 

 
Pros: Sound quality, build quality, value for money, remote control
Cons: No analogue input

 

Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9/10
Build: 9/10
Connections: 5/10
Features: 8.5/10
Value: 9/10
Portability: 8/10
 
Full review:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/products/burson-audio-conductor-air/reviews/16536
 
Review rating: 
5/5
 
 
Chord Mojo ($599):
 

Pros: Versatile, excellent sound, build quality, internal battery
Cons: Design, no analogue input, gets very hot when connected to a PC for longer time

 

Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9/10
Build: 8.5/10
Connections: 8/10
Features: 9/10
Value: 9/10
Portability: 9/10
 
Full review:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/chord-mojo/reviews/16576
 
Review rating:
5/5
 
Audinst HUD-DX1 ($399):
 

 
Pros: Versatile, well built, powerful
Cons: No analogue input, not the best value for money based on sound i stock form

 

Quick breakdown:
Sound: 7.5/10
Build: 8/10
Connections: 8.5/10
Features: 8.5/10
Value: 7/10
Portability: 4/10
 
Full review:http://www.head-fi.org/products/audinst-hud-dx1/reviews/16641
 
Review rating:
4/5
 
 
iBasso D14 Bushmaster ($249):
 

 
Pros: Sound quality, build quality, value for money, coaxial and optical input
Cons: Slightly too large to be truly portable

 

Quick breakdown:
Sound: 8.5/10
Build: 8/10
Connections: 8.5/10
Features: 8.5/10
Value: 9.5/10
Portability: 7.5/10
 
Full review:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/ibasso-audio-d14-bushmaster/reviews/16677
 
Review rating:
4.5/5
 
iFi Audio Micro iDSD ($499):
 

 
Pros: A lot of possibilities for adjustments, powerful, clean sounding
Cons: Slightly too large to be truly portable, may lack some richness in the sound

 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9/10
Build: 8/10
Connections: 9/10
Features: 9.5/10
Value: 9.5/10
Portability: 6.5/10
 
Full review:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/products/ifi-audio-micro-idsd/reviews/16750
 
Review rating: 
4.5/5
 
Resonessence Labs Herus+ ($425):
 

 
Pros: Sound quality, build quality, value for money
Cons: Few connections, no physical volume control

 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9.5/10
Build: 10/10
Connections: 2/10
Features: 4/10
Value: 9.5/10
Portability: 7.5/10
 
Full review:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/products/resonessence-labs-herus-plus/reviews/16825
 
Review rating: 
4.5/5
 
LH Labs Geek Out V2+ Infinity ($649):
 

 
Pros: Sound quality, build quality, value for money, balanced output
Cons: No optical/coaxial input, low on accessories

 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9.5/10
Build: 9.5/10
Connections: 8/10
Features: 9.5/10
Value: 10/10
Portability: 10/10
 
Full review:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/lh-labs-geek-out-v2/reviews/16934
 
Review rating:
5/5
 
The bit Opus #11($250):
 

 
Pros: Sound quality, value for money, size, internal battery, great Android compability
Cons: Low on inputs and outputs

 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9/10
Build: 9.5/10
Connections: 3/10
Features: 7/10
Value: 10/10
Portability: 10/10
 
Full review:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-opus-opus-11/reviews/17065
 
Review rating:
5/5
 
Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus ($400):
 

 
Pros: 3in1 headphone amp/dac/pre amp, plenty of connection options, sound quality
Cons: No DSX/DSD support, no remote control, occasionally strident treble

 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 8/10
Build: 8.5/10
Connections: 9/10
Features: 9/10
Value: 8/10
Portability: 1/10
 
Full review:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/cambridge-audio-azur-dacmagic-plus/reviews/17133
 
 
Review rating:
4/5
 
JDS Labs 02/ODAC Rev B ($279):
 

 
Pros: Sound quality, build quality, customizable, fantastic amp section
Cons: Dosen't support the highest bitrates, amp section stronger than the DAC section

 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 8/10
Build: 8.5/10
Connections: 7.5/10
Features: 7.5/10
Value: 8/10
Portability: 2/10
 
Full review:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/jds-labs-o2-odac/reviews/17264
 
Review rating:
4/5
 
 
LH Labs Geek Out 2A Infinity ($349):
 

 
Pros: Sound quality, build quality, value for money, balanced output, gain switch, looks amazing
Cons: Runs pretty hot, no physical volmue control

 
Quick breakdown:
Sound: 9/10
Build: 9.5/10
Connections: 7.5/10
Features: 9/10
Value: 10/10
Portability: 8.5/10
 
Full review:
http://www.head-fi.org/products/lh-labs-geek-out-2a/reviews/17331
 
Review rating:
5/5
 
Aug 5, 2016 at 3:45 PM Post #4 of 70
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COMPARISON CHARTS:
 
 
The basics
Product
Battery
Remote control
Weight
 
Size, mm
(W x D x H)
Power
Supply
Power @32Ohm
Price
Burson Audio Conductor V2+
NO
YES
7.000g
265x255x80
Mains power cable
4.000mW
$1.499
Burson Audio Conductor Air
NO
YES
185g
115x61x15
Micro USB
(dedicated)
500MW
$499
Chord
Mojo
YES
NO
180g
82x60x22
Micro USB
(dedicated)
660mW
(@16Ohm)
$599
 
Audinst
HUD-DX1
NO
NO
300g
104x120x34
USB A/
16v DC
500mW/
1.500mW
$399
iBasso D14
«Bushmaster»
YES
NO
149g
60x104x20
Mini USB
400mW
$249
Resonessence Labs
Herus+
NO
NO
64g
32x63x19
 
USB A
126mW
$425
iFI Micro iDSD
YES
NO
310g
67x177x28
USB B
~2000mW
$420
LH Labs Geek Out V2+ Infinity
YES
NO
100g
64x114x11
Micro USB
(dedicated)
500mW
(balanced)
$699
The bit Opus #11
YES
NO
80g
56x103x7.9
Micro USB/
5v DC
140mW
$250
Cambridge Audio
DacMagic Plus
NONO1.200g215x191x5215v DC 125mW
(@37Ohm)
$400
JDS Labs ObjectiveO2
+ODAC rev. B
NONO312g108x80x3014-20v AC613mW$279
LH Labs Geek Out 2A InfinityNONO34 g78x38x13USB B 500mW
(balanced)
$349
                                                          
USB specs
Product
Max
Sample rate
DSD
support
DXD
support
Apple support
Android support
OS support
Burson Audio Conductor V2+
32bit/384kHz
YES
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
 
Windows, OSX
Burson Audio Conductor Air
32bit/384kHz
YES
 
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows, OSX
Chord
Mojo
32bit/768kHz
YES
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows, OSX
Audinst
HUD-DX1
32bit/384kHz
YES
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows, OSX
iBasso D14
«Bushmaster»
32bit/384kHz
YES
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows,
OSX
Resonessence Labs
Herus+
24bit/352kHz
YES
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows,
OSX
iFI Micro iDSD
32bit/768kHz
YES
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows, OSX
LH Labs Geek Out V2+ Infinity
32bit/384kHz
YES
 
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows, OSX
The bit Opus #11
32bit/384kHz
YES
YES
YES
(with CCK)
YES
Windows, OSX
Cambridge Audio
DacMagic Plus
24bit/192kHzNONON/AYES Windows,
OSX
JDS Labs ObjectiveO2
+ODAC rev. B
24bit/96kHzNONON/ANO Windows,
OSX,
Linux
LH Labs Geek Out 2A Infinity32bit/384kHzYESYES YES
(with CCK)
YES Windows,
OSX
*CCK = Camera Connection Kit
 
 
Connections
Product
HP output
Analog output
Analog input
Digital output
Digital input(s)
Balanced output
Output
impedance
Burson Audio Conductor V2+
6.3mm
2X
RCA
2X
RCA
NO
USB A, coaxial, optical
NO
3Ohm
Burson Audio Conductor Air
3.5mm
3.5mm
NO
NO
USB Micro
NO
2Ohm
Chord
Mojo
3.5mm
(X2)
NO
NO
NO
USB Micro, coaxial, optical
NO
0.075Ohm
Audinst
HUD-DX1
3.5mm/
6.3mm
RCA
NO
YES
(Optical)
USB A, optical
NO
2Ohm
iBasso D14
«Bushmaster»
3.5mm
3.5mm
3.5mm
 
NO
USB Mini,
coaxial,
optical
NO
0.1Ohm
Resonessence Labs
Herus+
6.3mm
NO
NO
NO
USB A
NO
0.2Ohm
iFI Micro iDSD
6.3 mm
RCA
3.5mm
YES
(Coaxial)
USB B,
Coaxial,
optical
NO
Less than 1Ohm
LH Labs Geek Out V2+ Infinity
3.5mm
balanced + single ended
 
NO
 
NO
 
NO
 
USB Micro
 
YES
 
0.47Ohm SE
0.95Ohm BL
The bit Opus #11
3.5mm
NO
NO
NO
USB Micro
NO
1.2Ohm
Cambridge Audio
DacMagic Plus
6.3mm RCA/
XLR
NO YES 
(optical)
USB A,
2xCoacial
2xoptical
YES
(Pre-amp)
50Ohm
JDS Labs ObjectiveO2
+ODAC rev. B
3.5mm or 6.3mm
(optional)
3.5mm or RCA
(optional)
NONOUSB MiniNO0.54Ohm
LH Labs Geek Out 2A Infinity 3.5mm balanced
+ single ended
NONONOUSB BYES0.47Ohm
 
Aug 11, 2016 at 12:21 AM Post #7 of 70

waynes world

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Ok, this is gonna be a worthy thread! Subbed!
 
Aug 20, 2016 at 5:58 PM Post #10 of 70

jmills8

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Aug 20, 2016 at 6:29 PM Post #11 of 70
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Aug 22, 2016 at 1:42 AM Post #12 of 70

ShreyasMax

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coaxl is better than line out?


Coaxial being digital output would use the D14's (or whatever device is used) DAC irrespective of source device, whereas line out would use the source device's DAC for sound reproduction, thereby producing different results in each source and amp combo.

Edit: If you're referring to this combo in particular, which also happens to be my current rig, yes I would say the D14 in DAC+amp mode (coaxial) sounds better than X3(line out)+ D14 (amp only), by a fair margin too. Just IMO of course.
 
Aug 22, 2016 at 2:05 AM Post #13 of 70

jmills8

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Coaxial being digital output would use the D14's (or whatever device is used) DAC irrespective of source device, whereas line out would use the source device's DAC for sound reproduction, thereby producing different results in each source and amp combo.

Edit: If you're referring to this combo in particular, which also happens to be my current rig, yes I would say the D14 in DAC+amp mode (coaxial) sounds better than X3(line out)+ D14 (amp only), by a fair margin too. Just IMO of course.
oo I didnt know it was a dac/amp.
 

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