Peter123's $250+ amp/DAC combo thread 12 amp/dac's compared

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by peter123, Aug 5, 2016.
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  1. peter123
    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 [​IMG]
     
    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.
     
    IMG_3871.jpg
     
    raoultrifan, niknik, TimeSnow and 2 others like this.
  2. peter123
    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 [​IMG]
     
    images.jpg
     
    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. 
     
    IMG_3563.jpg
     
    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
     
    Shetzu likes this.
  3. peter123
    Burson Audio Conductor Air ($499):
     
    IMG_3793.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_3870.jpg
    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):
     
    IMG_4001.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4045.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4030.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4082.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4159.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4279.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4333.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4449.jpg
     
    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):
     
    IMG_4471.jpg
     
    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
     
    s4tch, EGO DEATH and gr8soundz like this.
  4. peter123
    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

     
  5. waynes world
    Ok, this is gonna be a worthy thread! Subbed!
     
  6. jmills8
    coaxl is better than line out?
     
  7. peter123

    For my preference, yes by quite some margin. Ymmw as always :wink:
     
    jmills8 likes this.
  8. ShreyasMax

    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.
     
  9. jmills8
    oo I didnt know it was a dac/amp.
     
  10. ShreyasMax

    Sorry, my apologies for misunderstanding. Your sarcasm stands approved. :D
     
  11. ShreyasMax
    @peter123:

    Great thread by the way; was looking for contemporary dac/amps comparisons, of which only a few were available.

    Cheers and keep up the good work.
     
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