Recommendations for a noob
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lavinachtani

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I have been a long time member here and i frequently keep reading up on the headphones and iem section. I have bought a few. Something that i have no knowledge of is Dac and amp.

I currently own Creative aurvana live ( 1st version ), Takstar pro 82, Vsonic vsd2s and a few other iems on the way. I listen to music via a xiaomi phone ( not the best sound i believe ) and an hp laptop which has a b&o chip ( yet sounds horrible ). My music is mostly streamed via amazon music.
I also happen to own the fiio e6 but i'm not a fan of it. It makes the headphones less spacious and clarity reduces.

So my question is, i plan to buy an amp/dac/ combo which will improve the sq of my current setup. What can i get under $50.
I have no clue if i need a dac or amp, it's all a bit too complicated for me.
Can anyone help me?
 
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lavinachtani

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And suppose i increase my budget to somewhere around $100. Would that get me something good?
 
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kukkurovaca

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The Topping portable amps are popular recommendations in this price range.
 
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AthenaZephyrian

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You could consider the $90 HRT headstreamer--it's not a pretty integrated amp, but the reviews look quite positive, and if it's on par with the Music Streamer II DAC, it's gonna be excellent for the money. I've never gotten the chance to demo it though.

If you want to try tubes (and get a very decent little amp) on the cheap, try the $50 NS-O1E with the DAC of your choice. While it's a hybrid, it clearly and audibly makes use of the tube (a subminiature military tube; military tubes tend to be standouts in their families), and has superb sound quality compared to most amps in the price range, and blows other similarly priced "tube amps" (many don't use the tubes) out of the water.

If you're willing to spring for a bit more, and plan to push higher-end headphones (in the $200+ range, like Hifimans or Senns), I'd say go for the SMSL M6. It's a combination DAC/amp with a DAC that can go toe-to-toe with all of Schiit's Modi series, and an amp that is quite decent, a bit less refined and clear than the newer Magnis. It's about 170 if I recall correctly, but it's pretty neutral, very clear, and can scale with better amps if you use the line-out.
 
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SuperNovaGoesPop

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Simple stuff for new purchases...$50 range...grab a Fiio Q1mkI. If you want to spend more, look for a Fiio e17k around $90 new.

For something small and portable, though with less power and features, look at the Zorloo Zuperdac S.
 
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