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ULTRA-portable dac/amp solutions for new phones (no headphone jack)

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Niroc, Aug 1, 2018.
  1. Niroc
    Hi everyone.

    With modern phones predominantly excluding a 3.5mm headphone jack, a lot of us who can’t be F’d carrying around an extra device, or an amp/dac that doubles our carry load, are looking for a HIGHLY portable, simple, and easy option to power our HiFi grade headphones. Just a little extra juice and some good processing to bring expensive headphones up to scratch (generally lower impedance).

    This is designed to be iPhone-centric, but may aid all looking for this kind of solution.

    Please add any suggestions you can think of!

    With that said, I have created a list of amps (most with dac) that wouldn’t be a pain in the ass to keep with your headphones in your pocket.

    I’ve included some short notes about each: size (s) from 1 to 3 (1 being smallest); r (review) being the general favour of the amp according to most sites (1 to 5 with 5 being lauded); the common remarks about the amp; and how much it approximately costs (au = Australia dollar, us = USA).

    Fiio K1: s2, r3, mild amplification but lacks soundstage and width. $60au

    Fiio i1: s1, r3.5. Ok reviews, with decent dac sound-signature but not providing much amplification, smallest option. $60au

    Cozoy rei: s3, r4.5. wide soundstage and very well priced. $550us

    WRS Calyx PaT: s2.5, r4. Ok amp, good dac, and very well priced.$99us.

    Ultrasone NAOS: s2, r3. Not many reviews, but decent word of mouth, smallest s2 on list, comes with cables and carry case. $299au

    Cozoy Takt pro: s1.5, r4. Well reviewed for value and sound, amplification 1.5v at 32ohm, very sleek design. $160us

    HRT dSp s1.5, r4. Well reviewed for value and sound well above price, could have better build quality/finish, some people reported unusual background noise. $150au

    Audioquest Dragonfly (Black & Red). S2, r5. Very well known and regarded dac/amp with multiple generations, but needs to be connected via Apple lightning to USB dongle (recommended camera connector) which ads bulk etc. $140au, $275au

    I’ve excluded a number of amps that a) were just a tad too big, b) had bad reviews, or c) weren’t reviewed or well known.

    This is my first post as a thread starter of this kind, so if I’ve messed anything up, please be kind!

    CAPT Deadpool and halcyon like this.
  2. EzequielFriscia
    Hello there !

    For money, travel and moving issues I dropped from a PHA-3 / MDR-Z7 combo to a Fiio Q1 MK2 and Fiio F9 Pro.
    They arrived yesterday, but pretty far I like them very much, the Q1 MK2 its super small, for the price its a no brainer, specially if you have DSD files or you want to play 24/192.

    Otherwise, me personally, I'd go to a Dragonfly Red, although I think its totally overpriced and crimpled (Yes, audio quality is excellent nevertheless but 24/192 and DSD are a no go for Dragonfly's).
    CAPT Deadpool and Niroc like this.
  3. gr8soundz
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
    CAPT Deadpool and Niroc like this.
  4. SuperNovaGoesPop
    Add the Hidizs Sonata and Zorloo Zuperdac S...Nextdrive Spectra always looked interesting to me too.
    CAPT Deadpool, Niroc and halcyon like this.

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