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!


    Cheers!
     
    halcyon likes 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).
     
    Niroc likes this.
  3. gr8soundz
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
    Niroc likes this.
  4. SuperNovaGoesPop
    Add the Hidizs Sonata and Zorloo Zuperdac S...Nextdrive Spectra always looked interesting to me too.
     
    Niroc and halcyon like this.

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