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USB DAC and seperate headphone amp OR combo USB DAC headphone amp

  1. EndersShadow
    I have a big dilemma on my hands. I am trying to get a good nice hi-fi setup for listening to lossless audio files. Without getting into the nitty gritty, I plan to use a min-itx computer as my source of totally lossless files as a standalone unit (i.e. no networking at all). I want to send the signal out to a Asynchronous USB DAC to a headphone amp to a set of headphones (most likely Beyer DT-770’s). Here is where I need some help. I am looking for either a USB DAC and a separate headphone amp, or a combo unit. I need them to be ~200-250. Used is totally an option.
    If going with a USB DAC headphone amp combination unit, I need it to have volume control on the unit, rather than controlling playback through the computer’s volume (ie Musiland Monitor 02) as I plan on having a 7” touchscreen to control everything and would prefer to not have to constantly mess with the volume through that. I don’t need the unit to be super portable, and having an external Powersupply rather than using USB for power is actually preferred.
    I am aware that with this low of a budget there will be some compromise on the setup, and I am ok with that for now. Eventually I plan to move to better units, but for now I want to get the computer built setup and running with high quality files and then after a couple months upgrade to a better headphone amp and/or DAC On my radar right now is the older Yulong U100 and that’s honestly about it. I know there is the HUD-MX1, and the Audinst HUD-MX1 and the Audinst HUD-Mini, but I believe the Yulong U100 has been said to be better than both those others. I like the Schiit Asgard but buying one of those used leaves me with almost no cash for a USB DAC.
    Looking forward to whatever suggestions folks have for me.
  2. EndersShadow
    I did find a Audio GD Compass for within this range and am curious as to what everyone thinks about that particular unit.
  3. Lorspeaker
    nuforce HD ? [​IMG]
  4. EndersShadow
    Curious on thoughts on both the Audio GD-Compass as well as the Audio GD-NFB16 and NFB-5 (a bit over the budget but might be worth it)
  5. HeatFan12 Contributor
    With your budget, it does not necessarily mean compromise. I recommend NFB-15.1. All you need and then some. Just a few dollars above your budget shipped.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. EndersShadow

    What's the difference between the 15.1 and 12.1? I don't see anything obvious. I like the fixed output option for sure. Though I must say the front on the 12.1 and 15.1 look pretty ugly compared to the 16 :frowning2:
  7. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Dac Destoryer, USB-DAC, sell for around $50-$55 on eBay.
    Muse 6N11 tube headphone amplifier, sells for $50 on Amazon.
    Will need an RCA to RCA cable to connect them to each other.
  8. grokit
    Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 DAC w/ GE 5670 Tube: $219
    Hard to do better in this price range, and it's versatile enough (includes a preamp) to build a system around. I liked its headamp with the low impedance/efficiency K701.
    A used Matrix Mini-i would be a step up ($300 new), but the USB input is its weak link. Which means that you can further improve it later with a decent USB to spdif converter. IME it works well with higher impedance headphones like the HD600.
  9. HeatFan12 Contributor
    ES, I don't own the 12.1. If you click on the NFB-15 on the site, it states the upgrade.
    The front is lovely. Lol
    I own the 15.1 & 16. The 16 I move all around the house and plug various sources to it since it's battery powered. The 15.1 is larger and stays stationary.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. EndersShadow

    Thanks. Looking at the NFB-5 as well. It's a bit better I believe than those other units. Might pop on it.
  11. HeatFan12 Contributor

    There is a dedicated thread on the NFB-5, which might help you out should you have questions.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. EndersShadow

    Yup been reading up on it.

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