Headphone DAC/Amplifier Recommendations Under $500 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-16-2018, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Headphone DAC/Amplifier Recommendations Under $500

Selecting new audio components isn’t always a simple task. There’s a vast sea of options all over the spectrum, and a high price doesn’t always ensure that a product will deliver the goods. A simple search of any of these headphone DAC/Amp solutions will uncover review after review, each touting the model as the best in its class.

Only after you have evaluated what kind of user you are does the vast sea of choices turn into a small pond. Suddenly, picking a solution that suits your needs becomes a manageable task...

Click this link to read more: https://www.avsforum.com/headphone-d...endations-500/
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-16-2018, 03:34 PM
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Welcome @SqeeksMcGee , aka Evan Cramer... both as a new AVS Forum member in general and as a fellow enthusiast writer/reviewer with a focus on headphones & headphone amps/DACs.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-16-2018, 10:04 PM
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Nice roundup, of course like any there's always going to be some good stuff left off of the list.

In the '$99 Headphone Amp' category there's the new JDS Labs Atom and the Monoprice Liquid Spark that deserve some attention. Both measure better than the Magni 3 at the same price and have similar power output. I've been trying to decide between the two and have been leanings towards the Atom.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-16-2018, 10:44 PM
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I have been really impressed with this balanced dac from Geshelli Labs...ENOG2 pro

https://geshelli.com/shop?olsPage=products

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post #5 of 12 Old 12-17-2018, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the introduction, Mark!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TuteTibiImperes View Post
Nice roundup, of course like any there's always going to be some good stuff left off of the list.

In the '$99 Headphone Amp' category there's the new JDS Labs Atom and the Monoprice Liquid Spark that deserve some attention. Both measure better than the Magni 3 at the same price and have similar power output. I've been trying to decide between the two and have been leanings towards the Atom.
I really like this method of posting articles in a forum because it allows an open conversation with the community. As you stated, there's always going to be something left off, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other fantastic options to choose from. Thank you for offering up your suggestions, as well!

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I have been really impressed with this balanced dac from Geshelli Labs...ENOG2 pro
OOOooo, I like the looks of that one!
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-17-2018, 09:01 AM
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The iFi Audio Nano LE is my pick for budget portable DAC/amp. It does MQA and the new GTO filter is something special.



https://ifi-audio.com/products/nano-idsd-le/
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-17-2018, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SqeeksMcGee View Post
Thank you for the introduction, Mark!



I really like this method of posting articles in a forum because it allows an open conversation with the community. As you stated, there's always going to be something left off, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other fantastic options to choose from. Thank you for offering up your suggestions, as well!
This review from AudioScienceReview put the JDS Atom on my radar, it measures within a hair of the Massdrop THX 789, which is amazing at a $99 price point. I just placed an order for one, so I'll report back once I get it.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-18-2018, 03:57 PM
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I can only tell you that the current high end media players are rather expensive, but you would be very wise to audition them before making any final decisions. I am so impressed by these diminutive devices that I actually went out and bought a budget device, and got hooked on how awesome these devices are. I then bough t a FIIO X7 Mk II at the retail price of $650, and am still amazed at the quality of the sound this little device can put out. In a typical car stereo system, these diminutive devices are jaw dropping as to the sound they are achieving. I am now a believer, but I never thought I would be spending that kind of coin on one of these little devices, but I'm glad I have one. The Sabre ESS 9028 Pro DAC chip in the FIIO is the real deal. It will floor you with it's dark finesse and ability to dish out some raw, hard hitting sound that will serve to impress you every time you turn it on. I would never have believed it if I didn't audition one in person.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-18-2018, 06:20 PM
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They left out the Schiit Bifrost. If you don't need the headphone amp part then the Bifrost 4490 or Multi-bit will provide outstanding performance.
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-18-2018, 07:12 PM
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I had been thinking about getting the Dragonfly Red, but for home use with my desktop I wanted something more functional and not as expensive. The Micca Origen G2 is perfect, if you ask me. (https://www.miccatron.com/micca-orig...ac-and-preamp/) It's only about 100 bucks, it is both a DAC and an AMP, has a nice big volume knob. it sounds better than whatever is in my computer, and it has a switch to flip the output between the headphones output and the line-out on the back, to which you can connect the powered speakers you probably already have connected to your computer. The switch makes is so you don't have to unplug your headphones to engage your speakers.
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Yamaha TSR-7790
Emotiva XPA-2, XPA-5
Panasonic AE8000U
Polk SDA SRS 3.1TL, Polk center & surrounds, DefTech Subs
...and a bunch of other stuff
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-20-2018, 09:47 AM
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massdrop aaa 789 amp for 349
https://*******/kXx8Nw


https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdro...mode=shop_open

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post #12 of 12 Old 12-20-2018, 10:02 AM
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Headphone DAC/Amplifier Recommendations Under $500

Quote:
Originally Posted by TuteTibiImperes View Post
This review from AudioScienceReview put the JDS Atom on my radar, it measures within a hair of the Massdrop THX 789, which is amazing at a $99 price point. I just placed an order for one, so I'll report back once I get it.


I just found that forum recently, it’s a treasure trove of valuable information. Besides Ken Rockwell (who certainly has some biases but is very knowledgeable) Amirm is the only other reviewer that I’ve found that actually use measurements and actual science to review products.
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