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any entry level DAC/amps that have a switch for headphone output?

pf223

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Hi,

I'm new to the whole audiophile world of DACs and headphone amps but have decided that I would like to explore this and improve the sound quality of the music I listen to. And of course this totally appeals to the geek in me - lots of cool new gadgets and endless specs to pour over.

This site is a great resource and I have read lots of reviews of various DACs, amps and combos units. One thing that I have learned is that these days even at an entry level price point the quality is very good and you probably won't really hear the difference between different options . Which is great, but then leads me to consider how various options would fit in with my planned use case, and this is where I feel that nothing quite does exactly what I want, at least at an entry level price point.

My setup is a home office where I have an old desktop PC as the music source. Either my collection of ripped music or streaming from Spotify Premium so at least access to their higher quality. The speakers I have are Edifier R1280T's so nothing special but a step up from generic plastic PC speakers. And right now these are just connected to the headphone jack output an old motherboard, so not great. But I also want to be able to use headphones for situations when I don't want to disturb the family. And maybe this is being overly picky or lazy but ideally I'd like a simple button or switch on an amp that lets me choose the output. I have an old Yamaha receiver from the 90's era and it has a simple switch to control speaker output vs headphone output. Looking at various headphone amps or DAC / HP amp combos I don't see this option.

Units I've considered,

Fiio K5 Pro (DAC + AMP)

Gets good reviews and is affordable at ~ $150. However, it seems on this unit it always outputs to both the RCA output and headphones. Only way to not output to speakers would be to unplug RCA cables or turn off speakers. Not so convenient.

Schitt stack ( Modi 3+ & Magni 3+ )
  • made in USA!, not a requirement but would be nice to support an American product if it is good quality and fits my needs
  • this at least has a switch where if you plug in the headphones it mutes the RCA outs
  • so functional but would require constantly unplugging and plugging in headphones, not as nice as a switch
  • USB doesn't support Windows 7 which I still have on my computer, but this is minor and I can always use Toslink until I upgrade

JDS labs stack (Atom DAC + Atom Amp)
  • amp has an input switch but only switches between two inputs not headphones
  • you still need to unplug headphones to have output go to RCA outputs
  • DAC does not have TOS-link input
  • USB does support Windows 7 at least

Loxjie D30
  • great reviews and under $200 for a combo DAC/amp
  • this can switch outputs, but requires use of a remote to change, I really don't want a tiny remote to deal with, I'd prefer physical switches on the device
  • remembers diff volume settings for each input, so that's a nice touch

Topping stack ( E30 & L30 )
  • also great reviews, a little more expensive at ~ $300 for stack
  • the L30 does have a simple switch to select between headphone output and RCA outputs
  • Topping seems to have had some recent issues though, polarity on E30 and now possible problems with L30's damaging headphones

So, this would seem to point to the Topping stack as the best option. Is there anything else that anybody can suggest that might have a simple switch for headphone output?
 

bravomail

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go with Schiit (american, slightly cheaper too) or Topping (theoretically better) stack. I have both. They r very good!
 

escape2

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Loxjie D30
  • great reviews and under $200 for a combo DAC/amp
  • this can switch outputs, but requires use of a remote to change, I really don't want a tiny remote to deal with, I'd prefer physical switches on the device
  • remembers diff volume settings for each input, so that's a nice touch
You don't have to use the remote on the D30. You can press the main volume knob to access the menu and switch outputs, but of course it's not as easy as having a dedicated button to do it.
 
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pf223

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Thanks for the input. I do really like the Schiit stack. Definitely appeals in terms of simplicity and the idea of just doing its job well without extra bells and whistles.

So if do decide to live with the idea of unplugging and plugging in the headphone jack, then the next question in my specific case is whether to get an older Modi 3 that still had USB drivers for Windows 7, or get the newer Modi 3+ and just use Toslink for now.
 
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