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Best DAC + hp amp with only USB power?

soundwave76

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#1
I am looking to replace my Chord Mojo in my office setup. I don’t like the hassle with the charger in our open space office and my very mobile working style in general. So... what would be a good choice for a small and portable dac+amp with only USB power? I have had the Dragonly Red and didn’t like it. Ifi idsd nano black is on my radar. Anything else in around max $500 range?
 

bunkbail

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#2
Speaka/XtremPro X1 (ES9023+TPA6130A2)
SMSL iDEA/Sabaj Da2 (ES9018Q2C, no idea which amp chip it uses)
Stoner Acoustics UD125 (AK4490, TPA6120A2)

iDSD Nano Black perhaps the best choice among them all (more power and functionalities).
 
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#3
I vote Sabaj DA2, got cheap from amazon.co.uk myself. Small and unobtrusive. Sounds fine to me, and measurements are ok.. what's the point spending more on "office setup".
 

soundwave76

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#4
^ so that you can also enjoy great music at the office without compromises? ;) I prefer a traditional volume knob, so ifi still seems the best choice.
 
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#5
It's already a serious compromise, if you aren't listening "seriously". :) But yes, there are many boats to float.. and extra money to spend for feeling good..
 
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soundwave76

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#6
I am one of those people, who almost HAVE TO listen to music in order to focus and get work done. However, I can't listen to anything with lyrics, if I am writing, so I mostly listen to ambient/electronic music at the office. I currently have the new Focal Elegia closed headphones which are great. Before that I used Oppo PM-3, which I also liked a lot. So overall, I think I do take listening music 'seriously', when I'm at the office :)
 

Veri

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#9
On reddit some people removed the battery from the Mojo. I suppose you can use your laptop for both USB data and power after that mod? Would improve longevity, too.

Options are limited for stellar performance and USB power honestly. The iFi nano and more expensive micro come to mind...
 

Veri

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#11

bunkbail

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#12
I'm using that mod with my Mojo, but you'll still need 2 usb cables connected to your PC/laptop. If that doesn't mind you, do it! :) It is so easy to do, just open up the case and pull out the only wire you see from its socket.
 

Veri

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#13
I'm using that mod with my Mojo, but you'll still need 2 usb cables connected to your PC/laptop. If that doesn't mind you, do it! :) It is so easy to do, just open up the case and pull out the only wire you see from its socket.
That's what I would do, too :)

You still use the Mojo then, @bunkbail ?
 

bunkbail

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#14
You still use the Mojo then, @bunkbail ?
Yeah, for my car stereo. I need to figure out how to make Khadas tone board to output 1Vrms upon boot up, or else my car speakers will blow up :p. Until then, I'll just stick to Mojo.
 

pwjazz

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#15
If you're okay with two USB cables, the Topping NX4 is a good choice too, plus the battery life is pretty great so as long as you charge in the evening you might make it through the workday with only one USB cable.
 

JJB70

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#16
A DAP would be an option, some thing like a Fiio X5, M9 or similar.
I just started using a DAP again, I bought a Shanling M3s a few weeks ago. For £170 it is very nicely made, drives my headphones to a louder volume than I feel comfortable with and sounds great. Easy to use too. Given that it was a lot cheaper than many headphone and DAC options I think it was great value, I am very happy with it. To be honest I am not sure there is any point paying more.
 

soundwave76

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#17
NX4 was on my mind, but it's designed for mobile use and I reckon the volume knob will be quite awkward to use on a desktop? If I were to go back to two cables, then the Topping DX3 Pro would most likely be my choice. I did also have Pro-ject S2 some time ago, but I then got the Mojo and sold it.

But alas, I was in luck! This morning there was an used ifi nano black label for sale in the local hifi forum and I just bought it! :) We shall see if I hear any differences with this and the Mojo.
 
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#18
https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-Headphone-Amplifier-Computer-Balanced/dp/B07KR3RF4H
Well the Fiio K3 was released and seems to fit your bills perfectly (USB powered, big knob, digital volume control, lots of output and even 2.5mm balanced for extra voltage). The only gripe I might have with it is that USB powered means not much power, and for 500$ there's are many other better options if you don't mind the battery.
But I see you have the ifi already, though it's measurement aren't the greatest I don't think it's noticable if your workspace is noisy.
 
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