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DAC/AMP $500 Range Rec's for XS

ZStud

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Sep 22, 2022
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Hey all, I'm new to this forum and everything audiophile. I'm planning on getting an XS, and I've been having trouble finding a good DAC/AMP combo. I was looking at the DX5, but from what I've seen, they have had some software problems as of early September. I was also looking at the M500 MKII, but I've seen some people say that they might not be good as other stack combos in that price range. I was looking at the DX7+ Pro, but that seems overpriced for what it is, and the M500 MKIII is too new for me to find much on, whether it's affordable or if 4.4 mm is balanced. So, what do you guys recommend? Combo or stack are fine, and 4.4 mm or 4 prong xlr are good, though I really want something balanced. I also definitely want Bluetooth, and MQA is fine, as long as I can turn it off. I'm looking for the absolute best bang for my $500 buck, and if there is something that costs less that is just as good/better, even better!

Thanks in advance!
 

rarewolf

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Feb 22, 2022
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Hey all, I'm new to this forum and everything audiophile. I'm planning on getting an XS, and I've been having trouble finding a good DAC/AMP combo. I was looking at the DX5, but from what I've seen, they have had some software problems as of early September. I was also looking at the M500 MKII, but I've seen some people say that they might not be good as other stack combos in that price range. I was looking at the DX7+ Pro, but that seems overpriced for what it is, and the M500 MKIII is too new for me to find much on, whether it's affordable or if 4.4 mm is balanced. So, what do you guys recommend? Combo or stack are fine, and 4.4 mm or 4 prong xlr are good, though I really want something balanced. I also definitely want Bluetooth, and MQA is fine, as long as I can turn it off. I'm looking for the absolute best bang for my $500 buck, and if there is something that costs less that is just as good/better, even better!

Thanks in advance!

I quickly learned that having a balanced output is not that significant if your amp is delivering 2 Watts from SE. On the other hand, a 4V balanced output can mean a lot if you’re instead relying on the portability of a DAC/Amp dongle that’s going to provide only 250mW (instead of ~125mW from SE).

Personally, I’d be considering saving the money for endgame headphones and giving a good look at the DX3Pro+, but then I’m not really sure what you’re asking this DAC/Amp to drive.
 
Last edited:

BHazard

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Feb 7, 2021
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Best value stack?
Sabaj a10d 2022 when on sale
Monoprice THX-887 when $199-250

My setup:
Sabaj a20d 2022 when on sale (built in amp runs the the XS just fine)
Monoprice THX-887
Schitt Lokius (for extra hardware EQ subbass running direct)
Running XLR Balanced through the chain

M500 MKIII might be great on it's own too. It has the power to run the XS just fine and has a newer USB chipset.
 

Doodski

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I like the JDS Labs Atom DAC+ combined with the Schiit Magni Heresy amp.
 
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