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DAC AMP stack for under 500EUR

evonhell

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Sep 13, 2022
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Hello everybody!

I've just recently gotten into audio and I did so by purchasing a pair of DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm. At work I have to use IEMs because of headphone hair, there I use a pair of Moondrop Blessing 2 and Moondrop Aria. I carry a FiiO K3 (the new one) as my DAC and I use it for pretty much everything. This will do fine on the go, especially since I mostly run IEMs through it.

At home I would like to upgrade my setup, mainly add an AMP/DAC stack. While I am happy with my DT 770 Pro I will likely upgrade these within the next 12 months. I am listening to different headphones right now and it looks like my budget for that is around 800-1600EUR and closed back is most likely what I will be going with since I live in a small apartment with someone else. I've looked at Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed and Denon AH-9200 so far. They will all be connected to my PC where I play music from Tidal, FLAC files and play games.

The Schiit stack would be quite expensive to get over here and I would be touching 500 EUR for sure with import toll and 25% VAT. However I would rather pay 100 EUR extra for something that will last than to save 100 EUR and have it break after 6 months. I am also quite worried about output options. For someone new it can be very confusing that some outputs are XLR, others 3.5mm, some balanced, some not.. If I went for a Schiit Magni3+ for example, in what way would I limit myself going forward?

Like I mentioned, I am quite new to audio still so I probably left out something crucial, if I did - please ask!
 

voodooless

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Little need to spend as much.



Or more portable:

Many more to be found in the review index.
 

Moravid

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Doodski

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Doodski

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I have my Heresy and a JDS Labs Atom DAC+ stacked and placed behind the monitor where I can see the illumination if need be but it's all automatic and I never have to touch it or adjust settings. So it's plug, play and forget about it and let it do it's thing.
 

phrwn

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Is there some issue with your onboard audio that makes you want an external DAC and amp? Background hissing or too low power output?
 

jae

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Why does it need to be a "stack"? Pointless having separate units for most people since there is very little point in "upgrading" part of it later if you buy a good unit to start. If you don't have a particular reason to have separate units, better to get a MOTU M2/M4 (which also has mic and line-in ADCs), or if you want more versatility with headphone power (for the prospect of using insensitive headphones later and having lots of headroom), get combo unit from Topping like the DX3 Pro+ or DX5/EX5 and be done with it. Only thing better is the topping DX7 Pro+, the Topping 90-series separates, or RME ADI-2 DAC series all of which are above your budget. Some of the other brands suggested in the thread are fine as well.
 
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