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FiiO Q1 Mk II BAL vs Topping A50 + D50s


Senior Member
Forum Donor
May 19, 2019
Hi all,

I'm thinking of upgrading my desk setup from the portable FiiO Q1 Mk II that I'm currently using the BAL output on with a pair of Sennheiser HD 650 headphones. I listen to music all day while I work on the computer, so I want to make sure that I have the best setup possible.

I'm thinking of upgrading to a Topping A50 + D50s stack, especially as as the A50 has a 2.5mm BAL output that I can use with a custom cable that I have for the HD 650s. Would this upgrade be worthwhile? Would the difference be audible? I know that the power rating on the FiiO is quite low (220 mW @ 32 Ω) and this may be a factor in getting the most of out the headphones. Volume is currently not an issue, but I understand that the power rating still has a big effect.

Also please let me know if you have any suggestions on the DAC, as I only need a USB input and no volume control, so the D50s may be overkill in terms of features. I'm also open to opinions in terms of the amp, but I would like to stay with BAL and avoid having to use adapters or buy a new cable (although I also have a 3.5 mm custom cable, so 3.5mm or 1/4 inch would still be viable).

@amirm I would appreciate your opinion too (if you have the time).



Data Ordinator
Forum Donor
May 21, 2019
You might like the additional power. But even if you don't hear anything, the added power will increase your setup's compatibility with different headphones. That alone is worth it.

Another thing is to plan for the future. In a year or so you might have a different view of your needs and getting something with restricted set of features it might hamper your plans. Also, switching to an XLR-based setup will ensure you have minimal problems with ground loops.
Last edited:
Feb 8, 2021
With speakers and a smaller extent headphones power affects the sound quality. You won't know what you're missing until you try it, much like sub woofers. :)
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