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Measureable Pros and Cons of DAC/Amp combo vs. Standalone units?

Ageless

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May 7, 2018
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#1
Hello, first time posting. Are there any scientific up or downsides to having DAC/Amp combos over standalone units? I was thinking along the lines of power delivery, lag from source to headphone or Interference + Distortion. I have no background in engineering.

I'm looking forward to upgrading from the LCX+SDAC to the Monolith 887 soon but I am unsure if I made a large blunder. I was initially planning to get a Topping DAC along with the 887 but the SMSL M400 is set to release in the coming months. I love the look of the DAC and it's got USB-C. They are also releasing a combo unit with the SP400 in it by June. Twitter post: What is the best/logical decision assuming there are no large price discrepancies and space is no issue?
 

Veri

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#2
Hello, first time posting. Are there any scientific up or downsides to having DAC/Amp combos over standalone units? I was thinking along the lines of power delivery, lag from source to headphone or Interference + Distortion. I have no background in engineering.
No such thing as lag or other annoyances. It basically boils down to, integrated units tend to be more expensive than buying a good DAC, a good amp and just connecting the two. A cute modi3/magni-heresy combo can be had for $200. That is hard to beat.. the single ended Topping DX3 pro is good value, but since the original had problems the new version has 10ohm output impedance which is not good for IEMs and low-impedance headphones... magni heresy has no such issue.

Secondly, the all-in-one counterparts tend to not perform as well as getting the best independently reviewed well-performing units together. Something like the DX7 Pro/Sabaj D5 or the monoprice monolith THX dac/amp (all have powerful balanced headphone amp included) set you back ~$500...
That's not to say there are no new contenders in the all in one field. Fiio is working on its Fiio K7. Maybe that one will be affordable and good? We'll have to wait and see.

But yes it all boils down to, do you prefer one unit/is space an issue. If no, the value is generally in separates.
 
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#3
My thoughts exactly....Ordered and eagerly waiting a Topping DX3 Pro v2.I know some units had some issues so i am a llitle anxious regarding mine.
Will wait and see.Fingers crossed:oops:
 
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