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New DAC+Headphone AMP (combo or 2 units) advice Linux compatible

audiovic

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May 25, 2019
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#1
Hi all,

I'm fairly new to this audio science and I need to get rid of my dirty PC sound card. I'm currently on Linux Mint 19.2 and no plans to use Windows.
I mainly listen to Spotify music (premium account, so MP3 320 kpbs I guess). Maybe Tidal or Kobuz accounts in the future. My spanking new headphone is an Audio Technika ATH-M40X (35 ohms).

I've read lots of threads, seen Z-Reviews videos. I can't still get a clear picture of what's the best device for a DAC+Headphone AMP combo (preferably, or with 2 units if there's a real benefit) being compatible with Linux (and if possible Plug & Play). Price tag between 50$ ~ 200 $.

So many devices between SMSL, FX-Audio, Topping, Schiit, FiiO, you name it.

Any advice, thread, article appreciated :)

Thanks for your help.
 

Crane

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Dec 16, 2018
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#2
The current setup i'm using is khadas tone board for DAC and JDS atoms for headphone Amp each 100$ will definitely be your best bet for the price range. This should take care of any future headphones you plan on getting too.
 

dc655321

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Mar 4, 2018
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#3
I have a thinkpad running ubuntu 18.04 and use an imac at work.

I use a smsl idea and/or a topping nx4 dsd with iems and over-ears (hd-6xx).
Both units are plug-and-play on linux/osx, and are reviewed here on asr (the nx4 in the review is the one I own).
Either would work great with your headphones.
 

audiovic

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#4
Thank for your replies.

As for SMSL, I was seriously looking at the SMSL M3 but a non-negligible part of the Amazon reviews were not really happy and some devices died after a couple of weeks or months. So I'm a bit reluctant with this model. Maybe other products of this brand are trustworthy ?

I'll look at Topping devices as they seem to be really recommended in a lot of articles or threads here.
 

JohnYang1997

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Dec 28, 2018
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#5
Thank for your replies.

As for SMSL, I was seriously looking at the SMSL M3 but a non-negligible part of the Amazon reviews were not really happy and some devices died after a couple of weeks or months. So I'm a bit reluctant with this model. Maybe other products of this brand are trustworthy ?

I'll look at Topping devices as they seem to be really recommended in a lot of articles or threads here.
M3 needs some mod to perform best. Tho, khadas uses ess chip which has imd issue. If you want something perfect I don't know what to recommend. I used to recommend dx3pro but people say it doesn't have short circuit protection etc. I have m3 dx3pro d30 atom. I think for stock I would recommend d30.
 

shanecoughlan

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May 13, 2019
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#6
Topping NX4DSD is probably where you should start. It works. It is good. It is reasonably priced. That said, don’t underestimate your computer 3.5mm out or the capability of your smartphone. They might be just fine with your headphones. Audio fidelity is usually great from basically any reasonable gear.
 

Aberu

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Jun 10, 2019
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#8
Why not make one of these? Since you are into Linux you would likely be fine with tinkering and learning.


I've been meaning to do one to take to work so I can use my FiiO E10k elsewhere.

To be completely clear, to use it like any other DAC, yo would have to find a driver or write your own code for a driver to connect it via USB to your computer and get the sound passthrough. This if you are into the whole learning/tinkering process, only.

https://www.mathworks.com/help/supp...io-from-raspberry-pi-using-i2s-based-dac.html

There's some interesting stuff people are doing regarding this already.
 
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