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Portable AK DAC Recommendations?

confucius_zero

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#21
24/96 maximum sample rate with no DSD support? Pretty sure the Modi 3 will measure significantly better than the D3, sorry to say.
Looking forward to seeing that that modi in your pocket
 

Roen

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#22
Looking forward to seeing that that modi in your pocket
Don't need it in my pocket. As long as it can ride the train with me, it's fine and portable enough in my book.

I'm asking for a DAC only, not a DAC / Amp. It'll be paired with an O2 for portable use.
 

confucius_zero

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#23
Then you have found your product! Cheers.
 

Roen

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#24
Then you have found your product! Cheers.
Not really. The Modi 3 still has some cons I wish other products will be able to address. I'm just showing my thoughts on where the D3 falls short for my use case.

So far, the Grace SDAC Balanced is the leading contender from a feature POV, pending measurements. The Modi 3 is leading from the measurement perspective.

FYI, I'm looking to replace my current portable Topping D50 (ESS9038) with this prospective device for portable use. I may then roll the D50 to a SU-8 V2 for desktop use.
 

confucius_zero

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#25
The DAC chip is only one component in a chain.
OP perhaps still part of believers in "Dac has sound signature" vs well measured implementations?
 

Roen

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#26
To note for anyone who's interested: I've used keys in conjunction with a Apple USB CCK and I've kinked many an adapter having both devices in my pocket, so I'm not really interested in pocket portable, just portable in the sense that it's easily brought around and can be used without AC mains power available.
 

Roen

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#27
OP perhaps still part of believers in "Dac has sound signature" vs well measured implementations?
Or I already have a well measured ESS DAC and now I want a well measured AK DAC, regardless of if there is a "sound signature" difference or not. I don't expect any sonic differences to be audible, especially the IMD hump difference.

For my own personal perspective, measurements are second nature to first hand experience. For my advice to others, then objective measures should be the only thing that matters. However, subjectivity does play a huge factor in the way you personally experience music. It's the fact that some people use this subjectivity as the basis of advice given to other people, which is quite looked down upon in this forum. That still doesn't deny that subjectivity is experienced by everyone in their own experience.
 

JJB70

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#28
At the risk of rocking the boat, how much does it really matter?

I recently bought a DAP, its not an overly expensive one but it is rather nice, a Shanling M3s. I cannot honestly discern a difference between the SQ at the same volume compared to my Sony XZ Premium smart phone, however what it can do is go a lot louder than my smartphone and even if I do not want to blow my ears up it can go louder before hitting distortion which is good. So really the benefit is not with the DAC, but the higher headphone output.

If using it outside background noise (regardless of headphone sound isolation or noise cancelling) will be far more deleterious to the listening experience than any differences in the DAC.

DACs do measure differently, that is a demonstrable fact. However in terms of audible differences I think DACs achieved transparency years ago and any audible differences there still are are pretty insignificant compared with differences between headphones and speakers. However, what does make a big difference is headphone output given the anaemic output restrictions on devices to comply with hearing protection levels.
 
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#29
Hello! What about a Grace Design m900 ? I looked into the topic for the last weeks, since I need a super portable DAC+Headphone Amp. It is smaller but larger in comparison with a S7 edge Samsung, it's AK4490 and the reviews are often stellar. You can easily find one used with a lot of warranty left - GD gives 5 entire years of warranty for the unit!
Plus, I don't know how does it perform, but super portable is the NuForce uDAC5.
 

Roen

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#30
At the risk of rocking the boat, how much does it really matter?

I recently bought a DAP, its not an overly expensive one but it is rather nice, a Shanling M3s. I cannot honestly discern a difference between the SQ at the same volume compared to my Sony XZ Premium smart phone, however what it can do is go a lot louder than my smartphone and even if I do not want to blow my ears up it can go louder before hitting distortion which is good. So really the benefit is not with the DAC, but the higher headphone output.

If using it outside background noise (regardless of headphone sound isolation or noise cancelling) will be far more deleterious to the listening experience than any differences in the DAC.

DACs do measure differently, that is a demonstrable fact. However in terms of audible differences I think DACs achieved transparency years ago and any audible differences there still are are pretty insignificant compared with differences between headphones and speakers. However, what does make a big difference is headphone output given the anaemic output restrictions on devices to comply with hearing protection levels.
At this point, it's not about the audible differences. I believe I would not be able to tell the differences in a blind A/B. I just want a AK DAC just because I already have a ESS one.
 

Roen

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Messages
472
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#31
Hello! What about a Grace Design m900 ? I looked into the topic for the last weeks, since I need a super portable DAC+Headphone Amp. It is smaller but larger in comparison with a S7 edge Samsung, it's AK4490 and the reviews are often stellar. You can easily find one used with a lot of warranty left - GD gives 5 entire years of warranty for the unit!
Plus, I don't know how does it perform, but super portable is the NuForce uDAC5.
It looks pretty good, might actually replace my current setup! Now to see how it measures.
 
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