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Portable (mobile) DAC + amp recommendation, that does not overheat...


New Member
Nov 27, 2021
Hi folks,

long-time portable audio fan here, from back when they were walkmans, discmans, minidisc, MP3 player... etc...
Up until recently-ish I was using a Cowon J3, but since then I discovered Spotify and I now carry all the music I am currently discovering on my phone.

Rather than get a second device, I use a phone with a portable amp/DAC. Spotify downloads at the highest possible ratings, and I listen to whatever IEMs I happen to have in the rotation: currently Dunu SA6s, with competition from the Thieaudio Clairvoyance, Unique Melody 3DT, CFA Andromeda, Noble K10, and I'm sure there's more.
Connecting said phone and IEMs, I use a Centrance DacPortHD.

Now, to my ears, it sounds excellent. It's also very powerful; I had a Dragonfly Red previous and I always felt it lacked power. The Centrance definitely does not. Sound + power-wise, it's excellent.
It's also too hot. I could never carry this on my person. So it's relegated to Laptop external DAC/amp.

It's time to get a portable dongle again. Setup:
* Mobile phone -> Dongle -> mid-fi IEMs.
* Typically extreme metal music, or Chanson Francaise.
* For use exclusively on the go (airplanes, road trips, etc...) and stored in my daily backpack.
* No *need* for balanced output, which I do not use currently. But I do have a balanced cable somewhere I could use if it's an option, so... not a total waste if there is such an output.
* Spotify only. No lossless.

I was looking at a few:
* Lotoo Paw S1
* NuPrime Hi-mDac
* Earmen Sparrow
* Hidizs S9 (no volume control though)
* NextDrive Spectra X
My issue isn't too few good choices; it appears to be too many!

As the title says, the heat from the Centrance unit is its biggest drawback to me. It's otherwise small, has a handy volume control, and sounds great.
I'm looking for something simple, reliable, and that won't burn me through my jeans.

Reviews don't always mention heat (some do), and do not compare heat to other units. I can look into the sound. But not that...
Hence calling onto the hive's knowledge here; thanks for any tips!
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