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Recommendation for a USB only (no IEC) headphones DAC/Amp

Roy_L

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Hi, I've been using several types of headphones, my favorite pair for a while now is the Massdrop HD6XX.
For driving them I used the Massdrop THX AAA 789 (with an external DAC) which is great. However, being a little OCD when it comes to clutter and cables, I want to try a single device instead, a USB DAC / Amp combo, which doesn't require connecting to the wall electricity. I tried using my old cute Fiio E10K, which is great for most things, but for some music choices just isn't powerful enough (with the HD6XX).

Can anyone recommend something of this nature, but more powerful? Obviously the limit is whatever the USB connection can output, so maybe there is such a thing as a USB DAC/Amp connecting to two outputs for added power?
(BTW, I'm not looking for something with a battery like the mobile DAC/Amps, which require being charged etc.)

Thanks!
 
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Lambda

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Technically this shuld be no problem. Even conservative 5V only USB ports have no problems driving Powerfull ADC/DACs with 48V phantom power.
For example the the Motu M4

Even after Class AB loss 5W is more then enough to burn up almost every headphone. And with some internal capacitance Peak power can be orders of magnitude higher.

But i guess Audiophiles fore some reasons like IEC plugs...
Even Armin called integrated power supply his favorite feature.

Don’t know why you would want to have them. one more cable one more ground loop.
 

Vincent Kars

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Something like this?
 
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Roy_L

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Something like this?
I think this one needs IEC...
(there's a "DC in" port on the device)
 

Vincent Kars

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staticV3

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Looks great, but according to the specs it's not that powerful, no more than the modest Fiio e10k.
At 300Ω the E10K in high gain can deliver 2.7Vrms max. The Tone2 can do 5.0Vrms via its 4.4mm port, so +5.35dB or 45% increase in perceived loudness.
 

staticV3

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Is the new gen replacement of the E10K more powerful (Fiio K3)? It supposedly has a balanced output:
Amir only tested the 3.5mm output at 300Ω, which can do 2.0Vrms at high gain, so less than the E10K.
How much the 2.5mm output can do I don't know.
Fiio's specs also don't mention max voltage. Only max power @16/32Ω.
 
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Roy_L

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According to Amir's review, this may be just what I'm looking for, especially with regard to power:


Any thought?
 

staticV3

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The Hidizs S9 is one of many options for when you need a 4.0Vrms headphone output and don't mind the form factor, the need for a balanced headphone, and the nonexistent or rudimentary hardware controls.
It's definitely a competent piece of kit, but it's far from the only choice.
Note that Amir wasn't able to do proper sweeps in his test, so we can't judge its behavior there. Only the max output.
Note also that there's a newer version called S9 Pro which has yet to be measured.
 
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Roy_L

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Well, it's pretty inexpensive, I think I'll just order it and see what's what...
 
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Roy_L

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Soooo... I got the Hidizs S9 Pro. What a TURD.

Long story short- It worked for about a week, until the left channel became very weak and heavily distorted (I did a lot of troubleshooting- changed sources, headphones etc.). I've had numerous correspondences with the company to get a replacement or refund under warranty. I've sent them 3 different videos of the device clearly malfunctioning. Eventually, they've decided a firmware update will resolve it (yeh, right). They've sent me instructions of how to perform the update, that were partly in Chinese, with screenshots which look like they're from windows 7. After some guesswork , it was finally installed. And surprise-surprise, it changed nothing.

At this point I just don't care anymore and not interested in a replacement, I'm just going to throw it away. I'm also not going to buy any more of these crappy Chinese brand devices, even if they measure fantastically. This is actually the third (and last) time this happens- I've already given for free Topping and SMSL DACs which malfunctioned after a short period of time. I've totally had it with these low quality products. Don't get me wrong- when they worked they sounded great, but I think the quality control and build quality of these things is abysmal.

BTW- I don't mean all Chinese audio brands are bad; For example, I've had excellent experience with Fiio DAC/Amps, which work flawlessly for years (and feel way better built).
 
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