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Recommendations for a DAC/HP Amp

svent

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I'm looking for a DAC/Headphone Amp and have the following use case:
1. Inputs - USB from a PC
2. Outputs - Balanced (I use powered speakers)
3. Volume - Need to be able to adjust on the DAC
4. Budget - $150 - $250 USD
5. I listen to FLAC files in a large space, so generally playing 'loud'

So far I am considering the following based on reviews on this site:
SMSL SO100 (Compromise on the Headphones, but great value for $$$).
SONCOZ LA-QXD1 (Compromise on the Headphones, Reported reliability issues).
Sabaj A10d 2022 (High end of my budget, but front-runner at the moment).

Thanks for any guidance or recommendations you can provide.
 

rarewolf

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The Topping DX3Pro+ should be more than adequate for any set of powered speakers. Reviewed here at $200…
 

JeremyFife

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svent

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If you don't mind me asking... why essential?
I have a ground loop or interference somewhere causing a hum, only way I’ve been able to remove it so far is with 1/4” connectors.

Thanks for the question, do you have any recommendations?
 

JeremyFife

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I have a ground loop or interference somewhere causing a hum, only way I’ve been able to remove it so far is with 1/4” connectors.

Thanks for the question, do you have any recommendations?
Cool - I get that.

I'm no expert wrt headphones and headphone amps - but something like the Topping D10s (balanced) into Topping L50 (Balanced pass-through to your speakers) sounds like it would work and be in budget.

Ah - doesn't handle volume so you'd have to control that in the source or get a different DAC with volume control.
 

PatF

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I do not want to create another thread so I will post my question here. I want to upgrade a bit my desktop headphone set up. Currently using Earman TR-AMP (Mac book pro -- Roon -- TR-AMP -- Audezee LCD-X (2021). I am thinking about Fiio K9 pro ess or matrix audio mini I pro 3... but I have heard about some issues with K9 with playback and poor FiiO feedback and support ... with matrix audio impedance of headphone output concerns me... Anyone has experience with above two devices ? Maybe I should look for different amp/dac ? It seams like reliability of this (sorry) Chi-Fi is random as hell... last thought maybe I should stay with TR-AMP ? I had no issues so far with it....
 

Georgrig

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I'm not sure about your headphone amp requirements, but what about the Khadas Tone 2?
 

PatF

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To close my topic I have ordered MA mini I pro 3 (element I was out of stock) and as Roon user I think I will be satisfied with choice.
 
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svent

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To anyone in a similar situation, I ended up purchasing the SMSLR DO100 from aliexpress.

It performs exceptionally as a volume control/DAC for powered speakers. Even the remote isn't complete trash like alot of ChiFi.

The groundloop has also been eliminated (XLR to XLR cables) which also contributes to my raving review.
 
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