yeah i didnt like the zen dac despite the rave reviews on youtube. The channel imbalance just felt weird and the headphone amp is no better than some dac/amp dongle lol. My tygr 300r got loud at like 2/3 volume on power match. Also not a fan of the analog volume pot, I guess i didnt know how much i prefer digital volume and windows volume control. I got rid of it soon after i bought it . Also i dont think the "zen stack" is in the same price category being a $500 combo. But anyway super excited about this topping variant. A seller on aliexpress made me an offer for about $30 off msrp so i caved in and bought it. There is some national holiday going on in China currently but im hoping to get my hands on it in mid/late October and end this couple month long crusade of finding the perfect and cheap dac/amp for my akg k702 and tygr 300r. I almost bought the EX5 but im glad i waited.Please don't compare this to the Zen, it most likely absolutely slaughters it in every conceivable way (https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ds/ifi-zen-dac-and-headphone-amp-review.9885/). "For $200 you can get a DAC and Amp combo that would run circles around it." That was 2 years ago, Topping has upped the game substantially since then.
This seems endgame for the vast majority of headphones. Even if for instance I had something like the Stealths, I probably would still get this. No one needs balanced and it can be a detriment (ref Benchmark's paper on this)... it does allow more power on power limited devices such as dongles but the single ended output here is more than sufficient. Only super hard to drive headphones that benefit from a crazy amount of voltage swing may benefit from more.
Yeah having a 1/4" jack would be convenient, aside from that, it likely will be an instrument grade device just like everything they've put out lately.