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2514 posts

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# 159946 18-Dec-2014 07:12
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Ok so I have been bitten by this bug, actually it has always been there, just dormant for a number of years. It started with high end car audio (although not quite the DIY speaker point) then I met my partner who changed my priorities!

Fast forward to the future (now) and I am in a position to have some toys again. I have a high end system in my car again although only installed to a low end spec currently, but I am finding that with my new job I listen to music most of the time, it tends to help me concentrate when the office gets a little hectic and loud. To this end I purchase a set of Polk Ultrafocus 8000 noise cancelling headphones, the reason being that they will double as my headphones for travelling.

When I plugged these in to the laptop for the first time I was really impressed, then I plugged in the Fiio E11 that I had purchased god knows how long ago and god knows for what reason! Well then transformed the headphone from great to Holy Crap!

Well there are a couple of little things that bug me about the amp.

1, I can't charge it and use it at the same time

2, The IPhone controls on the headphone don't work through the amp

3, I isn't new and shiny!

I have contacted John at Sound Essentials and he has offered some options for me to think about, the one I like, but is a little out of budget is the Ciyan C6 how ever the reviews suggest this doesn't work off the laptop only via the IPhone or IPad.

My question is what is the best headphone amp / DAC I can get for around $200

If it had everything I want I could probably stretch this somewhat but would prefer not to.

My priorities are;
1, Excellent Sound Quality
2, Use while charging
3, Great battery life.

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Mad Scientist
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  # 1199631 18-Dec-2014 07:52
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if you're in Dunedin you can have my Fiio E17 for cheap. It sits there doing nothing

Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.

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Ultimate Geek


  # 1200856 19-Dec-2014 22:09
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if you can stretch to a iFI idsd nano... they are about $290

other than that E17 would be a good choice and i think an upgrade from the e11

I have also been looking for a sub 200 dac/amp, Fiio seems to be the only ones dominating the market.



700 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 1200864 19-Dec-2014 22:37
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Not sure if this is the same sort of thing, but I've been using an Aune X1 Pro Mk2 DAC for a couple of years.  It plugs into a USB port, and I use it principally to drive a pair of Tapco S5s, but it makes an excellent headphone amp as well, and I believe a lot of people use it as such.  It is not perfect.  For instance, I have not found a way to turn off the speakers while using the headphones, so I have to reach over behind the monitors and turn them off manually.

It gets 4.5 stars out of seven reviews on Amazon.  I always like Amazon reviews because they are be real users who have paid dollars for the kit

Trevor Dennis
Rapaura (near Blenheim)

2514 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  # 1200909 20-Dec-2014 06:27
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Hi, I am actually leaning towards a Cayin C6 for asround $250.

This is the closest unit in terms of functinality for me and has good reviews online.

4649 posts

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  # 1201094 20-Dec-2014 15:24
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Does the DAC/amp you need have to work with iOS? If so that narrows options considerably if you want to use the DAC part of the equation. Most iOS devices have pretty good DACs as standard, so if you only need an amp then options widen again (probably you will want the DAC if you plan to use it with your laptop though, most laptop sound cards are hot trash).

Twitter: @nztechfreak

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