Apr 20, 2018

Best entry level audiophile DAC/AMP to pair with entry level closed back headphones (ATH-m50x)

Hi guys!
I just bought some audio technica ATH-m50x's. What would be the best entry level DAC and AMP to pair with these headphones? I have never had an external DAC or AMP just to drive headphones and have no idea what to look for. I do know a little something about the ones that include "tubes" because I played guitar for years and had tube amps. I know they need to be changed and messed with sometimes and I don't want that. I'm NOT looking for the cheapest thing I can get. I'm just looking for a "bang for your buck" entry level sweet spot. I don't mind spending around $200 give or take. Any suggestions or information from the audiophile community here would be greatly appreciated
P.S. I would also like to add a decent pair of open backed headphones in the feature and I would like the DAC/AMP to run those as well.
THANKS! :)
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Here's are options in that price range, I would mix/match some of the following components:

DAC's: Audioquest Dragonfly Black, Schiit Modi, Topping D30

Amps: Massdrop O2, Schiit Magni 3

Any combo of the above would get you in the $200ish range. You could also snag a dragonfly red but that would eat up your entire budget. If you will be moving the amp/dac around it is certainly the most compact option. I use an Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2 and an O2 at the office. Will run everything but my most hard to drive cans. No hiss or noise with sensitive IEM's.
Source>Ifi iusb3.0 nano>SDAC/OL DAC/ODAC revB>Magni 3/O2>M50x
I'm with Jesse04030. The Modi 2U/Magni 3 stack would be a great place to start.
I've got mine thru a Fiio E17K (Alpen 2). Sound great to me, even use them with FL Studio as a pretty solid reference during mixing.

Thing is these headphones sound great even without an amp/dac. Running them straight off any phone I've tried, they sound better than anything I've personally heard in the same price range.
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leagueoflezhe
Does the E17K have base to the E9k Dock? My favorite park of my (old) E17 was the portability and easy hookup of my home speakers.
w00m
Yes the K5 accepts most of their DAPs and the E17K
With the M50x you should stay away from cheap DAC/amps like the Schiit Fulla 2 or Fiio E10k. Those are mainly meant to power higher impedance headphones (like HD6XX etc.). They wont improve the sound of your device in any significant way, they mostly make it louder.
A good starting point would be the Schiit Modi 2 (Uber) + Schiit Magni 3, but again not sure if it will make a great difference with the M50x.
If you would get something like the DT990/880/770, HD6XX or HE4XX than this would be a great choice.
jesse04030
Well, right now I am just running off motherboard audio on the PC and it's underwhelming. Even my LG-V30 with quad DAC runs them far better then my motherboard audio can. Thanks so much for your suggestions on the Schiit stuff. Seems like great stuff. I'll do more research and if I like what I see I'll probably buy them. Again, THANK YOU! :D
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