Jun 23, 2018278 views

Mobile Audio Solutions

I'm looking for a relatively cheap DAC/Amp solution. There are so many options available that I have no idea where to even start and the more I look the more confused it get so I'd really like some recommendations. I really want something that I can power with my phone or PC that will be versatile and capable enough to drive the Massdrop x Sennheisser HD6XXs with their 300Ω nominal impedance. Thank you. 😁

Edit: I live in Australia
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MiiD82 and ThommyG
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If you have a new enough phone with APTx, the iFi xDSD is another option. Not quite as powerful as the other iFi amps but will be powerful enough. It's a bit better-sounding, to my ears, than the FiiO Q5.
For around $150 USD you can get a Topping NX4 DSD. I have a non DSD version of the NX4 and it drives my 6xx and 4xx headphones well. The newer version has more power and newer DAC chip.

My NX4 sounds good, has great battery life, is well built and reasonably priced.
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Ah okay. That's about $200 AUD. That's probably the best I'll get though. If I could get a desktop DAC/Amp combo for the same price though, should I get the desktop one if it'll perform better?
ThommyG
The NX4 can be used in a desktop setup. It’s a versatile device.

I have an Aune X1S/X7S stack on my desktop. The X1S is a solid DAC/Amp that can drive the 6xx pretty well. The X1S is about $200 USD. The X1S has all the inputs you need and is a great all around performer.

The X7S is a really good amp. Lots of power and a balanced output option if that intersts you. While I’m a huge fan of the X1S my recommendation oif budget is tight is to get the X7S and a cheap DAC (Topping D10/D30). That would give you a really nice setup for around $300 USD.
Dragonfly Red maybe? It’s versatile and pretty darn powerful.
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I said in my post I live in Australia. So I'm using AUD.
ThommyG
Oops, missed that part...
The iFi iDSD nano Black Label. It's under $200, works for sensitive IEMs and can power 300 ohm cans while supporting essentially any file format you want (and MQA from Tidal). Has a USB purifier built in and a decent battery life of 8-10 hrs. It's really a solid piece of kit and has spoiled me for what I think of a mobile DAC/amp should be. While it may not overpower the 6XX as well as a desktop amp, it will power them well enough to uncomfortable levels of loudness. Really, my only gripe is the lack of inputs but for the cost I'm just nitpicking. If your budget is higher, the Micro iDSD BL would be better for 300 ohm cans but it's 3x the price of the Nano. Personally, I'd get a solid desktop amp and the Nano BL since it works great as an external DAC.
define relatively cheap? How mobile do you need it to be.

" want something that I can power with my phone or PC that will be versatile and capable "

- iFi iDSD Micro Black Lable - is really really good, EXTREMELY versatile and with enough power to run just about any headphone on the planet.

I got mine on sale from Adorama for $378 (normal price $550 I think). It more in the realm of transportable than portable. Not something you want to carry on you while out and about.

If you want something in a more pocket friendly form factor:

- Fiio Q5 - Seems to be well regarded (I've never tried it personally) and though not nearly as powerful as the iFi should still drive most headphone with ease. It seems to run about $350.

Something even cheaper:

- XDuoo XD-05 -is said to be a solid option under $200
- other lower priced Fiio options - have served many well for years

Other options: Stand alone DAP

Recently decided to pick up an Android based DAP in the form of the iBasso DX150. for the fallowing reasons:
- No need to stack
- all-in-one solution
- Capable of running streaming services like Spotify or Tidal
- No need to drain my phones battery
- uninterrupted listening, no phone notifications.

iBasso DX150 $500 (Android based)
Fiio X5 III $350 (Android based)
Hiby R3 $200 (non-Android based, but can stream tidal, Bi-directional BT so Spotify from you ohone is an option).

RojasTKD
You absolute bloody legend I love you, thank you. This was a much more complete and clearly explained answer than I was expecting from anyone. Thank you so much ❤️
ThommyG
LOL, my pleasure.

I hope one of those offers the price and mobility you looking for, or at least puts you on the right track.
Chord Hugo 2
Rhamnetin
I believe he said "relatively cheap". I don't think $2,700 qualifies as cheap. Perhaps you were just joking?
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