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quadpatch's picture
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USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

I have done a bit of research on combined DACs with built in headphone amplifiers that plug in to computers via USB. Listening to headphones through a laptop or computer make them an easy upgrade option, are pretty convinient and provide a nice boost in audio quality. I made a list of all the interesting ones that I could find for me but thought it could be useful for others looking to buy as well so here goes, ordered by price...

 

 

£50 - Fiio E7 £60 - Fiio E10 £100 - Fiio E17 £110 - Zero DAC £114 - Audinst HUD-MX1 £115 - Vivid Technologies V1 £125 - Headroom Total Bithead £130 - Nuforce Icon uDAC2 £145 - HRT Headstreamer £150 - Yulong U100 £150 - Audioengine D1 £180 - Matrix Cube £210 - Firestone Fubar 4 Plus £225 - Little Dot DAC 2 £235 - HLLY DMK-IV  £250 - Matrix Mini-I £280 - CEntrance DACport £300 - Nuforce Icon HD £300 - TEAC Reference 01 UD-H01 £320 - Yulong D100 mkII £320 - Nuforce Icon 2 £340 - Asus Xonar Essence One  £395 - Furutech GT40 £450 - Matrix Quattro DAC £430 - Nuforce Icon HDP £500 - Musical Fidelity HPA-1 £500 - Fostex HP-P1 (iPhone) £550 - Firestone Libby £600 - APOGEE MINI-DAC £600 - Audiolab M-DAC £850 - Peachtree Audio Decco 2 £900 - Chordette Tucan £1050 - Benchmark Media DAC1

£50 - Fiio E7

£60 - Fiio E10

£100 - Fiio E17

£110 - Zero DAC

£114 - Audinst HUD-MX1

£115 - Vivid Technologies V1

£125 - Headroom Total Bithead

£130 - Nuforce Icon uDAC2

£145 - HRT Headstreamer

£150 - Yulong U100

£150 - Audioengine D1

£180 - Matrix Cube

£210 - Firestone Fubar 4 Plus

£225 - Little Dot DAC 2

£235 - HLLY DMK-IV 

£250 - Matrix Mini-I

£280 - CEntrance DACport

£300 - Nuforce Icon HD

£300 - TEAC Reference 01 UD-H01

£320 - Yulong D100 mkII

£320 - Nuforce Icon 2

£340 - Asus Xonar Essence One 

£395 - Furutech GT40

£450 - Matrix Quattro DAC

£430 - Nuforce Icon HDP

£500 - Musical Fidelity HPA-1

£500 - Fostex HP-P1 (iPhone)

£600 - APOGEE MINI-DAC

£600 - Audiolab M-DAC

£850 - Peachtree Audio Decco 2

£900 - Chordette Tucan

£1050 - Benchmark Media DAC1

 

I also want to try and make a chart to show the features of each one but this will take me a while. Using the one that I currently have as an example: I will put in there all this information:

 

Yulong D100 mkII

 

DAC / USB chip: AD1955 / TE7022L

Max Impedance (ohm): 600

Max Sample Rate (USB): 24bit / 96khz

Max Sample Rate (other): 32bit / 192khz

Digital Inputs: Optical, Coaxial, USB, AES / EBU

Headphone out (3.5mm / 6.35mm): NoYes (x2)

Other Outpus: RCA (unbalanced), XLR (Balanced)

Asynchronous USB?: Yes

Jitter: 1PPm

SNR: >120dB

Dynamic Range: 115dB

THD+N: 0.0005% @ 1khz

Volume Dial on Unit?: Yes (Stepped)

Power - USB / AC / Battery?: No / Yes / No

Dimentions (mm): 250x180x50

Weight : 1500g

 

Any thoughts on models to include (remember just ones that you have heard good things about) or specifications to include for the chart let me know. I will try to get this chart done and uploaded as soon as I can but some of the info is hard to find.

quadpatch's picture
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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Ok I have done some of the chart now and this is probably the most useful end of it for most people so I will upload it now.

Hopefully this will help people looking to buy a combined USB DAC + amp. No indicator of greatness, still ordered by price but remember they are only on here if the general opinions are really good-great. This could be a useful reference for people on a specific budget that just need to know what features that they support.

Oh Damn it gets resized *sigh*, OK to see this properly click here.

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Good work quadpatch  :clap:

I see Burson didnt make it on, they do some nice USB headphone amps.  :grin:

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

M-DAC?

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

shooter69: Nice one, I honestly forgot but they deserve to be there for sure. I will add them when I do an update.

Fisherking 145: The M-DAC is on the big list, just haven't got that far with the chart yet.

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

OK I have done a roughly finished chart for the DAC list. 

** CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIST**

I have added a column for the country of origin - I thought that might help people assess value. I have taken off the 'Benchmark Media DAC1' because even the 'DAC1 USB' as far as I could see does not have a USB input (only output - WTF?!), if that's correct it doesn't belong on the list since that's a requirement.

Enjoy and please drop a message if you notice any mistakes or omissions, it would be very much appreciated :).

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

A few weeks ago I was toying with the idea of an Aune mini USB DAC X1.

 

These are going for £159.99 on Ebay, offer 24BIT/192K via Coax/Optical and 16Bit via USB. You can buy them cheaper direct from the Far East but then you have to factor in transport, duties and taxes etc.

 

I read up quite a bit on them and they have had very favourable reviews, look pretty good and seem to tick all the right boxes.

 

The only reason I didn't buy one was that the seller did not have any in stock in the UK at that time, and was awaiting a fresh delivery in from China or somewhere.

 

.

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Good job Quadpatch.

With regards to your country of origin are you referring to where they are manufactured or designed ?

The Musical Fidelity and Audiolab are both built overseas in Taiwan and China respectively, this may give people a better idea of value if a company is building its products in the cheapest place on the planet then charging top dollar for them.

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Leema Acoustics do a DAC with a headphone amp.  The Benchmark DAC1 USB definitely uses the USB as an input as I had one.

Anonymous
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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Hi Quadpatch, great effort thanks though I do bring you work to do!

 

Firestone have a range of 5 USB DAC/headphone amps from the Fireye2 at about £65 to the Libby at £500.

 

http://www.firestone-audio.eu/shop/products/headphoneampdac/index.php

 

Then there is iBasso, with a whole range of protable USB DAC/amps

 

http://www.ibasso.com/en/products/

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Thanks very much for the feedback guys! I shall look in to adding all of your recommendations soon. Please shout if there are any others I am missing.

It's really odd about the Benchmark DAC1, I swear I looked on their own site and they listed USB under outputs but not inputs. I will put it back on there then as it was nice having that model at the top at just over £1000. Is it pretentious to call themselves 'benchmark'... you sold yours right? what was it like?

As for the country tab, it was intended for the one where they are designed. I don't think there are many western companies that don't outsource the construction. The only one I can think of is CEntrance, at least that's what they say anyway.

 

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Good work there. Will save me looking through endless posts. Thank you.

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

There's also the Arcam rPac which, I'm told by my local dealer, should be around in a few weeks time.

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Wow that Arcam rPAC looks amazing for the price! Now added to the list with a bunch of others...

** Click HERE for latest USB - DAC / amp list**

I haven't added quite all the IBasso's or Firestones but at least the most interesting ones for now. If anyone can think of any more models or info for the chart let me know.

 

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Bersford Caiman yet. I believe there is a new Beresford DAC coming out in a couple of months time or so, which is supposed to be an improvment on the Caiman.

 

.

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RE: USB DAC + Headphone Amplifiers - List

Looking up info on the Beresford DAC it seemed to get mixed reviews but a 5 star from WHF will cement it a place on the list...

*** Click HERE for full size view***

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