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Entry Level DAC for smartphone and laptop ?

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Old 12-08-2017, 11:48 PM   #1
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Entry Level DAC for smartphone and laptop ?

Hi there Audio lovers.

I just got to know that DAC and amps actually affect the quality of the stuff we are listening.

I was wondering if there is any entry level DAC and amp combo that fits the follow criteria:
  • S$100 or below excluding shipping
  • Preferabbly portable
  • Sold in Singapore
  • Can be used with laptop and smartphone without external power
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Old 13-08-2017, 02:24 AM   #2
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Do you have problems with your current sources (static, hissing, etc.?) or insufficient volume with your transducers?

If yes, look for some Fiio stuff. 100Sgd is kinda hard to get a dac/amp though.

If not, why do you even want to get a dac/amp?
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Old 13-08-2017, 02:33 AM   #3
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Do you have problems with your current sources (static, hissing, etc.?) or insufficient volume with your transducers?

If yes, look for some Fiio stuff. 100Sgd is kinda hard to get a dac/amp though.

If not, why do you even want to get a dac/amp?
No problem at all but I figured I could get a better clarity or even discover new nuances in the stuff I hear with a DAC/AMP.

Considering I am planning to use it with some AKG 7XX and some other contentious earphones. That's what a DAC/AMP is for right? Correct me if i'm wrong, never found the need to use extra equipment and just found out about DACs/AMP.

Advice XDragon?
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Last edited by ufo8mydog; 13-08-2017 at 02:37 AM..
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Old 13-08-2017, 03:26 AM   #4
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1. fiio q1 (the dac has an "issue" though, audio will lag a few milliseconds when using as dac/amp and watching videos, if using as amp only its fine)

2. topping nx2 from aliexpress - older model, damn cheap for dac/amp

3. topping nx2s from aliexpress - new model, more exp

fiio q1 is the easiest to go with, goood battery life, available locally and small footprint, but the design is curved, so it cant sit on the table flat.
im using the q1 with my iphone and i've bundled both together using velcro - but thanks to the curve body, the q1 cant really stick flat to my iphone
wait for qoo10 $20 off $100 coupon if u are buying the q1

theres a newer fiio q1 mk2 but it is 99usd, local price i saw treoo going for 179SGD
http://store.treoo.com/fiio-q1-mark-...dac-black.html

all the above are portable dac/amp, so they have their own battery but when using as dac u can charge and use at the same time
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Last edited by MrMundy; 13-08-2017 at 03:42 AM..
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Old 13-08-2017, 04:07 AM   #5
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Thanks Mundy. I am assuming they would also suitable for use with a laptop / gaming consoles?
Actually, I highly doubt I will be putting these into my pocket with my phone while I travel. It's mostly for use with my laptop and PS4 if I want to use the headphones.
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Old 13-08-2017, 12:10 PM   #6
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They are suitable for anything.. if ur headphones are not >150ohms

Honestly if u want to use for fixed setups (console, desktop PC) get a dac amp that has its own power supply...
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Old 13-08-2017, 01:00 PM   #7
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No problem at all but I figured I could get a better clarity or even discover new nuances in the stuff I hear with a DAC/AMP.

Considering I am planning to use it with some AKG 7XX and some other contentious earphones. That's what a DAC/AMP is for right? Correct me if i'm wrong, never found the need to use extra equipment and just found out about DACs/AMP.

Advice XDragon?
You're probably reading too much into what dac/amps can bring to you. You planning on buying one (especially at your budget) without testing/knowing if it makes a difference?

I'd suggest going down to shops/distros to test various dac/amps out (don't be afraid to try expensive ones). I would be impressed if you could tell any improvements at all, unless your current sources are absolutely abysmal. Your 7xx might benefit from amping though, so I would just suggest just an amp if you really wanted to spend money.

I'm just trying to be as objective as possible, no snakeoil audiophool bs here. Why spend money if it doesn't have a perceivable difference? Even if you do find improvements, are they even worth the money? I can tell differences with external amps but they're absolutely not worth the cost ratio at all, and DACs don't make a difference to me at all, unless comparing to my laptop's horrible DAC.

Edit: Just checked, your k7xx doesn't have ridiculous impedance values and has a decent sensitivity as well, so I doubt it would have a significant benefit from amping. Though specs on paper are one thing, go try them out with amps to be sure. Remember to be unbiased, if you can't tell a difference, save your money and use it elsewhere or better transducers where they matter. Also, well mastered/recorded music is important as well, codec doesn't matter above 256kbps mp3 so please spend the time to explore what you can and enjoy your music
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Last edited by xDragon; 13-08-2017 at 01:18 PM..
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Old 13-08-2017, 06:01 PM   #8
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You're probably reading too much into what dac/amps can bring to you. You planning on buying one (especially at your budget) without testing/knowing if it makes a difference?

I'd suggest going down to shops/distros to test various dac/amps out (don't be afraid to try expensive ones). I would be impressed if you could tell any improvements at all, unless your current sources are absolutely abysmal. Your 7xx might benefit from amping though, so I would just suggest just an amp if you really wanted to spend money.

Spoiler!
exactly, unless ur current source's DAC is crap, u dun really need a DAC
for my pc, the DAC is not crappy but there's a difference when i hooked it up to the FX-AUDIO DAC-X6, probably is the AMP doing the job but whatever, i bought it to power my incoming HD6XX which is 300ohms (in 6months time?)

as what dragon mentioned, maybe a pure amp is enough for u, actually console gaming dont need DAC 1 la... PC maybe yes.............. and u might wanna get a wireless headphone if playing with PS4... unless ur ps4 is placed on a desk like PC setups

Last edited by MrMundy; 13-08-2017 at 06:04 PM..
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Old 13-08-2017, 06:10 PM   #9
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If you are not looking to spend too much money, you can try the FiiO K1, if you are willing to spend the money and really delve into the realm of audiophiles then you should buy the FiiO E17K Alpen 2.

I can certainly say that FiiO is a good company and really worth the money.

You should ask experts on this forum here for a better opinion if you are ready to get into the audiophile game....
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Old 14-08-2017, 03:22 AM   #10
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Thanks once again.
I was actually planning to find out if there any local stores allowing me to test their amp/dacs in stores. I would have to bring along my phone and headphones though.

If you can recommend any that would be great!

@Parmesean great idea. will check out that forum.
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Old 14-08-2017, 03:41 AM   #11
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exactly, unless ur current source's DAC is crap, u dun really need a DAC

as what dragon mentioned, maybe a pure amp is enough for u, actually console gaming dont need DAC 1 la... PC maybe yes.............. and u might wanna get a wireless headphone if playing with PS4... unless ur ps4 is placed on a desk like PC setups
the dac on my laptop is some standard realtek stuff. using the razer blade so it comes with razer surround sound as an audio source? No idea what is that. I should check it up.

wanted to get a single wired headphone for max fidelity and the bluetooth port in my laptop is already taken up soooo yeah.
what I understand is bluetooth might not be ideal for good quality audio.
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