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looking for ideal setup of amp/dac combo for listening via streaming

aggillator

Member
Jun 1, 2020
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Hi there,
I'm still new to the hi-fi world. I'm looking to optimize what I have to meet my needs. So I'll list what I'm looking for in the hopes that someone can advise me better. So here goes:
  1. I almost exclusively listen to music streamed from a service, in my case, Amazon Music.
  2. I really like clear vocals that are not drowned out by other frequencies.
  3. I currently own Sennheiser hd598cs, Fostex t50rp mk3 (unmodded), and awaiting Drop.com Hifiman HE-4xx.
  4. I'm looking for a combo portable (preferably battery powered) dac/amp under $120ish.
I think that about sums it up. Can anyone recommend for me a specific set of headphones (or if what I have seems fine then ok) but more importantly a dac/amp that meets what i'm looking for?
Thanks in advance to all you people out there who help newbies like me.
 

anort3

Moderator
Dec 8, 2019
385
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570
You need as much power as possible for the T50s. I don't own any but I've looked at the Argon Mk 3s and most recommendations say 3+ watts if possible to get the most out of that driver. The 598CS needs basically no amplification the the He 4xx needs an amp but nothing like a T50.

What are you looking at for a budget? There's not going to be much in the way of cheap portable devices that will do justice to a T50.
 

anort3

Moderator
Dec 8, 2019
385
199
570
Well gee it's not like it's in bold or anything. :LOL: Guess I fail today's comprehension test.

Portable with enough power for a T50.....hmmm. I can't really think of anything. There absolutely are good portable amp/DACs in the price range ( Fiio Q1 MK II comes to mind ) but they lack power. And the T50 is one of the most power hungry headphones around.
 

aggillator

Member
Jun 1, 2020
4
0
20
Well gee it's not like it's in bold or anything. :LOL: Guess I fail today's comprehension test.

Portable with enough power for a T50.....hmmm. I can't really think of anything. There absolutely are good portable amp/DACs in the price range ( Fiio Q1 MK II comes to mind ) but they lack power. And the T50 is one of the most power hungry headphones around.
Is the T50 worth it then? I mean I technically just bought the t50's because everyone says "you gotta get the t50's", and they were only $100, but if I can save myself some money on the amp by getting less power, is that worth it?

I was thinking of the q1 mkii like you mentioned, the fiio btr5, and the earstudio es-100. Do you think those options would be enough for my hifimans?
 

anort3

Moderator
Dec 8, 2019
385
199
570
Yeah the Q1 MK II is solid. It may even get the T50s loud but the T50s need something like 3 watts to get the most out of the driver. Any of the THX amps will do it. Massdrop, Monoprice or SMSL. Not portable though.

Worth it? No idea. I don't own them. Most people say they're better modded though with the Argon MK 3 the best of the mods.

 

aggillator

Member
Jun 1, 2020
4
0
20
Thank you all for your replies. I'm still researching like crazy. But I'm not sure how to tell from the specs of the portable amp/dac which one has the most driving power. Because I've found so many but can't tell which is the most powerful. Like for example the Topping NX5. Looks powerful but how would I compare it say to the Fiion Q1 mkII?

Thanks again for your patience with me.
 

anort3

Moderator
Dec 8, 2019
385
199
570
Look at output power.

Topping NX5

Output Power: 285mW (RL=32Ω,THD+N=1%)

Q1 MK II: 75mW(PO/32Ω) single and 220mW(BAL/32Ω) balanced.

The Topping has more usable power. The Q1 really only has good power output when you use it balanced.
 

aggillator

Member
Jun 1, 2020
4
0
20
So do you think the FiiO Kunlun E18 rated at
Output Power>300 mW (32 Ω/THD+N<1%)
would handle the fostex t50rp mkiii decently?
 

anort3

Moderator
Dec 8, 2019
385
199
570
I found this. Consider a minimum .5w ( 500mW )to get them loud.


Most reviewers say you need in the neighborhood of 3+ watts to get the most out of them though.
 

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