DAC/AMP Combo Recommendations - Headfonia Reviews

On this page you’ll find the DAC/AMP Combo recommendations of this moment. This is an ever evolving list and the units are ranked from cheap to expensive.

Portable DAC/AMP

ddHifi TC44B

ddHifi TC44B [Added 28/12/2020]

The market of compact DAC/AMP modules is getting stronger and better each month. ddHifi with all of their units, and especially this TC44B, prove they are one of the most important players when it comes to high price/performance ratios in miniature sized portable units.

For $89 USD you get a pocketable and surprisingly well performing DAC/AMP which you can use with both your laptop as well as your smart phone. At this price level, I really don’t have anything in my portable collections that comes close to the performance of the ddHifi TC44B. It’s a very easy recommended buy at this price. Well done ddHifi.

€89 from ddHifi

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/ddhifi-tc44b-review/


earmen eagle headfonia

EarMen Eagle [Added 01/10/2020]



€119 from EarMen

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/earmen-eagle-review/



Nuprime Audio Hi-mDac [Added 02/04/2020]

Sometimes, I don’t want to bother carrying my DAP, no matter how good it is. But, as soon as I leave, I’m hit by the low level of performance shown by my iPhone. Okay, it’s not “Fisher price-quality” as Neil Young would say, but it’s enough for me to regret. And, this is where the Nuprime Hi-mDAC really comes to shine. It’s better than most of my entry-level DAP, small enough to fit my phone and most of all: it makes a REAL upgrade, sound-wise. I’m sure that 90% of our readers have already tried a USB-DAC, but for those of you who didn’t, this may be the time.

Paired with a good pair of IEM’s, like the Fearless S8F, or even the BGVP DM6, I’m pretty sure that most of you will be blown away and realize how far we have come !

€139 from Nuprime

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/nuprime-hi-mdac-review/

fiio Q3 headfonia

Fiio Q3 [Added: 29/10/2020]

Unsurprisingly, the FiiO Q3 is excellent in almost every regard. It kept everything we liked on the Q1 Mark II, and pushed things even further. It sounds even more spacious, packs enough power to drive my good old planars, and whatever the source, I was able to connect the DAC hassle-free.

If you own a Q1 Mark II, this time I can confidently advise you to up your game and get the new Q3. Sound-wise, the difference isn’t massive, but if you take into account all the various ergonomics improvements, the scale really weighs towards the new Q3. A great addition for those who seek an affordable all-in-one, and the best device for audiophile beginners: feed it well and the Q3 will grow on you.

149$ from Fiio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/fiio-q3-review/

iFi audio Hip-Dac

iFi Audio Hip-DAC [Added: 30/07/2020]

The iFi hip-dac has only one goal; improving your sound quality compared to the direct outputs of laptops and smartphones. After the time I’ve had with this device, I can smoothly say that it reaches that goal perfectly.

For just $149, you get a very natural, uncolored, and slightly warm sound with forward mids. Technicalities-wise the device is excellent with great resolution, transparency, and separation. The outer design is better and more refined compared to the previous generation as well.

149 $ from iFi Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/ifi-audio-hip-dac-review

Lotoo PAW S1

Lotoo PAW S1

Lotoo PAW S1 [Added: 09/07/2020]

Overall the PAW S1 comes with Lotoo’s neutral but natural house-sound. It adds some body to instruments and musicians, but also comes equipped with high skills in technical abilities. As a simple DAC/Amp dongle solution I think it absolutely wins. People who don’t see the benefit of a Digital Audio Player but still want a higher quality experience should certainly take the Lotoo PAW S1 on their shortlist. On top of the great sound you also get superb EQ/ATE pre-settings that fit your current situation and two gain settings should you need it to go to eleven. Just remember, that the quality of your music files really matter with the PAW S1. Say no to resampling.

For me personally, the PAW S1 is an excellent alternative to my DAPs. Although it still won’t replace my PAW 6000 when I’m out and about. But as a fall-back solution, I keep the S1 with me on all my trips.

For less than 200 USD this is a fantastic device and it gets a very strong recommendation from me.

169$ from Lotoo

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/lotoo-paw-s1-review/

EarMen Sparrow

EarMen Sparrow

EarMen Sparrow [Added 19/07/2020]

EarMen with the Sparrow promised a lot but they also delivered in all possible ways. For only $199 you get a US/EU product with a single ended as well as a balanced output, and especially the latter one is magical. The Sparrow is an affordable and tiny device which you can carry around with you at all times. Just hook it up to your phone or laptop and be amazed how good it sounds.

The Sparrow is a very easy product to recommend at this price point, and it joins the best of the best on our Recommended DAC/AMP buy list. If you want a small, portable DAC/AMP with a balanced output, there’s no doubt at all about which one to get.

$199 from EarMen

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/earmen-sparrow-review/

NextDrive Spectra X

Nathan is back with a review of the NextDrive Taiwan Spectra X, the original Spectra’s highly awaited successor. Spectra X blows his mind with great benchmarks, low noise floor and basically all the performance of a mid or high-end DAP but for a fraction of the price, size, and complication. Fully recommended in all possible ways!

$190 from Nextdrive

Review: https://headfonia.com/review-nextdrive-spectra-x/

iFi Nano iDSD Black Label

iFi Audio Nano iDSD Black Label

iFi has delivered marvelous work with the the BL version of the Nano iDSD. Although I’ve never had a chance to test the original version, I can easily say this is an amazing DAC/AMP for the price. I’m not sure you can ever find better technicalities from a device that costs this little. I’m sure the Micro iDSD BL is also very very good in its own price range. People say this one sounds close to the Micro version and if I ever listen to that one I will edit this review at that time. A superb little device, for those who are looking for a nice DAC/AMP that can give a good amount of power for not extremely hard to drive headphones, and with a competitive price. If you also like to listen to your in ear monitors with these types of devices, I just can’t recommend it enough. It’s flexible, built to last, useful and compact. Most importantly, it sounds flawless for the money. Just go for it.

€239 from iFi

Review: https://headfonia.com/review-ifi-audio-nano-idsd-black-label/

EarMen TR-Amp [Added 31/03/2020]

It was quite fun to review a DAC/Amp unit again after all this time and the TR-Amp pleasantly surprised me with its transparency and dynamics. You get a detailed and energetic sound, combined with a musical delivery. What’s not to like? For the $249 USD / €279 Euro price it is selling for, you get a lot in return. Actually way more than I was initially expecting and as such I have to put this on our list of recommended DAC/Amps to buy.

$249 / €279 from EarMen

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/earmen-tr-amp-review/

xduoo xd-05 Plus

Xduoo XD-05 Plus

xDuoo XD-05 Plus [Added 30/06/2020]

The xDuoo XD-05 Plus follows the path carved by its predecessor. A great-sounding, versatile, DAC/AMP, that supports almost every source thanks to its wide range of inputs.

The brand took all the good points found in the “regular” version and polished them. Better sound stage, finer highs, empowered lows, and the same delightfully natural sound signature. As before, this is a device that you won’t grow tired of listening to, even after weeks or months. Plus, now that xDuoo gave the XD-05 a USB-C port, it’s virtually future-proof. Bulky case? Yes. Great design? Also. Would I recommend it? For sure!

$269 from xDuoo

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/xduoo-xd-05-plus-review/

AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt

Now does all this mean you need to upgrade to the Cobalt? No, not really as the RED still is really good as well and sells for a very fair price. Yes, as the DragonFly Cobalt is better, more natural. And if you like technicalities, you’ll for sure prefer the latest version. Some on the other hand will prefer the typical tuning of the RED over that of the new Cobalt.

If you don’t have a DragonFly yet, I would recommend to go for the Cobalt for sure as it’s the best of the trio. The RED still is a really nice alternative if you’re on a lower budget or if you prefer RED’s tuning, of course.

$299 from AudioQuest

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/audioquest-dragonfly-cobalt-review/



xDuoo XD05 BAL

The xDuoo XD-05 BAL is a brilliant DAC/AMP, taking advantage of all the features introduced in previous generations: versatile design, complete I/O, excellent sound.

Once again, the brand didn’t reinvent the wheel and took all the good points found in the basic and plus version, and polished them. Balanced circuit with a 4.4mm output, Bluetooth chipset, no more channel imbalance, and the same sound signature. Add a mind-blowing bundle with an excellent price/performance ratio.

$429 from xDuoo

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/xduoo-xd-05-bal-review/

Chord Electronics Mojo

It’s impossible not to put the Chord Mojo on this list. Mojo is small & Mojo is very good and a s a result Mojo is a big all over the world. It has two 3.5mm headphone outputs and sports a Micro USB, Optical and Coaxial input. It works with phones, DAPs and computers and it without doubt will upgrade your listening experience. Mojo isn’t cheap but gives a lot in return. Some say it sounds smooth, others say it sounds digital but it does sound good. Its big brother HUGO is better  equipped to drive some full sized headphones though. Never the less, this is THE DAC/AMP combo ever since it was released in London.

$499 from Chord Electronics

Review 1: https://headfonia.com/review-chord-mojo-the-chosen-one/

Review 2: https://headfonia.com/review-chord-mojo-hot-or-not/


Dethonray Honey H1 [Added 14/01/2021]

The Dethonray Honey H1 is one of the best portable DAC/Amplifiers in the market right now. The key part here is the synergy with your earphones/headphones. Together with great output power, the sound quality is also exceptional. It’s almost like a Hugoin 2021 with a smaller form factor.

The 2.0 software version fixed almost everything and the Dethonray Honey H1 is no doubt a formidable device that will hold its own in the DAC/Amp market. As long as you have a good synergy, this device is an absolute joy to listen to. A great all in one solution with great versatility.

$699 from Dethonray

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/dethonray-honey-h1-review/

iFi Micro iDSD Signature

iFi Audio Micro iDSD Signature [Added 31/12/2020]

The iFi Micro iDSD Signature is surely a special unit. It is an excellent performer with a premium build, design, and internal components. It’s also very versatile with outputs and features. If you need something more out of a DAC/Amp then I don’t know what else would fulfill that. When it comes to sound, iFi always delivers and the Signature is no exception.

The original Black Label was already an awesome unit itself, and the Signature follows suit with the MQA certification, 4.4mm BAL output, additional S-Balanced feature for the 3.5mm output, and improved internal components.

$699 from iFi Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/ifi-micro-idsd-signature-review/

CEntrance HiFi-M8 V2

CEntrance HiFi-M8 V2 [Added 04/03/2021]

As I remember how good and special it was back in 2013, I was expecting a lot from this 20th anniversary V2 version of the CEntrance HiFi-M8. And to be honest, it has delivered.

No it’s probably not the best measuring unit in the world, but the HiFi-M8 is a neutrally tuned, highly dynamic and musical DAC/AMP combo. It to me technically performs well and it offers a lot of connectivity and output options. Sound-wise the HiFi-M8 V2 is natural, exciting, balanced and musical. What’s not to like?

There are a lot of good to great portable DAC/AMP units on the market but they don’t offer the same and multiple output and connection options the HiFi-M8 V2 offers. Looking at its price and performance, mixed with a bit of nostalgia, I can only recommend this unit to anyone who is in the market for one of these devices.

$750 from CEntrance

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/centrance-hifi-m8-v2-review/

Woo Audio WA11

Woo Audio WA11 Topaz

The WA11 is one of the rare portable products that really knows how to handle the more complex to drive cans. It brings a performance to the table that’s in the class of desktop gear. Headphones like the Diana Phi or Empyrean I enjoy most when driven by the WA11. It just makes them sound stunning. It is impressive what kind of quality Woo Audio has achieved with the WA11.

The topaz is an impressive DAC/Amp that has been a pleasure to explore. If you’re in the market for an excellent transportable solution that drives any headphone under the sun, you have to give the WA11 a serious consideration. If you can, go to your closest dealer and try it for yourself and let it convince you.

1,399$ from Woo Audio

Review: https://headfonia.com/woo-audio-wa11-review

Hugo vs Hugo 2

Chord Electronics Hugo 2

The Original Hugo is still available from some seller so for now both units will be listed here.

The original Hugo was regarded a landmark in portable audio, and I think it’s offspring will follow the footsteps. You get real desktop class sound quality in a transportable package. It sounds really good with all ears and headphones I have used it with, and I am very much looking forward to trying out many more in the future.

If you are in the game for a high end DAC that appears to also be used on the go with your smartphone or DAP, the Hugo 2 is definitely worth serious consideration. The Hugo quickly won me over and has become my main DAC/amp at the office and my desktop DAC at home – it simply is that good. A recommended buy? How the hell could it not?!

$2195 from Chord Electronics

Review: https://headfonia.com/review-chord-hugo-2-ruler-of-sound/

Woo Audio WA8 Eclipse

The Woo WA8 is tube powered and it was chosen as best DAC/AMP of 2016 here on Headfonia.com. The WA8 can handle sensitive monitors, high impedance dynamic headphones and current hungry orthodynamics. The WA8 delivers a whole lot of detail and the sound is clear, clean and fast. While it often is the case that the amplifier section in AMP/DAC combos is better than the DAC section, the WA8 actually sounds its best as a combo. Oh and it’s so pretty.

$1799 from Woo Audio

Review: https://headfonia.com/review-woo-audio-wa8-eclipse-new-transportable-king/


Desktop DAC/AMP

Creative Sound Blaster X3 [Added 15/04/2020]

The Creative Sound Blaster X3 offers real audiophile performances and gaming/home-theater versatility, at a really low cost. We are talking sub-$150 gear here, price-range where you usually go chi-fi, or go home. And this is the strength of the X3 : you get chi-fi sound quality – and build quality to be fair – from an established brand. The name doesn’t sound awkward, customer-service is available in bazillions languages and most of all: you can get this DAC from your local shop, almost anywhere in the world.

Are they better DAC/Amp out there? Of course. At this price point?  Not so sure… With as much features? Even less… So yeah, if like me you want to reintroduce some Sound Blaster in your life, lend your ears to Creative. In the process, you may even end up with a very good DAC, able to feed both your headphones and your speakers. A win-win situation if I may say so.

$129 from Creative

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/creative-sound-blaster-x3-review/

Burson Audio Play

There’s no way to exaggerate the utility, performance, and overall OCD funness of Play. Burson nailed it. If you need or want power, 299$ will get you power out the wazoo. If you want compatibility with DSD and other hi-res formats, bingo. If you want to eat your cake, too, Play is as reliable and stable an amp/DAC as I’ve ever tested. I’ve started mentioning prices; it’s something I didn’t want to do. It’s easy to get ugly. But gosh, I’ll be damned if Play hasn’t nailed the competition’s coffin shut. Buy it and forget about it. Add some new op-amps if you want. And be secure in your purchase, because it’s a hell of a deal.

$299 from Burson Audio

Review: https://headfonia.com/review-burson-play/


JDS Labs The Element

JDS Labs The Element

JDS Labs The Element V1.53b

The Element combines a smooth digital stage with a balanced amplifier, which makes this combo unit very intriguing and capable of sounding great with a lot of ear and headphones. The fact that it has a dead-silent background is very well received. It’s hard to find a desktop amplifier in this price range that offers the possibility to be used with efficient in ear monitors and hard to drive over ear headphones. The build quality is outstanding and if you can live with the limited file format support, I suggest you start taking a closer look at this one. Overall, the Element delivers more than enough power to drive any headphone I have at home. For the price it’s going for, I think you will have a tough time finding something similarly great performing.

$349 from JDS Labs

Review: https://headfonia.com/review-jds-labs-the-element-v2/


JDS Labs EL Stack II  [Added 25/01/2°21]

John and his team did it yet again. I really liked the OL DAC + Objective2 combo, I really liked the Atom stack and now I really like the EL Stack II. They certainly know how to make DACs & AMPs and boy, they’re consistent!

You read the review, I can’t find anything bad about it. Yet again with JDS Labs, you get a solid bang for your buck. EL Stack II offers many input options, features a balanced, accurate, and airy presentation. Technical aspects such as PRaT, resolution, stereo imaging, instrument separation, resolution are all excellent for the price. The black aluminum build quality, small footprint and easy-to-use operation makes it a brilliant candidate. Don’t forget that JDS offers one of the best customer service in the industry so if anything bad happens, they got you covered. Definitely give these a try!

$550 from JDS Labs

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/jds-labs-el-stack-ii-review/


Topping DX7 Pro

Topping DX7 Pro

Topping DX7 Pro [Added 02/08/2020]

You keep reading over and over again that the DX7 Pro and Topping gear in general is great, and it’s no different this time. The DX7 Pro is impressive as a DAC/AMP selling for only $599.  Of course there are always better units but the DX7 Pro certainly is outperforming its price point and many of the more expensive competitors on the market.

What I like about the DX7 Pro is how small it is on your desk but how big it is in performance. It doesn’t only look great but it sounds great too with a whole set of headphones. It becomes extra nice when you look at all the digital inputs and how well it performs as a DAC only. If you’re in the market for an excellent performing mid-fi DAC/AMP that will keep you happy for a very long time, the DX7 Pro is one for your shortlist.  The only downsides? Its light weight and the fact it doesn’t do MQA, but then again, who cares about that. Right?

$599,99 from Topping

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/topping-dx7-pro-review/

iFi Audio NEO iDSD

iFi Audio NEO iDSD [Added 08/04/2021]

The iFi Audio NEO iDSD is a hell of a unit. It is an excellent performer with a premium build, design, and internal components. It’s also very versatile with outputs and features. It covers every possible usage scenario, and in terms of sound performance, it’s also excellent with a neutral approach that allows you to add the signature of your speakers/headphones.

It has an unmistakable design, a nice user experience, great sound performance with excellent resolution, and last but not least, you can use it with basically everything. It’s certainly a great home audio device.

$699 from iFi Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/ifi-audio-neo-idsd-review/

xDuoo TA-30

xDuoo TA-30 [Added 14/07/2020]

The xDuoo TA-30 is the best DAC-AMP of the brand, to no-one’s surprise. It’s insanely powerful, supports almost every source, and will be a great all-rounder device for anyone in need of a tube-headphone-amplifier + USB DAC. The brand simply took all the good points of the TA-20 and TA-10, then pushed it to the limit. Amazing sound stage, powerful lows, sweet highs, and blissful vocals. If you want to discover the tube world, for a “relatively” low price, this is one of the best offer at the moment. My only drawback is the lack of an IEM mode, but there is the XD-05 plus for that.

$709 from xDuoo

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/xduoo-ta-30-review/

Astell&Kern Acro L1000

I’ve never been the biggest fan of DAC/AMP combo’s but the Acro L1000 has won me over. AK gave it a high end, audiophile tuning and the result is very impressive. Not only does the L1000 sound great it also looks gorgeous, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. On top of that it’s also a very versatile unit that has a large number of single end and balanced outputs, as well as a 15W/channel speaker output. The Astell&Kern Acro L1000 is a do-it-all unit and if you like a top level neutral tuning and have headphones, earphones and small/high impedance speakers than the L1000 really is the only unit you need. The only bad things I can say about it is the lack of inputs and the limited effect of the sound filters, but AK – also in their DAPs – swears to minimalist changes.

$899 from Astell&Kern

Review: https://headfonia.com/review-astellkern-acro-l1000

Burson Conductor 3X

Burson Conductor 3X

Burson Audio Conductor 3x [Added 25/02/2020] and 3XP [Added 09/06/2020]

With the Conductor 3X Burson has created a solid piece of equipment. It shows exemplary engineering on all fronts. The case is crafted at a high level, the internal layout is a beauty to look at and the sound completely convinces. I do have some negative remarks about it though. Like the missing channel information on the back, the not so good looking 4-pin XLR connector and the missing gain information on the screen. And maybe the remote control that doesn’t allow you to turn the unit off or switch outputs. The biggest issue for me though, is the background noise you get with more sensitive headphones.

The sound the Conductor 3X produces is wonderfully neutral, balanced and natural. It brings excellent body, resolution and enjoyment to both my speakers and headphones. Its high powered output gives enough juice to make any headphone blast. But on top, it also makes them really sing. When it comes to amplifiers, it’s not all about the power, the implementation is far more important. And Burson definitely made a high quality product that wins.

$2, 144 from Burson Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/burson-conductor-3x-review/

Burson Conductor 3XP

Burson Conductor 3XP

If you want a slimmed own, cheaper version of the 3X, the 3X Performance is the unit to look at.

I honestly do feel it outperforms its price level. It’s the kind of amp that drives all different types of headphones with ease and from the test results we can obviously say it matches well with all kind of headphones. The 3XP will make your headphone sound best, it being the $6000 USD Hifiman or the $130 USD Beyerdynamic DT770/32. The 3XP might be the Conductor 3X Reference’s little brother, but here’s not little in the performance of this unit. This for many will easily be an end game unit.

$1.344 USD from Burson Audio

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/burson-conductor-3xP-review/

Violectric DHA V590

Violectric DHA V590 [Added 01/04/2021]

The Violectric DHA V590 is a strong all-round performer. In the beginning I wasn’t too impressed with the internal DAC, but the more I used the unit, the more I used it as a DAC/AMP combo. They’re just made and tuned for each other. Headphone wise the HDA V590 is a great all-round performer as well. No matter the driver technology used in the headphone, the V590 will sound really good to great with at least 90% of the headphones you hook up to it. My absolute favorite being the Audeze LCD-XC.

The DHA V590 also is a great pre-amp and it at the moment is the only pre-amp I am using in my office system. I tried not using it, but I keep getting drawn back to it, as it makes my favorite tunes sound more complete. As is the case very often, you only know what you’re missing when you don’t have it anymore and this perfectly describes how I feel about its preamp function. The Violectric DHA V590 doesn’t come cheap, especially with the upgraded volume control, but it’s an excellent higher-end all-in-one unit and a – dare I say it? Yes, I do – End Game device for many.

€3.281,73 from Violectric

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/violectric-dha-v590-review/


Chord Electronics Hugo TT2

Chord Electronics Hugo TT2 [Added 10/08/2020]

Chord’s Hugo TT2 is a wonderful piece of equipment. It’s beautifully finished with superb craftsmanship and its sound is nothing short of spectacular. The only thing I would have liked different is in the use of headphone outputs. I know Chord says a balanced output is not needed for their products, but just for the ease of use it would be great to replace the 3.5 and one of the 6.35mm outputs with one 4-pin XLR output. Although for headphones I still stick to my dedicated amplifiers, as they take the TT2’s sound just a bit further. This has been a long journey, but such a great one. Over the last months I have gotten to know the Hugo TT2 inside and out. From the start it has made its place at the very top of my DAC list clear. I can absolutely see why people would call it quits after getting the Hugo TT2. Personally, I could be so very happy with just the Hugo TT2 and my Kef LS50 system.

It hurts me a little to say this, but since the Hugo TT2 has been installed as my main two-channel DAC I have somewhat questioned my headphone inventory. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to listen to my full-sized headphones at home, but I deeply enjoy listening to my LS50’s a whole lot more now. The Hugo TT2 has given me a perspective on the speaker set-up that I didn’t think I could get in our small living-room in the apartment. Chord’s TT2 has transformed my listening experience at home drastically. The Hugo TT2 is by no means a cheap product, but I don’t regret having spent a single Cent. In fact, it made me very curious to hear what the Hugo M Scaler would do to the sound. The chase of the white audio rabbit continues…

5,495 from Chord Electronics

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/chord-electronics-hugo-tt2-review/


Flux Lab Acoustics Atlas

I spend a lot of time listening to gear every single day and my wife accepts that (Best ever! She might be reading this) but I tend to stop listening/working at 9PM in the evening so we can spend some quality time together. The last few weeks my wife hasn’t always been happy with me though, “You’ve been spending way to much time in your office” is what she says. Well what can I say… blame Atlas. It’s one of those amps you enjoy so much and listening to your favorite tunes is just pure bliss. I just want to listen to more tracks and turn up the volume because it sounding so good. Atlas might be a bit expensive (and huge) but boy does it sound incredible. You get a high end, very well balanced, detailed but musical sound and you’ll fall in love with it right away. It’s no wonder the first batch sold out directly. You better start saving up and don’t forget new, extra large, furniture. Listed!

$5000 from Flux Lab Acoustics

Review: https://www.headfonia.com/flux-lab-acoustics-atlas-review/


If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, do take a look at the category overview:

Portable Sources: https://headfonia.com/category/source/portable-source/

Desktop Sources: https://headfonia.com/category/source/desktop-source/



  • Reply January 20, 2012


    Hey Mike,

    Would the ESW-9 do good for Pop and Alternative Rock/Indie or would the P5 be the better choice?  The ESW-9 just has a really nice look to it.  🙂

    • Reply January 21, 2012


      If you still want to play some alt. Rock the ESW-9 would be better. 

      • Reply January 25, 2012


        i have marshall major pairing with ipod classic 6 gen rev.3 (late 2009 edition) i listen ALAC more than mp3..i like alternative and rock..some times pop/jazz…why it sound so bad? pain in my ears especially for the high freq..should i add some cmoy BB amplifier or Fio E10 for make it better?

        • Reply January 26, 2012


          Probably not the fault of the Ipod or the recordings, but rather you need a headphone with less treble amount aka a darker sounding headphone. Try some sennheisers? The PX100-II perhaps.

          • Reply January 26, 2012


            if i forced to use marshall and add Cmoy BB ampli…could i get warmer sounding?

  • Reply January 24, 2012


    Hi mike. I just impress by beats solo hd for its portable use (direct ipod / blackbery), bass impact, and good isolation. Can you recommend me portable headphones which size is similar to solo hd, have a great bass impact, and good isolation (outside noises arenot heard) ? Btw Im considering hd25 adidas, but in jakarta it is 3.4millions rupiah ( the best price i could get), how is the hd25 adidas performance compared to dt1350 in bass and isolation?
    Thanks mike.

    • Reply January 24, 2012


      Btw is it worth to get the solo hd for 2.7millions rupiah or should i get the hd25 adidas?

  • Reply March 20, 2012

    Shakil Shaikh

    Hi Mike!

    I’m looking to replace my original PX100’s and was looking at the PX100-IIs before reading your reviews. In the UK, the PX-IIs are £35, the V-Jays £40 and the Tracks £50. I’m guessing by the love you give them that the Jays is the pick of those three, but I just wanted to make sure that’s still the current reccomendation. Thanks!

    • Reply March 20, 2012


      I still think the V-Jays are a lot of fun.. however there has been some people who’s been using the PX100 who thinks that they still prefer the darker sound of the Sennheiser PX100-II than the Jays. 

      • Reply March 23, 2012

        Shakil Shaikh

        Argh! That’s no help 🙂 Thanks!

        • Reply March 30, 2012


          The Px 100 ii is Excellent. I own Sennheiser hd 201, Sennheiser px90, Sennheiser hd380pro, AKG k518dj, Koss Portapro, and the px100ii that is the favorite of the bunch!

    • Reply December 24, 2012

      Domagoj Tokić

      V-Jays all the way 🙂

  • Reply April 26, 2012


    I think the lists a bit short .

  • Reply September 20, 2012

    Nana Brenu

    Hello Mike, after your analysis of the ATH-m50, i was curious to try it, ordered a pair this week and i must say im pleasantly surprised at how good they sound, so much so that i seem to be reaching for them more than my HD25-1 II which i really love. Would you say they are portable for everyday use running around the city, because they are tempting me to replace my HD25-1 II as my main portables?

    • Reply September 21, 2012


      The M-50 never fails to disappoint. 😉

      I wouldn’t replace the HD25-1 yet though. Give it 1-2 months and see how you like the M-50 for walking around the city.

  • Reply September 23, 2012

    cyborg drackle

    im thinking of buying px100 ii, nd had 1 ques. can i get same quality of bass, or even more in full size ones..-in the same price range? 😛 sennhisers r my first priority as they easily available in india (buying is less time consuming) i listen to metalcore, hard rock nd a little rap, i need bass, as i like the blend of base nd distortion. there r few new models also nd choosing is very confusing. plz do suggest me 1 with open back, either portable or full size, in 40$-70$. ur reply wld b a gr8 help for me mike. thx

  • Reply November 13, 2012


    Hi Mike!
    i’m searching for a good headphone with detail Sound.. i have two option: the ATH M50 and the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro. i often listen to metal, rock, alternative, but also Jazz.. what do you recommend?

    • Reply November 29, 2012


      MEtal rock alternative, Beyer COP would be good. Also try the Senn HD25-1 I think it’s better for Metal, Rock and Alt.
      Jazz, ATH M50.

  • Reply November 18, 2012


    Hi Mike,

    you reviewed the fidelio L1 in March. I was looking at the lower range but similar downtown and uptown primarily as the L1 is out of my current Budget. have you ever tried out these portables? What is your view on their strengths and weaknesses? Thanks for your help.

  • Reply November 28, 2012


    Hi mike, I’m from Brazil and want to buy a very nice headphones for my iPhone. I usually use it at the gym (a quiet gym) or on the go, and usually listen to pop rock. I’m in doubt about the px210bt – U$160, hd25 – U$200, dt 1350 – U$250 and the P5 – U$340. What is the best one? I like a good bass, not as beats, but good. Thank you very much

    • Reply November 28, 2012


      I’d pick the HD25 out of those choices. But if you do treadmills in the gym, maybe consider IEM / earbuds with ear hook instead. For non gym activity, Vmoda M80 is also good sounding with bass.

      • Reply November 28, 2012


        I already have some IEM =)
        Do you prefer the M80 – U$160 over the HD25 – U$200? Thank’s

        Enviado via iPhone

        Em 27/11/2012, às 23:06, “Disqus” escreveu:

        • Reply November 28, 2012


          I’ve owned the M80 and have demo the HD25 also. Both are good headphones. But I think the HD25 with the split headband can stay in your head better while working out at the gym compared to the M80. So it’s more of a functionality preference rather than sound preference.

          • Reply November 28, 2012


            Last question, promise: what about the sound?

            Enviado via iPad

            Em 28/11/2012, às 01:16, “Disqus” escreveu:

            • Reply November 28, 2012


              Both offers different traits, but more to modern music recordings. If you like agressive sound, but not in a Grado fashion, the HD25 is best. I think it’s also respond to a broader range of music genre than the M80. But if you like a more balanced, a bit laid back, and a bit airy sound, the M80 is for you. Though I’ve found the M80 did not quite match my taste in rock music. Other than that, I love the M80 more.

              • Reply November 28, 2012


                About IEM (here I come again), there are 2 on sale. The Monster Turbine Pro Gold Audiophile In Ear Speaker with ControlTalk for U$150 and the Klipsch Image X10 Noise-Isolating Earphone for U$85. Do you know any of them?
                Enviado via iPhone

                Em 28/11/2012, às 02:39, “Disqus” escreveu:

                • Reply November 28, 2012


                  I’ve never tried any of those. Sorry.

                  • Reply November 28, 2012


                    damm, you are fast! thank you very much

                    2012/11/28 Disqus

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

                  • Reply November 29, 2012


                    The Monster I think it’s awful. The Klipsch X10 I’m not really familiar with.

                    You should try the Vsonic GR02 Bass. It’s very cheap and extremely good. I’m guessing $30-$40. Try some sites like mp4nation to see if they have them.

              • Reply November 29, 2012


                Good comment there by Gorboman.

          • Reply November 29, 2012


            Good point there on the split headband.

            Nothing works as good as an IEM though for Gym sessions.

  • Reply December 1, 2013

    Ahmad Parapat

    i think this recommend list need to upgrade….

    • Reply December 16, 2013


      Yes, definitely

  • Reply June 4, 2014

    Alton Britt

    Help me decide for general music-listening on Onkyo 629 and Ipod Touch-5th; also watching movies via home theater: Koss DJ Pro 200 or Logitech UE 6000? Much appreciated!!

  • Reply June 7, 2014

    Chris Allen

    Great recommendations! The Audio-Technica ESW-9 has to be my favorite out of of this list of recommendations with the Bowers & Wilkins P5 coming in close second. I do see these Marshall headphones receiving some talk lately and even my local Best Buy has started carrying some. I’ll have to try them out sometime. Great list once again!

    Chris A.

    • Reply June 7, 2014


      I have the ESW9a which is my wife’s favorite, but I also have the Thinksound ON1 which is at least as good sonically, but has many advantages in comfort, portability and durability.

      • Reply June 8, 2014

        Chris Allen

        I’ve yet to see and know little-to-no information on the Think sound ON1, dalethorn. I will keep a look out for it though. Thanks. 🙂

  • Reply July 14, 2014

    Amirhossein Mohammadi


    I own a Sennheiser RS220 and i’m very pleased with it , I’m looking for a headphone for outdoor use and have $250 budget . What do you recommend with comfort in first priority ?!

    I got my eyes on :

    Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
    Yamaha HPH-PRO300
    AKG K271 MKII
    Sennheiser HD 558
    Sennheiser MOMENTUM On Ear

    • Reply July 14, 2014


      Beyerdynamic DT 770 32 or AE
      Beyer T51P
      NAD Viso HP50
      B&0 H6
      Philips L2

  • Reply September 18, 2014

    Muhammad Osama Khann

    The most beatifull earbuds experience. Now read all about earpiece in-details for first-rate headsets here at bestearbudreviews. We give all the analysis of some of the best earbuds available in the sound-system market. Read some of the latest and edifying earbud reviews here.

  • Reply October 16, 2014

    Robert Madison

    Here is an extremely creditable review about the Creative Sound Blaster E3. Check it out!

    Review: http://www.toptengamer.com/creative-sound-blaster-e3-dac-review/

  • Reply February 11, 2015


    Hi guys!

    I’m thinking of buying a pair of portable headphones and a DAP – right now I’m deciding between a B&W P7 or a BD DT1350 to go with either a DX90 or AK120 II. Any thoughts on what the best combination would be out of those options? Any other suggestions are also most welcome!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply February 11, 2015


      I’d get the T51P for on ear but the DT770 for overear. DX90 and AK120ii are both really good, it depends what you want to spend. the DX90 does have more drive power than the AK

      • Reply February 11, 2015


        Thanks for the advice! So I take it that even though DX90 has more drive power the AK120 II will have no problem driving the T51p?

  • Reply February 13, 2015

    Yavor Moskov

    Hi. I just bought KEF M500 which by my opinion sounded pretty amazing and while still highly tuned, sounded more natural and relaxing than Bowers and Wilkins P7. The vocals are more pronounced and forward than both BW P7 and Bang and Olufsen H6. Also, I do not know how but the soundstage feels bigger than it should be, considering the fact these are on ear closed headphones. Only small issue, not very stable on the head and can fell off, if you are too active. I like it a lot as a portable, easy to drive headphone (really easy), for people who wear glasses like me. They are super comfortable. Maybe same level as B&O H6. Check it out.

    • Reply August 28, 2018

      Gregory Wodark

      I too am a fan of the KEF M500! I generally like KEF speakers, having owned many of their products. I agree they are more comfortable than most other on ear designs, have great build quality, and sound quite satisfying. Especially, with a good portable AMP/DAC ( I use the Oppo HA2).

  • Reply February 14, 2015

    Yavor Moskov

    I want to find now over-ear style headphones for on-the-go and as well to use them at home. I have Momentum over ear but it is a way too uncomfortable for my ears and I just used for no more than 10 hours. I will sell it for sure. I am looking for headphones that can handle complex classical orchestras, jazz, female vocals, chamber music and choirs, new age and celtic music, some rock, pop, funk and instrumental music. So far my list includes:
    Sony MDR -1A
    Bowers and Wilkins P7
    Bang and Olufsen H6
    Philips Fidelio L2

    I can buy MDR-1A and Fidelio L2 for a lot cheaper than in USA, because I have friends in Netherlands and Japan but I never heard how they sound. I read already the interview about L2 on this website http://headfonia.com/the-phenomenal-philips-fidelio-l2-feat-fidelio-m1bt-review/ and is highly promising. I never had Sony headphones before and I don’t know. What do you think? Any suggestions or comments?

    • Reply February 14, 2015


      Since you said before that you like the M500 better than the P7, I don’t think the P7 should be on this list – i.e. you should be looking for a better headphone for “around ear”. You do mean “around ear” instead of “over ear”, yes? Because the Momentum “over ear” never did go around the ear properly. I wouldn’t choose the L2 either – maybe the X2.

      • Reply February 14, 2015

        Yavor Moskov

        Yes, I meant “around ear” 🙂

        • Reply February 14, 2015


          The H6 won’t fit around, the L2 is questionable, and the P7 is very, very snug. Sony sometimes has very good sound, but I don’t bother with them for various reasons. You’ll see some in studios, but other than that you’d be best to stick to models that have a good long track record. For home use, and comfort, I’d choose the DT770-32 or the AKG K712 (on a budget), or if money is available, get one of the better planars. Just get something with big earcups – it makes listening so much better.

          BTW, check the individual reviews here so you can read the user comments. That way you can get a better idea of the users’ experiences.

    • Reply April 25, 2015

      Jessica Ruby

      • Reply April 25, 2015


        3 of the 4 headphones that Yavor enquired about are fairly bassy, while most of the competitive AKG’s (ex: K712) are much lighter in the bass.

  • Reply August 28, 2018

    Gregory Wodark

    What? No iFi Micro iDSD BL? Surely, it is in the same ballpark as the Mojo. Maybe, you have not reviewed it yet. From what I have read, it is a virtual “Swiss Army Knife”, of AMP/DACs ( portable or at least transportable). Also, it is said to be at the same level of sound quality as the Chord Mojo.

    Now that I think about it, what about the in-between iFi product? The new iFi XDSD portable. Does it not rate either? I find that hard to believe.

    The own two products on this list, the Audioquest Dragonfly Red, and the Pro-Jet Pre Box S2 Digital. So, I have some experience with how they perform. I suspect the iFi products are superior ( Dragonfly vs. Nano, and S2 vs. iFi Micro). I also have an Oppo HA2, and I wonder how the Nano, or the XDSD might stack up? Any thoughts?

  • Reply March 14, 2019


    Just starting to learn about all this. very newb and novice.

    Right now, I’m using sennheiser 599s and might upgrade to Bower & WIlkins PX and/or a higher end pair of sennheiser 600, 650, etc.

    I’m considering using the Spectra X or iFi Nano iDSD Black.

    Have been testing the Sprecta X for a week or so…seems cool.

    Which of these would be the one to buy?

  • Reply January 20, 2021


    Chord TT2, headphones B&W P9 when using speakers play direct to two Cambridge Audio 851W powers amps to B&W 805 D3 speakers, Chord Epic cables all the way. Job done..!

  • Reply January 20, 2021


    Oh and Hugo2/2go in the back pack when out and about

  • Reply January 23, 2021

    Luis André Ferreira

    What about the PAW S1?
    After reading your review never thought that little thing wouldn’t be in this list…

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