Recommend me a new headphone DAC/AMP combo

20 Jan 2005
Co Durham
I am currently using B&W P9 Signature headphones with a Cambridge Audio Dacmagic plus but i dont think it does the headphones justice and its now very old. Despite the B&Ws been only 22ohms the Dacmagic struggles to get massive volume. Perhaps they are too low as sure I read somewhere on a review on the DACmagic that its not recommended to use with headphones less than 50ohms

So i am looking for an upgrade please. We be using USB from PC as source. Music, films and games are the main sources.

Prefer DAC/Amp combo rather than two separates but not against separates if that is the better way to go.

Budget around £500.

So what should I be looking at please?

I do have an assortment of other headphones as well including some planar but none are above 50ohms and the P9s are currently my favourites.
13 Sep 2013
Bottom of budget, Lootoo Paw S1. Incredible performance considering its a dongle and only around 160 quid. Bought one to use with my tab s7+, I've ended up using it with the pc as well as its that good. Even runs balanced!

Middle of the road, topping.

Top end of budget, a used rme adl2. Can't beat this for sq and it'll end the box swapping. Can add a tubed pre later down the line if tubes float your boat.
13 Jan 2003
Ian Christian's HP-2 is an option DIY versions More info here: but he also does a fully assembled version under a different 'professional' banner. Nothing bad about that ... -140dB noise floor.
He's a regular on the diy audio forums, and other guy would be Ian Canada - DAC boards etc can be found on for example.

Currently designing and building my own little headphone amp and dac - using valves without a DAC chip.. a bit hardcore given the power efficiency :D but you do get a free room heater.
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