Amp or DAC?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers' started by AndrewG, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. AndrewG

    AndrewG Casual Listener

    Nov 27, 2013
    Hi all,

    I have a pair of Audio Technica ATH-A900s (Audio-Technica - Products - Other - Discontinued - ATH-A900), that have a 40ohm impedance. I use them quite a lot for early morning TV viewing from a Sky box and a new Xbox One, both of which have optical outputs. Currently they are running into an old Pioneer receiver which has 2 optical in's that I can switch between, but I'm not sure the headphone socket on that receiver is a decent signal for my cans - the sound doesn't seem to reflect the quality of the phones. Regardless though, its a massive overkill for what I need!

    So I'm looking for a small unit to sit under the TV, ideally USB powered (in use, and not just for charging), and take an optical signal, and give me a decent headphone amplification too. (I don't mind if I only have 1 optical input, as eventually the Sky box will run through the Xbox One, so I'll only need the one).

    I'm slightly confused about the DAC side of things - I'm assuming I do need one, since the optical is a digital signal? I'd really appreciate some suggestions for suitable units around the 100 quid mark.

    Cheers all, and hello again!
  2. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 27, 2012
    If you want to plug your headphones directly into the unit then you will need an amp/dac combo. For £100 you can get the FiiO E17 - It's a portable amp/dac that is USB powered. It will be perfect for what you want and you can also use it with portabe devices such as music players, phones and computers.

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