Best Amp DAC Combo Under $100?

So my computer at work is under my desk and the headphone jack is in kind of an inconvenient place as far as using headphones goes. I could just get like a cable extender or something, but I would prefer to upgrade the sound quality a bit while I’m at it, because the computer is pretty old so the onboard audio is nothing special. I don’t need a lot of power, because I’m just using Bose QC 35’s mostly, but I would prefer a nice clean signal. (The computer has no built in bluetooth either, if it did I would just use that).

So all that said, what’s a good budget friendly DAC/Amp combo that has a relatively clean sound?

The fiio k3 is a great budget option that would suit your needs pretty well imo. Not super powerful but if you don’t plan to get a headphone that would need more power, its great. If you would want a smaller version of that and could go portable, the fiio q1 mk2 would also be something to look into

If you bumped your budged by 50 usd, you could get the fiio k5 pro, that imo is an excellent value and can reasonably power mostly any headphone

If you needed Bluetooth, you can get a cheap Bluetooth usb adapter for like 15 bucks or less to give Bluetooth to the computer if you prefer


How would the fiio k5 probfair with powering passive speakers with Sensitivity of 87db?

The k5 pro cannot power speakers. If you wanted to power passive speakers, you would want to look into something like the smsl ad18 or perhaps also buy something like a topping pa3 to go along with the k5 pro.

Also would those speakers be on a desk or in a room?

Schiit Fulla is a good entry level option.

Sorry to resurrect an ancient thread but as the K5 pro is no longer readily available, is there an alternative that you would recommend for around that price point?

Does it still have to be a combo unit?

It would be nice if it was but if there’s a stack that fits into that price range I can make that work too

Hmmm. So something like the jds labs atom or liquid spark and topping d10 is out of your price range?

I could make it work most likely, although I’m seeing the D10 seems to be a little scarce at the moment. It’s out there, but from what I’m seeing on amazon it looks like the D30 is a little more prevalent. Is that worth the extra 30 bucks?

The smsl m100 is also something to consider

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The d30 is actually an older dac that isn’t as good as the d10. I’d rec the smsl m100 too.

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Oh that looks really sweet actually. I like the purply blue

They do have a matching amp but it’s not something I would recommend unfortunately

What amps would you recommend? the Atom or the Spark?

The spark and the atom or heresy are my picks. The spark has a warmer sound and the atom and heresy are a bit more analytical leaning

Between the atom and the heresy, which would you say leaves more room for growth? Like if I wanted to eventually get a little bit harder to drive pair of headphones (like hd6xx or beyer 600 ohm model or something like that) which is the better pick?

The heresy for sure, and they sound so close too

Ok awesome. I think I’m leaning Heresy and M100 then. That’ll be a colorful setup (in terms of looks not necessarily sound) but I dig it. Thank you for the help!

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Welp, the m100 is no longer available (damn hype). Is the sanskrit 10th gen with the remote basically the same DAC?