Best portable dac or amp for 4xx

Hey guys, beginner here. I just bought a pair of 4xx. I was wondering what would be the best bang for the buck upgrade I could do for audio quality.
Something significant from running Tidal masters off my laptop. But nothing that will chain me to a wall (so portable), but can still drive planars well.
Ergonomics aren’t a concern, just not being stuck to a wall. I’m open to any combinations or suggestions just totaling under $250usd total.
Thanks for your time!

Welcome to HFGF :smiley:

My iFi nano iDSD Black Label drove my Phantoms pretty well, MQA :+1:, iEMatch :+1: and S-Balanced 3.5mm if you ever need it and a line out to boot.
Maybe the hip-dac too but no sure as i’ve not used one :man_shrugging:

Thanks for the info Ohmboy. Yup, the iFi nano iDSD Black Label is on my short list.

At that budget I’d recommend the xduoo xd05 plus, the upcoming fiio q3 and IFI nano.

Wow, great suggestions Grant_Cho thanks!

+1 on this rec. I had these two paired awhile back and it has sufficient power to drive the 4xx nicely :ok_hand:

If you go this route I’d suggest saving up for a burson v5i op amp as it’s a nice little upgrade for the unit.

1 Like

Thanks, donjklassen. Yeah… the xduoo xd05 plus is over $350 in Canada so I cant consider it right now.

Do any of you know anything about the E1DA Power DAC V2 in comparison to the others? Right now I’m considering it, the iFi nano or hip-dac. Or waiting for the FiiO Q3.

Oh and should I consider bluetooth? Like the fiio btr3 connected to an amp, I’m assuming it won’t provide as good audio quality as the options above?

One more possibility a Lotoo Paw S1 small footprint but big on features and audio quality and I believe MQA with a firmware update?

If the xd05 plus is too much in cad, I would definitely recommend the xduoo xd05 basic. This is a recent release. Its basically the xd05 nonplus version with 500mw at 32 ohms and single op-amp for $150 usd i believe. This way you can also save up for a Burson v5i and the bl05 bluetooth module for the xduoo down the road.

1 Like

Would you guys say there is a noticeable drop in quality over bluetooth vs wired? Because I would prefer bluetooth but don’t want to compromise on sound quality.

Bluetooth has gotten pretty good in recent years with aptx variants and ldac codecs that allow for high data transfer rates. With the xd05 bluetooth it transfers ldac @ 192khz which sounds pretty damn good to me.

1 Like

Interesting, I’ll keep that in mind.

So, is there a noticeable difference in sound quality between the iFi nano and the xdo5 plus?

bruh, perfect timing lol. i’m selling an xduoo 05 plus for 210 shipped. it’s got the burson amp too which is great. ask anyone this is a super legit portable amp/dac combo. it powers planars super easily and leaves space open for headphone updgrades! Mine dosen’t have the bluetooth add on BUT u can buy the bluetooth thing for the xduoo! please hit me up if ur interested!

just spotted that u live in canada, with shipping up there it would be 250 total or so if ur interested, but i understand if u can’t still.


That’s a pretty solid deal imo, the plus with the burson should drive the 4xx pretty nicely, plenty of power and control which some other portables can’t give you, for 250 there really isn’t any other portable options that I would go for tbh if you wanted to drive planars like the 4xx. I would prefer like an idsd micro bl but that’s kinda a pretty large step up price wise and at that point going to a higher tier headphone would be worthwhile


That does sound like a decent deal. But I found someone local who is selling an iFi nano for $150usd.

I’m leaning towards that for the price and since it has mqa for tidal. Is the xduoo that much better?

So personally I would say the xduoo can drive the 4xx with more impact and slam than the nano can. The nano is a great little amp but imo I think you would benefit a good amount from the extra power the xduoo can give you. The nano is going to be a bit warmer and smoother than the xduoo, but the xduoo is going to be more dynamic and impactful with the 4xx, it just kinda would have more control to give (as the 4xx do appreciate having more power on tap). I think if you were going to focus on iems or easier to drive headphones like a 58x I might prefer the nano bl but with the 4xx the xduoo is worthwhile imo

Now this could potentially change things, if you are going to go for mqa the nano would make a bit more sense here, but I still personally prefer the xduoo from a sound perspective with the 4xx. Tidal will still actually decode mqa for you in software if you don’t have a mqa device and it’s close to playing native mqa (although with a true mqa device there are a bit more things going on inside the dac itself), but really imo the main benefit to the tidal masters is the potential remastering they do, not the mqa format itself

1 Like

Thanks for the detailed feedback!

How’s the Micca OriGen G2? I see I’m able to get that for $110.

Personally not a fan of that one, to me it sounds sloppy and unrefined, along with not having much power for harder to drive headphones, can distort easily. Also it’s a desktop dac/amp actually and not made to be used portable. If you were to go for a desktop dac amp setup something like a monolith liquid spark and an earmen donald dac would work very nicely

Is the liquid spark bus powered? And would I need a separate dac to get better sound quality from it?

No it requires a power supply to plug in

A separate dac would indeed help sound quality, although if you have a decent motherboard line out you could use that as a hold over with a rca to 3.5mm cable