Budget amp and dac under $160

i was thinking about the k5 pro but i wanna ask whether there are other better options out there for under $160. I am currently using the beyerdynamic custom studio 80 ohms. I don’t really plan to go and listen to “lossfiles/ high res files” (if that’s how its called). I only plan to listent through spotify or youtube for my music and Ill also be using them for gaming. to ask the question again…is there a better option than the k5 pro for my use under $160?

Hello and welcome to HFG!! The K5 Pro gets good reviews. I have an iFi Zen DAC which is very nice and highly recommended for $150 and below. USB input and both SE and balanced output. As well as SE and balanced HP output. It also has a bass boost button which is addicting. Great bang for your buck.

ive done some more research and was wondering if the k5 pro would be better than the dx3 pro…:sweat_smile:

With the K5 you really don’t need to worry. The DX3 is also good, idc how they compare tho. The DX3 is 230, so over your budget.
With the ifi Zen DAC I’ve read that it’s best used as a DAC no as an amp, but also fine tho.
The Atom is just an amp, you’d need the DAC aswell that is also 100$, so 200$ in total. When you go for 200$ you get a bunch of stack options (Schiit, JDS…). They might be a little bit nicer than the K5 but the question is if you need that right now and want to pay more money.

I’d recommend you to get the K5 for 150$ it is farly nice and will get the job done for quite some time. I don’t think there is anything that is really gonna beat the K5 under 160$ as a DAC and AMP.
To go higher is right now not really necessary imo. Next better thing would be Magni 3+ + Modi 3+, but thats gonna cost you 200$ + shipping + waiting, cause Schiit is in backorder.
If you want to up your audio I’d look into headphones first (tho your beyers are nice, don’t get me wrong).

so i shouldnt get something “more powerful” than the k5 pro if im only planning to use it for youtube, spotify, and when im gaming?

Absolutely not true at all.

The Zen DAC I bought for my girlfriend sounds pretty amazing with both my old MrSpeakers Mad Dog’s (modified Fostex T50RP) that she uses and my Hifiman Sundara’s. Granted, it falls a little short of my Topping A90, but that’s to be expected.

For just YouTube, Spotify and gaming, the Zen DAC is overkill.


k5 pro = zen dac > xd05 basic?
(base on sound quality, clarity, and soundstage)

how do the zen dac and the k5 pro compare to each other?

For what you’re going to be using them for, any of them will be perfectly fine.

I was going to purchase either a Topping DX7 Pro or SMSL SP400 for my girlfriend, but then she saw Z’s review of the Zen DAC and wanted that one because she likes the way it looks. Lucky for her, it performs extremely well… Lucky for me, I saved $500 getting the Zen DAC instead of one of the other two.

That $500 saved immediately went to the purchase of my SMSL M400 DAC for my rig.

oh dude btw i saw the modi 3+/magni stack and was wondering if itll be better for my use case. (i usually play games like bfv) also would it bemefit me at all if ill buy the stack over the k5pro? what are the pros for buying the stack instead?

At 80 ohms, the Magni is going to give you the most power out of any of the amps mentioned here, at at least 1 watt @ 80 ohms. All of the other amps will be at a 1/2 watt or less at that impedance.

As for the DAC, the Modi+ will get you the most excellent Unison USB, but you won’t be getting any DSD or MQA decoding, if either of those are important to you. Nor will you get any upsampling. If none of those features are important to you, then the Schiit route might be the way to go, especially with the amp as I mentioned already.

DAD, MQA, and upsampling? WHAT ARE THOSE!?!

Based on your original post, those things do not matter.
The $40 of a Schiit Modi/Magni stack over a FiiO K5 is worth it.
More power and future flexibility.


bruh thank you so much for answering all my questions bro! really appreciate it!:smiley:

(just curious…why does the magni heresy/3+ have holes on top? whats are those for?)

For venting (heat dissipation)


Save $20 more and get a B-stock Schiit stack


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Schiit Stack is definitely a great way to go and worth $40 over budget.
An alternative is the Schiit Fulla 3. DAC/AMP combo with Mic input for $100.
That should have enough power for those cans and the Mic input is nice to have for gaming.