Budget amp and dac under £250

Hi All

Looking for advice if possible as I am new to all this and totally confused with all the options

Currently using an old SMSL M3 for listening to music / Gaming / watching you tube / watching movies all on PC

My current head phones are the DT 990 Pro 250ohms and the ATH-M50x (but don’t really use these that often) and I also plug my Kanto Yumi speakers into the back of the M3 as they have their own power source

I will also be looking to purchase new headphones in a couple of months but that will be another question

Has anyone got any suggestions for upgrading or should I just stick with what I have?

Thanks in advance

If you buy really power hungry headphones you might struggle to power them from the USB. But tbh don’t spend money you don’t have to…
At the minute, Schiit is out of stock in the UK and will be for a while, so the obvious solution is a no go. I’d say save your money for the moment and if one the headphones you buy in the future needs more power then pull the trigger then.

take a look at the iFi Zen DAC. it’s a combo with both 6.5mm se and 4.4mm pentacon balanced output. they just released a v2 that is supposed to have better USB processing, but I have no complaints with my v1.

ya pretty sure the IFI zen DAC is one of the better options at this price range while still saving a lot of cash.
Not sure how well it plays with the D990 but it should be fine

M0N advises the Zen DAC will barely be enough for anything with mid-high impedance like your DT990 250 ohm. so scratch that as an idea

I know Schiit is having stocking issues because of the pandemic effects on the supply chain, but you could check their UK store for the Magni 3+ or Heresy. those DEFINITELY have enough power.

Thanks for the replies so far, Would I be better off looking to get a new amp / dac & Headphones as everyone seems to think I will struggle with 250ohms - They are 2 years + now, so If that is the best thing to do then I can up my budget and get new headphones now instead of later, or do I just wait - Confused now lol but that will teach me to buy power hungry headphones

Massively depends on the volume and the type of music you listen to. Basically if you blast EDM all day you need way more power because a) you’re listening at a high volume and b) the bass content allows you to listen even louder (whereas that much treble would hurt).
You’re not complaining about volume so you probably have enough power for what you have now. But USB powered stuff is limited to 5 watts total power draw. Compare to some dedicated amps with 5 watts output power! The beyers you have are somewhat hard to drive but nothing like, for instance, Modhouse Argons: those would actually be quiet on your setup.

i think the fiio k5 pro might be what you are looking for. i have the dt 990 & 770 250Ω and the k5 powers them both just fine at 2 o’clock in medium gain. definitely more than enough juice there for the beyers.

I listen to all sorts of music to be honest - Linkin Park, Genesis, ELO, 60s 80s so nothing that’s fixed

The SMSL M3 has been ok but I can turn it fully up and its loud but not that loud you have to remove the headphone

My iFi Nano BL powered my Dt770 250 ohms ok, good otg too :+1:

Been watching lots of reviews about the K5 Pro and they are all positive and everyone seems to think its a good combo

yeah its definitely not bad at all. the only 2 problems i have is that the dac by itself sounds slightly worse compared to my sanskrit 10th mk2 (a 100$ standalone dac), and on my unit the spdif input isnt working

Hi All

Thanks again for all the input and recommendations - I have been and will continue to research them all - I like the look of the K5 Pro as it seems to be able to do everything I need but also swaying towards the Schiit but obviously I will have to wait because of stock issues at the moment, looks like the iFi Zen is out as they will not have enough to drive my DT 990 but at least it leaves me with a few to look over


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