Budget DAC for Powered Monitors + Headphones

I’d like to use a DAC with my computer, my onboard audio isn’t cutting it. It will primarily be gaming and some music. I have two Emotiva powered studio monitors and some Sennheiser 555 headphones. I’ve looked at devices like the Topping D10, but its clear I can’t use my headphones with that device. I’ve also looked at the SMSL M3, but I am unclear whether the powered monitors will have a negative effect. Budget is up to $150, preferably sub-$100. Although I’d be up to pay a little more for longevity. Not a pro-gamer or audiophile.

Can anyone provide me in the right direction? Thank you.

If you want an all in one, the fiio k5 pro would get the job done, rca pre outs and a nice headphone amp with a decent dac. If you wanted a bit better, you could grab a topping e30 or smsl sanskrit 10th mk2 and an amp like the schiit magni 3+, it would yield a better quality sound and more flexible for upgrades or changes in the future

M0N, thank you for the reply. Dumb question - on the Fiio k5 pro model, I see the back has one line out port. Right now I have my two monitors paired together with a L/R adapter. I gather I’d plug in the L/R adapter to the line out?

Just to check what model speaker is it?

Its these Emotiva Airmotiv 4’s - https://www.stereophile.com/content/emotiva-audio-pro-airmotiv-4s-powered-loudspeaker.

Would there be any benefit in just having a DAC like the Topping D10 and figuring out the headphones later?

You could do that, but you would want the topping e30 as it has volume control via a remote whereas the d10 does not have any volume control (just for safety so you don’t blow out your speakers). You could always add in a headphone amp later on

One last dumb question, on the Topping E30 - where do you plug in the headphones? I see there is a L/R port and “Coax”. The 555s have a 6.3mm stereo jack with a 3.5mm adapter

So the topping e30 is a successor to the d10, and also has no headphone amp, so you would add in a headphone amp later on. If you want an all in one the fiio k5 pro is my choice imo

Thank you for all your help M0N, much appreciated.

1 Like

No problem, if you have any other questions just ask :+1: