Gear Culling Advice

Hoping to get some input as I cull a bit. I’ve already decided on a sole portable device, going with the Hiby R5, and selling the Monolith THX Portable, Little Bear B4-X, and EarStudio ES100. Next, I need to eliminate DACs/Amps. The rabbit hole has become somewhat problematic, as the wife does not appreciate/value audio, and is perfectly content with her Powerbeats, or honestly any crappy listening device. Sooo, the last few purchases during quarantine have not been met with approval to say the least and I probably won’t get to go through the critical listening process of elimination I’d like to. That’s where all you fine fellow audio enthusiasts come in.

That said…For DACs, I currently have the SU-8 and Cayin IDAC-6 MkII standalone, or Questyle CMA400i in a combo. I obviously wouldn’t pin the SU-8 against the IDAC, so it goes. Remaining CMA400i and IDAC-6 duke it out. Which DAC would you put your bets on if you’ve heard them?

For Amps, I’ve already determined I’ll be culling the Loxjie P20, SH-8, Liquid Spark, Micca Origen V2, and Topping MX3. Remaining are the Liquid Plat, RNHP, Cayin IHA-6, and again CMA400i. Keeping no more than 2, what would be your choice? Cayin stack to rule them all with the customizable tube pre and plenty of power? CMA400i and Liquid Plat? Liquid Plat for balanced power and RNHP for single ended refinement?

For reference, the hardest to drive cans I have (though I’ll be doing a bit of culling there too) are the Argons, Ether CX, and Aeon X, so need some power, but nothing crazy, and pretty much everything I have can be run balanced. My sonic preferences are warm natural sound with some refinement in detail.

Thanks in advance!

Well, just in case anyone was interested, I ended up hanging on to the Cayin stack and the RNHP for desk, and the Hiby R5 for portable. Everything else is posted (brtha51 on eBay in case you’re in the market) or sold. Still holding on to most of the headphone collection, though I posted a few of those as well (HE4XX, X2HR, PXC 550, BL03, Tin T2).

Disappointed I didn’t get to really get to experience the CMA400i, as it is an incredibly well built piece of kit. Likewise with the Liquid Plat, the way everyone’s talking about it, it sounds pretty great, and looks the part too. Makes me wish I could hang on to it.

I’m very satisfied, though, so far, with the Cayin/RNHP combo. The tube pre on the Cayin is very subtle, and the combination of Current and Gain Hi/Lo options offer great flexibility. Oddly, listening to the Elex on low gain and low current running balanced through the IHA-6, there’s a faint hum that disappears as soon as I switch to either high gain or current. Assuming there may be a little power/usb noise, but not sure why it’d disappear on a higher gain/current setting.

You must be taking a serious hit on depreciation on pretty much new gear?

I would never give up my LP.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to pick a fair bit up lightly used or open box, or otherwise discounted so the hit isn’t quite as bad, but still a little painful on a few items I did buy new. At some point, I may pick up another LP, but for now it goes…