Help needed for DAC/AMP combo shopping - Sundara

Hello everyone,

I am glad the moment came when I have to ask for help with purchasing my first next-level audio gear.

I am currently using ATH-m50x, which I bought a few months ago, but they didn’t impress me, so I want to prepare for the change.

I decided to buy Sundara, after a good time of the research. But in trying to find a DAC/amp combo for it, I found the barrier as the subject is very complex. So I decided to ask for help in the end.

My budget is 250 $/EU. I don’t know if I should get DAC and amp separated, or if I should go for a combo.

The one that caught my eye is the FiiO k-5 pro. Schiit is not available in my country (and I think in Europe in general, but I am not sure). Topping, zen, smsl, and lake people are available. And maybe some others I cannot remember.

If you think that I will benefit a lot if I spend 250$ on an amp only, and then save money for the DAC to buy later, I will also consider that option. But only if I will benefit a lot.

I would gladly accept to review any recommendation, and I would like to thank you for your time.


P.S. The music I listen in case it will be helpfull: Metal very rarely as I am older, hip-hop and variations not at all, but everything else from clasical, through jazz, rnb, blues, pop… to the hard rock, yes.

I always ask the big simple questions when I see someone pivot pretty intensely.
In this case, are you cool with tons of sound-leak? Like, the person in the next room can clearly hear your headphones. Also, you don’t need a TON of bass, do you?

If yes, no – then proceed. What source are you going to be using these with primarily?
Depending on your use-case, you could definitely run a dongle for your DAC.

Lots of options.
How about xDuoo? The headphones would be happy with an MT-602, hybrid tube amplifier (no dac).
If you’d like a capable device that is portable flexible, the XD-05 Plus is a large portable DAC/AMP. Possible you could be happy with an XD-05 Basic, but I’d like to have double the power for Sundara.
Topping DX3 Pro+ is an all-in-one that fits your price range. K5 Pro is the old price/power all-in-one.

You have a lot of options at this point. Refine your use-case and we can help trim it down.

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Hello, thank you for your response.

I don’t have a problem with sound-leak, I live in perfect enviroment for open headphones.

As for bass. I am used to it, I like it, but I think I am ready to sacrifice it for a bit to get soundstage and imaging. If there is a chance to keep it, I am also open for that.

I will connect it with my desktop. I don’t need the settup to be portable.

Personally, if available and under budget, I think I’d stack an xDuoo MT-602 and MU-601.

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Thank you for the recommendation, I will consider to go for this, it seems like they would be a good pair with sundara. I will probably go for this actually, if I can get them (I think I can), but I would also like to ask you two final questions before I make the final decision:

  1. What will this xduoo amp/dac give me, which for example fiio k5 pro can’t?
  2. I have MT604 at good price, what do you think?

Topping dx3 pro+ would be my bet. Cleanest, best value dac/amp with enough power to drive the sundara.

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604 is just a bit more demanding/restrictive.
Requires balanced only input, no pre-outputs. Independent left/right volume pots. Needs XLR cable purchase.

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