Help needed - Portable Dac/Amp

Hello guys!

So, a little backstory: I entered the hobby around April/May, and I’ve almost fully converted into IEMs and Earbuds by now, since I love their portability and usability, specially during the day or at work.

So I own a lot of buds and a couple IEMs, and now I’m looking into sources. At first because I wanted to learn more about them and about the different “flavours” they can give, but now I also need a different source that has low floor noise.

I do own Btr5, Shanling M3X, a couple of dongles and I have an amp (Venture Eletronics’ Run About Plus 5) incoming, part of a bundle, that is stuck at customs atm.

I bought a Tansio Marai Land a month ago, but I was on vacations and didnt put too much attencion into it, but some days ago I realized I have floor noise (hiss) from my M3X, that is my main source.

Since I dont know much about dac amps, I’m in need of assistance. My budget is up to 400 bucks, but around 200 would be perfect.

My must haves:

  • Somewhat portable or stackable
  • Good baterry life
  • Low floor noise/nice for IEMs
  • Lineout to use other amps if desired, and act as DAC
  • usb-c
  • good output power for more demanding buds, future proof, but doesnt have to be a beast.

What I’d would like to have, but not mandatory:

  • Line-in
  • good interface/knobs
  • 4.4mm headphone jack
  • bass button
  • iem match

Will be used with:

  • M3X
  • desktop
  • Maybe cellphone

What I have on the list:

  • Xduoo Xd-05 plus (maybe balanced, not sure its worth it tho and double the price, but built in bt) - Seems good, can roll op amps later.
  • Luxury & Precision W2 - simple but effetive
  • ifi hip-dac - not sure on this one
  • ifi nano dsd - dont know much about, but BL gets a lot of praise

Thanks in advance!

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I can’t compare against the other stuff you’re looking at, but I can at least give some thoughts on the XD-05 Plus. First off, I think it sounds pretty great for the money! However, I bought a couple of op amps and literally every op amp I tried in it sounded better than stock, so I really would strongly recommend buying an op amp for it if you go that route. (Lots of people like the Burson V5i, though I preferred the AD827SQ.) Battery life is pretty good, though I’m usually not driving it too hard. (I’m usually running either IEMs or a Focal Elex when I’m away from my desk.) Anyway, 1W into 32ohms seems like plenty of power for whatever IEMs you’ll be running.

As for downsides, I think the Bluetooth implementation for the XD-05’s add-on module isn’t amazing. Sound quality-wise, Bluetooth’s always going to be a bit limited, but I would get occasional drops and stuff using the XD-05—not super-often, but I wish it was a little more reliable. It’s also really annoying that the Bluetooth add-on needs to be charged separately, that definitely sucks. Also, if you’re running sensitive IEMs, you’ll hear some noise whenever you adjust the volume. (Nothing that can’t be fixed with an IEMatch, but still.) Also, unsurprisingly, it’s kinda big. It’s not actually all that heavy, but it’s just kinda awkward to carry in a pocket.

I’m mostly using an xCAN these days, which doesn’t sound as good, but it has better Bluetooth and it’s half the size of the XD-05 Plus. (I’d like to get my hands on an xDSD, but iFi’s hasn’t had them in stock for a while now.)

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Thanks a lot for your input!

How the floor noise with sensitive IEMs, do you know? Are op amps easy to roll?

I dont care much about BT, tbh, and have btr5 for that. So its not something I do need since barely use it…

The size is fine for me, but I thought it was heavy, so thats nice to know!

Tried it just now with the Dunu EST 112, which is 10 ohm impedance with 110db sensitivity. The kind of hissing sound that I think of as “noise” is only there when I turn the volume pot (though it is fairly pronounced when doing so). However, there’s also some kind of low-level tone that’s easiest to notice when no music is playing. (If anyone else wants to try this for themselves, you’ll need to play a song, pause it, then listen for the sound—the XD-05 seems to mute itself if nothing is playing for a long enough period of time.) As mentioned earlier, using an iFi IEMatch makes both sounds go away.

The op amp is pretty simple to roll. You unscrew four screws, slide out the board, and swap out the chip. The chip and the pins are kinda small, so you might have a little difficulty actually putting in the new op amp if you’ve never done this kind of thing before, but it’s really not bad at all.

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Yeah thats the same problem I have on my M3X… Guess that one wouldnt solve it without also buying an iematch then…

Can you tell whats the boost switch for? Cant seem to find it.

I would say if you want hiss-free stay away from ifi hip dac. I can hear Hiss with these IEMs:

Blon 03
Blon 01
Final audio E2000
TIN HiFi T2 Pro
Kinera TYR
Venture ElectronicsVE Bonus IE
GuideRay GR-i18
MoonDrop Starfield
Ikko oh10
Final E4000
Final E5000
HarmonicDyne PD1
TRI Starsea
TRI Starlight 4
Kinera nanna 2.0 Pro
Shuoer EJ07M

XD05 Bal is a good option, but it is in the thick, and huge side, but I didn’t notice any hiss with my IEMs.

L&P W2 I don’t have it yet , but I ordered one from Taobao, and hopefully soon I will have it.

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I ended up getting L&P W2. Love it so far. Later I’ll get desk amps for when I delve into open backs, but so far, this combo seems to work flawlessly :slight_smile:

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That sounds great… And I am happy you are enjoying it.

Hopefully I will like mine too.

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What’s wrong with the BTR5? I’ve found mine to be an essential kit and have yet to have any grounds to complain.

Nothing wrong, it’s a great piece for the price :slight_smile:

I thought I had lost mine this week and was prepared immediately to buy a new one. I absolutely love it. Fortunately I found it before clicking that button…

I bought it largely because of how well it integrates with BT, i.e. its ability to be both a BT and USB DAC seemlessly. Plus a mic. So for me it’s perfect for setting up a mobile office. Or just walking around. And the price.

If I recall from when I shopped for the thing, none of the competitors really offered the same degree of integration. I was tempted by the Xduoo XP-2…the bigger Xduoo had crappy BT integration. Plus the Dduoo’s real strength is the power, which I just don’t need on the road. Fiio has that Q5 thing, if I recall correctly, but it cost much more, and it also seemed to be oriented toward balanced. Then there were the iFi things, which also cost much more. But today if I wanted to step up from the BTR5, and I didn’t need to be able to walk around with the thing in my pocket, I’d go iFi.

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May I ask you something?

Sure. Or just pm me if you prefer

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Thank you…

My question about the Sample Rate on the W2 when u using it via USB Audio Player Pro App…

For example this song

If you look at USB DAC: 88.2kHz which shows on my xduoo xd05 bal, and btr5

But the file as you can see is 44.1Khz

The same goes with this song

If you can see the file is 192khz, but it is streaming 96KHz.

I don’t know if the same goes with the L&P W2?

All the songs from Tidal

Sorry, I don’t have Tidal MQA to test it…

Does it happen with Flacs too?

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Ohh okay
U don’t you have HiFi tidal either? May I know the streaming service you use?

I don’t know tbh all the songs I have are MQA.

If you use Tidal HiFi can you share a Flac file to test?

I run all my files local using flacs. I have normal Tidal since it comes free with my cellphone subscription so :man_shrugging:

Also, I can’t always tell the difference between 320kbps or Flac, so I dont need more quality than that, specially after seeing the videos proving how bad MQA is. Can’t really help you with that, sorry.

Also, MQA to be fully utilized you gonna need a dac that decodes/unfolds MQA, which L&P W2 don’t have, neither does BTR5, and not sure about XD-05.

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Thank you for responding.
U are right… Also the xduoo is not capable of MQA either. Tbh I don’t really care about MQA.

As long as the quality is good and I can enjoy the music that what matter to me

I was just curious to test. :sweat_smile:

My L&P W2 will arrive tomorrow I think. So excited to test it when I am back home.

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Congratz :slight_smile: Love my W2, very clean :slight_smile:

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Hey, I believe MQA decodes 44.1 at 88.2khz and 48 at 96khz.

I am not sure about the 192khz, as to why its downsampling. I gave up on Uapp once apple went lossless. Android is just a pain even with an external dac.

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