Looking for the best AMP + DAC for Focal Elex within $500

Sorry, was just visited by family. Built my nephew quite a nice computer (Ryzen 3600 [4.3GHz OC] + 1660 Super [1950/7000Mhz OC]).

Anyway, yeah I guess I’m committed now. I bought the Clear for $970.95 and RNHP for $403.95 – by what I can find that’s the cheapest I was ever gonna get either of those new (well, open box, but whatever). Then knocked off an additional $20 from the referral (thanks!). Probably the best deal possible, (especially for the red version). I see on their site I got their last open-box Clear and RNHP, wow.

I signed-up for their website because it looks like a good site to me, and I used their 5 month 0% No-Credit-Check financing so that I don’t have to eat the whole cost right away either. That’s a pretty awesome feature if I say so myself.

Now all that remains is the DAC and cables, more or less. I’ll hunt around for deals on the Topping D90 but given how new it is I figure I’ll just be paying the $700.

But yeah, I skipped over the BS trying to save money and decided to just go for it. I do hope this’ll knock my socks off.


Hopefully you really enjoy it :+1:

Cables, just use some amazon basics or something like that and you will be just fine

Even if not, at the price I got these, they’d be resellable possibly even for more than I bought them. That was on my mind when I pulled the trigger, “Even if things go south I could probably flip these or at the very least I’d certainly make my money back”.

Just hunting around for the D90 now. Looking like I may just have to go for it, unless I decide something else is adequate enough but hell I’m already this far in may as well go for all premium.

Are there any kinds of earpads or anything I should know about?

I would stick with stock earpads as I think they are the best for the sound

Fair enough.

Looks like on the Topping I’ll need USB or IIS LVDS to make use of the full functions of the DAC. I think I’ll choose the latter, but continue to use the SPDIF when listening to sources it can support.

I haven’t messed with this kind of stuff for a while. I’ll need to look into WASAPI and ASIO drivers and stuff again.

The topping with usb being preferable imo

Also towa just got his rnhp for his clear and posted some impressions

Awesome! Yeah I see he’s pairing it with the ENOG 2 Pro. I’m considering that if the D90 turns out to be too pricey. But I think I can afford it.

ENOG 2 user here :raised_hands:

Assuming the MQA version will be close to as much as the standard I may just wait until it’s available March 1st.

Yeah I think I’ll wait on it – plus Drop may get ahold of it too.

In the meantime I’ll just drive it off my Modi, knowing it’s not ideal just yet. I’ll get to selling my existing equipment in the meantime and such.

I had the Topping D90, but eventually just decided to ‘downgrade’ to the Enog 2 Pro, as they sounded more or less identical to my ears when A/Bing them and the price difference is pretty big. I thought the D90 might be ever so slightly better through balanced… but it wasn’t a difference that was big enough to really pinpoint or say specifically what it was. Enog 2 Pro single-ended definitely sounded about just as good as the D90, even balanced.

Also partly because I ordered the ARES 2, which is on backorder and I have to wait several weeks for it.

Just shows how good the enog 2 pro is lol. The rnhp also scales very well with dacs, I’m using mine with a lavry quintessence and it sounds excellent (I swear I’m not stupid it’s part of my studio setup lol)

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yeah, i mean… when you think about… $200 is going into a dead simple DAC with the ENOG… where as with the D90 you are paying for a DAC along with DSD, USB, a nice OLED screen, nicer housing, and a ton of input options. So, IMO, the pure difference in DAC performance not being too wide makes sense.

That’s also what I like about the lavry as well, just raw performance with enough features to get the job done, no unnecessary stuff

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Actually I think my best dac now has even less features than the lavry lol, so less features = higher tier dac confirmed?

The more functions something has, the less it performs at each of those functions.

This is why washer-dryer 2-in-1s are worse at both functions. Also part of the reason we opt for dedicated amps & dacs over what’s integrated in the motherboard to begin with. Equipment with a single, dedicated function tends to do that one function really well.

That’s not to say it can’t perform super well at each of them, but you’ll be paying a premium for that. True if all you care about is PCM audio then I’d bet the Geshelli is all you need – but I’m looking to dabble in other things and don’t want any problems down the road.

You’re paying extra to ensure that it performs just as well at each function as a dedicated PCM device handles PCM.

I figure you need the more expensive approach when trying to support all these kinds of different functions.

Not speaking as an audio know-it-all, obviously I’m not or I wouldn’t be here asking basic questions – but I just know this as a basic fact of life and lots of product buying. I won’t buy a washer-dryer 2-in-1, they suck, and we wouldn’t be here talking about this kinda stuff if onboard audio was good enough.

yeah, Was just letting you know my very subjective, personal experience is all… as I lived with the D90 for a couple of weeks to help you make a decision. =) The decision is ultimately yours of course. The D90 is a very nicely built and well performing DAC, IMO… FWIW.

Too bad the Enog is spidif only. i need a usb connection. Has he ever said why he doesnt equip it with a usb port?

Yeah… I think it was because he’s a small operation and USB requires driver support… and can become costly to support from a business side.

You can get a cheaper USB to spdif converter for like 50 bucks and they work just fine