Looking to upgrade from the FiiO K5 pro

I’m currently using the FiiO K5 pro with the M1060 and the Tin T4, I’ll buy either the HD600 or HD660 s depending on which drops to a more reasonable price on my countries amazon and probably the Sundara later on.
I want to try balanced audio and/or THX technology and I’ve been looking at these options:
-Drop 789 or Monolith 887 + a yet to be selected balanced DAC, preferentially a cheaper one
-SMSL M200 + SP200 (I know the SP200 is not balanced)
-DAART Yulong Aquila II (640 USD, it’s the highest I’m willing to go)

These are the current options I’m considering. Which balanced DACs would you recommend for the 789 or 887? Which option do you think would get the best sound combined with the listed headphones? Do you have othe suggestions of DAC/Amp combos that would outperfor these options for a similar price?

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so you could get an Asgard3, Geshelli erish and a balanced dac for around that price. thats what i use to experiment with headphones and feel like i got it covered for now. Sundaras,6xx, and k712 is what ive used so far. Ive been pretty happy and this setup is versitle, and good resale value. So, THX is considered over rated around these parts. i havent personally used it, but i have stayed away haha The modius and enog2 are gonna be your best budget balance dacs. Just my 2 cents from my somewhat limited experience. Also the 6xx,600,650,660s sound great on a tube amp

IMO, the SU-8 is still a consideration as well in that similar price range if you find one used or catch it when it shows up on Drop. The Modius is probably the warmest of the bunch, with the Enog being more neutral, and the SU-8 being pretty neutral, but leaning analytical.

There have been a few mentions of the Modius/789 combo being a pretty solid one, giving new life to the 789 due to the synergy with the Modius. Or, you could go with the Modius/Asgard stack and have the balanced option available for later unless you just gotta have the balanced.

The benefit of balanced is minimal vs. a well implemented single ended like the Asgard, RNHP, Gilmore, Lake People type options. The main place you’ll see it make a difference is comparing the balanced and single ended outputs of the same amp, in which case most of the time the balanced is going to be better.

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Yep! Forgot the su8

Yes, the balance debate haha…so the Erish does sound a little different than the asgard3 though. But a rnhp would be pretty sweet with a nice dac

To be honest, one of the major reasons as to why I want to try balanced is that I like the XLR connector and to see if I can notice the difference.
I’m going to consider the SU-8 but I can’t buy from Drop since they don’t ship to my country. Thankfully amazon sells a few Drop products, like the 789.
Some of the Schiit amps and DACs are very attractive but the shipping is costly (85 USD + customs).

Does the su8 offer a true balanced connection or does it go unbalanced then balanced like the other thx amps?

Su-8 is the DAC, so it feeds a balanced signal, and is not THX