Need help with amp/dac sub 1000USD

I have been a lurker on these forums for quite some time, and I want to thank everyone for the great time I had here, and I decided to ask you guys for advice regarding upgrading my gear.
I currently own Byerdynamic DT770 pro 80ohm and I use KGus K3 amp/dac.

I decided to purchase the Ananda v3 stealth and the Sundara closed backs. Having done that, I am looking to upgrade my amp/dac.

I am looking at the following options:

1- TOPPING DX7 PRO+ (699.00 USD)

2- HIFIMAN EF600 (683.76 USD)

3- SMSL M500 MKIII (529.99 USD)

4- SMSL DO400 (454.09 USD)

My main concern with these is if they would be able to provide enough power as amps down the line once I get harder to drive headphones, and if I can integrate an amp with those.

DAC and AMP stack:
1- TOPPING E70V + TOPPING L70 (798.00 USD)
2- TOPPING A70 pro + TOPPING D70 pro Sabre (1,198.00 USD)
3- TOPPING DX7 PRO+ with TOPPING A70 pro (1,198.00 USD)
4- SMSL D400PRO + TOPPING L70 or TOPPING A70 pro ( 1120 USD with A70)
5- TOPPING D70 PRO OCTO + TOPPING L70 or TOPPING A70 pro ( 1110 USD with A70)

I am personally leaning towards TOPPING E70V + TOPPING L70. The other 3 options here would cost 300$ more and I’m not sure that the increase in quality/sound they provide would justify paying that.

This would be my first expensive amp and dac purchase so I don’t have much experience in that. It would be nice to have something future-proof if possible.

Which would you recommend me and what would give me most value? Any advice would be appreciated.

P.S. I’m not in USA and purchasing things like Schiit products is out of the question as the tax/shipping on those cost me almost as much as the products themselves.

P.S.S. If I get a stack, what cables do I need to make my setup work, and how would I connect it? My source is a PC.

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Have you considered the iFi Zen Signature Set HFM?

Unfortunately, this is not available for me to find, what other combo or stack could you recommend at around 600-800$

i was look at the

first, welcome to HFG! second, I would go with the EF600 out of that list, but there are a few more details we need to know to really help out.

  1. Where do you live?
  2. What is your budget range?
  3. What kind of music do you listen to?
  4. What is your source?
  5. Are you open to buying used if it scores you an amazing deal?

1- I’d rather not disclose
2- up to 800$ or so for amp and dac
3- everything from metal to classical
4- flac files on PC
5- i prefer not

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when I asked where you live, I was meaning the country you reside in. this helps us figure out where you can buy from so the suggestions given are available to you. nothing nefarious…don’t need the a or s, just your l, LoL!

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in europe for now

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@Marzipan tried to groom me too… :crazy_face:


BTW, I really like the EF600. You get a lot for the money and their Himilaya R2R DAC is pretty damn good.


I read that it doesn’t seem to play well with high impedance headphones and drops back in terms of features. Is it powerful enough as an amp? How would it compare to getting TOPPING E70 + TOPPING L70 or TOPPING A70 Pro + TOPPING D70 Pro Sabre?

It is definitely powerful enough for the Anandas. The EF600 is a very organic and musical sounding combo. The Topping gear is as sterile sounding as it gets. They’re polar opposites. Nothing wrong with either, just depends on what you’re looking for.

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well it would be my first serious amp dac so i dont really know, i listen to all from classical to metal. Im really looking for max value and quality while being future proof

sorry for hijacking but this is for my personal edfication.

Based off my demo sessions with the EF600 its dry and highly textured but lacks the fine nuance due to pushing some of the microdetails up but not others. This type of sound is considered as organic?

Because I was always under the impression where something smooth yet dynamic and kills off microdetail like the hifiman goldwave(sorry havent head the og) or AK kann ultra to get maximum PRAT was under the organic label.

Back to the OG question. While it would really help to at least know what flavour he likes. Personally I still think the Fiio K9(non pro) is value for money but since you have the sundara closed it might be too thin sounding so maybe thick and agrassive like the burson funk would be good. While the funk might be good for classical it might cover up too much for metal so its still a compromise either way.

Yeah EF600 is a good choice but as long as you are willing to pay for it since its on the upper end of the spectrum.

In reality there isnt a max value as in there is different flavours.

I’ve had both of those headphones, all you need is a Topping E50/L50 combo and you’ll have plenty of power and they sound great. Noise floor is so low you can easily try 10 ohm IEMs in the future if you want as well. The balanced pair will have all the current planar headphones like those need. I have an audio business and have had a chance to use literally every Topping product except the DX9 and just got offered one yesterday so I might pick it up. The E50/L50 is one of the best values you can get in a stack. I just got the A70Pro last week, and it’s nice but the only advantage is staying in low gain on the balanced side all the time with a 5 volt DAC. Anything with a 120 SINAD score is going to sound so similar, with the exception of the original A90/D90 soundstage which really does standout.

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Best all in one solution to my ears that can be found around $1k is a questyle cma 12. It has a current drive mode that drives all of my planars without issue and a high z mode for when you have those high impedance dynamics. It also has a great AKM DAC in it.

Any recs for an amp with balanced input under $350? Only to be used with iems in conjunction with different sources. i am trying to avoid a dry and analytical sound.

Schiit has some good stuff. I have not heard the Midgard, but it looks excellent (especially balanced). The halo tech on the XLR jack looks interesting. Can vouch for the Jot2. Both are warm and powerful. I would only get the Jot2 if you plan to use the balanced jack. The XLR headphone out has a much lower noise floor and better detail retrieval. Works well for iem’s

Have had good luck with earmen. You can get the Earmen St-amp for around this price. It’s a DAC/amp, but has balanced inputs

There are a few powerful portable amps that work too. The Xduoo xd05 bal2 would fit the bill

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