Recommendation for a DAC/amp stack for ~500$ total

I’m looking to improve my dated audio setup. I mostly listen to music (mostly rock/metal/jazz/classical), movies and do some gaming.
Preferring clean/accurate/detailed sound. Headphones I’m currently using are the Beyerdynamic DT 770 with 250 ohm, but I intend to upgrade them as well soon (up to ~500$ max), so I’m looking for recommendations there as well. I like bass, but it doesn’t have to be over the top. Headphones must be closed and comfortable.

I’ve read a lot of reviews over the last few days but the ones I found most interesting were the ones that were the hardest to find here in Germany… e.g. JDS Labs or Schiit are almost impossible to buy, sadly.
2-in-1 devices are also OK.

I’m currently looking at the SMSL SU-8 and the Aune X7s, but I’m still open for anything. Especially looking for a good matching pair. (+ headphones)

The price ranges aren’t set in stone, if there’s a really compelling reason to go higher (or lower) I will. I’m just thinking that I don’t need high-end for my purposes.

Thanks for ideas.

I recently received both smsl su-8 and sp200. I am in awe…

That would be pretty sweet if it is available in europe

I enjoy my SP200 and Enog2 Pro, but the JDS Labs El Stack is still my favorite at that price range.

Europe poses a much more complex picture of course.

Yes you can. Got the sp200 from Hifi-express sent from UK to Spain, and the su-8 from

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That’s a great combo then if you want something clean and pretty resolving

I’m looking for the same thing (in Europe also). Waiting to see a review for the topping A50. If good I’ll probably go for the topping stack. D50s plus A50.

both are on amaz… no problem
for a closed back upgrade, check out used Focal Elegia - there are some for under 600, if you are lucky

Would there be any DACs that could pair up with a THX amp, like the 789? Or THX 888? Those are some of the cleanest amps as far as I know.

The su8 and enog2 pro come to mind. The airist r2r pairs well with the 789 stack and sound wise. The smsl m500 is good too. I think those would be appropriate for the price.

So I guess the problem for them then would be finding the 789 for sale somewhere, as it can be hard to find sometimes right?

You can get them in stock from drop, or buy used, it’s somewhat readily available now. The thx 887 from monoprice sounds almost exactly the same too. The sp200 (888) works better for single ended though

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That does stuck that you can’t get some of the U.S. brands. In think ENOG2 PRO/ Archel 2.5 pro or ENOG2 PRO / Schiit Heresy are at Least = or > than SP200.

that said I do like the SP200, but in think THX has become overrated after the last wave of “budget” amps.

You can get the same sound or better, cheaper, IMO

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Bear in mind the Enog only has coaxial and fibre optic inputs, so no USB in.

If buying a stack at this price, why not get a combo unit like the highly rated Topping DX7 pro? A neat single box solution.

That is true, most desktop, game console and media players have optical, but getting a USB to optical convert isn’t too costly.

If your not intending to upgrade it’s a fine way to go, I bought a Schiit Jotenheim for that reason.
But the Jot doesn’t have a line out, so you can’t just upgrade the Amp and use the Jot as a DAC.
The DX7 pro is the exact opposite, no analog in and line out… so you can use it as a DAC, but not just an amp.