Small Silver DAC/Amp for Focal Elegia

Not long ago Elegia went on sale for super-cheap, and I bought a couple to gift. One of these is going to a friend who is into Mac stuff, hence I’m aiming for something inexpensive and silver-colored to match his Mac laptop. I’m trying to keep costs down around maybe $400 or under. Though that’s flexible if the perfect solution is a little extra. Whatever I get must play well with Tidal (somehow), and Bluetooth support (for convenience) is very important unless I just can’t make it work.

I’ve put together a D50s + Atom stack for another friend, so I started with something like that in mind. D50s, of course, may be had in silver, but small silver amps seem more problematic. In particular, the trouble I keep running into is output impedance. The Elegia is only 35 ohms.

The obvious choice might be an a50 with a d50s, but the SE out of the a50s is rated at 4.7 ohms. So, maybe, but the price is high and the damping factor is marginal.

Next I looked at the DX3 Pro, but the LDAC edition (which has literally everything else right), but that has an impedance of 10 ohms! Argh!

More recently I’ve looked at portable options, which might be the way to go. The XDUOO-05 Plus and Fiio Q5s look pretty promising. I think I’m leaning toward the FIIO since the XDUOO sounds seriously overpowered for Elegia.

Looking for any thoughts about the Q5s, particularly experience with Bluetooth or Elegias. Likewise, any alternate ideas for gear appreciated.

You can still the ‘Old’ iFi Micro iDSD new…

It’s what I use with my MacBook Pro :+1:

The Elegia is easy to power so I think cleanliness should take preference over power. I think if asthetic matters a lot the fiio Q5s looks great and more in line with the mac aesthetic than the XD05 plus. The XD05 wasn’t super clean from what I remember when I owned it but I haven’t heard the Q5s so could be similar for all I know.

Look at some Schiit stacks

1 Like

Bluetooth support? LDAC is the latest and greatest, but really quite new and not in too many products. I could pair an external BT receiver with this, but then how to keep the chain clean?

Looked around and didn’t see many used options for this stateside, but it got me thinking about xDSD and xCAN. More about that in a minute…

Absolutely. This has been informing my hunt. It felt ironic that the massive output of the XDUOO-05 Plus is almost a detriment in this case, but I’m not trying to power Argons, as Z did in his review. I need something that does justice to the clarity of Elegias without so much juice that you have to be careful with volume adjustments. And that’s all I really need. I don’t expect my friend to get bitten by the bug and start collecting a range of headphones and IEMs

That’s very helpful, and nudges me further toward certainly that the Q5s is the right call here. The Q5s has replaceable amp modules, and the DAC stage is dual 4493s, which is pretty nice at this price range considering you also get Bluetooth and amplification. Output impedance of the default amp is 1 ohm, and apparently this works well for sensitive IEMs like Campfire Atlas (which I think are like 8 ohms).

I got some good details on the sound, as well as comparisons to iFi stuff here:

The above article paints the Q5s in a somewhat better light than xCAN and xDSD. And the FIIO seems very, very Mac friendly (even coming with a lightning cable, I believe). May take a chance on it if someone else doesn’t warn me off.

Of course! I neglected to mention those were on my radar early on. Bluetooth support kept me looking.

The Magni / Modi stack is a perfect match aesthetically, but no BT. Also considered Asgard 3, possibly with a Topping E30 instead of the integrated DAC (4490?). Again, no BT.

I think Bluetooth is going to be an important convenience factor. The more I look at portable options, the more attractive those have become.

Good call on Schiit, though. Should be a first look for silver color gear, and it was, but I’d been looking for a minute before I posted this and forget to mention it above.

1 Like

UPDATE: I decided on the Q5S for the Mac friendliness, good fit for my needs, and immediate availability. Got it in hand today, just ahead of the headphones arriving.

Thanks, all, for feedback and ideas.

1 Like

Listening to the elegia with the q5s as I type. The bass boost is subtle but almost night and day for me. Gives the sound the body and slight warmth it was lacking imo. I’ll ve to return the q5s to my mate soon. Still thinking between this or the hip dac for myself. Bluetooth definitely handy but not essential for me

1 Like

I’ve got another friend who owns Elegias and was looking for a portable solution for both them and some other, harder to drive headphones. Ended up steering him to an XDUOO XD-05 Plus. He’s loving it. So maybe one more option to look at…

1 Like