Upgrade DAC/AMP (combo or separate) up to $400

So, after getting the Elegia, since I will need to ship for my country I decided to bite the bullet and make an upgrade in my source gear. Currently have a cheap FX DACX6, so the jump may be significant. I have a Loxjie A10 Speaker amp, so lineouts are a plus. Current headphones are K712, HD58x, Elegia. I really hear a lot of different music styles, like Jazz, R&B, Pop, Folk/Folk Rock, Hip hop, and some of my Brazilian goodies (Samba, bossa, and other styles from here).

The options I considered so far are:

- JDS Labs Element II - my only downside is the lack of a lineout, but I am considering getting and connecting the pre-outs and use the knob on it for volume control. The plus is fewer cables.

- Zen CAN + a DAC (either the Zen DAC or the Grace SDAC Balanced) - my higher problem with this is the 4.4mm interconnect with is kind of a pain to get. Also, it seems like a complicated mess of cables to connect.

I will be shipping these so size and weight is something to consider. If someone has any more ideas and suggestions I am all ears open.

I’ve got the Zen Can paired with the Topping E30 and I haven’t worried about the 4.4 just connected via RCA although will be getting a 4.4 adapter for the headphones themselves, just don’t think its worth it for the interconnects. Sounds really great with my stuff. The Can makes it a bit warm which along with the bass boost can make it not ideal if you have a lot of bassy headphones but if you want a little more bass this is perfect. I also like the 3D effect, not exactly sure what it does but makes everything seem a little less flat and more interesting. Ever so slightly makes the vocals seem like they’re coming from more in front of you than inside your head. Not a big difference but it is there and I love it. The 4 gain settings is helpful too, it works well with both IEMs and high power stuff

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Why not a Schiit Asgard either stacked with a modi or modius or with an internal card? I believe it has a line out.

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@linneti69 That was something to consider. My idea with a SDAC was just to connect the single-end to the power amp and balanced to the Zen CAN to avoid splitters, but the E30 was a consideration.

@dcofficehack I believe the Asgard has pre outs, but pairing it with the modi/modius would in fact give-me line outs. This option will be dully noted.

However, in the weekend a deal appeared here in the forum for an Element II with a very sweet price. I could not resist the knobular sexyness. =D


See if you can find a used IFI micro black label. Will do all your require, excellent portable combo unit.

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How much did the customs ripped you off on the Elegia? I also live in Brazil. Just out of curiosity.

I shipped them through USPS using EMS, which ended up being kind of a waste because it still took like 2 months to get to me. I was affected by the Correios strike, so take it with a grain of salt. Anything EMS or International post (“regular Int. USPS”) is taxed 60% on total price (declared value plus shipping). And values above R$1000 must be paid through direct payment (A.K.A Boleto).

Anyway, if you’re going to buy the Elegia, one option is to ship them using something similar to E-packet. Myvipbox, which I use, have in the format “Sky Post”, but you may look with other forward company if they offer something similar. These smaller packages are usually not stoped by customs, or even if it is they may not charge the 60% tax. I do believe the “full” package for the Elegia was about in the limit of weight, but there are so many boxes that a repackage is a valid option. Again, it depends on how you will get these forward.

You can also declare a different value when shipping, which I do not recommend not only because is illegal but also because any insurance will be on the declared value, and if you lose the shipping you just threw money away.

Getting the Elegias is very expensive, you can at best include another 200 USD easily. The best way would be to ask someone that is going there to get them for you and bring in the luggage. But I’m becoming a fanboy of them after just little more than one day, so I really think they are on a whole different level. If you like this kind of sound, I can 100% recommend it. But anything you can’t buy from China, if you’re getting them to Brazil, be prepared to pay extra in the Customs.

Got it. I love Chi-fi also because we can import with less fees. On the IEM’s market I feel they are not behind american or european companies, but in terms of full size headphones, aside from hifiman, I’m still waiting for one major player.

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Why isn’t Burson Audio Playmate being mentioned?

Burson seems like a very high quality company who makes good products with a very reasonable price.

I am actually very curious about the Burson stuff. They do ship directly from Australia to Brazil, but they didn’t inform what shipping method. The playmate is currently $400, which was on my budget. But this price is with STD opamps, to get the Burson goodness you need another $200, which is quite the extra. That’s what ended up getting me to look elsewhere, and also the fact I was already importing stuff from the US.

Do you have (or had) the Playmate? How is it? Did you use the Burson Vivid/Classic or the standard one? I will say the Conductor/Solist is on my watch if I ever upgrade to higher tier amps. But at least until next year, I have to focus my spending on other stuff.

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I do not have the Playmate, but I think it was a more worthy investemenet - because you can always upgrade it if you have the need to.

But hey, it’s good you made up you mind!

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