Recommend a headphone amp / DAC


Jun 17, 2006
Currently I have a Micca Origain DAC/amp I'm using with a pair of JBL Stage A130's. The setup is decent enough but I can't use any headphones with it. I think it would be a good idea to add a headphone setup, but I'll probably need a new DAC and amp (or combination).

Right now I have 3 machines I use with separate inputs: desktop-OpenSuSE-optical output, Laptop-Mac-USB, work laptop-Windows-RCAs from headphones out. I'll either be using the speakers as a downstream output when I don't want to use headphones, or get rid of them entirely (they take up a lot of space and I could use them in the bedroom. I use a Iogear USB3 switch for my KVM (no video), so I'd like something I can either plug into the USB switch and use that to swap between when I change the keyboard, or something with enough inputs--but the USB has to be compatible with all the systems. I can't install discrete drivers with the work laptop.

Right now I'm looking at the Topping DX3 Pro+. It is a DAC with integrated headphone amp with RCA outputs for speakers. Looks like it ticks the boxes, should work across operating systems, and Topping usually gets good reviews. Budget wise, it's about what I'd like to spend but I can be flexible.

I've also looked at something like the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic 200M. It is compelling because it has dual optical inputs, which my Mac docking station (CalDigit) can use, and my Linux desktop works well with optical. I could also hook my phone up to the Bluetooth for fun, and the USB shouldn't need drivers for the work machine. BUT, at $550 it's a little more than I'd like to spend.

For headphones, I don't have anything yet. Something probably $2-300, ish, maybe a little more. Typical can recommendations, or maybe earbuds. I usually fatigue with large earphones on my head but I can wear my AirPods for hours without issue. I've heard good things about a couple Shure models.

Is this a good DAC combo, or is there something else I should look at? I am OK with discrete products, so maybe a separate DAC, or the usual Schiit DAC/AMP (Modus/Modi, is it?)

Damn. I meant to respond to this last week. Yeah. That topping is a fine choice. Unless you look at used. Really though. Why bother? At this price point the topping is as good as anything as well as being very modern and flexible.
That sounds reasonable enough. I think I will give it a shot. No sense spending more if I'm not going to get a justifiable gain.