Portable DAC/Headphone Amp Recommendations

Well I’ve dropped my Audioquest Cobalt Dragonfly a few too many times and the right channel keeps cutting out. Those little dongles are slippery. Audioquest told me that they would replace it for fifty percent of the retail cost but I’d rather not be without a portable DAC during the time it takes to exchange it. Anyway, there are some other options out there, i.e. the Mojo Chord 2 and I was wondering if any of you Goners had your own opinions and recommendations on the matter? I most often use my DAC and iPhone combination at the gym so something smaller in size would be preferred. I’ve looked at Earmen, iFi and others but remain undecided. Earbuds are Cardas and headphone are Aurora Borealis. Thanks!


You might find the Topping DX3 Pro+ is a good fit for your requirements. At 4.75 X 1.25 X 5.5" it's pretty compact, it uses a decent ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip and supports coax and optical inputs up to 768/32 and USB up to DSD512; and Bluetooth 5.0 with LDAC and aptX HD. As a headphone amp, it delivers 1800mW into 32 Ohms, meaning it will drive just about any dynamic headphone with lots of headroom - including my notably inefficient HiFiMan Sundaras - with a very quiet, detailed, clear and neutral signature. Setup-wise, it offer 7 different rolloff filters, and +6 or +19dB HP amp gain, for starters. And it comes with a nice big display and a remote. That it does all this for under $200 is quite an accomplishment.

@panzrwagn Thanks for the input. The Topping would be a bit awkward for my needs. My primary goal is to find something that I can use at the gym. I know that may seem odd however, I spend a lot of time there and music is a motivator to make me get out of my chair. At this point, I’m wondering if I can justify both the cost and the size of the Chord Mojo 2. I’m thinking Velcro, rubber bands, etc…to make this endeavor a workable solution.

Sounds like the Dragonfly works well for your needs.  I’d just suck it up and listen without it until the exchange comes through, and a 50% discount doesn’t exactly suck.  Oh, and try not to drop this one so much.  FWIW.

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