Originally Posted by un1b4ll
Is there anything that I can get that would be good enough to be worth the upgrade on my M17xR2? I don't mind bulk, but I'm thinking of upgrading to some AD-700s and I'd like to have a source that makes it worth it. Thanks!
Depending on if you plan on using it for gaming, music, movies, etc, there are many options. Since you're after some AD700's, I would assume your budget would be the same, or less, than the headphones you plan on getting. And since you're after the open-air version of the 700's, that means you plan on basically keeping it at home (ie, not portable; though I use open airs for portables, but that's just me). So two suggestions:
is only $75. It has optical in/out, connects via USB, and has a headphone amp. So it's a good option for a portable, inexpensive, soundcard that can power the 700's and yet still provide optical out so that you can output to a receiver or something should you care to do that one day (movies/games). It's X-fi chipset, so good for gaming if that's up your alley. Otherwise, good device for a laptop setup.
If you want portability, the
is a solid portable DAC/AMP. It has no special options for gaming and movies and no additional outputs, but that's the sacrifice for portable power. You can then move from laptop to pocket and wear your AD700's anywhere you go with great sound. And should you ever upgrade headphones to something with a lot more impedance, you can add the
docking amp to the setup so that the E7 then is the DAC at home, and the E9 then is your at-home AMP. So it's a good combo for home/portability should you get more into hifi and higher impedance headphones (300~600ohm). Again, this option doesn't help you for games/movies. This is strictly a music headphone setup.