I am slowly building a high end headphone amp from bits and bobs I can pick up on line. So far I have built two amp boards based on a lehmann design and have swapped out most of the capacitors for better quality ones. I have an RCore transformer to keep the noise down and a high end stepping potentiometer. Now one of the final pieces of the puzzle… I decent a asynchronous USB DAC capable of crazy bitrates. All together I have spent around £100 on parts and when it is finished I suspect it would go toe to toe with most sub £500 amps.
I do plan on making something we can sell once I have worked out the bugs but I suspect once I have built the case and stuff they would probably retail for around £300
I could not wait to plug the DAC in and give it a go to see what all the fuss is about. We normally use an arcam rPac which was around £130 and is not a bad DAC from what I have read but as soon as I plugged in the XMOS one I could hear the difference – much more detail and brighter sound – I am now super excited about putting it all together