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I think many people (including me) stayed away from this Geek Out products for along time because of the "1- volume button issue, 2- heating and 3- hissing with iem's" reports.
But in reality: 1- If you do not touch the volume buttons there is no problem and the LH is reported to fix it with a firmware.
2- heating appears to reach on moderate levels only when you play DSD high res files.
3- finally hissing is dependent on the iem's impedance and sensitivity levels. This issue is generally not a problem with headphones.
Most people forget that this small DAC is produced by an award wining company who also produces 20k USD DaVinci DAC. So don't let form factor to fool you. This DAC incorporated one of the most appreciated high-end DAC chips also found in Teac high-end DAC's (example Teac UD501 a 800 USD DAC).
One have to focus on sound quality first. Then the hassle free form. No need to use external adapter or power-cords, extra USB cables, etc.. And the power this baby packs. Generally there is no need for an extra amp.
If the main focus is high impedance iem use and especially HP use there is no better DAC at this price point on the market that packs the small footprint -period- IMO.
...in the end if you buy it at the lowest price and don't like it, you can always sell it at the similar price -if not for higher- (IMO).
It is a great DAC but as it stands you have to understand it's limitations. Given it is only good for certain use cases it by definition limits the number of potential buyers whose use case it does not fit (ie the universe of people who intend to use a DAC with high sensitivity iems). If it didn't have this issue I believe the number for the minimum price would have been reached long ago.
IMO the heat issue is really a total non issue. Other portable class A DAC/amps also get pretty hot (eg centrance m8) and no one says anything about it. It goes with the territory of being a class a amp.
Having said that its great value at the lowest price so get it if it is fit for your purposes!
FYI - contrary to what is listed on the specs page, I believe the chip used in the Geek Out products is the Sabre ES9108K2M. The Teac uses the PCM1795, which was the original chip for the prototype Geek Out, but was changed to the Sabre at some point.
Perhaps CSJ26 can comment?
You are correct. The Sabre chip is inside all of the Geek family of products. This was changed after the Kickstarter campaign.