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I just received my SDAC moments ago and expected to be able to connect it to my one of my laptop's USB ports and use it right away by plugging my K7XX headphones directly into the SDAC's 3.5mm jack on the back of the SDAC, while I await receipt next month of my pre-ordered Drop 02 amp. However, I see the "Setup Instructions" card that comes with the SDAC says with respect to this 3.5mm jack (referring to it both as a "connector" and a "port"), "2a. Connect to an amplifier via the 3.5mm connector. (Don't use headphones with this port.)" Just to be safe, am I correct to assume that despite the parenthetical in the foregoing instruction, it is safe to use my headphones plugged into this 3.5mm "port", when I want to use the SDAC without an amplifier, as I certainly THOUGHT was the case when I placed my order for the SDAC?
DACs aren't designed to deliver power. The 3.5mm port is for convenience if that's the cable type you have to wire up your amp.
I'd like to think it isn't damaging to use the 3.5mm jack on the dac to power headphones but no guarantees from me. The output power/performance of a dac (especially with low'ish impedance headphones) is probably worse than practically any amp in the market. So keep that in mind... I'd just use the laptops audio jack even if there's a little electrical humming.
Thanks, Michael-Q. Probably best for me to just wait until my pre-ordered Drop O2 amp arrives (in August?) before trying out the SDAC at all...
....as already mentioned, you will be missing the single most important part of your chain for getting a suitable listening level (if any at all).
Just wait for your amp. 👍