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DAC under $200

Discussion in 'DACs' started by MotherSauce1, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. MotherSauce1

    MotherSauce1 Active Member

    Messages:
    187
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Considering adding a DAC to my system; would like to spend under $200. Any favorites out there? I'd like to keep the footprint small either hidden away or simple like the pro-ject box series.
    Looking forward to hearing what you all like!

    PS any DAV/Tuner combos come to mind?
     

     

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  2. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,306
    Suggest you read into the forum a bit before posing such a general question. Plenty of info there from any number of perspectives. Might even give you some ideas on expanding your system to include streaming, hi-res, and servers before you lock in with a gizmo that doesn't properly support such expansion. Good luck.
     
  3. PAGS

    PAGS AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,140
    Location:
    North of Philly
    Topping seems to be the DAC du joir for under $200. Plenty of discussion here.

    SMSL makes some good budget DACs, too. I'm using a Sanskrit 6 at the moment and am happy with it.
     
    KlipschFan61 likes this.
  4. MotherSauce1

    MotherSauce1 Active Member

    Messages:
    187
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Thanks Pags!
     
  5. Silentnet

    Silentnet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    854
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    TomB19 likes this.
  6. fredgarvin

    fredgarvin AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,142

     

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  7. lico

    lico AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,131
    Saw that SMSL M8, nice looking unit. I am really liking the SMSL M7 - it's a heavy little brick with internal power supply, no wall wart, and if I pick up another DAC along the way later it will make for a good desktop headphone amp.
     
  8. techguy0192

    techguy0192 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    984
    Schiit Modi 2
     
  9. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,602
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    I have a Topping D10 and an Emotiva XDA-2. I'm satisfied with both.
     
  10. SonofJames

    SonofJames New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Here are the ones I have been researching...

    Schiit
    JDS Labs
    Topping
    SMSL
    Audioquest
    HRT
    HiFiMe
    Stoner Acoustics
    Maverick

    The problem is DAC technology changes every year and then your upgrading again. It may be why something like a Schitt bifrost makes sense, albeit at a higher price point.

    I may just pick up a Mojo and be done with it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  11. 45rpmspinner

    45rpmspinner AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I'm not a digital-type guy, but I do own a JDS Labs OL-DAC.
    I figure if I have to add an extra box to a system it needs to be low-noise, no-nonsense, do it's damn job, and not color the sound

    Imo, the OL-DAC succeeds on all accounts. It's 3x4", so easy to hide. No gain knob.
    And, I have to say, the change from using the built-in DAC in a Mac laptop wasn't even close to being subtle.
    Increased soundstage, much better definition.

    Maybe not the best choice for someone deep into digital territory, but it suits me fine.
     

     

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  12. MotherSauce1

    MotherSauce1 Active Member

    Messages:
    187
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    thanks everyone. Joe, what are the numbers displayed on the Topping D10?

    The OL-DAC, Topping D10 are exactly the kind of box I'm looking for. Similar to the Pro-ject box line which I am fond of.
     
  13. MotherSauce1

    MotherSauce1 Active Member

    Messages:
    187
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I should mention (not sure if it matters) this is for integrating into my system, not for headphone listening.
     
  14. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,602
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Here's a link from Audio Science Review. The author makes no comments about the sound. However he does some fairly comprehensive testing and posts the results. It displays the sampling rate of the file being played. For dsd/dsf files it includes that information. The D10 in addition to going to 24/382 does dsd/dsf files to 512. The display automatically lights with sampling rate information (default is 44.1) as soon as a connection is made. It dims the display roughly a minute after a file starts playing. Seeing as how it's completely powered via the USB connection dimming the display after a reasonable delay makes sense to me. In my case it's connected to a laptop.

    https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...iew-and-measurements-of-topping-d10-dac.2470/
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  15. MotherSauce1

    MotherSauce1 Active Member

    Messages:
    187
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Thanks Joe! I've always appreciated your replies and post! The review was helpful and its nice to see the test results. At least by their comparisons the topping does pretty well! It mentions in the review that is is a "USB only DAC" any idea what that means? I plan to use the toslink connection with a chromcast audio most of the time--so I suppose I better figure that comment out.
     
  16. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,602
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    edit delete
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018

     

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  17. MotherSauce1

    MotherSauce1 Active Member

    Messages:
    187
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Ha well that explains it. I mistook the output i saw in the photo for an input. Does using adapters change its functional/performance you think?
     
  18. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,602
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Please ignore my last post. I got off my lazy duff and looked. There are inputs for USB, optical and coax (SPDIF) on the D10. The fixed output from mine is connected to a Little Dot MKII headphone amp.

    Please note:
    AFAIK the maximum sample rate supported by a Toslink connection is 96KHz. I have no idea how high a Chromecast goes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  19. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    California
    your first post was correct. Those are outputs. Is there a benefit to using an adapter to the D10 rather than just getting a D30?
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Silentnet

    Silentnet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    854
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Just get a D30.
     

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