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First dac . Topping d30 - Audioquest dragonfly black vs red .

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Listnnthdark, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Listnnthdark

    Listnnthdark Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    Location:
    West Lebanon NH
    Hello ( and thanks in advance for input )
    . I have never heard a dac but through reading up a bit am convinced it will improve my enjoyment of music . . I have recently moved to a rural area with no FM reception so have started streaming local radio through my Toshiba satalite laptop .a cable to my Nad receiver and on to my Kappa 6.1 .( I get all my music from my computer . Usually via youtube .) Cant help but notice that the live stream from Classical public radio does not sound great . Based on reading i am hoping for better via dac . (
    There are so many options it is confusing so im trying to narrow down in prep for purchase . In mind are :
    Topping d30 ( only because i read so much good about it and its small .) ( Want small and $100 - 200 ) Also noticed the Audioquest dragonfly black + red . I like that these plug right into usb and are tiny and look cool . I am leaning toward audio quest ., because the very first review I read Said " The sound will Blow your mind "
    As I read the review the first thing I noticed was that the writer was refering to his Infinity Kappa 8.1s and that it made a big improvement . This was for the Audioquest Dragonfly Red . So caught my attention .
    First question . Is the "Red " just better sounding than the "Black " ( or what )
    Does it sound twice as good as per $100 vs 200 price tags ? Dont want to spend double if not worth it .
    Second question . Would sound from topping d 30 be as good , or better . ?
    Would all of these be a solid bet to achieve better sound from computer ?
    Anything else i should consider . ?
    Thanks !
     

     

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  2. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    603
    Location:
    California
    If the classic public radio sounds worse than other things you stream it likely won't improve that much with a good DAC. It may even sound worse as you get more detail.

    I go back and forth on if I prefer the Topping D30 or the JDS Labs Ol DAC more. The Ol Dac seems to have a more spacious sound while the D30 seems more detailed. To me both are a step better than a dragonfly. But just like the review that said " The sound will Blow your mind " these are all just opinions and they may be completely incorrect.

    Schiit also just made some improvements to their entry level DAC, I haven't heard it but it would be interesting to get a 3 way DAC shootout. The Modi3 tested really well on audio science review
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
    Listnnthdark likes this.
  3. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,366
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    You have to remember that most streaming music is lossy compressed (MP3 quality). The premium options for many streaming services offer CD quality. However, none of those options are free.
     
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  4. Listnnthdark

    Listnnthdark Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    Location:
    West Lebanon NH
    Thanks for the responces . . I am illiterate when it comes to these things so thanks for helping . I did notice the public radio stream is mp3 so maybe worth it to consider premium option . Not that I really understand what mp3 means but at least now I understand that they are " Lossy " and that can not be good .
    So is it a true statement that someone who gets all music from laptop would be well served by having a dac and missing something by not using one ?
    So to understand better . What is it that dacs make sound better ?
    Does it have to do with how old a recording is ?
    Old analog recordings vs digital ?
    Some things are improved by dac and some are not ? .
    What is and what isnt ? Sorry for clueless questions .
     
  5. bigx5murf

    bigx5murf Super Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    There are also bitrate settings in most streaming apps, increasing the bitrate will help as well. Most lossy compression formats, when set to their maximum bitrate, are almost indiscernible from the original.

    To get the most out of a quality DAC, you'll want to forgo streaming altogether, and use a lossless compression format. This usually means ripping and compressing CDs. You CAN stream a library you ripped and compressed into lossless. You'll need to setup a NAS, and a Plex server to do so. Plex server is only necessary if you want to stream your collection outside of your network.

    The main benefit of using an outboard DAC, is that it does the digital to analog conversion outside of your noisy laptop. Most laptops will output some low noise artifacts when say a hard disk drive is seeking, or there's a lot of wifi activity.
     
  6. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

    Messages:
    2,063
    Location:
    Lobster Pot
    If most of your listening is online radio, get a CCA and just cast. The CCA's DAC is totally ok for that.

    Later on you can use the optical out on the CCA and add a DAC if you feel like you need one.

    Edit: Youtube can cast directly to the CCA as well.
    https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_audio

    Eric
     

     

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  7. Splatter Pak

    Splatter Pak High-End Scrounger

    Messages:
    3,879
    Location:
    Independence, MO
    If you're out in a no-FM area, try Radio Garden. It can connect you with ANY station in the world, and with good SQ.
     
  8. Guido57

    Guido57 New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    CT
    Any time you listen to sound from a digital source it goes through a DAC somewhere. When the DAC is bundled into something else, be it a computer, receiver, CCA or whatever there are compromises to get it to fit physically and fiscally. An external DAC reduces the compromises. As with everything, a some point one hits the point of diminishing returns. How high or low you want to go depends on your budget and the ability of your system to bring out the difference. That being said, your system will probably show the difference between an mp3 file at 128 kbit/s and the same music from a CD no matter what is doing the D/A conversion. You need to find a source with quality suitable for your equipment.
    Hope this makes sense.
     

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