1. Time for some upgrades in server hardware and software to enhance security and take AK to the next level. Please contribute what you can to sales@audiokarma.org at PayPal.com - Thanks from the AK Team
    Dismiss Notice

Help narrowing down DAC options

Discussion in 'DACs' started by invalidbuffa, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    There's a metric butt-load of DACs out there and it's mind numbing trying to navigate through all the options. I've been out of the loop for a long time and I'm currently seeking recommendations for a converter to use between my Win 7 PC and my sig tube and horn system. My budget is about $300 (give or take) and I'm looking for features such as asynchronous USB input, SACD/DSD support, and a headphone amp that can drive my HD650's.

    Does anyone have experience with the Hifime UDA38Pro? It seems like that would fit the bill, but I would hope the volume control doesn't affect the RCA outs...
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. nerdorama

    nerdorama AK member Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,351
    Location:
    Seattle area
    Mass drop has the Tooping DX7s for $380 right now. It gets good reviews.
     
  3. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    Thanks for the recommendation, but it's just a little out of my budget.

    I happened to check ebay and there was a DX7s just listed for 300. Decided to read some reviews and was going to pull the trigger, but I waited a minute too long! :mad:
     
  4. Hawkeye83

    Hawkeye83 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    East-Central Iowa
    Interested to hear what you find! I have yet to hear an inexpensive DAC that really impressed me. I thought the DAC's from Emotiva and Peachtree and Fiio were okay, just didn't really make me say "wow!" Not until I got into the $2k DAC range (which I bought used for more like $800) did I say "WOW!" Not saying it's impossible to have an incredible, inexpensive DAC, I just haven't personally heard one yet. Good luck, and please let us know impressions of whatever you end up with!
     
  5. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    I just placed an order for the UDA38Pro...will report back.
     
  6. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    The best DAC's I've heard all utilise the AKM 4497EQ chip. Maybe check a few of those out?

    I've found one by Weilang Audio that is spectacular for the cost with the 49710NA OPAMPS replaced with cheap Chinese HDAM OPAMPS.

    I hadn't expected the HDAM's to be better though they are slightly more dynamic with a greater sense of air in comparison.The DAC OPAMPS are socketed so an easy change.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    The AKM chip has me intrigued for sure, especially with native DSD support (the hifime is DoP). It's worth considering if the hifime doesn't work out...

    I got a message informing me the UDA38pro is delayed due to a part arriving late and they should be able to ship it out this week... I took the opportunity and added the 12v AC adapter to my order, as it is said to improve performance.
     
  8. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    The UDA38Pro arrived today. Setup was straightforward and I've been listening to it through my HD-650's as well as my Adam F5 AMT monitors.

    So far with 44.1khz/16bit audio it's a very pleasant sounding unit, especially for its modest price.

    First impressions:
    I can see why some people say this DAC sounds like vinyl. Compared to the DAC in my Anthem MRX310 (Cirrus Logic CS42528), which I consider as being analytical, the hifime's instruments and vocals sound more convincing, but the 310's DAC is more holographic and places instruments with better focus and more depth.

    I'll try it with my vintage system later but I have to run.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  9. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Sorry to rain on your parade... but have you seen this: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...and-measurements-of-hifime-uda38pro-dac.4064/
    A short summary is this DAC is a botched implementation of the expensive top of the line ESS DAC chip. According to the measurements it doesn't have more resolution than vinyl, perhaps that's why it sounds like it. But if you're happy with it I guess that's all that matters...
     
    invaderzim and invalidbuffa like this.
  10. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    Thanks for sharing the link. I wish I saw that earlier...it might explain my current findings. I've been listening with it for a little while and it definitely imparts a very strong sonic signature on music. It sounds alright through my Adam F5s but on my valve and altec vott system it's too colored and the soundstage is narrow with fuzzy instrument placement. I'm inclined to return it, if I can, and try a Topping.
     
  11. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    It came out after you placed your order it seems, just bad timing.
     
    invaderzim likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. invalidbuffa

    invalidbuffa Audio tinkerer

    At least customer service is good. I can return it and I only have to send it a short distance to Ashland OR.
     
  13. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    One has to wonder about the design and verification process of devices like this...
     
    invalidbuffa likes this.

Share This Page