List of DACs Under $450

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Netdewt, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool

    Not sure if anybody mentioned this, but according to a pro review I read, the CEntrance Dacport LX sounds noticably-better than the regular Dacport that includes the headphone-amp (The Dacport LX is a DAC-only version of the regular Dacport model).


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  2. mjs1

    mjs1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Ithaca, NY
    Ross Martin Audio DACs

    Hi folks

    I don't know that anyone has mentioned the Ross Martin (Audio) DACs. I originally stumbled across them on Ebay and the internet. They may look somewhat home-made (which they are) and I think that the website is a mess, but I can vouch for the sound quality. These are pretty much made to order, so that lag time from order to shipment may be several weeks. Communication with Ross is excellent however.

    I have the PCM 1794 "Dual Bare Beast" for $279.95. This has "Two Optical, Two SPDIF, 96Khz USB, (a headphone amp), Balanced XLR and RCA Outs A dual PCM1794 without all of the functions of the router." I went for the dual mono configuration because the price was right, I really don't know what it adds to listening quality. These DACs come in various configurations, i.e. with and without a headphone amp, with and without USB, in single and dual configuration, and with various OP AMPs. I went with the National LME 47910 and LME47920.

    Prices vary from $179.95 for the PCM 1794 ["Optical and SPDIF inputs( RCA or BNC). Studio Quality Reference Mastering DAC"]. It looks like $219.95 adds USB, and $239.95 gets you the headphone amp. It is really hard to figure out what is what on this site, but Ross was excellent with communication so email him if you have question. You can spend much more if you want other OP AMPs.

    Here are links to 2 pages of the website, and a review from Head-FI.

    As far as my personal experience, sound quality is excellent. I have used optical, USB, and SPDIF inputs, fed it from a CD player digital output and Airport Express optical output, compared sound quality with headphones and speakers, this DAC's headphone amp with output from my Sansui AU 919 headphone jack driven by the RCA output from the DAC, and am extremely happy with this unit. Again, I don't know what dual configuration adds to sound quality overall since most units are not dual configuration, and I couldn't get an answer from Ross on this one, but I recommend this product.

    These DACS used to be listed on eBay, where I bought mine, but are no longer listed there, I think because profit margins were too low. All evaluations of his units, as best I know, were favorable.

  3. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻

    Any love for the Audioengine D1?

    Just ordered one for $152. Retail is $169.99.

    I'll return to discuss it once I've received it.
  4. rnorton

    rnorton Super Member

    Beautiful Rancho Malario, NM
    They'd certainly be doing themselves a favor by hiring a real photographer and getting rid of those painfully awful cell-phone quality pics on their site.
  5. pocketchange

    pocketchange AK Member

    The Sticks of TEXAS
    FWIW the DacMagic 100 is available from Amazon ($369) and Ken Rockwell did a review.
    More info with the review than I understand with the bottom line being it's a excellent Dac. Now all I need is a internet radio that will keep up.
    NOTE: FM in Harris County isn't..
  6. AudioFyle

    AudioFyle New Member

    I've got a couple that need to be added to the list.

    Aune T1 - This one is nicely tube buffered. Does 24 bit but "only" 96Khz sample rate. My how quickly things change. Not long ago 96KHz was state-of-the-art. Still, word has it that the headphone amp on this one is beefy. Apparently, it can make even the more power hungry phones sing. Don't know how it sounds, but it sure looks beautiful. Easy tube rolling too.

    Emotiva XDA-2 - This one is officially audiophile buzzword compliant. :) Full 24/192 support for all inputs, including USB. Analog Devices AD1955 multi-bit delta-sigma DAC. Analog Devices AD1896 asynchronous sample rate converter. Includes a powerful discrete headphone amplifier. This one's got all the bells and whistles folks. And it comes in well under the magic price point. The only thing missing is the warm glow of toobs. :-D

    How do ya like them apples?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012


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  7. AudioFyle

    AudioFyle New Member

    Chalk up yet another one.

    The Schiit MODI.

    At only $99, this looks to be an amazing bargain. Ideal for the audiophile just getting into computer based audio.
  8. Ronan

    Ronan New Member

    Problems with Rdac and Mac Pro... PLEASE HELP!!!!

    Hi Guys Im wondering if you can help. I just bought an rdac and im using it via usb on a mac pro, when i select the rdac I get a high pitched whistle or feedback noise from the system, I have no problem using headphones at all. i tried it on a laptop and it was fine, tried another vdac and the same problem. Can anyone help me out..?


  9. 59volvo

    59volvo Super Member

  10. Olafur

    Olafur Member

    To add to the list, the DAC from Atoll Electronique: Atoll website.

    They have two models: DAC 100 / DAC 200.
    The entry model DAC 100 costs ~500€ / ~640$ (Review EN, Review FR with pics)
    The DAC 200 is more steeply priced at ~1500€/ ~1900$

    I noticed the Atoll DAC 100 for sale on a secondhand website. That is how I got searching for info on the brand. Atoll is a French based compagny with made in France products. They seem to have build a solid reputation and good reviews.
  11. gusgranite

    gusgranite let the words flow

    Vancouver Island, BC


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  12. Bikenut

    Bikenut New Member

    Ontario, Canada
  13. psyopwak

    psyopwak Active Member

    Yes the I20-pure is very good, but I think of it as an Iphone dock with a built in DAC. I have two of them.
  14. stopkidding

    stopkidding Well-Known Member

    Any opinions on the music fidelity v-dac 90? At $299 is it a good buy? I am looking to stream my computer music as well as update my CD transport with this newer dac
  15. Bubo

    Bubo Super Member

    Chicago area
    When you update the master list

    The Emotiva XDA-2 is out, has a great feature set and lots of interfaces, a stepped volume control and a quality headphone amp for $300.00

  16. BMWCCA

    BMWCCA AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I love my XDA-2 but it should be noted that price is for a limited time during their current Holiday sale. Emotiva runs maybe two sales each year. I got mine for $325 during the last sale but the list price is $399


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  17. cubdog

    cubdog banging through drywall Subscriber

    Oregon IL.
    Better yet the price for the XDA-2 during Emotiva's current sale is an astonishing $249.00. That is a lot of product for very little money.

  18. 4Play

    4Play Super Member

    WV 25526
    I know I am bumping an old thread.

    Emotiva has two offerings for a DAC.

    The XDA-2 retails now for $249.

    The Stealth DC-1 is $499.
  19. stoutblock

    stoutblock If it sounds good, it is good... Subscriber

    Northwest USA
  20. Dr. Morbius

    Dr. Morbius I.N.T.E.R.O.C.I.T.O.R.

    Indianoplace, IN
    Paraound's Zdac has dropped in price to $300 at Audio Advisor. I don't know if this is a limited time deal or if they are a closeout.


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