Looking for first DAC

Discussion in 'DACs' started by concertfiend, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. DirtFarmer

    DirtFarmer Active Member

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    Mad City
    I read somewhere, perhaps the Audiophile Reddit, where someone recommended to buy via Shenzhen to avoid a possible counterfeit unit. Who knows, however.
     

     

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  2. concertfiend

    concertfiend AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Well after doing some more digging and considering my impatience, I'm thinking of getting the SMSL Sanskrit 6th. A lot of people love it, and it has extra capabilities that I can explore in the future such as DSD. Will I ever use that? Maybe not, but it's cool that it's there and it seems built with quality, using good caps like the Topping. If no one can suggest a reason why it wouldn't be a good purchase, I'll probably order it today or tomorrow :)
     
  3. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
    Does the 6 support DSD? Smsl M8a drop is active, if you can stretch your budget a bit more that is a slightly better option.
     
  4. concertfiend

    concertfiend AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I thought it did, I guess I was thinking of the D30. An extra $75 to get that one that's slightly better isn't really that appealing to me at the moment... I don't have the money for it at the moment with other bills I have to take care of and the drop ends before my next paycheck. And frankly at this point, my brain is getting kind of fried and I want to let it go to "sleep mode" over the weekend - this last week I've been spending all my spare time researching DACs as well as various tools for my new job so I would get the best bang for the buck when I bought them after work last night. The DSD feature isn't really important to me, I'll probably be looking to upgrade with a Tidal compatible/MQA enabled DAC eventually anyway.
     
  5. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

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  6. concertfiend

    concertfiend AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Those are for more headphones than a home audio setup right? I can't find much about using it for 2ch, will using an AUX 3.5mm to RCA degrade sound quality?
     

     

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  7. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

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    Nothing wrong with 3.5mm to RCA at all.

    Also the Dragonfly won't do DSD.

    But one day I might try one out for laptop use. Sure is small.
    If you read reviews Its brother the Dragonfly Red is a step up in SQ, but also twice the $$.
    They seem well regarded.

    Eric
     
  8. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
    Omitting the MQA and SPDIF inputs there are other options like Massdrop X Grace SDAC for $79.99 that measures pretty well.
     
  9. kmed

    kmed Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    kenora,on.ca
    i'm using windows media player on my computer into musical fidelity m1dac
    i did try j.river and amarra but had a problem adding music on portable hd to the playlist was a problem
    with the windows player now i can the folder of a group or album to play
    i have close to 1000 albums on a couple of hd
    the windows media player is 24/96
     
  10. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
  11. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

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    5,467
    Location:
    North TX
    For standard streaming you should be good with what you have now. External DAC only make sense if you are going to play downloaded files with many in high-res formats. But then you will need to spend $1000 and more on DAC.

    To play files start with buying JRiver software and getting rid of iTunes altogether.
     

     

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  12. PAGS

    PAGS AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have a Sanskrit 6 and really like it. To me, it sounded better than the D30. (But to be fair, the D30 unit I got may not have been 100%. I ended up sending it back. And for the most part, I'm a Topping fan.)
     
  13. techguy0192

    techguy0192 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    832
    Schiit has a great DAC at every price point.
     
  14. concertfiend

    concertfiend AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    95
    I went with the Dragonfly, it'll be here in a couple days. I figure while there are several other DACs that are better in normal application, having one that uses the proprietary MQA software would be advantageous since I'll be using it for Tidal only. I'll be keeping my eye out for a better DAC that has higher sampling rates along with MQA capabilities in the future, but I'm hoping the Dragonfly will satisfy me for the time being.
     
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  15. AdlerW

    AdlerW Member

    Messages:
    89
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    ^I have the Dragonfly Red and I keep coming back to it after trying out other DACs. I haven’t used it for streaming or MQA (a firmware update allows the Dragonfly to play MQA files) but it’s a great little DAC and deserves the praise it gets.
     
  16. Nixxuz

    Nixxuz AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    661
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Just to let you know, I've got an X6 and the "noise floor" that ASR measures is non existent to human hearing. I think it's a great little DAC and it works with Android as well. I'm aware the Topping measures better, but it's getting into measurements that are so far out there as to be negligible. Anyway, figured I'd give my 2 cents. Hope you like whatever you get!...which was apparently the Dragonfly. I stayed away from that due to Audioquests (IMO) snake oil cables. Hope you like it though.
     

     

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  17. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Well, there have been issues with the Dragonfly MQA update and the Project S2 box MQA. if you have the MQA on it messes up the playback of non-MQA audio files (makes the files sound like crap - it is basically always on or always off). I would wait until they fix these issues.
     
  18. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990

    Hard to say what's better, a better DAC that you can only use with the Tidal's software MQA decoding, or a lesser DAC that supports MQA proper.
    http://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/02/comparison-hardware-decoded-mqa-using.html
     
  19. concertfiend

    concertfiend AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Well I got the Dragonfly but so far I have only been able to test it on my AKG headphones, which are a lower end model. Even with them there was a noticeable difference from just using the headphone jack - the sound stage opened up, the sound was fuller, and details were much more apparent. I expect a part of this(fuller sound) could be achieved with a designated headphone amp, but that's not what I was aiming for. That being said, I'm curious what a regular solid DAC could do for me, and now that I've gotten a couple checks from my new job (and getting paid more what I'm worth), I have a bit of money I could put toward one. The drop for the recommended SMSL M8A is active again, and I like what info I've read about it. I think I'm going to order it today, the chip is upgraded from the M8 and it's list of capabilities is extremely high. While some people say the D30 is almost as good for less money, I'm one of those people who hate "wondering" what I could be missing out on (hence wanting to buy a different DAC). It's either that, or the Nuforce DAC 80 which caught my eye at an extra 70 bucks if anyone has thoughts on that one. But I would also like to get one of the marantz 7 clone tube amps to run between the DAC and my Heathkit amp, and that's almost half the money I would need for it. I plan on getting my Tannoys hooked back up over the weekend to listen to the Dragonfly through them
     
  20. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

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    Location:
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    The D30 is very easy to like. No filters or other things to mess around with, just a clean neutral output.
    And XMOS USB really works and sounds great.

    Eric
     
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