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Recommendations For Affordable DAC


Westcoastdrums
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Hello all.  As the title says, I am looking for a sub $1000 DAC, new or used.  Interested in recommendations.   I made a new klipsch purchase (won't share yet) and already got a new wyred 4 Sound integrated amp to power.  Let's hear what your choices are.   Micromega mydac looks interesting for the price and has great reviews.   I have always used benchmark in the past, but I am not looking to spend that kind of coin right now.  Thanks for your input. 

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They charge more for hardware and software from my understanding.  The DAC chip alone doesn't determine the resulting sound.  I had a (not cheap whatsoever for me) PS Audio DAC I Hated it.  I bought another DAC with the same chip and the sound couldn't have been any different.   I was amazed.   

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3 hours ago, Westcoastdrums said:

They charge more for hardware and software from my understanding.  The DAC chip alone doesn't determine the resulting sound.  I had a (not cheap whatsoever for me) PS Audio DAC I Hated it.  I bought another DAC with the same chip and the sound couldn't have been any different.   I was amazed.   

Of course.  You need to listen though.  Some you have to question, price vs sound.  As you said, PS Audio are highly rated and not inexpensive.  That's why it's worth trying something more inexpensive.  The other issue is when you look at the ESS dacs, many have most of the function, including volume control so you have to also question how much ancillary hardware goes with it.  Headphone amp and things I can possibly see though I don't care about that.

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Yeah I hear ya.   Tough to demo a DAC, especially if it's not in your own system.   The DAC bought is not new, in more way than one, and I got a great price on it.  If it doesn't work for me for some reason, I'll pass it along and try a current model.  Certainly a DAC of even decent quality is always better than none has been my experience and I have compared.   

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I really liked my Emotiva XDA-2, followed by the newer DC-1 which codewritinfool posted. Very versatile DAC's with pleasant sound. You can use them as a preamp or headphone amp in addition to the use as a dedicated DAC. It offers two digital toslink, two digital coax plus balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs. Plus all four outputs are active which means you can run the signal to your amp via XLR plus the signal going out via the RCA to a sub, or pair of subs. Good luck!

 

 

Tim

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3 minutes ago, Westcoastdrums said:

That's two votes there... Thanks. 

 

Just to add, if you can figure out which DAC options there are that use the Cirrus Logic chips....you will be amazed with the clarity they present, especially in the vocal regions. I have the Twin Cirrus chips in my Sherbourn PT-7020C4 preamp/processors and I enjoyed the sound so much I have replaced all of my two channel set ups with these same processors. Nothing short of amazing in the reproduction of instruments and vocals. Not sure if their homepage links any of the DAC products they are involved with. https://www.cirrus.com/index.html

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

  My system is best served by a four channel dac with a single volume control. Use a  subwoofer whether using active speakers, normal efficiency speakers, or horns. 

  Used a KRK Ergo for many years. It also provides Room Perfect digital room correction from Lyngdorf. Used many units, a stock unit and modified ones. I do surface mount board surgery. 

  Only downside is this is a FireWire dac. An Apple FW to Thunderbolt adapter kept this as an option. 

  Switched to a Focusrite Clarett 4Pre a couple years ago. Also four channel monitor output and Thunderbolt connected. 

  Did a little work on decoupling and opamp swaps. Bought another as a reference. Paid 400.00 each for them 2 years apart. 

  I have bought and borrowed several expensive dacs and none could replace these pro dacs. Suspect it is the USB interface they used. They make 100’s of USB cables, dozens of USB reclockers, filters, dongles, and dangles. Plus expensive power supplies just to power the USB cable. If there were not issues these addressed no one would ever buy these bandaids. Never seen any of this for FireWire or Thunderbolt connected dacs.

  Oyaide makes some 100.00 FW cables. I liked 10.00 Pearstone cables from B&H better.

  Corning makes some expensive optical TB and USB cables. Cannot speak for the USB cables, but the optical Thunderbolt cables are the bomb. Has galvanic isolation to prevent computer noise from entering the dac. 

  1,000.00 will buy a Corning cable and Clarett dac. With plenty of money left over for either an iFI iPower switching supply, or the new iFI iPower Plus. 

  

   

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