Good, inexpensive USB DAC?

mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,369
edited April 7 in Going Digital
Long story short: I am starting to window shop for a respectable quality but not too expensive DAC with USB input. Strictly for fun/experimentation -- but I don't want be disillusioned by inadvertently (or even advertently) buying junk.

I know zero about these things; I am the Sgt. Schultz of digital audio.

I can't even suggest a budget because, again, I have no idea of the cost of decent entry level equipment! $50? $100? $200? Not much more than that, I hope.

Thanks for any suggestions and feedback/input!

"It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

"Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

"Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)

Comments

  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 1,871
    edited April 7
    I have a pair of SMSL M8 DACs, one for the work headphone rig & one in the bedroom system. Massdrop frequently runs the updated M8A for around $180. Great DAC for the money IMHO. I recently picked up a Schiit Modi 2 Uber to check out. The SMSL slays it.

    The Topping D30 also gets lots of positive press, but I have no personal experience with it.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 14,667
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Harbeth: 30.2, SHL5+; Usher: Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Pienza, Certaldo, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S15, RTA 15tl, RTi12; Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, Legato Unum, Legato Semis, Legato Duo; Emerald Physics CS-2.8; Klipsch KLF-20
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: BoX, Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 4,425
    What Skip said. I got one of them thar doohickeys from him and ended up buying two versions of it's big brother.
    Parlor: ifi iDSD Micro*Yamaha RX-A2030*Parasound Halo P5*Parasound Halo A-31*Parasound 2250v2*Emotiva XPA-200 Gen1*LSiM707 Fronts*LSiM706c Center*LSiM702f/x Surrounds*Monitor70 Series II Rears*Monitor40 Series II Presence*SVS PB2000 Sub X2*OPPO BDP-103D*Sony PS3*Samsung-55" LED 1080p Smart 3D HDTV UN55H7150AFXZA*TEAC TN-300*Wireworld Solstice cables* Wireworld Stratus power cables*Blue Jeans Cable LC-1's IC's*BJC Silver-Plated IC's* Bens Silver IC's

    Dungeon: Dancer Mini-Two Diamond*Auralic Aries Mini*Dayens Ampino Preamp*Dayens Ampino Monoblocks*North Star Intenso DAC*Wireworld Oasis cables*Wireworld Oasis IC's*Wireworld Aurora power cables*IFI nano IDSD bl*Pangea Silver USB*Cambridge CXU*

    Panamax MR5100*Panamax M8-AV-PRO*Furman PST-2+6

    Headgear: Sennheiser HD 558*Audio-Technica ATH-M40x*Sennheiser HD 598 Cs*Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7*Philips SHP9500S* Sennheiser 6xx

    Hello Kitty boombox

    Spare sortta: Usher N-6361* ifi iDsd nano*Marantz 1504* RX-A1040*Emotiva XPA-1L Gen2 X2*Emotiva XPA-3 Gen2*CSiA6 Center*Monitor40 Series II*SVS PB1000 Sub*Sony BDPS6500 Blu-ray player*POS 37" LCD*Douglas Connection Furez 12 AWG 2 Conductor*Blue Jeans Cable LC-1's IC's*Samsung BD-H5900 3D Blu-Ray*Usher N-6361


    Self Control is over rated.
    Mr. Sharpe wrote: »
    Meh these were extra $70 as an open box item so it didn’t much to me either way:)

  • bikerboybikerboy Posts: 1,136
    I'm in the process of reboxing a TPA Buffalo III if you want a DIY approach. I upgraded to the 9028 and love it. Pm if interested
    D:Sonore UltraRendu usb w/LPS-1->Amanero I2S converter ->I2S->TPA Buffalo 9028 w Mercury output dac w Salas ps->BAT VK-51SE w/BP Preamp via XLR to BAT VK-200-> Polk LSiM 703
    A:Dynavector DV-10x5-> Nothingham Spacedeck-> TPA Retro via XLR to Relaixed2;
    :
    V:Vinyl rips-> ESI [email protected]/192
    SACD: Denon 3910
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 4,309
    edited April 7
    I have an arcam rdac that I have loved. I have two; need to let one go. Let me know if you are interested.

    https://www.whathifi.com/arcam/rdac/review
    HT Rig:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Parasound HCA-1205A; Arcam rDac; Mains: Dynaudio Emit 10 + MartinLogan Dynamo (original) sub; Center - Def Tech Procenter 1000; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - SVS PB10-ISD; Sony BDP-S390, FireTV gen 2

    Master Bedroom
    Marantz SR-5007; Audiosource Amp Two, PSB Imagine Mini, Boston VR-10 center, NHT Super One CI surrounds, ACI Titan subwoofer, FireTV, Arcam rDac; Bryson BPD-1
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,369
    edited April 7
    an embarrassment of riches! Thank you, folks.
    I cogitate (or is that iCogitate?)

    :)

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,197
    Good recommendations here.

    Also to consider, a shielded, short USB cable, and consider the population of your USB bus. These two things can contribute to a crummy USB audio/DAC experience.

    Currently using an AudioQuest Forest and enjoying a little AudioEngine D1 headphone "amp", similar in design to that iFi linked above.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,212
    Audioquest Dragonfly Red
    Got Dayens?
  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,018
    edited April 20
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4,SDA 3.1TL, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
    B+W-
    Epos-
    Infinity-
    Advent-

  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,018
    nbrowser wrote: »
    Under a hundred US, delivers the decent stuff...primarily made in the US to boot! Worth a check out.

    http://www.schiit.com/products/modi-2

    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/budget-dac-review-schiit-modi-2-99.1649/
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4,SDA 3.1TL, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
    B+W-
    Epos-
    Infinity-
    Advent-

  • mlistens03mlistens03 Posts: 1,405
    I literally was about to start a thread about this. lol
    2 channel
    Speakers: Mission 770 Freedoms
    Integrated amp: Technics SU-v75 and matching tuner
    CDP: Technics SL-PC20
    Cables: Monoprice, Monster, Acoustic Research, and a few generic ones
    TT: Technics SL-3200, direct drive
    Cartridge: Shure M97xE

    Pc gaming setup
    Receiver/amp: Yamaha RX-V665
    Computer: Lenovo g50 (soon to be upgraded to a Dell Precision 690 which is far from stock!!)
    Interconnects: Amazon basics HDMI, Acoustic Research HDMI, Monoprice speaker cables
    Speakers: Boston Acoustics CR75s

    Random equipment on standby:
    Onkyo TX-v940, JBL woofers and tweeters, single Klipsch KG .5, Yamaha guitar amplifier, Peavey Rage 158 guitar amplifier, Kicker comp 12” subwoofer, single Bose 802 series II, a whole bunch of 1”-3” full range drivers, Infinity Crescendo 3007s (on sale), Polk LSi25s
    txcoastal1 wrote: »

    You don't tell her you read the manual, and you tell her you know what the problem is, and you fixed it, because that what men do, fix things
  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 3,105
    the micromega mydac is a nice sounding dac, you can get it from underwood hifi for $249 (list $400)
    http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/?products=538
    Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800, Usher R1.5
    Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
    Transport/Dac: Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI
    Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra
    Speaker Cables: Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Interconnects: Analysis Plus Copper Oval-In Micro, MG Audio Design Planus Cu2,
    Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
    Power Cables by: Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,212
    @mhardy6647 What did you end up with?
    Got Dayens?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,369
    You clearly think that I move much faster than actually I do! :/

    zovvdfx3bk5t.png

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,212
    Haha, well any leading contenders at least?
    Got Dayens?
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