Good, inexpensive USB DAC?

mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,073
edited April 2018 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!

Comments

  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,159
    edited April 2018
    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: 15,487
    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: 5,205
    What Skip said. I got one of them thar doohickeys from him and ended up buying two versions of it's big brother.
  • bikerboybikerboy Posts: 1,152
    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
    Main system: Lyngdorf TDAI 2170 w/ Pioneer 42" plazma-> Polk LSiM 703 and 10" sub w/Tivo, Marantz tuner, BRP, Nothingham Spacedeck-> DV 10x5-> Bottlehead Eros, Sony cassette deck
    Digital: I3 pc w/ Jriver playing flac -> Sonore Ultrarendu -> Twisted Pair Audio ESS 9028 w/ Mercury IVY
    Vinyl rips-> ESI [email protected]/192->fanless i3 pc server
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 5,164
    edited April 2018
    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; Peachtree Audio NovaPre; B&K TX4430; Bryson BPD-1; Mains: Dynaudio Emit 10; Center - Polk cs400i; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5; LG UP870 4K BDP; NVidia ShieldTV
    ;
    Master Bedroom
    Marantz SR-5007; Parasound HCA-1000A, PSB Imagine B, NHT Super One CI surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo (original), Squeezebox Touch
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,073
    edited April 2018
    an embarrassment of riches! Thank you, folks.
    I cogitate (or is that iCogitate?)

    :)

  • msgmsg Posts: 4,716
    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.
    I disabled signatures.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 5,926
    Audioquest Dragonfly Red
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,283
    edited April 2018
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4,SDA 3.1TL, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
    B+W-Sold
    Epos-Now gone
    Infinity-Sold
    Advent-Now gone
    Yamaha A-S801
    Yamaha RX-V377
    Yamaha RX-A860
    Yamaha RX-A3060
    Harman Kardon Hk-350i
    Harman Kardon Hk-........
    Harman Kardon PM-665
    Harman Kardon HK-775
    Pioneer.......Stereo Receiver

  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,283
    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-Sold
    Epos-Now gone
    Infinity-Sold
    Advent-Now gone
    Yamaha A-S801
    Yamaha RX-V377
    Yamaha RX-A860
    Yamaha RX-A3060
    Harman Kardon Hk-350i
    Harman Kardon Hk-........
    Harman Kardon PM-665
    Harman Kardon HK-775
    Pioneer.......Stereo Receiver

  • mlistens03mlistens03 Posts: 2,495
    I literally was about to start a thread about this. lol
    Micah
    If you're reading this, I've put up devices for a week; maybe more. I'll talk you guys later!
    I've always thought the goal of high-end audio was not to have your neighbors bang on the wall and say, 'Turn that darn music down' but to have your neighbors bang on the wall and say, 'Tell your friends to go home and you can practice later this week'.
  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 3,372
    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: 5,926
    @mhardy6647 What did you end up with?
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 21,073
    You clearly think that I move much faster than actually I do! :/

    zovvdfx3bk5t.png

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 5,926
    Haha, well any leading contenders at least?
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
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