Inexpensive DAC

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xsmi
xsmi Posts: 1,798
I was given an iPad (9th gen), that I’m thinking about integrating into my system streaming Apple Music in High-Rez. Anyone with any experience with the DAC’s in the $300 and under range?
2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.

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  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,250
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    I've been very happy with my Teac, which, at the time, came in under $300. Not sure about the current offerings...
    So, iPad? Are you talking about having the iPad connected by USB to the DAC?
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • xsmi
    xsmi Posts: 1,798
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    Yes.
    2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 8,000
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    Living Room 2.2: Usher BE-718 "tiny dancers"; Dual DIY Dayton audio RSS210HF-4 Subs with Dayton SPA-250 amps; Arcam SA30; Musical Fidelity A308; Sony UBP-x1000es; Squeezebox Touch with Bolder Power Supply
    Game Room 5.1.4:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology Power Monitor 900 mains, CLR-3000 center, StudioMonitor 350 surrounds, ProMonitor 800 atmos x4; Sub - Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra

    Bedroom 2.1
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Polk RT25i; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • xsmi
    xsmi Posts: 1,798
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    Correct. And you also have to have an external dac.
    2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,250
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    I would add that there are many happy Schiit Modi/Modius owners out there. Both come in under $300.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • halo71
    halo71 Posts: 4,576
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    I bought a Peachtree Audio Dac Itx (think thats the model) from someone here years ago very cheap. And I'm still happy with it.
    --Gary--
    Onkyo Integra M504, Bottlehead Foreplay III, Denon SACD, Thiel CS2.3, NHT VT-2, VT-3 and Evolution T6, Infinity RSIIIa, SDA1C and a few dozen other speakers around the house I change in and out.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 17,066
    edited May 2023
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    DAC technology over the years has got so good, you can buy a more affordable DAC and get excellent results. It's harder and harder to justify higher end DAC's when the entry level models have got so good.

    This is also including internal DAC's in devices.

    With that being said, you want to use the iPad as the source or the controller?
    Using an iPad as the source, you would need to send the signal over Apple Airplay. Then you would need a Airplay device to except the signal. This device would need to output the digital signal to a DAC which would be Optical , Coax or USB.

    Using a iPad hard wired would require you to use the Headphone jack out which is already DA converted so no DAC is required here, or the Lighting or USB C connection on the bottom and then you would need some sort of DOCK or Converter. Then out of that converter you then could hook up your DAC. But you would need to check what format and signal type comes out of the adapter so you can match the DAC.

    I have some affordable DAC's but before we talk about them, I would need to know how you are sending the digital signal out. You can PM me.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • xsmi
    xsmi Posts: 1,798
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    I will use the iPad as a source. It will stream Hi-Rez over wifi, you just have to connect it to an external DAC to hear it as hi-rez.

    The internal DAC and the dongles that Apple sells will only do 44.1.
    2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.
  • ZLTFUL
    ZLTFUL Posts: 5,640
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    halo71 wrote: »
    I bought a Peachtree Audio Dac Itx (think thats the model) from someone here years ago very cheap. And I'm still happy with it.

    I think that might have been me.

    I would also throw the AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt into the mix... You will need a Lightning to USB adapter but the Dragonfly DACs are pretty danged nice for the money.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 8,000
    edited May 2023
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    xsmi wrote: »
    I will use the iPad as a source. It will stream Hi-Rez over wifi, you just have to connect it to an external DAC to hear it as hi-rez.

    The internal DAC and the dongles that Apple sells will only do 44.1.

    When I was using Apple Music on my MacBook can setup through an ifi idsd nano I thought it sounded slightly better than tidal through the same setup. The problem of course is that the only way to get Apple Music through a hifi setup is using an Apple device. With tidal I can use roon to send the same music all over the house and patio using SB touches for inexpensive and really good sounding whole home audio, and when I want really good two channel I stream through my Arcam sa-30. If Apple would allow their music app full integration in other devices I would likely switch…

    @mantis while I agree that you can get great sound through inexpensive DACs, you still get markedly better sound through better dacs, just like you do through better streamers. My sb touches sound really good, especially for the money; my Arcam sounds decidedly better. Is it worth the money? That’s always the question when moving up the audio chain…
    Living Room 2.2: Usher BE-718 "tiny dancers"; Dual DIY Dayton audio RSS210HF-4 Subs with Dayton SPA-250 amps; Arcam SA30; Musical Fidelity A308; Sony UBP-x1000es; Squeezebox Touch with Bolder Power Supply
    Game Room 5.1.4:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology Power Monitor 900 mains, CLR-3000 center, StudioMonitor 350 surrounds, ProMonitor 800 atmos x4; Sub - Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra

    Bedroom 2.1
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Polk RT25i; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • xsmi
    xsmi Posts: 1,798
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    Well, I'm starting iwthe the Schiit Modi+. I love the fact that it has a USB-C port for the USB connection. That means I can use my standard charging cable without an adapter.

    https://www.schiit.com/products/modi-plus
    2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,250
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    Looking forward to a review of how it all works out.
    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • xsmi
    xsmi Posts: 1,798
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    I’m waiting on an OTG DAC adapter cable. It’s still lightning to USB-C though so still no other adapters in the stream.
    2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.
  • xsmi
    xsmi Posts: 1,798
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    Not getting sound to the preamp.
    2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.
  • Viking64
    Viking64 Posts: 6,728
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    xsmi wrote: »
    Not getting sound to the preamp.

    This is an interesting sentence.
  • xsmi
    xsmi Posts: 1,798
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    The iPad recognizes the cable, but no sound.
    2-channelBelles 22A Pre, Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 2, Marantz SA8005, Pro-Ject RPM-10 Turntable, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3B, Polk Audio Legend L800's, AudioQuest Cable throughout.
  • newbie308
    newbie308 Posts: 679
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    When you plugged the DAC into the iPad with your cable, did the driver for the DAC self install? If not you may need to download the driver and manually install it.
    Sources: Technics SL1200MKII | SME3009 Tonearm | Monster Alpha 1 MC cartridge | Oppo UDP203 disk player | Nikko NT-790 analog tuner | Musical Fidelity Trivista 21 DAC | Preamp: Threshold SL-10 | Amplifier: Threshold Stasis 2 | Speakers: Snell Acoustics C/V | Kimber 12-TC bi wire speakers | Analysis plus Oval 1 preamp to amp | Wireworld Eclipse 7 DAC to Preamp | Wireworld eclipse digital IC Oppo to DAC | Audioquest Quartz tuner to preamp |
  • billbillw
    billbillw Posts: 6,250
    edited May 3
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    I figured I'd update this thread. I came across a very impressive little DAC that is truly affordable. SMSL released a very tiny USB powered DAC last year called the SU-1. It is very simple, is priced under $80 shipped, and it is very clean and musical (given the price). It wouldn't be ideal for every setup, but for modest PC or laptop setup driving a small Class-T chip amp, it is a great space saving setup.
    Backstory: My Sony UDA-1 has been my desktop solution for something like 8 years. No complaints. It was a 1-box amp/dac that could do DSD and high-rez PCM over USB. The amp had no trouble with a pair of bookshelves in a near-field setup. Sometime in the last year, the USB started getting flaky on the Sony. Sometimes it would work fine, sometimes it would go hours without connecting. Over time, it got worse and I had to switch to an analog feed from my monitor, which sounded like crap.
    I started looking at replacements. There aren't many single box units that check the boxes. I remembered I had a little SMSL SA-50 in a closet. Why not just get a tiny DAC to drive the SA-50? Enter the SU-1. I came across one open box, on eBay. Its hard to find any negative reviews of this device, so for $50, I though I'd try it.
    I'm glad I did. This is rock solid on USB. No audible noise coming through (unlike the analog from my monitor). It plays my DSD files natively through Foobar (which the Sony never would), and it has that nice AKM velvet sound, which I prefer over the SABRE house sound. . No, its not something that would replace my Denafrips in the main system, but for my computer rig, it is more than enough, and it, plus the SA-50 are less than half the footprint of the older Sony UDA-1. For reference, these are about 3" wide. Stacked, they are less than 3" tall. The SA-50 is a 10y old design, and these Class-T amps have only improved since.
    a4eofgbyf4sd.jpg

    For rig details, see my profile. Nothing here anymore...
  • rainbow1919
    rainbow1919 Posts: 12
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    I have a Topping DX3 Pro+ and use it for both headphones and speakers, since it also has RCA outputs for a power amp or powered speakers. On the Topping, it's easy to switch between headphone and speaker output by double tapping the volume knob or using a button on the included remote.