Good, inexpensive USB DAC?

mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 20,035
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: 2,058
    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: 15,251
    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: 4,731
    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:)

    Modern physics would have us believe that the universe is made up of quarks, gluons, photons -- and morons

    Jesus H. C H R I S T - Afterburner - can you ever be courteous and stay on topic. If you want to blather on about "Family Affair" start your own dam thread! I get tired of your inane comments. You're not clever and you're not funny and most time you're posts are completely irrelevant to the topic.
  • bikerboybikerboy Posts: 1,145
    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-> Polk LSiM 703 w/Tivo, Marantz tuner
    Digital: I3 pc w/ Jriver playing flac into Lyngdorf
    Analog: Nothingham Spacedeck-> DV 10x5-> Bottlehead Eros;
    Vinyl rips-> ESI [email protected]/192->fanless i3 pc server;
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 4,909
    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; Audiosource Amp Two, PSB Imagine B, Definitive Technology ProCenter 2000, NHT Super One CI surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo, Squeezebox Touch
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 20,035
    edited April 2018
    an embarrassment of riches! Thank you, folks.
    I cogitate (or is that iCogitate?)

    :)

  • msgmsg Posts: 4,377
    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: 5,235
    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: 1,139
    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-
    Epos-
    Infinity-
    Advent-

  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,139
    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: 2,380
    I literally was about to start a thread about this. lol
    Micah

    Main system: Technics SL3200, Shure M97xE, Lafayette LR1100 for tuner, Hagerman Audio Labs Bugle 2 phono stage, NAD C352 integrated, Boston Acoustics VR 2, Boston PV500, generic ICs, and BJC Belden speaker cables.

    Desktop: Dell Precision 690 running iTunes, Yamaha RX-v665, Monitor Audio R90s, Velodyne VA-907, generic ICs and speaker cables.
    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: 3,268
    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: 5,235
    @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: 20,035
    You clearly think that I move much faster than actually I do! :/

    zovvdfx3bk5t.png

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 5,235
    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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