• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Advice on Amp and USB-DAC

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
Hello All

It's been interesting reading many of the comments and reviews. So much to take in!
I have a couple of questions and would like some advice on a system.
Also a bit confused between Amp's and USB-DAC's and what I need.

Right now, I've been using a Behringer-U-Control-UCA202 connected to a Lepai LP-2020A with the speakers from my old Stereo.
(The Lepai replaced a Phillips Stereo that had a USB connection to PC.)

What is a good replacement? I'd like something that is all in one, USB from PC to Amp, and Bluetooth.
I want to invent in something half decent. I have a pair of Q Acoustic 3010 speakers, I picked up really cheap.
What do people recommend, I purchase?

I'm considering:

AIYIMA A08: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001997348469.html
SMSL Sanskrit 10th MKII (Missing Bluetooth)
TOPPING D30
TOPPING D50s
Loxjie A30

So many options! Any advice would be great appreciated.

Kind Regards
Scott
 

alpha_logic

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
27
Likes
51
I don't know what you want to spend, but since you said you want something 'decent' to go with those speakers, I would go with an smsl da-9, and a Topping E30, both of which have been reviewed on this site.
 
OP
F

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
Why do I need both? Is there not an all in one unit? Still confused by needing both that's all. I said half decent, around 300USD :)
 
OP
F

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
Interesting never heard of them before or seen them sold. So I take it there is no all in one unit? Would something like the Loxjie A30 do the job?
 

alpha_logic

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
27
Likes
51
Why do I need both? Is there not an all in one unit? Still confused by needing both that's all. I said half decent, around 300USD :)

You don't need both - the combo I gave you would give you a higher quality chipset, and a dedicated DAC. The AIYIMA A08 is an all-in-one unit, meaning amp and dac, so that should suit your use-case. If you want an all in-one unit with a higher quality chipset, there's also the SMSL SA300, or yes - the Loxje A30:

https://www.amazon.com/S-M-S-L-Infineons-Technology-Amplifier-chip,Bluetooth/dp/B081DJD1G4/ref=pd_lpo_3?pd_rd_i=B081DJD1G4&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/LOXJIE-MA120...oxjie+a30&qid=1629269936&s=electronics&sr=1-2
 

Doodski

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
8,491
Likes
7,924
Location
Canada
Interesting never heard of them before or seen them sold. So I take it there is no all in one unit? Would something like the Loxjie A30 do the job?
JDS Labs is pretty well known stuff and apparently they have super good customer service. The JDS Labs Element II is a combO unit with DAC and amp in one box. It's expensive though at $399 USD. But it has a bunch of extra useful circuitry, a aluminum housing and a big volume knob.

The Loxjie A30 will do the job although it sacrifices some performance in multiple tests at the expense of some nice features.
 

Doodski

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
8,491
Likes
7,924
Location
Canada
OOPs... I was juggling about a dozen windows and missed that you need a speaker amp too. Sorry about that. :facepalm:
 
OP
F

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
You don't need both - the combo I gave you would give you a higher quality chipset, and a dedicated DAC. The AIYIMA A08 is an all-in-one unit, meaning amp and dac, so that should suit your use-case. If you want an all in-one unit with a higher quality chipset, there's also the SMSL SA300, or yes - the Loxje A30:

https://www.amazon.com/S-M-S-L-Infineons-Technology-Amplifier-chip,Bluetooth/dp/B081DJD1G4/ref=pd_lpo_3?pd_rd_i=B081DJD1G4&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/LOXJIE-MA120...oxjie+a30&qid=1629269936&s=electronics&sr=1-2

Apologies, I misread your post thought you meant both. :)

I forgot to include S.M.S.L SA300 as well as the Topping D50s in my list.

JDS Labs Element II DAC looks great but is getting a bit beyond my budget.

I'm basically down to:

SMSL DA-9
Topping E30
Loxjie A30

SMSL DA-9 looks nice.

Thanks everyone for the help :)
 
Last edited:

alpha_logic

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
27
Likes
51
Apologies, I misread your past thought you meant both. :)

I forgot to include S.M.S.L SA300 as well as the Topping D50s in my list.

JDS Labs Element II DAC looks great but is getting a bit beyond my budget.

I'm basically down to:

SMSL DA-9
Topping E30
Loxje A30

SMSL DA-9 looks nice.

Thanks everyone for the help :)

That's a good list. If you build around the SMSL DA-9 / Topping E30 you get a very decent amp+dac combo, which will allow you some flexibility if you want to upgrade. With the Loxje A30 you'll get a decent all-in-one, less flexibility, but you' ll pay less than half for what you would pay for the seperate components : )
 
OP
F

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
So I gather the SMSL-DA9 is worth the premium over the Loxjie A30?
 

alpha_logic

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
27
Likes
51
So I gather the SMSL-DA9 is worth the premium over the Loxjie A30?

I think so, yes. With the SMSL DA-9 you get a built-in power-supply - which doesn't necessarily mean it's better, just more convenient - more power, balanced inputs should you decide to use them at some point, and more flexibility since it's a separate component. The Loxje has an external, laptop-style power supply, slightly less power, a decent built-in dac and a headphone output.
In terms of sound quality I very much doubt that you'd hear much of a difference between both options using your Q Acoustic 3010's, however - should you decide to upgrade at some point, you get a bit more power and flexibility with the DA-9 if you decide to upgrade to speakers which might be less efficient. I have no idea how the Loxje A30 performs, I don't own one - but I do own the DA-9, and I can say it's a really good amp regardless of price.
You can't go wrong with either option - if you're certain you'll keep whatever you decide for years to come, go with the cheaper option. If on the other hand you think you might want bigger speakers, go with the DA-9.
 
Last edited:
OP
F

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
Thanks. It's not much of a premium to get the DA-9 and there is stock locally. Done. Thanks for the advice everyone.
 
OP
F

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
I just realised the SMSL DA-9 does not have a USB input. Sigh. What to go for now? S.M.S.L SA300? Topping D50s? Topping E30? Loxje A30? AIYIMA A08? (No review yet.) I wish there was a simple list of recommended products, price and features.
 

alpha_logic

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
27
Likes
51
I just realised the SMSL DA-9 does not have a USB input. Sigh. What to go for now? S.M.S.L SA300? Topping D50s? Topping E30? Loxje A30? AIYIMA A08? (No review yet.) I wish there was a simple list of recommended products, price and features.

No, the DA-9 is an amp, you'd still need a dac, like the Topping E30 or something else. All-in-one, the Loxje A30 is the best option of the devices you mentioned.
 
OP
F

funkyblue

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
10
In the end My Behringer-U-Control-UCA202 and Lepai LP-2020A have served me well for years with boombox speakers. So going for a Loxjie A30 paired with my Q Acoustic 3010 speakers, will be massive improvement in any case. Thanks for the advice and help everyone.
 
Top Bottom