• 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 getting a new DAC

Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
17
Likes
11
#1
Greetings. I have read some of the reviews here and am very impressed with all the technical knowledge. I had an Exogal Comet DAC that I really liked but the applications to run it are no longer available and I detest the remote coupled with a window I can't read because it isn't illuminated and the lettering is tiny. I was set to get a Wyred 4 Sound v-2 (to pair with my W4S integrated) but after reading the excellent review here--no thanks! The Schiit review here steered me away from that also. I did get a Black Ice tube FX DAC for my second system and I like it reasonably well and am using it with an old Creek 4330 Mk 2 integrated that sounds great. So what is a decent DAC for around 2k that will not go obsolete next week? It's really confusing and price doesn't seem to bear much relation to quality. Caveat: I am not an audio snob and don't believe in extravagant cables and gimmicks, I just want a good DAC to pair with the W4S integrated and my Larsen 6.2 speakers and then just listen to the music. Recent experiences have taught me the audio business is pretty suspect and there is a lot of snake oil out there. I was impressed with Benchmark and wonder if that is the direction to take. Many thanks, rt
 

JeffS7444

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
720
Likes
953
#2
If I were going to buy one today, I think this might be it:
https://www.rme-usa.com/adi-2-pro-be.html
And the reason it interests me is because it goes well beyond basic DAC or even preamplifier functionality, offering a good deal of DSP power for equalization, even headphone crossfeed, all in a 1/2 rack-sized package.
 

Purité Audio

Major Contributor
Industry Insider
Barrowmaster
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
4,487
Likes
3,084
Location
London
#3
Just look at the fine measuring models Amir has measured here, choose on aesthetics and functions you require, Benchmark is a really solid design but there are many others and probably no need to spend that much.
Keith
 

Bernd

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
16
#4
If I were going to buy one today, I think this might be it:
https://www.rme-usa.com/adi-2-pro-be.html
And the reason it interests me is because it goes well beyond basic DAC or even preamplifier functionality, offering a good deal of DSP power for equalization, even headphone crossfeed, all in a 1/2 rack-sized package.
I bought the ADI 2 DAC FS after going through a Topping DX7s, SMSL-M500 and a Denafrips ARES : this is my endgame DAC - I will not need another DAC for the rest of my life (I am 60 ), the sound 'as is' is at least as good as all the others- but for the reason you mentioned (plus the old and trusted 'loudness' function) it cannot be beaten. My Sundaras got a new lease of life because I could EQ them to my liking. Go for it.
 

charleski

Active Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2019
Messages
154
Likes
215
#5
So what is a decent DAC for around 2k
Just keep in mind that you can buy a DAC with state-of-the-art performance for a lot less than $2k. The RME DAC that's been suggested is a very fine choice, and comes with the advantage of onboard DSP, which is really its prime selling point these days. But if you're doing your DSP elsewhere and just want a DAC then Topping has a range of very fine products that are also cheap. Schiit has turned itself around over the past year or two, and the Modius is well worth a look. A cheap laptop to handle streaming and DSP duties will only cost a few hundred, as you really don't need a lot of power for 2-channel PCM, and will end up being a lot more flexible. You can then use the money you save for music, a speaker upgrade, or beer :).

But yes, the RME DAC is a safe choice and you won't go wrong with it. It just doesn't have the same value proposition that it did a couple of years ago.
 
OP
aslan7
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
17
Likes
11
Thread Starter #6
Thanks--I never would have found these alternatives on my own. I forgot to mention that I play high-res files off an iMac Pro, do streaming via Roon, and play some CDs on a Rega Apollo. When I get the DAC I will use balanced cables for the first time as have always used unbalanced RCA.
 

Bernd

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
16
#7
Thanks--I never would have found these alternatives on my own. I forgot to mention that I play high-res files off an iMac Pro, do streaming via Roon, and play some CDs on a Rega Apollo. When I get the DAC I will use balanced cables for the first time as have always used unbalanced RCA.
For headphones there is no balanced output on the ADI 2 Dac
 

charleski

Active Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2019
Messages
154
Likes
215
#8
Thanks--I never would have found these alternatives on my own. I forgot to mention that I play high-res files off an iMac Pro, do streaming via Roon, and play some CDs on a Rega Apollo. When I get the DAC I will use balanced cables for the first time as have always used unbalanced RCA.
If you want balanced output the new D30Pro is worth a look.
 
OP
aslan7
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
17
Likes
11
Thread Starter #9
Thanks all, I settled on the RME model below the Pro which was very tempting but overkill for me. Will report on performance impressions.
 
OP
aslan7
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
17
Likes
11
Thread Starter #10
The RME ADI-2 DAC arrived today and is amazing, really rich and captures the timbre of string instruments quite well. That manual is very challenging and the unit isn’t particularly user friendly so I have a lot of reading to do. The RME kills the Exogal sonically and it actually has a readable screen that can be decipher. I love the small size and equalization. Thanks again, and I will never buy anything that doesn’t have Amir’s say so.
 
Top Bottom