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Amazon Basics Optical Coax DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 82 41.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 98 49.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 16 8.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 1 0.5%

  • Total voters
    197

anphex

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I think the people who buy a 14$ gadget as an essential part of their chain don't care about a good chain at all. That's why - again - I would love to see a new chart that puts price and performance into relation. May it even be just for the sinad at the standard volts or watts. For speakers maybe the peak/bottom linearity an/or distortion at 86 db.
 

ROOSKIE

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I think the people who buy a 14$ gadget as an essential part of their chain don't care about a good chain at all. That's why - again - I would love to see a new chart that puts price and performance into relation. May it even be just for the sinad at the standard volts or watts. For speakers maybe the peak/bottom linearity an/or distortion at 86 db.
Harmonic Distortion at 86db is not even close to the most important measurement in a speaker.
Toole himself doesn't even think it matters much at all. It is just easy to measure, so everyone does it (myself included)
The whole point of the Harman approach is that you need the Whole Spinorama plus all the other goodies to predict what will likely yield good sound in blind testing.
You will just have to read each review to assess the data.

Anyway, I do agree that for certain electronic devices price is a big factor vs performance though depending on what the use case is the dynamic of value could change drastically so again hard to really rank devices.
 

Bachemar

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I'm inclined to shun this, just because it is misrepresented. It clearly says "192 kHz" and it can't do that.

However, I note that single-chip DACs seem to be improving, generally. I can see a situation coming where boutique DACs could lose their cachet.
It could become like trying to sell tickets on the Queen Mary when the Boeing 747 is flying over at 10 times the speed and 1/10th the cost.

-Just one man's view.
If Apple just made a USB version of their headphone dongle, we’d be there already! @Amir already uses it as his benchmark for “cheap but still pretty good” DAC
 

nagster

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amazonbasic_96k.png
amazonbasic_192k.png
 

MC_RME

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Warning: shocking post following!

That well known dutch guy has a video review of this unit where he measures it and gets the same results as Amir.

Then he shows that the high THD in bass is not any power supply issue, but terrible distortion from wrongly working output mute FETs. Desolder them - much better performance.

 

restorer-john

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Warning: shocking post following!

That well known dutch guy has a video review of this unit where he measures it and gets the same results as Amir.

Then he shows that the high THD in bass is not any power supply issue, but terrible distortion from wrongly working output mute FETs. Desolder them - much better performance.

There are many different versions of these D/A converters. All in exactly the same casework. Different D/A chips and different implementations. Unless the case is removed, we have no idea which one Amir tested.

As for the linked 13 minute! video, output muting transistors/FETs have always been a source of trouble, right from the CD player era, he hasn't 'discovered' a thing.
 
Last edited:

Doodski

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There are many different versions of these D/A converters. All in exactly the same casework. Different D/A chips and different implementations. Unless the case is removed, we have no idea which one Amir tested.

As for the linked 13 minute! video, output muting transistors/FETs have always been a source of trouble, right from the CD player era, he hasn't 'dicovered' a thing.
DittO. I've replaced some muting transistors/FETs. From burned and destroyed to making scratchy fuzzy sounds.
 

restorer-john

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DittO. I've replaced some muting transistors/FETs. From burned and destroyed to making scratchy fuzzy sounds.

Often the THD increase is very small, sometimes brutal, other times intermittent. Of course the top models of D/As and players used relays for muting- much better.
 

Doodski

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Often the THD increase is very small, sometimes brutal, other times intermittent. Of course the top models of D/As and players used relays for muting- much better.
The car audio head units all have transistor/FET muting. That's where I saw most of the issues with them. Mostly Sony too.
 

pseudoid

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I think the people who buy a 14$ gadget as an essential part of their chain don't care about a good chain at all. That's why - again - I would love to see a new chart that puts price and performance into relation. May it even be just for the sinad at the standard volts or watts. For speakers maybe the peak/bottom linearity an/or distortion at 86 db.
If $14 cables count as "gadgets", I am also guilty!
Knee-of-the-curve or bang-for-the-buck is a sliding benchmark which is tricky to nail-down. My $14 discretionary outlay maybe someone's lunch money and some other's pocket lint.
 

DonR

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I think the people who buy a 14$ gadget as an essential part of their chain don't care about a good chain at all. That's why - again - I would love to see a new chart that puts price and performance into relation. May it even be just for the sinad at the standard volts or watts. For speakers maybe the peak/bottom linearity an/or distortion at 86 db.
In a few years a $14 DAC will probably be indistinguishable from a $400 DAC for most people. Mine already is for me. There is a point after which a device becomes "good enough" after which everything else is cost savings. I would say that point is probably around 100db-110db SINAD for a DAC.
 

magicscreen

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In a proper double blind test you will not hear a difference between this $14 device and the Topping D90SE.
 

voodooless

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In a proper double blind test you will not hear a difference between this $14 device and the Topping D90SE.
That might very well be the case.

I would love to have every DAC review accompanied with one or two reference royalty-free music tracks recorded using a decent reference ADC, and properly pre-level matched. That way people can ABX various DAC's at home and see if they can spot the differences.
 

restorer-john

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In a proper double blind test you will not hear a difference between this $14 device and the Topping D90SE.

When you've had a cheap dac-in-a-can trip the DC protection in your preamplifier/amplifier chain or make an almighty pop when locking onto a datastream, you'll understand what the differences are.

Don't make unsubstantiated claims about DBTs in relation to a product like this. They always betray themselves due to the inadequate design and engineering.
 

tmtomh

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I appreciate the very low price of this unit and I'm sure it will work fine for casual applications like the one @solderdude describes with a TV.

But with the nearly identical but much better-measuring Fiio Taishan D03 DAC available on Amazon for just $20-$25, I still see no reason to get this Amazon unit. (I actually have that D03 connected to my Samsung TV for exactly the same use as Solderdude!)
 

solderdude

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I appreciate the very low price of this unit and I'm sure it will work fine for casual applications like the one @solderdude describes with a TV.

But with the nearly identical but much better-measuring Fiio Taishan D03 DAC available on Amazon for just $20-$25, I still see no reason to get this Amazon unit. (I actually have that D03 connected to my Samsung TV for exactly the same use as Solderdude!)

It uses the same chipsets though so possibly the same device but branded. The FiiO does have a switch for input select.
The cheap ones have both in parallel.
 
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