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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

tmtomh

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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.

Interesting - so then the Fiio measures so much better because of better power filtering? Better analogue stage? Better reconstruction filtering?
 
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mansr

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That thing looks to be pin-compatible with the CS @solderdude mentioned. So I wasn't wrong with my Chinese copy ;) Also the filters appear to be a bit slower than the CS version.
The filter (singular) appears like this:

1643387081692.png
 

DSJR

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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.
Umm, mine doesn't do this..... Even into an amp with no DC blocking. No idea which version 'cos it's so darned old.
 

solderdude

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Interesting - so then the Fiio measures so much better because of better power filtering? Better analogue stage? Better reconstruction filtering?

It isn't much better though, just slightly better.
Obviously the PCB is different, the layout is different, the muting circuit is different, the output is buffered with an opamp (for driving headphones) and possibly post filtering is better.
In all DACs that use the same chipset there are measurable differences. They can be caused by many reasons. The muting circuit appears to be a problem in the cheapy.

Then rises the question whether or not the older version (using the WM8805) is much different from the currently used CS8416 receiver.
They probably had to redesign the PCB again.

This is what's in my Chinese (no brand) € 5.62 DAC... Obviously the FiiO is much better but ... mine does what it does and am not going to measure it.:)

DAC.JPG


A single chip (no markings) solution and no parts on the other side.
 
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phoenixdogfan

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The theoretical maximum sinad of a vinyl record playing system is around 62 db, including all the multi kilobuck system they still advertise and review in the slicks. This $14 dac betters that figure by a good 23 db. So if you have almost no money and a pair of inexpensive powered monitors, this unit doesn't seem like a horrendous choice.
 

Lambda

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With this kind of Generic Products you really can't tell what you get just from the looks of it.

photo5452035617757182751.jpg


This is an completely different board in the same case and even this version had an Opamp output buffer at some point.

Maybe the thing Amazon sells was capable of 192kHz at some point but the "manufacturer" switch to a cheaper and "equivalent" board without informing anyone...
Would not be the first time with this sort of products.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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So at least the midrange performed well? I may get one to throw in for abx for lols.
 

restorer-john

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With this kind of Generic Products you really can't tell what you get just from the looks of it.

View attachment 182584

This is an completely different board in the same case and even this version had an Opamp output buffer at some point.

Maybe the thing Amazon sells was capable of 192kHz at some point but the "manufacturer" switch to a cheaper and "equivalent" board without informing anyone...
Would not be the first time with this sort of products.

Another one where the D/A is coupled to the outputs directly (via a reistor). The 'caps' are 0R resistors.
 

laudio

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"resulting in a device that clearly could have been better but is not."

Seriously. At $14?

Think I have one of these (the least in appearance) that solved a common problem of taking optical out from a TV into an analog amp. And works fine for the task at hand and the price. Man.
 

Sparky

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So could I use this to feed a signal to my analogue, powered subs via a digital only input/output DAC? Like for example the new Minidsp SHD Studio or the soon to be released, Flex Digital only version?
 

pseudoid

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I ended up looking at this whole "Cheap" DAC issue from a different perspective.
TL&DR tells me that someone is getting ripped off big time.
If one design/manufacture house can AFFORD to sell the "cheap" version for $14: Then, the one that is charging [ummm...] $100 [?] must be laughing all the way to the bank.
 

DonR

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I wouldn't say ripped off. Getting from $14 to $140 requires a certain amount of extra engineering, higher parts costs and more complex manufacturing. The improvements are measurable but not necessarily audible anymore. It does then beg the question what is the point of moving to the next level anymore? When you are talking $1000 for a slightly better measuring product that is now deep into the inaudible territory, it's probably a pointless endeavour.
 

PeteL

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I wouldn't say ripped off. Getting from $14 to $140 requires a certain amount of extra engineering, higher parts costs and more complex manufacturing. The improvements are measurable but not necessarily audible anymore. It does then beg the question what is the point of moving to the next level anymore? When you are talking $1000 for a slightly better measuring product that is now deep into the inaudible territory, it's probably a pointless endeavour.
Are you saying that this atrocity is a good sounding DAC?
 

DonR

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Are you saying that this atrocity is a good sounding DAC?
My DAC, as posted above, sounds great to me. I am admittedly pretty far from golden eared given my age. I do think that within a few years the current edge of audibility for most people will be under $100 and possibly close to $50. At that point, for most people, the $14 DAC will be at the very least "good enough" and I doubt many would be able to select it in a blind test from a higher-priced unit.
 

SMc

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So could I use this to feed a signal to my analogue, powered subs via a digital only input/output DAC? Like for example the new Minidsp SHD Studio or the soon to be released, Flex Digital only version?
TV HDMI to receiver plus optical to Amazon DAC to sub? You wouldn't have the ability to set crossovers or do room correction but the sub's controls would serve their purpose. That's if your tv can do both outputs, of course, and it's highly likely your AVR has a sub output already.

Or do you mean TV speakers plus optical DAC?
 

pseudoid

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I wouldn't say ripped off.
There are some very "constant" costs including labor/automation.
Even if your clean-sheet design had started with a higher-quality PPL (thus, doubling the cost of parts): Yet, the design/tooling/manufacturing would have remained at a similar 'constant' cost.
 
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