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zertyuiop

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May 10, 2022
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Hello, I am building an inexpensive system for listening to music from a PC. The question is what is better to take as a DAC. Right now I'm using the ifi Zen DAC, but it's too weak as an amplifier, and also produces a small but still noticeable noise at high volume when connected to an amplifier. I settled on 3 options: Topping E30, Topping DX3Pro+, SMSL SU-6. I've tried the E30, it works fine and the now rare Asaha-Kasei chips are on fire and the price is the lowest, however the E30 lacks bluetooth and needs a separate power supply (my not too expensive motherboard is not the best power source). On the other hand, the DX3Pro+ and SU-6 are quite similar as DACs, although the DX3Pro+ is slightly more expensive. What to take from all this, I read the topics on all of them, but I can’t make an unambiguous choice.
 

norcalscott

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Oct 30, 2020
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You can't make a wrong choice with either the Topping or SMSL units you mentioned. I prefer SMSL myself (I use an SU-9) because of the built-in power supply in most models, and pretty good track record for reliability. However, I also own an E30 and it is a great device, just a little more basic. However, if you need an integrated headphone amp as well, the DX3Pro+ is the answer.
 

Roland68

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Jan 31, 2020
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Cologne, Germany
Hello, I am building an inexpensive system for listening to music from a PC. The question is what is better to take as a DAC. Right now I'm using the ifi Zen DAC, but it's too weak as an amplifier, and also produces a small but still noticeable noise at high volume when connected to an amplifier. I settled on 3 options: Topping E30, Topping DX3Pro+, SMSL SU-6. I've tried the E30, it works fine and the now rare Asaha-Kasei chips are on fire and the price is the lowest, however the E30 lacks bluetooth and needs a separate power supply (my not too expensive motherboard is not the best power source). On the other hand, the DX3Pro+ and SU-6 are quite similar as DACs, although the DX3Pro+ is slightly more expensive. What to take from all this, I read the topics on all of them, but I can’t make an unambiguous choice.
Take a look at the two new Sabaj A10d 2022 and Sabaj A20d 2022. Hifi-Express can already deliver some of them.
 

mrjktcvs

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Mar 2, 2020
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Hello, I am building an inexpensive system for listening to music from a PC. The question is what is better to take as a DAC. Right now I'm using the ifi Zen DAC, but it's too weak as an amplifier, and also produces a small but still noticeable noise at high volume when connected to an amplifier. I settled on 3 options: Topping E30, Topping DX3Pro+, SMSL SU-6. I've tried the E30, it works fine and the now rare Asaha-Kasei chips are on fire and the price is the lowest, however the E30 lacks bluetooth and needs a separate power supply (my not too expensive motherboard is not the best power source). On the other hand, the DX3Pro+ and SU-6 are quite similar as DACs, although the DX3Pro+ is slightly more expensive. What to take from all this, I read the topics on all of them, but I can’t make an unambiguous choice.
I didn't want to choose, so I bought both the DX3Pro+ and the SU-6. My Topping unit has a quirk -- all the ports except the bluetooth require a music signal from the source for the input to lock in, otherwise the input indicator just flashes. I was originally using it as a standalone with headphones with bluetooth or an iPhone plugged into the USB port, but now it's hooked up to the digital output of a streamer and plugged into an analog input of the pre/pro of my main system. I still use the headphone jack as needed because the pre/pro lacks one. I use the SU-6 at work connected to my computer's USB, outputting to a JDS Atom+ headphone amp.
 

tiramisu

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Jun 24, 2022
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Picking a DAC is mostly about picking features at this point. It is pretty incredible how good basic DACs have become.
In my case, the question is how good is the audio interface that my DAC lives in.
There is still a lot of room for feature improvements in the world of audio interfaces.
You can spend 2k on an audio interface and still be missing basic features.
At the mid-tier, the manufacturers think you should have to buy a headphone amp, a cloud lifter, and they rarely have an adequate power supply for
the various outputs. Drivers are often garbage. The fashion of the moment is podcasting which is mostly just putting lipstick on a pig.

I really wish our friends at topping were moving into the Audio Interface market and crushing it like they have DACs and headphone amps.
Chifi can't change the market fast enough for my taste.
 

nessism

Member
Joined
May 2, 2020
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I spent the money on a Topping D30/A30 Pro system and love it. To be honest, though, I can't tell the difference in sound quality between the E30/L30 combo I had before. It's all good, though, since my son wanted the E/L setup, so it gave me an excuse to "upgrade."

The only meaningful advice I can offer is to check the reviews here and put away your emotions before purchase. Also, consider the source quality that you will be listening too. Unless you are streaming high quality files, the quality of the audio unit won't be as critical.
 
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