• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Budget DAC - should I just pick any one that is recommended by Amir?

drabina

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
5
Likes
1
I am looking to add a DAC to my secondary system. Currently, in my primary system, I have a few years old SMSL SU-8 DAC which works fine. Secondary system is pretty much only for watching movies and occasional music listening but nothing critical. I was thinking at first to just get one of those $10 dongles from AliExpress but then stumbled upon a SMSL SU-1 which gets good reviews and it is inexpensive. I started reading reviews on this site and came up with a list of candidates:

1. SMSL SU-1 - $80
2. Topping D10S - $110
3. Schiit Modi - $130
4. Topping E30 II - $150
5. SMSL SU-6 - $170

The only reason for the SMSL SU-6 making the list is the built in power supply. Otherwise I would like to stay at or below $150. Not sure if the SU-1 and Modi's USB-C connector would or would not be more futureproof than the old USB socket. I need to have optical in so I can connect my TV to the DAC. I guess USB would be good too if I ever want to connect a laptop to play music. My preamp has RCA only (no balanced connectors).

Given that, any of those is better than the rest?
 

bachatero

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2023
Messages
83
Likes
63
Just get the SU-1 because they will all sound the same and you could put that saved moolah towards a rug or other acoustic treatment
 

Rhamnetin

Active Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2023
Messages
217
Likes
444
Just get the SU-1 because they will all sound the same and you could put that saved moolah towards a rug or other acoustic treatment

The only things to consider besides this are anything convenience related such as connectivity options, or the SU-1 being USB powered if that presents any issues for you. Whichever one ticks all your boxes and costs the least is a safe choice.
 
OP
D

drabina

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
5
Likes
1
Then the D10S is out, since it only has S/PDIF outputs. ;)
Thanks. I guess I missed that. I looked at the rear panel and didn't pay attention to the labeling. Just assumed that optical and coax are the inputs.

So now, the price difference between the SU-1 and the rest is pretty significant. Still, I can afford any of those on the list but you may be right to get the cheapest one. Will sleep on it and decide tomorrow between the SU-1 and Modi. Cheap price vs warranty and support.
 

Chr1

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
823
Likes
626
One reason why I have opted for Topping DACs is their ability to display the output volume instead of the usual sample rate. For me this is very important. Might be something to consider if you think this is a feature that you would like...
 
Last edited:
OP
D

drabina

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
5
Likes
1
One reason why I have opted for Topping DACs is their ability to display the output volume instead of the usual sample rate. For me this is very important. Might be something to consider if you think this is a feature that you would like...
The DAC will be connected to a preamp so I do not need a volume control in the DAC. I do like the Topping's display though.
 

Dismayed

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
392
Likes
415
Location
Boston, MA
I’ve been happy with my JDS Labs El Dac II+. They have less expensive choices, but I wanted a metal case. Made in USA.

 

MKR

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 18, 2022
Messages
1,471
Likes
2,134
Location
USA
I second the JDS Labs recommend … I have the Atom DAC +, fully transparent, no need to spend more. Unless you want the newer DAC 2, which has metal case, few other minor improvements
 

Middle Earth

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2023
Messages
99
Likes
81
I have 1 and 4 and use them with an external power supply $50 +/- many on eBay make sure you get the plug with it 5.5mm/2.1
SU-1 for computer and E30 II for audio system $150
You could just get one DAC that cost $200 to $250 instead
i am happy with what I have
Here is the power supply which frees up the USB or use a 1.5 volt 1 amp brick

 
Last edited:
Top Bottom