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DAC with physical output selection switch?

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#1
I am currently looking for a USB DAC with a physical output selection switch.
The goal is simple: switch between my headphones and speakers without having to manually unplug the headphones.
The Micca OriGen G2 was my best bet until I read the review here.
Are you guys aware of any alternative?
 
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#2
there are lots of DACs with multiple outputs, but not many with a switch, meaning that all the outputs are always active. If you want to switch rather than have output to both, you might be better off with a separate switch, like the jds ol switcher or schiit sys.
 
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#3
Thanks for your input.
I would consider the JDS Switcher and Schiit Sys but it would require an additional amp for the headphones, which my limited desktop real estate does not allow.
The JDS Element seems to implement the feature I'm looking for via what they call "Auto DAC-Line output" but it requires turning it on and off each time with a button that's... at the back of the unit for some reason!?
 

GGroch

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#4
Two DAC/Headphone Amps I own that do this (sort of) are:

SMSL M6 - This has a single electronic multi-function switch, pushing it to the right switches between the headphone output (1/4") and the line outs. The line outs are fixed volume...not adjustable. You control headphone volume by pushing the multi-function switch up and down.

Sabaj D4 - Switching between the Headphone Output and Variable Line Output is done with front capacitive switches. The Headphone/Line selection is a menu choice, so it takes a couple of presses to get there. The D4 comes with a remote control that duplicates all functions. DACS with variable line out and remote are rare.

I think both are good DACs, and probably measure a lot better than the Micca. On the other hand, my huge collection of cheap DACs includes the Micca and it is a really useful form factor...hard to beat a large top mounted physical volume control for quick access.
 
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#5
The SMSL M6 seems to be much closer to what I'm looking for, thank you very much!
Any feedback on sound quality for this one?
 

GGroch

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#6
The SMSL M6 seems to be much closer to what I'm looking for....
Massdrop has sold the M6, so there are a lot of user reviews and discussion there.

NOTE: I see from Massdrop that there is a new version of the M6 (still called M6) that has variable preamp output (not fixed like mine), a remote control, and native DSD playback, different decoding chips. My old one says M6 Mini Dac on the front, the new one says Hi-Res USB Audio Dac HPA-M6 and has a visible remote window on the front.

NOTE: You should probably confirm that the headphone switching is still done with the front panel switch on the new version, the SMSL page says "operating interface is also re-optimized, more humane, easier to operate." So, that could be a bad thing for your purpose. Perhaps it is answered in the Massdrop discussions.
 
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#8
I saw the new version of the M6, it's available on AliExpress.
Not sure if Amazon is selling the new version or the old one.

@LoveMusic!: Thanks for the suggestion but that one is clearly out of my budget!
 
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#9
To be clear, you want a DAC with an integrated headphone amp, where the headphone amp out can be disabled?

Otherwise, I'm confused by why the JDS Switcher wouldn't work for you, and why you say you'd need a separate headphone amp -- what is your headphone amp otherwise?
 
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bravomail

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#10
there are many devices with such func. all-in-one dac/headphone amp/speaker amp units can do that - such as Alientek D8. It has an option via remote to mute or not mute speakers.
 
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#11
@folzag: I am looking for a DAC as I am trying to replace my computer's integrated sound card which is noisy AF. JDS Switcher would be an OK solution otherwise. Integrated headphone amp or low power amp would be a plus.

@bravomail: it does look promising but I can't see an option to switch back and forth between headphone and speakers. I believe the speaker output is going to be inactive for as long as you have headphones plugged in.
 
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#13
OK, makes sense.

FWIW, assuming the DAC doesn't disable the line outputs when the headphone are plugged in (many do) and you have 3.5mm headphones, the JDS Switcher could still work for you. If you want to quiesce the headphones, just set Switcher to RCA output. Alternatively, and admittedly this is a little bit of a PIA, have the DAC's headphone-out go into the Switcher. Then the Switcher can toggle between RCA's-out for your amp, and 3.5mm-out for your headphones.
 
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#14
@bravomail: same issue with the MX3: no easy switching between headphones and speakers.

Your suggestion helped me find the Topping VX1 which seems to implement everything I am looking for.
I will now try to find a higher-end equivalent.
 
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Vincent Kars

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#15
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#16
@Vincent Kars : thank you for the suggestion but they are both way over my budget. I initially planned to spend around $200, possibly $300 if I found an exceptional unit. Also not having to plug/unplug the headphones is my main concern.
 
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#17
and you definitely don't want one where they both always play all the time? The DX7s can be set to DAC+HP and all outputs are always volume controlled that way, whether phones are plugged in or not. The Jotunheim also operates that way, XLR and RCA preouts, 1/4" and XLR HP outs all active.
If that isn't acceptable, I would think the element is your best all in one option. The button on the back shouldn't be a big deal as the volume knob is on top and reaching the switch should be easy.
 
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#18
@Dana reed : having both play at the same time is not acceptable as this setup will be used for a lot of phone conferencing which requires muting the speakers.
 

GGroch

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#19
Not sure why I did not think of this before but:

The SMSL T1 DAC/Tube Hybrid Headphone Amp works this way. It sounds great and has a front switch for output (quick push of the power button on the front switches between the 6.3mm Headphone and Preamp outputs). Nice Big Front Volume Knob.

Most places it sells for $360 BUT... if you are in the U.S. Blinq sells like new open box for $230 on eBay. AND You can get the identical DAC under the Indeed brand, model X16, for $250 new on eBay. Apparently it was co-developed by Indeed and SMSL...and Indeed offers it with several different tube options.

The only negative is that it gets a bit hot....but that does not impact the sound or reliability. . I have the Indeed version and like it a lot. No issues, very versatile, very nice build quality for the $.
 
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#20
One other option if the main source is a PC, would be one of the various Sounblaster internal or external soundcards. They all have switchability between the speaker and headphone outputs via the software. So that could be an option, especially if you set a hotkey to toggle the output.
The one soundblaster didn't get great measurements here, but this one has much better SNR and THD numbers and a <1 Ohm output impedance:
https://us.creative.com/p/sound-cards/sound-blasterx-g6
 
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