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First dac. Help me to choose.

tzavardin

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I am planning to get Swissonic V7 as desktop speakers. I don't mix or record music, neither I stream. I just want to hear music. I have a guitar, but I haven't thought of recording so far, I am just learning.

I think I need an audio interface mainly because if I just connect the v7s with unbalanced rcas to my motherboard, I am afraid it is gonna be a mess. Of course, the external DAC is a plus.

I have seen that Thomann has the Focusrite Vocaster One on offer at 45 euros atm. The problem is that as I understand it supports sample rate of 24bit/48khz. The truth is that right now I have only a spotify subscription that supports only 16/44.1 if i am not mistaken. But if I get tidal later, will this be a problem?

Do you think i should go with Scarlett solo or 2i2, or some other dac on the site? By doing that, I muat double my dac budget. Does it worth it?

I have seen some cheaper ESIs and Swissonic Audio 1 and 2, at 24/192 but most of them have driver problems with windows 11.
What would you suggest for my use?
 

Anton D

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Do not bother yourself considering Tidal...it will not be around long enough to justify accommodating it.

Would a "USB DAC" be enough for you?

Oh, and welcome!!!!
 

EERecordist

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steve59

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I bought a Project pre box s2 digital for it's functionality at the price.
 

Timcognito

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Upper Left, click on Review Index > click on Electronics > type DAC into search and enter > go column heads, such as price > click on column heads to sort. Read reviews in your price range and think what is it that you do not understand or if others have experience with an interesting model. Come back with questions. Ask about sources for purchasing and you will have decision in no time. Many choices in the $100-200 range.

Welcome to ASR
 

KaeliKoo

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I am planning to get Swissonic V7 as desktop speakers. I don't mix or record music, neither I stream. I just want to hear music. I have a guitar, but I haven't thought of recording so far, I am just learning.

I think I need an audio interface mainly because if I just connect the v7s with unbalanced rcas to my motherboard, I am afraid it is gonna be a mess. Of course, the external DAC is a plus.

I have seen that Thomann has the Focusrite Vocaster One on offer at 45 euros atm. The problem is that as I understand it supports sample rate of 24bit/48khz. The truth is that right now I have only a spotify subscription that supports only 16/44.1 if i am not mistaken. But if I get tidal later, will this be a problem?

Do you think i should go with Scarlett solo or 2i2, or some other dac on the site? By doing that, I muat double my dac budget. Does it worth it?

I have seen some cheaper ESIs and Swissonic Audio 1 and 2, at 24/192 but most of them have driver problems with windows 11.
What would you suggest for my use?
I would get a trial subscription to Tidal first, an Android device with at least Android 12, and HiBy Music from Google Play (free) which will give bit-perfect playback and supports Tidal, and then add your DAC. The sound quality of Tidal bit-perfect to Spotify is pretty massive but your ears will be the judge...
 

Chrispy

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I would get a trial subscription to Tidal first, an Android device with at least Android 12, and HiBy Music from Google Play (free) which will give bit-perfect playback and supports Tidal, and then add your DAC. The sound quality of Tidal bit-perfect to Spotify is pretty massive but your ears will be the judge...
Massive difference how particularly?
 

JeremyFife

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Hi, and welcome :)
Modern DACs are great, some are technically better but unless they are terrible you simply cannot hear a difference ( differences are below our audible threshold)

Don't worry about digital resolution. Anything at least 16/44.1 is audibly as good as we can hear. Don't worry about the streaming service either. Changing to Tidal won't give you better sound - it's up to you to decide if the choice of music is worth it.

Perhaps your requirements are slightly different to just replay - you want to include guitar and you may, in future, be interested in recording.

I'd say that makes an interface the no-brainer. Focusrite measure well and have good DACs. I don't know the Vocaster though. Some more expensive models (solo, 2i2) have been reviewed here and have been good. Try to get a detailed specification for the Vocaster, see how it looks.

If you think you will want to record, then the position changes slightly. You will probably want a higher bit depth so that you can process the signal later without degrading it - ability to record at 24 bit becomes more useful.

In short: a decent budget interface will have a DAC that is more than good enough, but I don't know if the Vocaster is a good choice.
 

Robin L

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I like my Topping E30. It's been upgraded to E30 II.


It sells for $149, has three inputs - USB, coax and optical Toslink. It measures better than anyone can hear. My Topping E30 has an easy-to-use interface, measures better than I can hear (and I sincerely doubt that anyone can hear the difference between the E30 and the E30 II), also has three the same three inputs. While it's capable of decoding DSD and higher resolution PCM, I'm using it nearly all the time for playing back Redbook sourced from CDs or what are usually MP3 files from internet sources. I switch between my Blu Ray player (that functions as a CD/SACD/DVD Audio transport) and my laptop. I've never been happier with any other digital gear, and I've been at it for over 35 years.
 

Brian Hall

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Ogg Vorbis / AAC vs. Flac

Very little if any noticeable audible differences. Spotify at 320kbps Ogg Vorbis sounds great on a good system. Tidal still has too way much MQA (censored) to call it a lossless service.

Tidal plays a little louder than Spotify and a lot of people interpret that as sounding better when doing a quick comparison.
 
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tzavardin

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Thank you all for your input, guys. I am glad that I registered to ask. I have been a member in many forums in the last 10 years, but I can count those that a newcomer could get real help according to his needs in the fingers of my one hand.

I am reading reviews here at the moment and this already have helped me to consider more things about my purchase. In the future, me and my fiancee are considering to build a turntable system, so I think we will talk again. But until then we have some time, because if we try it now, our kidneys' future is in danger. It is indeed an expensive hobby, hehe. Thanks again.
 

Smaestro

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Tidal plays a little louder than Spotify and a lot of people interpret that as sounding better when doing a quick comparison.

Ha yes! This happened recently: a friend called me, he was ecstatic and told me I just had to try Tidal, just so much better in every way than Spotify!

This is a guy who's not easily impressed or this enthusiastic at all, so I suspected something else than a small bitrate difference. I checked loudness, and yes, Tidal measured about 0.8 dB louder on my phone.

I invited him and his wife over for a blind listening test on my couch. After compensating for loudness, the difference was gone.

And Welcome Tzavardin :)
 

Chrispy

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Thank you all for your input, guys. I am glad that I registered to ask. I have been a member in many forums in the last 10 years, but I can count those that a newcomer could get real help according to his needs in the fingers of my one hand.

I am reading reviews here at the moment and this already have helped me to consider more things about my purchase. In the future, me and my fiancee are considering to build a turntable system, so I think we will talk again. But until then we have some time, because if we try it now, our kidneys' future is in danger. It is indeed an expensive hobby, hehe. Thanks again.
I'd really reconsider the vinyl thing unless you have a fairly large existing vinyl collection that might not be able to be found digitally.....
 

DWPress

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Thank you all for your input, guys. I am glad that I registered to ask. I have been a member in many forums in the last 10 years, but I can count those that a newcomer could get real help according to his needs in the fingers of my one hand.

Yup, this place is great for actually getting credible information. A lot of smart people here and many of them can back up their opinions with science. AND good audio doesn't have to be expensive!

Welcome to ASR.
 

AnalogSteph

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I am planning to get Swissonic V7 as desktop speakers. I don't mix or record music, neither I stream. I just want to hear music. I have a guitar, but I haven't thought of recording so far, I am just learning.

I think I need an audio interface mainly because if I just connect the v7s with unbalanced rcas to my motherboard, I am afraid it is gonna be a mess. Of course, the external DAC is a plus.
There's still the failsafe option of running your onboard output through a Behringer HD400. Cables e.g. Cordial CFY 1,5 WPP + 2x CFM 1,5 MV (choose lengths as required but avoid >1.5 m for the latter if you can help it).

Don't forget speaker stands of some kind. I've basically never had speakers sound good sitting directly on a desk. Thomann carries some inexpensive desk stands, but make sure they're not too high.

The market sub-90€ or so is the Wild West of audio interfaces. It is full of all kinds of surprises, rarely the good kind. I thought the output side was the strongest part of the 65€ Swissonic UA-2x2 (the line-out actually uses a balanced line driver, not just impedance balancing), but being UAC1 it's limited to 24/96 playback and either 24/48 or 16/96 recording. On the flipside it works just about anywhere out of the box. I would generally advise going for something from the 100-150€ price bracket, used if need be (maybe something from the M-Audio AIR 192 line or a 2nd/3rd gen Focusrite Scarlett).
I have seen some cheaper ESIs and Swissonic Audio 1 and 2, at 24/192 but most of them have driver problems with windows 11.
Which is odd because those are UAC2 and don't even need dedicated drivers, although you can optionally install some for native ASIO support and such. In case of the UA-2x2 I ditched the driver (also by ESI, btw) after finding that it kept my CPU fairly busy even when the device was not used at all, but other than that I did not have any functional issues with it.
I'd really reconsider the vinyl thing unless you have a fairly large existing vinyl collection that might not be able to be found digitally.....
I'll echo that sentiment. Decent playback equipment gets expensive relatively fast, and the records themselves are not cheap either. If you can barely afford some entry-level monitors and a basic audio interface for ~300€ total, buying digital (download or the occasional CD) will get you a lot further. You can still get the odd record to display if the cover art speaks to you that much (even I have succumbed once or twice, despite my turntable being a semi-functional work in progress since 2010 or so).
 
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Brian Hall

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Thank you all for your input, guys. I am glad that I registered to ask. I have been a member in many forums in the last 10 years, but I can count those that a newcomer could get real help according to his needs in the fingers of my one hand.

I am reading reviews here at the moment and this already have helped me to consider more things about my purchase. In the future, me and my fiancee are considering to build a turntable system, so I think we will talk again. But until then we have some time, because if we try it now, our kidneys' future is in danger. It is indeed an expensive hobby, hehe. Thanks again.

The most expensive thing you can do is to set up a system to try to make vinyl records sound half as good as CDs or streaming. Getting great sound with CDs or streaming is much easier and less expensive.
 
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tzavardin

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I'd really reconsider the vinyl thing unless you have a fairly large existing vinyl collection that might not be able to be found digitally.....
Well, my fiancees' uncle is willing to give a pretty big collection of vinyls that he has. He can't listen to them anymore for various reasons.
Some of them are from the '60s and the collection expands to the present day, but most of them are '70s and '80s vinyls. I know that it wouldn't be worth to just starting to collect now. The vinyl market is too expensive and the used market is kinda dry for years. I am 20 years late to the party.
 
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