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Looking for a straight barebones DAC

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#1
I’m looking for suggestions on a dac for my powered active studio monitors. I’m mainly looking to record and mix music so accuracy performance is a huge deal. This will be connected through digital outs of my Universal Apollo X6, to my active studio monitors.


Here is a list of what I am looking for:
Accurate
Transparent
No MQA
No HP AMP
No USB
No Bluetooth
Optical IN
SPDIF IN
BALANCED OUT
ES9038pro or ES9028pro

Basically just the best performing es9038pro Barebones dac without any extra features.
 
OP
I
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Thread Starter #4
No USB and specifying a specific DAC chip? That may not even exist...

If you can put up with a USB input you don't plan on using there's the Benchmark DAC 3 B.
i don’t need usb but if it has it that’s fine. What I meant was it’s not important. By the way, I thought usb was just an extra feature...dac is normally digital input no? Spdif aes optical?
 
OP
I
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Thread Starter #7
What about the SMSL SU-9?

I think it fulfills all your requirements.
It has some functions you don't need but you don't have to use these.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/smsl-su-9-balanced-dac-review.16150/
Yeah I would love one of those, but it has way too many things I don't need, and I would like to cut the price down because it has features I would never use. I just need something pristine with the ES9038PRO implemented well, without all the extra bluetooth MQA streaming functionality...don't need headphone out either, just balanced out to my monitors.
 

Racheski

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#8
If the DAC is transparent why is the make and model of the D/S chip relevant?
 

Jimbob54

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#11
Well it is an arbitrary requirement that will make your search much more difficult and expensive than necessary. But if you insist, here is your answer SMSL SU-8 V2
You won’t find anything cheaper unless it is used.
Alas I don't believe that's the 9038 Pro. But I agree, no point getting hung up on the chip make or model. Look at the output
 

Racheski

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#12
Alas I don't believe that's the 9038 Pro. But I agree, no point getting hung up on the chip make or model. Look at the output
Ah yes good point. It is the 9038q2M. Close enough :cool:
 

Lorenzo74

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#13
I’m looking for suggestions on a dac for my powered active studio monitors. I’m mainly looking to record and mix music so accuracy performance is a huge deal. This will be connected through digital outs of my Universal Apollo X6, to my active studio monitors.


Here is a list of what I am looking for:
Accurate
Transparent
No MQA
No HP AMP
No USB
No Bluetooth
Optical IN
SPDIF IN
BALANCED OUT
ES9038pro or ES9028pro

Basically just the best performing es9038pro Barebones dac without any extra features.
https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/diy-...xlr-32bit-384khz-dsd-with-screen-p-12705.html
Find one dac more “barebones” than this...
Best
L.
 

Berwhale

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#15
What do you expect to gain by adding a separate DAC over the analogue outputs from your Universal Apollo X6?
 

Katji

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#17
*Subscribed.* ...With interest. Because I will never buy a DAC with MQA or [probably never] a headphone amp.
 
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Berwhale

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#18
free up my analog outputs for summing.
Interesting. Can the monitor outputs be used in the same way as all the other analogue outputs? Is the digital output independant of the monitor output. The diagrams I found in the article linked below seem to indicate that monitor out should be treated separately from the other analogue outputs....

UAD Apollo for summing the mixes best passive summing mixer designed for Universal Audio Apollo by VintageMaker | by Paul Taylor | Medium
 
Last edited:
OP
I
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Thread Starter #19
Interesting. Can the monitor outputs be used in the same way as all the other analogue outputs? Is the digital output independant of the monitor output. The diagrams I found in the article linked below seem to indicate that monitor out should be treated separately from the other analogue outputs....

UAD Apollo for summing the mixes best passive summing mixer designed for Universal Audio Apollo by VintageMaker | by Paul Taylor | Medium
yep, you can route everything through the daw or console software.
 
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