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Looking for DAC options for new setup

Joined
Aug 10, 2019
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#1
I currently have a fully balanced headphone amp/dac/pre-amp for my desktop headphone setup.

I have sold all my previous hifi equipment and I plan on buying a Benchmark AHB2 for my speakers real soon and will pair in the the future with a DAC3 (hopefully end of the year or early 2020 at the latest). In the meantime, I plan to re purpose my headphone amp as a temporary DAC/preamp for my AHB2 while I try to sell it as well. I ordered a JDS Labs atom to be my new desktop headphone setup on my computer and will order a D30 to pair with it.

I want to order a new temporary DAC after I sell the current fully integrated one to pair with my AHB2 until I can afford a DAC3. What are my options? I am looking to keep the cost down since it will only be used for 2-3 season before I upgrade to a DAC3 but needs to provide the follow features:
1. balanced outputs (I don't care if it a true balanced dac or not)
2. usb/optical/coax input
3. volume control

I think the D50 is an obvious choice what else is there around this price I should consider? Looking to keep my options around the $200-$250 mark.
 
Joined
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#3
Looks like I confused myself. The D50 is single end output which won't work with the AHB2.

However, I decided to order a D50s anyways to combo with the Atom instead of the D30.

So then the question is now, what are the some affordable options for DACs with XLR output, volume control, USB/opt/coax input?
 
Joined
May 16, 2018
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#6
I currently have a fully balanced headphone amp/dac/pre-amp for my desktop headphone setup.

I have sold all my previous hifi equipment and I plan on buying a Benchmark AHB2 for my speakers real soon and will pair in the the future with a DAC3 (hopefully end of the year or early 2020 at the latest). In the meantime, I plan to re purpose my headphone amp as a temporary DAC/preamp for my AHB2 while I try to sell it as well. I ordered a JDS Labs atom to be my new desktop headphone setup on my computer and will order a D30 to pair with it.

I want to order a new temporary DAC after I sell the current fully integrated one to pair with my AHB2 until I can afford a DAC3. What are my options? I am looking to keep the cost down since it will only be used for 2-3 season before I upgrade to a DAC3 but needs to provide the follow features:
1. balanced outputs (I don't care if it a true balanced dac or not)
2. usb/optical/coax input
3. volume control

I think the D50 is an obvious choice what else is there around this price I should consider? Looking to keep my options around the $200-$250 mark.
Don’t deal with the reliability issues of Topping and SMSL. Get a balanced SDAC from Drop. Well below budget.
 
Joined
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#8
Is that for a fact?, any data to back up the reliability issue part?. I own a D50s hence curious.
I’ve owned three Topping products, all had issues. My sole SMSL product literally sparked when I plugged it in. Look at the threads here and at Head-Fi. The proportion of issues seems staggering to me. Of course, people are free to spend their money how they like.
 

geek101

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#9
I’ve owned three Topping products, all had issues. My sole SMSL product literally sparked when I plugged it in. Look at the threads here and at Head-Fi. The proportion of issues seems staggering to me. Of course, people are free to spend their money how they like.
ouch, thanks for sharing.
 
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#10
Problem with SDAC is no volume control. I would not have a pre-amp to add between the amp and dac in this scenario.
 
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#12
Ok looks like my only real option so far is SMSL SU-8 as a hold over until late 2019 or early 2020 when I can get a DAC3. The M300 doesn't have a remote and M500 is likely to be over $400 which is more than I want to spend for a temporarily unit.

Question I am trying to figure out is, does the SU-8 remember the volume setting? This is very important since it would be directly connect into my power amp.
 
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#14
If this is just temporary, you could also consider using Benchmark's RCA to XLR cables with a less expensive single ended DAC https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/cables/products/benchmark-rca-to-xlrm-adapter-cable
Simplest solution and I didn't think about it. I guess I can use the D50s with the AHB2 after all and just use the analog out on my computer with the atom until I get the DAC3. Monoprice sells the cable for $5.

But still the bleeding question remains, do these units acutally remember volume settings on power on/off? If they don't, I can't use them.
 

BDWoody

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#16
Hey, which DAC do you like the most? Any audible differences between them?
In terms of crazy value, that goes to the dx3 pro. No audible differences, but that's to be expected with any competent DAC.
 
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Aug 10, 2019
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#18
So I ordered the DAC3 already. I decided to go with a temporary amp instead of a temp DAC. I'll be ordering the AHB2 in October most likely.

As for my headphone setup, I ended up getting the D30 to combo with the Atom after all. Now I just need sell the old headphone amp to get some cash to buy new IEMs.
 
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