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CarlToft

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Hey, I just bought a Hifiman Sundara. But I don't own any DAC/AMPS, I have got a lot of recommendations but I don't which ones are the best. My MOBO's amp is this SupremeFX S1220A codec, plus Texas Instruments® RC4580 and OPA1688

My max prise is $250

1. Ifi zen dac V2
2. Topping DX3 Pro+

If there are better options let me know:)
I have also posted a thread on Reddit, but I want to get more opinions because a lot of people say the IFI is the best one and vice versa.

I live in Europe(Denmark) btw
 
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Katji

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RickSanchez

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Since you're here on ASR take advantage of the measurements that are provided. Far better than using subjective opinions ... especially from Reddit.

(Note that recent DAC / amp reviews are not listed.)
 

DVDdoug

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But I don't own any DAC/AMPS
You don't own a separate DAC or amplifier... ;)

The soundcard/soundchip in your computer & phone have a DAC and if you have an audio/video receiver (with digital inputs) it also has a DAC.

Your computer & phone also have a headphone amplifier and if you're listening to speakers there is an amplifier somewhere. With a home stereo it's usually built-into the receiver and there is an amp built-into regular "powered" computer speakers.

If you're not hearing noise, an external DAC is unlikely to make any difference. Computer soundcards are sometimes noisy, sometimes not. The other important characteristics (frequency response & distortion) are almost always better than human hearing, even with a cheap DAC.

An external amp is mostly for more power (to get louder, or louder without distortion). But again, sometimes you can get noise from the amplifier too.

And with "cheap" headphone amps (like what's built-into our phone & computer) there can sometimes be "impedance problems" where the amplifier's headphone impedance isn't low-enough and it interacts with the headphone impedance to create frequency response variations. (That's because headphone impedance varies over the frequency range.)


...I don't own a separate DAC and the only separate amplifier I'm using is for the subwoofers in my home theater system. (Most home theater setups use an active/powered subwoofer where the amp is built-into the sub.)
 
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CarlToft

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Since you're here on ASR take advantage of the measurements that are provided. Far better than using subjective opinions ... especially from Reddit.

(Note that recent DAC / amp reviews are not listed.)
Thanks, I am pretty new to all hifi. How should I read the measurements, and how do I see if it is a DAP or an amp or dac? Sorry for all the questions but I am clueless.
 
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CarlToft

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You don't own a separate DAC or amplifier... ;)

The soundcard/soundchip in your computer & phone have a DAC and if you have an audio/video receiver (with digital inputs) it also has a DAC.

Your computer & phone also have a headphone amplifier and if you're listening to speakers there is an amplifier somewhere. With a home stereo it's usually built-into the receiver and there is an amp built-into regular "powered" computer speakers.

If you're not hearing noise, an external DAC is unlikely to make any difference. Computer soundcards are sometimes noisy, sometimes not. The other important characteristics (frequency response & distortion) are almost always better than human hearing, even with a cheap DAC.

An external amp is mostly for more power (to get louder, or louder without distortion). But again, sometimes you can get noise from the amplifier too.

And with "cheap" headphone amps (like what's built-into our phone & computer) there can sometimes be "impedance problems" where the amplifier's headphone impedance isn't low-enough and it interacts with the headphone impedance to create frequency response variations. (That's because headphone impedance varies over the frequency range.)


...I don't own a separate DAC and the only separate amplifier I'm using is for the subwoofers in my home theater system. (Most home theater setups use an active/powered subwoofer where the amp is built-into the sub.)
I know. But the amp on my mobo is not that sufficient. I have updated the post with the amp my mobo has
 
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AnalogSteph

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My MOBO's amp is this SupremeFX S1220A codec, plus Texas Instruments® RC4580 and OPA1688
That sounds quite sufficient on the DAC side (you may have to make sure that any DSPs are turned off in headphone operation). Some sort of Asus ROG Strix board by the looks of it? You may need little more than an amp for better driving capability - see whether you can't get a Topping L30 (the good folks at Audiophonics should have them in stock if all fails).
 
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CarlToft

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That sounds quite sufficient on the DAC side (you may have to make sure that any DSPs are turned off in headphone operation). Some sort of Asus ROG Strix board by the looks of it? You may need little more than an amp for better driving capability - see whether you can't get a Topping L30 (the good folks at Audiophonics should have them in stock if all fails).
Is almost the same price as the dap, what would be the best preamp or dap?
 

Katji

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Thanks, I am pretty new to all hifi. How should I read the measurements, and how do I see if it is a DAP or an amp or dac? Sorry for all the questions but I am clueless.
There are posts/threads ("Stickies") that explain the test measurements but you can start by looking at the DAC SINAD chart that is shown in the DAC reviews. i.e. SINAD of all reviewed DACs shown on a bar graph, from highest to lowest. SINAD basically signal vs. noise+distortion. Then you can do any specific questions re that. You don't need to look further than just checking that the DACs you're interested in have OK SINAD.
You already decided on max. price, the rest is checking that it has the input and output options you need or want, and other features. And aesthetics, build quality, user experience with service level, availability/shipping for your location.
And the summary and conclusions at the end of the review.
 
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CarlToft

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So backing up just a bit:
  • Are you looking for something portable or something for your desktop?
  • Are you looking for a DAP or do you have a mobile phone that you can use as your source?
Something for my desktop. If there a good amp and a DAC for $100 each is okay too.
 
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CarlToft

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That sounds quite sufficient on the DAC side (you may have to make sure that any DSPs are turned off in headphone operation). Some sort of Asus ROG Strix board by the looks of it? You may need little more than an amp for better driving capability - see whether you can't get a Topping L30 (the good folks at Audiophonics should have them in stock if all fails).
Do you know how to deactivate it?
 
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CarlToft

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There are posts/threads ("Stickies") that explain the test measurements but you can start by looking at the DAC SINAD chart that is shown in the DAC reviews. i.e. SINAD of all reviewed DACs shown on a bar graph, from highest to lowest. SINAD basically signal vs. noise+distortion. Then you can do any specific questions re that. You don't need to look further than just checking that the DACs you're interested in have OK SINAD.
You already decided on max. price, the rest is checking that it has the input and output options you need or want, and other features. And aesthetics, build quality, user experience with service level, availability/shipping for your location.
And the summary and conclusions at the end of the review.
Will try to do it later thanks:)
 
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