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Reliable DAC

Brab

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I'm looking for a simple DAC for no more than $150 to use with the optical output of a TV. Could someone advise me which of the basic DACs reviewed here, Topping, SMSL, etc. has proven to be the most reliable? Thank you.
 

DHT 845

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SMSL SU-1 (is even cheaper)

 

asrUser

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Schiit Modi should be good.
 

rolfrander

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delta76

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asrUser

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You need to be careful about the details: the TV might not let you control the volume of the optical output (this might be on full volume, regardless of the TV setting). The Modi or the SU-1 does not have volume control.
If this is the case then a DAC with a remote control would be more comfortable.
 

delta76

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You need to be careful about the details: the TV might not let you control the volume of the optical output (this might be on full volume, regardless of the TV setting). The Modi or the SU-1 does not have volume control. JDS Labs Atom+ does not have digital input.

The Fiio K5 pro is an option: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/.../review-and-measurements-of-fiio-k5-pro.9118/
it was fine ~5y ago. we have come a long way. I would not look into DACs that have less than 110dB SINADs (less alone < 90dB) now because we have plenty of cheap, reliable DACs that exceeded that threshold
You will probably not hear a difference, but if the better options are available, why not?
 

rolfrander

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it was fine ~5y ago. we have come a long way. I would not look into DACs that have less than 110dB SINADs (less alone < 90dB) now because we have plenty of cheap, reliable DACs that exceeded that threshold
You will probably not hear a difference, but if the better options are available, why not?
I agree, I must admit that I didn't read the review, I just looked for an option with a recommendation, under $150 and with volume control. I use the Loxjie D40pro which fit the functional and performance requirements (123dB SINAD, volume control, toslink), but at 3x the budget.
 

Klonatans

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No one seems to be addressing the reliability part of my query. had an SMSL in use a few months ago. It lasted a week.
I have a rather old Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100. I bought it second hand (so I don't know its age) in 2018 and it still works without any problems. SINAD numbers aren't as good as in the case of more recent DACs from SMSL or Topping, however after swapping it with an SMSL DO100 I couldn't hear any difference. The price is over your budget, but maybe it can be found cheaper on sale or second hand.
 

ta240

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No one seems to be addressing the reliability part of my query. had an SMSL in use a few months ago. It lasted a week.
This:
JDS Labs Atom+ or similar. Terrific performance and actual support/after sale service
My old JDS DAC keeps working day in and day out.
I had 2 Topping DACs die pretty fast.
My Pro-Ject DACS still work but the microUSB power connectors broke on 2 out of 3 of them.
So I second the JDS Labs recommendation.
 

salmo

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No one seems to be addressing the reliability part of my query. had an SMSL in use a few months ago. It lasted a week.
Well, that's how statistic works. :p I have second-hand Tempotec Sonata HD Pro and works like a charm and I have also JDS Labs Atom AMP (first gen) no problem at all with it. Maybe something you have available locally with good warranty service?
 

asrUser

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I'm using a SMSL PO100 Pro (not a DAC) to get SPDIF Toslink output into a DAC. My PC audio selected the PO100 and I have no problem lowering the volume on my PC. Same should be the case with a TV I think.
 

ta240

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Well, that's how statistic works. :p I have second-hand Tempotec Sonata HD Pro and works like a charm and I have also JDS Labs Atom AMP (first gen) no problem at all with it. Maybe something you have available locally with good warranty service?
But it is nice to try to get the item that is statistically least likely to break on you.
 

Mart68

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No one seems to be addressing the reliability part of my query. had an SMSL in use a few months ago. It lasted a week.
All you're going to get with this is anecdotes. One bloke up thread had two Toppings die fast, I've had one on for almost two years now and zero issues. Won't tell you anything.

You don't want to spend much which is fair enough so just get as cheap as possible and if it dies early you don't take much of a hit.

I think for virtually guaranteed long life you would need to spend a lot more - and very carefully.
 

HarmonicTHD

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No one seems to be addressing the reliability part of my query. had an SMSL in use a few months ago. It lasted a week.
Well with that question and over the internet you only get the disgruntled ones pretty much. So what does that tell you. Nothing, because you don’t know how many are perfectly happy.
 
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If reliability is supremely important, you might inquire as to customer service, under guarantee or otherwise. No one has 100% control of circuit integrity or longevity, but a company can have 100% control over their reaction to failure.

Jim
 
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