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USB DAC to pair with JDS EL II+ Amplifier

Liberte

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May 2, 2022
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I recently picked up a JDS EL II+ headphone amp/monitor controller in order to play back vinyl. As it's such a great headphone amp and enjoyable interface, I'd like to also use it alongside a USB DAC and wondered what would be good to pair?

The obvious choice is the JDS EL DAC II but I'm not necessarily looking to stack. I'd prefer to have the DAC tucked away, so there's no need for matching aesthetics. The only I/O needed is USB in, analog (preferably RCA) out and it would need to have a fixed/line output. I'd like to find something which can perform as well as top end DACs, without all the additional connectivity, preamp, headphone amp etc.

The DAC/headphone amp I've been using for over 10 years is the audiolab M-DAC, so would like something to match or surpass its performance.

Thanks for any suggestions.
 
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jcadduono

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Topping D10s
It's my go-to for simple USB to RCA.
I have like 5 of them around my house and my workplace lol
As an added bonus it's better than the EL DAC II, iirc
 
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Liberte

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Topping D10s
It's my go-to for simple USB to RCA.
I have like 5 of them around my house and my workplace lol
As an added bonus it's better than the EL DAC II, iirc
Good call. USB powered aswell, which is good as my extension lead is crammed as it is.

A lot of people suggest the amp (in this case JDS EL II+) matters more than the DAC. As this may become my main mode of listening to music via headphones, I'd just like to make sure I have both covered. With this in mind is there another DAC I should consider?
 

staticV3

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Here are some options:

-Khadas Tone Board (109dB SINAD) for $80
-Topping D10s (113dB SINAD) for $110
-JDS Atom DAC+ (112dB SINAD) for $120
-Schiit Modi 3E (114dB SINAD) for $130
-SMSL Sanskrit 10th MKⅡ (114dB SINAD) for $140
-Topping E30 (115dB SINAD) for $150
-SMSL SU-6 (118dB SINAD) for $170
 
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Liberte

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Thanks for the suggestions, Schiit don't offer UK PSU for that model on their site unfortunately. The Sanskrit has no USB and I use Mac with no optical out so couldn't go for that either. I think the Atom+ or D10s could be a good choice for cheaper options.

I'm currently trying to talk myself down from a Chord Qutest. I can justify it as I listen to a lot of music but I wonder how much difference it will make.
 
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staticV3

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The Sanskrit has a micro USB input and the Modi 3E is powered by USB.
 

Obizzz

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Dec 30, 2020
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Thanks for the suggestions, Schiit don't offer UK PSU for that model on their site unfortunately. The Sanskrit has no USB and I use Mac with no optical out so couldn't go for that either. I think the Atom+ or D10s could be a good choice for cheaper options.

I'm currently trying to talk myself down from a Chord Qutest. I can justify it as I listen to a lot of music but I wonder how much difference it will make.
The power input on the Schiit is just an extra USB port for power so you can use any 5V adapter but for most cases you won’t even need it and it can be powered through the USB connected to the computer.
 
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