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which to choose? DAC Desktop or DAC Dongle?

shot4d

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Hi
Before commenting on my problem or my doubt, I must first say that my budget for what I am looking for is a maximum of 100 dollars. because i bought a smsl sp200 amplifier and i need a good DAC to match it for my hifiman sundara headphones. and i want a DAC that will match my smsl sp200 well for great sound and MQA compatibility. but searching I have only been able to find a dac dongle at the price of 100 dollars and they support MQA and I would have to buy an RCA to 3.5mm cable to connect it with my smsl sp200.
But I have heard that dac dongles do not have much life and the truth is that I do not know anything about dac dongles, I do not know which brand is good or which one is worth it. Now looking for a desktop DAC and the only decent Dac I found for $100 was the Topping D10s mini and I know it doesn't support MQA but I've heard it's a good Dac for dsd and flac. and about dac dongles I found many references that I have no idea which one is good:
-TempoTec Sonata HD V
-ASUS ROG Clavis USB-C Gaming DAC
-HELM Bolt Audio DAC/AMP, USB-C MQA
-TempoTec Sonata MHD MQA 8X
-HIDIZS S3 PRO DAC MQA 8x
Those are the dac dongles at the price that I can buy because there are other more expensive ones but my budget is 100 dollars.

Now my question is the following: What do you recommend me to buy better, the Topping D10s mini dac or any of the dac dongles that I mentioned? and which of those dongle dac is the best in sound and durability?
 
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staticV3

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I recommend you forget about MQA (watch this and the part 2).

The D10s is a good choice for your Amp. Schiit Modi 3E and JDS Atom DAC+ are good choices as well.

If you want a dongle as DAC instead, consider the E1DA 9038D. It has 116.7dB SINAD, a crosstalk of -135dB unloaded at 1KHz, and 2.8Vrms max output.
Screenshot_2022-03-25_185354-2.png

Alternatively there's the Meizu HiFi, which is absurdly good value at $27 with 113dB Sinad and 2.0Vrms. Here are measurements
 
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LTig

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Hi
Before commenting on my problem or my doubt, I must first say that my budget for what I am looking for is a maximum of 100 dollars. because i bought a smsl sp200 amplifier and i need a good DAC to match it for my hifiman sundara headphones. and i want a DAC that will match my smsl sp200 well for great sound and MQA compatibility. but searching I have only been able to find a dac dongle at the price of 100 dollars and they support MQA and I would have to buy an RCA to 3.5mm cable to connect it with my smsl sp200.
But I have heard that dac dongles do not have much life and the truth is that I do not know anything about dac dongles, I do not know which brand is good or which one is worth it. Now looking for a desktop DAC and the only decent Dac I found for $100 was the Topping D10s mini and I know it doesn't support MQA but I've heard it's a good Dac for dsd and flac. and about dac dongles I found many references that I have no idea which one is good:
-TempoTec Sonata HD V
-ASUS ROG Clavis USB-C Gaming DAC
-HELM Bolt Audio DAC/AMP, USB-C MQA
-TempoTec Sonata MHD MQA 8X
-HIDIZS S3 PRO DAC MQA 8x
Those are the dac dongles at the price that I can buy because there are other more expensive ones but my budget is 100 dollars.

Now my question is the following: What do you recommend me to buy better, the Topping D10s mini dac or any of the dac dongles that I mentioned? and which of those dongle dac is the best in sound and durability?
Before you invest any money: did you try the analog out of your device of choice (if it has one)? Nowadays they are mostly good enough, meaning a separate DAC may measure better but may not sound better to your ears.
 
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shot4d

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Before you invest any money: did you try the analog out of your device of choice (if it has one)? Nowadays they are mostly good enough, meaning a separate DAC may measure better but may not sound better to your ears.
Since I only have 100 dollars for a dac, I only have these two options on Amazon. the lHiFi Dual ES9038Q2M USB DAC and the Topping D10s. I can only do those two because I live in Colombia and there are other DACs that are not available for shipping to my country on Amazon and buying through Aliexpress is crap because shipping takes more than 1 month and it does not have good support for returns. between the lHiFi Dual ES9038Q2M USB DAC and the Topping D10s which has better sound detail?
 

staticV3

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The iHiFi has yet to be measured.
It might perform well, it might also perform horribly because the designers didn't know what they were doing. Without measurement, we will never know.

The D10s has already been measured here and here and it's confirmed to be a competent piece of kit. I'd choose it.
 

Slayer

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between the lHiFi Dual ES9038Q2M USB DAC and the Topping D10s which has better sound detail?
If you have read much of anything on here. You should know by now, unless either one is defective, they won't sound any different.
 

Walter

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If you have read much of anything on here. You should know by now, unless either one is defective, they won't sound any different.
Some of the no-name Chinese DACs are so poorly implemented as too come at least close to qualifying as defective, so I'd definitely add a "probably" to that statement. The D10s is a very good DAC for the money, as long as you only need USB input. Topping's reliability, while maybe not great in absolute terms, does seem to be the best of the lower priced Chinese vendors, and the D10 series seems to be among their most reliable products.
 

LTig

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Since I only have 100 dollars for a dac, I only have these two options on Amazon. the lHiFi Dual ES9038Q2M USB DAC and the Topping D10s. I can only do those two because I live in Colombia and there are other DACs that are not available for shipping to my country on Amazon and buying through Aliexpress is crap because shipping takes more than 1 month and it does not have good support for returns. between the lHiFi Dual ES9038Q2M USB DAC and the Topping D10s which has better sound detail?
The question is whether you need to buy a DAC in the first place. If there is an analog output it may be already transparent, and then a better DAC would not improve anything.
 
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