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World's Cheapest DAC Review

mhardy6647

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Dacs and septic tanks makes one think of Schiit. Anyway, I am pooped, so I will sign out.
... and hope that your reply doesn't get flushed.

;)

(I... I couldn't help myself! The Devil made me do it! )

o_O:p:D:facepalm: - How much? $1,899?? "The Stellar DAC is the perfect foundation for those unwilling to compromise sound quality. Rich. Lush. Powerful. A music lover’s answer to spiraling cost-no-object equipment with major sacrifice."

Remind me again -- which bit is the lush bit? :cool:
 

AnalogSteph

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This guy uses PCM1802 which is not as good, but it was used in the first E-MU 0404 PCI back in the mid-2000s. PCM1804 was reserved for their best devices
at the time like 1820M and 1616M.
Oops. Yeah, DR = 105 dB(A), passband ripple +/- 0.05 dB and stopband attenuation >65 dB sounds a bit more like it for a cheap little ADC.
Yes, the AK5394A basically was the #1 ADC chip for over a decade, and for good reason. I don't think that the whole package has really been bettered to this day if you want something for straightforward 24/96 or 24/192 recording. While AK557x get better dynamic range when combining multiple channels, you want to be running those at 384 kHz and do high-quality downsampling afterwards, which may be a bit of a hassle.
 

AnalogSteph

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Nobody is possibly making any money selling these for a couple of dollars, not unless they got hold of them for essentially free.
Which I suspect they may have. Company makes these, company goes bust, a warehouse full of the things is auctioned off locally - it's all happened before. Plus shipping out of China is basically free for the seller.
 

Francis Vaughan

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Which I suspect they may have. Company makes these, company goes bust, a warehouse full of the things is auctioned off locally - it's all happened before. Plus shipping out of China is basically free for the seller.
Yeah. The point @restorer-john was making is that these have been for sale for a very long time. So much so that it must have been a big warehouse full. I guess production runs of say 10,000 are not unusual so maybe there really was this sort of quantity.
I do find it curious that we have a local retailer still selling them at a relatively high price. Maybe they bought a pile of them years ago at full wholesale price and want their money back.
 
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mmicko

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Do you know some better DAC with optical (toslink) input and price max. approx. 30USD ?
I'm looking for something to be able connect my Samsung TV with external active spekers ...
 

infinitesymphony

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Do you know some better DAC with optical (toslink) input and price max. approx. 30USD ?
I'm looking for something to be able connect my Samsung TV with external active spekers ...
Using ASR's search feature, it doesn't look like anything with Toslink under $30 has been tested here yet. The first recommendation with Toslink is the Topping E30 for $130.

I'd probably give the Fiio D3 ($23) a look if you need to stick to that price range.
 

mmicko

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Using ASR's search feature, it doesn't look like anything with Toslink under $30 has been tested here yet. The first recommendation with Toslink is the Topping E30 for $130.

I'd probably give the Fiio D3 ($23) a look if you need to stick to that price range.

Thanks for good tip - this Fiio looks good and is available also in my country!
The cheapest tested DAC with toslink input is perhaps Toppind D10 but it´s still approx. 100USD...
 

sweetchaos

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Herbert

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If possible, I would like to see a multitone test on this "Cheapest Dac", just for fun.
I played some overtone singing performed by a choir on it and the DAC heavily distorted,
though the signal was about -6db from full scale. The distortion was repeatable and
always on certain notes. Never had this with any other DAC. Music source was this,
but of course I tested the DAC with the original CD:


In the video. the passage where the DAC clipped was around 1:53
 
OP
amirm

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The distortion was repeatable and
always on certain notes.
If you go above the 0.8 volt level, it will distort heavily as i noted in the review. It clips badly.
 

mhardy6647

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Oh, a septic aside, if I may...

I clean the gunk filter on our septic tank out annually (per the recommendation/admonition of the folks who pump it :) ) and have it pumped every other year. Their counsel to me was "We can do it, but it costs you 75 bucks". :cool: So, I give 'em credit for the honesty. At any rate, I usually wait 'til fall for any (routine) septic related maintenance. This year, my wife asked me to show her how to do it. I wonder if she's like, taken out a life insurance policy on me lately or something... but, at any rate ;) show her I did.

It's not exactly fun, but it was a beautiful, cool, sunny fall day -- so it could've been worse. Wasn't too smelly. And the filter was pretty gunked up, so it was a good thing to take off of the "to-do" list!

No pics, though.

I will share a photo of the view from our leach field, though (not taken today, but rather on an early summer day a couple of years back, on a "Chamber of Commerce" day, as they say in Vermont). It's important to have a view from one's leach field, of course. :cool:


DSC_5081 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
 

gfx_1

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Got pictures of the inside:
cheap-dac-top.jpg

cheap-dac-underside.jpg
 

GUS293

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This is a picture of the inside of the one that was sent to Amir for testing. Note that it is different from the one shown above.
IMG_1457.jpg
 

sergeauckland

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Mine is like gfx_1's, except that it has TG-285C silk-screened on the board instead of DTOA, and the large Cirrus-Logic chip has had its legend wiped so can't identify it. The silk-screened legend on the underside is also different, although the components look identical.

I wonder how many versions there are of this board?

Anyway, now that I've blocked the DC offset, mine works very well.

S.
 

infinitesymphony

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I use one of these exact DACs to feed my VU Meters from the Coax output of the D10.

Personally I think it sounds fine for that use :p
That's a cool idea. What's your setup -- do you have a recommendation for RCA VU meters?
 
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