DAC recommendations

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Atmospheric, Jul 16, 2017 at 7:31 PM.

  1. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Newberg, OR USA
    Must have:
    USB in
    Balanced out
    24/192 min
    Great sound (of course)
    Desktop form factor

    Nice to have:
    Bus powered

    Don't need:
    Headphone amplifier

    This will drive my Neumann/Yamaha 3.1 powered monitoring system.

    I know price matters a lot. I could potentially pay quite a lot but would prefer to find that value sweet spot.
     
  2. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  3. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Newberg, OR USA
    Is the Teac and Cambridge Audio stuff even worth consideration?
     
  4. k4rstar

    k4rstar Member

    Location:
    Canada
  5. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Newberg, OR USA
  6. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Houston TX
  7. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    TEAC and Cambridge Audio do seem like good value. Used PS Audio would meet the requirements, provide high quality sound, and they're built very well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017 at 9:01 PM
    Atmospheric likes this.
  8. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    i
    I'm perfectly happy with my HRT Music Streamer HD. If I had to do it again, I'd probably go with the Oppo Sonica DAC, but it has a headphone amplifier, I think.
     
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  9. Standingstones

    Standingstones Active Member

    Location:
    South Central PA
    Sorry, one look at the Sonica DAC will tell you headphone circuitry is not involved.
     
    Dusty Chalk likes this.
  10. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Active Member

    The reference line of TEAC is very good but it flies under the radar. Some say that Cambridge Audio is better, but I listened to both the DACMAGIC and the TEAC AI-501DA and I prefer the TEAC (it's also very cool looking).

    The AI-501DA is a DAC/Integrated Amplifier combo so it's not what you are looking for, but the UD-301 might be a good choice if it has has the same DAC circuitry.
     
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  11. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Newberg, OR USA
    I think something got mangled. I don't need a headphone amp. But if an otherwise stellar DAC that checks all my must haves includes one, I'll buy it.

    I think the TEAC UD-301 uses a slightly inferior DAC (still a Burr-Brown, I believe) to the UD-503 and higher end DACs in that line.

    I'm kind of surprised that so many DACs are essentially DAC/headphone amp combos, and so few are DACs with balanced outs for loudspeakers. It must be what the market wants.

    It also looks like nothing is buss powered. Probably too much current draw, or buss power being too dodgy.

    Great info so far. Thanks one and all.
     
  12. Mrtn77

    Mrtn77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paris, France
    If you're keen on bus-power, check out Fostex's DACs. Some of them, like this one, fit the bill.

    If balanced out are a necessity, you might have better luck on the "pro" market.
     
  13. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Active Member

    Actually I know a product that fits your requirements and I also happen to know the designer and I have one of his earlier products. You may want to check the TeddyDAC . You can spec one with additional XLR output if this is what you need.

    Teddy Pardo is a very nice guy and I still have his original DAC, which was a superb product when it launched. Perhaps I'm biased but I think it's worth your time to check it out or send him a message.
     
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  14. SMc

    SMc Member

    Location:
    Austin TX
    I like mine, especially at discount/refurbished prices. If it had a preamp mode, I'd like it even more.
     
  15. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I was looking for something similar this weekend before talking myself out of it, and saw that the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus is down to $350 these days. Has balanced outputs and a preamp volume control for the monitors.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  16. Gizmo90

    Gizmo90 Member

    Location:
    98336
    I thought the parasound zdac v2 was very musical, but I think most dacs seems to be pretty good these days.
     
  17. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Newberg, OR USA
    Zoom has a new bottom feeder DAC/interface out:
    Zoom TAC-2 Thunderboltâ„¢ Audio Converter

    I'm fairly ambivalent about Zoom products in general. They tend to sound harsh, thin and artificial to my ears. But one never knows. I do like the form factor with a nice big volume knob within easy reach. I suppose I could buy this from Guitar Center and return it if I didn't like it. I probably wouldn't use the inputs unless a gun was pointed at my head. Then I might pray they'd miss.
     
  18. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    i
    I understood that about the headphone amp, I was just being snarky. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

    The HRT is bus powered. There's also an earlier version called the MusicStreamer Pro, but it doesn't have standard connectors. It also doesn't go up to 192, only 96 (which is my 192 -- I don't think I can hear better than that).

    I suspect it's rare because a lot of fidelity is accomplished through making sure one has a clean power supply.
     
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  19. NYMets41

    NYMets41 Member

    Location:
    USA
    Some great suggestions here. I will add my own.

    I love Chord's Mojo but now have their Hugo 2.

    wow.

    I listened to the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's on it and using Beyerdynamic T1's.

    wow.

    I am keeping Mojo for portable listening but I hope Hugo 2 does not spoil it for me!

    There are lots of good DACS out there so start with your budget and work from there.
     
  20. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    The Lynx Hilo would do well for this. Excellent DAC with balanced outs and USB in, as well as many other features. I love mine and have used it with powered speakers. If you check the HeadFi forums, you can find a special price of about $1850. Whether that's a sweet spot or not is your call, but as an owner and audiophile, I think it's good value for the money.

    Hilo - Products - Lynx Studio Technology, Inc.

    Have fun!
     

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