Help me decide on an inexpensive DAC

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jmrife, May 8, 2019.

  1. lollerberry

    lollerberry Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Has anyone upgraded from using Chromecast Audio’s built-in DAC to one of these cheaper stand-alone ones? Any noticeable improvement?

    I find it pretty damn good but don’t have enough experience with DACs to be sure.
     
  2. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident

    It does, I used one for 9 months and it sounds outstanding regardless of the price. But I wanted native DSD playing without using a computer so I got the Topping D50 that can do DSD over PCM by its SPDIF digital coaxial and TosLink inputs.
    It's the best digital source I've ever had, at any price, it sounds great with red book resolution, outstanding with Hi Res PCM and, well, how do I say on my not native English how it sounds with DSD? It has to be heard to be believed that such an inexpensive but built like a tank (it can work as a self defense weapon in case of need, I wouldn't like somebody to through one of these to my head) D/A sounds so fine, detailed,natural and dinamic for that price.
    I've played "The Film Music Of Jerry Goldsmith" SACD, a native DSD recording, on many SACD players and it rival players and converters that cost 4 numbers.
    It has the same Sabre ESS ES9038Q2M D/A converters as the Oppo 205 and the Oppo Sonica, only that both Oppo units use only one ESS ES9038Q2M for stereo playing, the Topping D50 uses one of these per channel.
    It comes without a power supply, but don't bother looking for a linear power supply (the D50 is powered by 5 Volts at 1 Amp, sounds familiar?) that can cost you from 50 to 100 US $, get a good and high capacity powerbank like the one from EC Technology that is a US company but their products are made in China (where else?) but work great. I have a USB power tester that among other things read voltage, mAh consumption, Watts and with an EC Technology 22400 powerbank it gives a dead stable reading of 5.2 volts at 480 mAh without any fluctuations, it doesn't get any better than that and this will give you many many hours of music listening. I once spent 6 hours in a row playing music with it while doing some other staff and it 4 LEDs that indicate their charge level didn't change, the 4 of them were lighted after 6 hours.
    I've also tested a friend's 10000mAh Xiaomi powerbank and it was also very stable.
    Here's the powerbank: https://www.amazon.co.uk/EC-Technol...ay&sprefix=ec+tech,aps,203&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1
    And here's the USB tester: € 3.95 40% de DESCUENTO|9/10 in 1 DC USB Tester Current 4 30V Voltage Meter Timing Ammeter Digital Monitor Cut off Power Indicator Bank Charger 40%off en Medidores de Tensión de Herramientas en AliExpress.com | Alibaba Group
     
    quicksrt, wolfram and patient_ot like this.
  3. Kristofferabild

    Kristofferabild Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Denmark
    How many companies still produce NOS dacs? I really like the sound of those.
     
  4. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I just looked at Amazon and saw the Topping D50, they had a listing for $199.00 new, had to grab it. One more at that price if anyone else was on the fence.

    We are finally in the low price range for nicer DACs. Took several years but we are finally here.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  5. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    For what it's worth the bit stream DACs that replaced mulibit sounded better (and I have owned CDs with 1541A chips). So I can't understand to go back to them especially as they are 16 bit. The ladder DACs that emulate this tech for hi-res just seem complicated and expensive. I have heard of problems with a well known make that has put out a signal or distortion that damages a certain maker's amps which forego filters for SQ reasons. A lot of people are liking the Topping DACs and there is also Beresford in the UK. Most cheap DACS can be bought online with 30 days money back so you can try until you find something you like.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  6. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Not the same DAC as Oppo 205. This is a (cut down) mobile version while 205 use the Pro version.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  7. 500Homeruns

    500Homeruns Peaceful Punk

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I use a Schiit Bifrost with a Chromecast Audio in my system. No USB, but the Chromecast can't use USB anyway. I think it sounds really nice in my system.
     
    lollerberry likes this.
  8. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I’m seeing a lot of comments that the D50 is better sounding. Just did a bunch of searches. But if you are happy and it sounds nice in your system then I wouldn’t bother at the moment.
     
    500Homeruns likes this.
  9. lollerberry

    lollerberry Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Do you hear a tangible difference between CCA’s internal DAC vs. using toslink with the Schiit?
     
  10. 500Homeruns

    500Homeruns Peaceful Punk

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    To my ears, yes. In my system.
     
    lollerberry likes this.
  11. Scott Sheagren

    Scott Sheagren I’m a Metal,Rock,Jazz Fusion,Gaga type of guy.

    Location:
    06790
    with my hrt music streamer 2+ my cds lossless sound better then any vinyl i ever had using jriver as my computer media center with the sox resampler checked.my tube amp helps out with that too.
     
  12. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident

    That's a great price, I hope you really enjoy its sound. Beware, it sounds bright at first but after 50 hours or so of use it sttles down and gets its definitive sound, that for me is otstanding.
    Will you share your opinions on the Topping D50 with us when you get it?
    Don't forget to get a proper power supply, please don't power it with a cell phone charger.
     
  13. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    It's a bit above the OP's budget but I recently bought the Pro-Ject Pre BoxS2 Digital. I chose it for these reasons:

    • Multiple filter options
    • Can be used as a preamp
    • Built-in headphone amp for the rare occasions that I travel for work
    • "Near state-of-the-art" measurements according to Stereophile. I've been wanting to try a more recent DAC since so many claim digital tech continues to improve.
    I'm happy to report that it's an improvement over my Topping D20. I've owned a few $100-$300 DACs and all have sounded practically identical until now.

    The Sabre DAC in my Halo Integrated was somewhat glaring/glassy, so I was apprehensive in ordering the Pro-Ject which uses dual 9038 chips. Well, there's still some slight glare, but it seems very recording dependent, so I can't rule out the recordings or the sources feeding the DAC.

    Anyhow, the biggest improvements over my Topping are channel separation and instrument articulation. Decay also seems improved.

    I fully expected this DAC would be back in the mailbox by the end of the week but it's sounding like a keeper, for now.
     
  14. PTgraphics

    PTgraphics Forum Resident

    I was looking to get a Cambridge DAC or something similar in the price range but I think I am going to go with a used AURALiC Vega. Right now I have the original Dragon Fly Dac hooked up to my old Mac Pro 5,1 and that feeds my Receiver via some old Radio Shack RCA cables. I am looking forward to stepping up my game in a few months with the Vega.
     
  15. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident

    The Topping D50 can be used as a preamp too.
     

Share This Page