Bluetooth DAC with Optical Input?

Discussion in 'DACs' started by filmis, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. filmis

    filmis Active Member

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    I've been scouring the internet for a bluetooth-capable DAC with an optical input with little success.

    The only one I have found is the discontinued V90-BLU (http://www.musicalfidelity.com/v90-blu).

    I need at least one optical input, even better if it has 2. You'd think this shouldn't be so unusual!
     
  2. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

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    3,388
    Found three opt/coax receivers offered by Amazon:

    Belkin Song Stream $50

    Altman same as above with Aptx thrown in the mix $39

    Star Tech $56, which "Wirecutter" totes as being a #1 offering $56


    Q
     
  3. filmis

    filmis Active Member

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    None of those have optical INPUTS, but thanks anyways. Usually bluetooth DACs have an optical out, so you can stream the digital content to another device. I'm looking for something which has an optical input, so that it will do the DA conversion on that input in addition to the bluetooth link (e.g. switch between them).
     
  4. lissenup

    lissenup Active Member

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    Cambridge Audio. They have a number of DAC’s that you add their BT100 Bluetooth adapter.
     
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  5. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    What's your budget? What outputs do you need? (line level, variable, sub, headphone?) How picky are you - are you in the "a dac is a dac is a dac" camp, or do you spend a lot of time doing critical listening of different implementations? Are you looking for a small form factor, or full width, or do you not care? Is this a desktop DAC or one you want to carry?

    It is frustrating, I just did something a little different, but was frustrated by the profusion of terrible gear, and the amount of gear that emphasizes USB over all else. I was mostly looking for small form factor in a desktop piece and wanted a headphone amp as well as the DAC, so my memory is going to be biased toward those things.

    I just got a deal on an Arcam irDAC II for 350 plus shipping, but it is more commonly seen at around 550 and up. USB, BT AptX, 2 x coax, 2 x optical in, line level and variable out as well as a headphone amp. It sounds pretty good - I haven't sat down to do hardcore listening with it yet, but initial impressions are it sounds better than the Schiit Amp/DAC I have, as it ought - originallly it retailed for ~7x what the schiit did. I don't think any of the Schiit's have BT antennas.

    But now that I look harder at what's out there, that Arcam becomes something of a deal if you can find it at 550. Some vendors on Amazon have them at that price, I think for refurbs.

    Teac makes some reasonably well regarded ones, but the only one I'm seeing that acts as a DAC with an output stage other than headphones and has BT is the AI-503, which is expensive, $900 at Amazon. Thanks to the poster below who pointed out that with teac, adding BT removes the analog outputs until you get into the 5 series.

    The NAD D1050 may have BT? If not that, I think the D3020 does? I think both also have full size speaker outputs, so you're getting something you weren't really looking for with those, and I don't know what outputs those offer.

    Ouch. I had recommended the SMSL B1, but on closer inspection that features an optical out, not an optical in.

    If you do need a headphone amp, you want to only buy from vendors where you can be sure you know what the output impedance of the headphone stage is. I have a little Denon PMA-50 boxed up and ready for UPS to take crying home to mamma Crutchfield - it made my headphones sound just awful, because it has a 60 ohm output impedance. (It to was $350 on sale...)

    I'm usually a more-or-less "a DAC is a DAC and an amp is an amp" guy, once both are reasonably well-implemented.

    I've heard one vivid exception to that during my quest, and it may one day wind up in the living room as a pure digital preamp: the Ayre Codex. Holy cow, but I don't have 2k to invest on this. Some of the higher end Schiit products are spoken of pretty reverentially as well.

    The Ayre does have optical in, but no bluetooth.

    The irDAC is not in that league at all - it's good, it has what I want it to have and it solves a very specific problem I was having, but it's not "wait, what? Lou Reed was doing that in this recording? Now that's interesting" good like the Codex. Point being, to my ear, you have to be ready to splash some pretty tall cash to get out to distinctively better sounding DACs.

    But, as I'm realizing now - at 550 or even 750 it ticks a lot of your boxes. So I'd say it's worth a look.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  6. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    675
    300 and lower Teacs don't have line-level outputs, so you're limited to its own power amp. Chromecast Audio can be something to look into instead of Bluetooth.
     
  7. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    Location:
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    Ouch.

    The UD301 has switchable line / preamp outs but no BT, hadn't realized that the integrated amp version had neither line nor variable out. Thanks for pointing that out. It turns out the irDAC becomes a really good fit for the OP.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  8. filmis

    filmis Active Member

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    122
    All I care about is a line level output. I'm just shocked that an optical and bluetooth in is a feature only higher-end models seem to have.
     
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Bluetooth is just barely CD quality. The new version coming out will be 96/24 but will use more power.
     
  10. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

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    What he said. The DACMagic Plus has two inputs, both of which will accept optical or coaxial. It also has opt/coax digital out.
     
  11. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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    There is the Yamaxa-WXC50 but it may be more than what's needed and no aptX.
     
  12. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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  13. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    The more features you want, the more they cost too. A fact of life.
     
  14. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    Location:
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    And not that many of the higher end models have those. BT isn't a high end audio implementation - in fact, Arcam was criticized for including it in the DAC I
    wound up with.

    Here's one from Audioquest that may work:
    https://www.amazon.com/AudioQuest-Bluetooth-Digital-Converter-Jitterbug/dp/B074WB6PFT

    And it looks as if this Creative one would work also:
    https://www.amazon.com/Creative-High-Resolution-Headphone-Amplifier-Bluetooth/dp/B00MXJYDUO?th=1
     
  15. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

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  16. filmis

    filmis Active Member

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    122
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've read that the Beetle has disappointing issues with Bluetooth, otherwise that would literally be the perfect fit for me. Might wait to see if they iron those bugs out (haha, see what I did there). Some of the reviews on the Creative one don't give me great confidence in it, and I don't like that the TOSlink port is not optical, meaning I'd have to get a separate powered converter. Really, I'll have no need for a portable DAC with a battery and other features like that - it'll just sit proudly atop my hifi system.
     
  17. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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  18. filmis

    filmis Active Member

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    That's good to know, although the other issues (battery, not so hot reviews) tip me in favor of the Beetle. I might just get that and see how it works...
     
  19. jameswei

    jameswei Super Member

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  20. filmis

    filmis Active Member

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    Thanks guys - Santa obliged my wish for the Beetle DAC - so far I love it. Definitely hear a difference in sound quality - better resolution of the sound stage, etc. Currently away visiting family so can't wait to listen to it properly on my own HiFi system.

    Oh, and Merry Christmas!
     

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