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DAC Purchase - Input Wanted

Discussion in 'DACs' started by dusttones, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. dusttones

    dusttones New Member

    Messages:
    36
    I'm looking to purchase a DAC with a budget of around $150. I had settled up on the Modi 2 Uber ($150) after reading many reviews. I now have the option of buying a used (like new) Musical Fidelity V90 DAC for about the same, $150ish. It's hard to find comparisons since they are normally in different price ranges, but I'm curious to which way I should go.

    I'm probably going to be hooking this DAC into my Yamaha RX-V673 and streaming FLAC from my Synology NAS or plugging my laptop into it directly streaming from the same NAS. Any input would be much appreciated!
     

     

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  2. E.Auer

    E.Auer Super Member

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  3. gvl

    gvl Super Member

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    A $150 DAC isn't going to be much better and can actually be worse than the one that's in your Yamaha Receiver already. Seems this receiver is network-able and supports DLNA and can play FLAC files directly, if that is actually so and Synology can serve FLAC files over DLNA you're all set, provided you can connect both the receiver and the NAS to your home network. Or if your laptop has an optical digital output you can connect it to your receiver directly with a Toslink cable. If all that fails you can get a USB to SPDIF converter (DDC) and put it between your laptop and receiver: Laptop->USB->DDC->Coax/Optical->Receiver. There is a recent thread about DDCs (http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/usb-bridge.800195/). There are inexpensive ones around like SMSL x-USB for $54 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-Audio-x...TF8&qid=1513191513&sr=8-3&keywords=smsl+x-usb . You might be able to connect this DDC directly to Synology as it sounds like yours has direct USB audio support, but I suspect it can be finicky and not support all USB audio devices well (Synology->USB->DDC->Coax/Optical->Receiver).
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  4. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I've listened to both and preferred the Schiit. One thing to consider...the Modi Uber will process PCM files up to 24 bit / 192 kHz native resolution (what your source value is is what the DAC will play) whereas the Musical Fidelity V90 will upsample all source material to 24/192.

    The Modi uses an AKM AK4396 chipset, the V90 uses a Burr Brown PCM1975. I can hear the difference between the two and I'd say the AKM has more presence and clarity while the Burr Brown is a bit laid back, rolling over the music vs. presenting it. If I had the same choice I'd get the Modi. But that's just my opinion.

    Good luck with your choice.
     
  5. gvl

    gvl Super Member

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    1,012
    RX-V673 uses Burr-Brown chips, I couldn't find what actual type.
     
  6. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    I prefer the Musical Fidelity as I think the Burr Brown is a little better in general, to me . Again, it depends what the USB chip controller is.
     

     

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  7. gvl

    gvl Super Member

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    One detail is V90's USB input is limited to 24-bit/96kHz, which may limit hi-res options and it also means it uses an older USB interface chip which may be the bottleneck in performance.
     
  8. dusttones

    dusttones New Member

    Messages:
    36
    The Yamaha 673 specs say:
    • 192kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converters for all channels
    I do have my receiver/laptop/synology all on the same network. Sometimes I'll stream music via Fire TV>Plex>HDMI>Yamaha (from the Synology) and it sounds fine. It's when I hook up my laptop directly to the receiver is when I notice a drop off in audio quality. I use a 3.5mm to RCA hookup from the laptop to Yamaha, so maybe I need to change that. I believe that laptop does have an optical out option.
     
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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    Location:
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    With the Schiit - one of the USB chips was a CM6631A USB controller which was known to have issues.
     
  10. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Yeah, 3.5mm out to Yamaha is using your laptop's DAC or sound card, not good. You need to send digital signal to the Yamaha. Forget the laptop for now. There must be a phone app for the Yamaha, fire it up you should be able to find your NAS there - the receiver should see all DLNA devices on the network. You should then be able to drill down and find your music there/play it. You might need to enable/configure DLNA (Media Server) on your NAS first.

    Another option to try - the Receiver should provide a DLNA renderer, you can run a DLNA-aware player on your laptop and specify your Receiver as a renderer, this should play through your network, no need to physically connect your laptop to the receiver.

    DLNA can be problematic to get going sometimes and also it relies on tags to organize/publish your collection to other devices, so if that's not in a good shape it will be difficult to find things in the catalog. If no go then look into connecting your laptop via optical or DDC to the receiver.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  11. dusttones

    dusttones New Member

    Messages:
    36
    We mainly use the laptop when we have a get-together. It's easier to let people browse and pick songs (add to playlist) through windows explorer and just double-click to enqueue to winamp.
     

     

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  12. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Just find a way to send digital to your receiver using one of the options I described, I think you will be pleased with sound, I see no need for a separate DAC based on what you described unless you can find other uses for it.

    EDIT: you can't beat the convenience of using a tablet from a sofa...
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  13. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Well, you can use Jriver as a server and then control with a phone or a pad. It really is more convenient than passing a laptop around.
     
  14. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    The Yamaha Control App for the receiver should have similar functionality using DLNA.
     
  15. dusttones

    dusttones New Member

    Messages:
    36
    I appreciate all the advice! I'm not having any luck with this older laptop (Inspiron 1545), it doesn't have any optical outputs. It only has USB and 3.5mm jacks. If it came down to it, would something like this (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N8UYGMW) work in my case? I would imagine it would be 3.5mm to RCA into this device, then digital out to the Yamaha.
     
  16. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    No, if you don't want to use the Yamaha App to stream directly from your NAS to the receiver, you need a USB to SPDIF digital to digital converter (DDC) for your laptop, not an ADC, this is probably the least expensive one that is based on good tech: https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-Audio-x...TF8&qid=1513449228&sr=1-3&keywords=smsl+x-usb

    What version of Windows are you running? If it is XP it might not work at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017

     

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  17. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

    Messages:
    232
    Location:
    286 miles south of arcata
    my setup is like this:
    Synology ds409 running bubbleupnp server and minim server (bubble is primarily running to create central open home renderers)
    living room: oppo 103
    office: Sony uhp-h1
    bedroom: wdtv live plus

    in hand: android tablet or phone running bubble upnp client. library set to minim server on nas, renderer set to whichever device is closest.

    the tablet gives a nice display of the playlist, which you can do whatever you like within - add tracks, jump around, etc.

    the fire tablet is 50 bucks right now, no?

    Also, you can add air audio for about 10 bucks and use any dlna device as the output device for everything on the tab. BBC, this american life, Le Show are my top three. oops - you need root for air audio, so not germane to a fire tablet.
     
  18. dusttones

    dusttones New Member

    Messages:
    36
    It's running Win 10 Pro 64-bit. I put in a SSD a year or so ago and updated the OS. That SSD is the only thing keeping it usable. I grabbed one of those DDCs you linked. I'll let you know when it arrives - should be here Wednesday.
     
  19. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Did you order the SMSL X -USB? That product page was confusing allowing to select different products but the X-USB is what you want. You will need either a Toslink or Coax RCA cable to connect the DDC to your receiver. If your Windows is up to date with all patches it should recognize the DDC automatically, but if not it should come with a driver.
     
  20. dusttones

    dusttones New Member

    Messages:
    36
    Yep, I got the X-USB model. I've got a spare Toslink cable, so I'll give it a spin when it arrives. Thanks, again!
     

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