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List of DACs Under $450

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Netdewt, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Drugolf

    Drugolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,521
    Location:
    Boise
    FYI Emotiva is now closing out the XDA-2 for $219 with free shipping. If you are an e-club member you take another 10% off! Fantastic deal right now.
     
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  2. komoyuki

    komoyuki Super Member

    Messages:
    1,235
    Location:
    Quebec - Canada
    Emotiva website for the XDA-2

    Shipping Method
    Country* Canada
    International Economy (9-10 day transit) 86.52 CAD


    Well I got to tall ya it sucks to live in Canada sometime...
     
  3. Billfort

    Billfort Addicted Member

    Messages:
    8,486
    Location:
    Newmarket, ON, Canada
    iFi iDSD Nano that can convert most any PCM format and the big one - DSD (up to 5.6/DSD128) - for about $190. Even has a headphone jack, level control and internal battery which I bet would be a killer portable option for a laptop.

    Extra bonus (and still <$450) if have have a decent computer to stream to it; add HQPlayer software and convert all source material to DSD128 on-the-fly during play. I'm doing this (with a different dac) and the results are incredible - especially with flac and 16/44.1 wav.

    The same thing could be done with JRiver software ($50) and I think Foobar (free) but my experience with JR and HQPlayer have me feeling the extra $ for HQP are worth it - even with a $450 limit.
     
  4. jazzwave

    jazzwave New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Another budget DAC China made, with eSabre chip inside $89.
    You need to choose USB or SPDIF input, RCA and headphone output.
    It uses the CS8416 digital receiver and accepts up to 192k/24bit on all inputs.


    http://hifimediy.com/DACs/spdif-dac-110V

    [​IMG]
     
  5. JeffyW

    JeffyW New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Winter Garden, FL
    Please feel free to redirect me if I'm in anyway hijacking this thread, but while on the topic of DAC's...I have a question. I'm looking at headphone amps vs. DAC's. In regards to HFA's Most seem to contain a DAC. You've got to climb the cost ladder in order to get any kind of digital input option along with the standard analog rca's, where you would even be using the DAC. I realize that many people are using the digital input of their DAC to convert data from PC's and laptops.....but how does one choose? Supposing that you only have budget for one, I think a DAC with a pre-amp function (volume knob) and both analog and multiple format digital inputs would do everything and more that a HFA would do, no? Most of my listening is through my Marantz CD5004 player with Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones plugged directly into the 1/4 inch variable outputted jack. Again, wouldn't I be better off sending the digital output from the cd to the DAC, utilizing it's DAC, rather than taking the analog output rca's from the Marantz into the analog input of the DAC? For listening outside of the cans, I have an Adcom GFP 565 feeding signal to 2 GFA 565 monoblocks. Currently I am "between speakers", having sold my Klipsch Chorus's before moving. Is it really a tube advantage to have a DAC with vacuum tubes in it's circuitry? I'm guessing the tubes are in the output stage? Thanks in advance for any advice or enlightenment on this subject which I'm trying to grasp.
     
  6. gailany222

    gailany222 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    thanks a lot for this great information man............good job
     

     

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  7. Netdewt

    Netdewt Active Member

    Messages:
    389
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    I haven't stopped by for a while. I'm happy to let someone else update the list if they'd like.
     
  8. charles 1973

    charles 1973 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,053
    For those of you who have a Blue ray Player or flat screen TV with no analog audio out to connect to you vintage receiver, And want something that sounds decent without spending much, This tiny AMX DAC does a surprisingly good job with plenty of detail. Probably on par with the DAC's in many lower priced CD players. It also has auto switching, so when you turn off you TV's optical digital feed, the blue ray player is automatically selected through the coax input so you can play CD's and MP3 disc's.

    https://baybloorradio.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=65_111&product_id=903

    It would be interesting to see if the SQ would improve using a battery pack for the power supply instead of the cheap wall wart PS that came with the unit. But now it would have to be turned on manually to save batteries though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
  9. Sovereign

    Sovereign LOL INTERNETS

    Messages:
    1,199
    Location:
    Elizabethton TN
    Stoner Acoutic UD120

    I bought this dac last month and it's been outstanding. Currently running it with a laptop with a 3.5mm plug to analog RCA's into my preamp.

    PRICE: Below $100.00

    Link to reviews:

    Earmass: http://earmass.com/2014/11/01/stoner-acoutic-ud120-best-budget-dac/


    Headfonia: http://www.headfonia.com/stoner-acoustics-ud120-ultimate-mini-dac/

    -TRUE ASYNC
    -USB Audio Class (UAC) 2.0
    -16/24/32 Bit @ 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/(352.8/384 asio) kHz
    -DAC PCM5102A
    -ULTRA LOW NOISE TPS7A4700 LDO
    -OUTPUT IMPEDANCE AT 470OHM
    -$ USD69
    -ATTENUATION, -6dB/STEP
    -WINDOWS (DRIVER PROVIDED) | MAC | UBUNTU
    **Google Chrome is blocking *.exe file, please use other browser to download.
    -*THIS DEVICE RUN HOT, MAKE SURE THE SURROUNDING AREA IS VENTILATED.
    -1 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY
     
  10. lanwanman195

    lanwanman195 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    338
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
  11. marqueemoon

    marqueemoon Gimme indie rock!

    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    For those on an extreme budget or just needing a quick and dirty USB solution I highly recommend the Muse X5. It's a little bass-light but for $10-$12 shipped it sounds way better than it should.

    I'm using a Fanmusic FM6011 USB>coax convertor in another setup with an older pre-USB DAC. It does well. The computer only recognizes the dongle and not the DAC though, so functions like balance, level control, and mute don't work. Unless you are using it in a desktop setup like I am though these things are non-issues.
     

     

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  12. Pmonk

    Pmonk Member

    Messages:
    81
    Has anyone purchased a SugarMaple BB (Black Buff) Line Level Buffer Stage from Mapletree?
     
  13. StevenZ

    StevenZ Texas or nothin' Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,758
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Beresford Caiman MKII. Sounds fantastic!
     
  14. lojyo610

    lojyo610 Active Member

    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    Motown
    DAC's Under $450

    I just picked up a now discontinued Arcam Rlink DAC. It is selling for $199. It does not offer USB, only one optical and one coax input. I use a Denon streamer instead of a computer for stored and internet based music. I also have a NAD CD player, circa 1999. No need for USB.

    I found the difference in sound quality on the Denon obviously better. Not night and day, but very noticeable. The same with the NAD CD player.

    I mostly bought this model because it integrates with my Arcam amp and I assume has similar voicing. I recommend it highly if you are a budget type audiophile (like I am) and don't need USB.
     
  15. cuke

    cuke Member

    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Waterville, ME
    Someone should add the SMSL M6 (32bit) and M8 (24bit) both asynchronous, to the Under $250 list.
     
  16. autoanalog

    autoanalog Justin Credible

    Messages:
    4,171
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    For someone who isn't sure they'll like the external DAC experience, the Fiio D03 is worth a look. The price is affordable to most, the unit offers coaxial and optical inputs, and it will work with up to sources encoded at up to 24/192. I did not expect a $30 DAC to outperform my current optical player, but the results are undeniable to my ears.
     
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  17. awdiofile

    awdiofile New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Pasadena, California USA
    Recently I snagged an SMSL M8 DAC on Massdrop for $179. With DSD and 24-bit, it's been a stellar performer.
     
  18. Danddd

    Danddd AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    937
    Location:
    Wheaton, IL
    Have to agree with this. Have this in my main system and it just sings.
     
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  19. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,887
    Location:
    EspaƱola NM
    I don't see the Audioquest Dragonfly listed (usb only, $150).

    Nor the Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC (usb, optical, RCA, $300)
     
  20. I STRONGLY recommend the Audioquest DragonFly v1.2 ($148.75). In regard to (subjective) sound quality, my setup was good enough as it was. When I added this device to my music server on New Year's Day of this year, the visceral quality, in this case the locational "sound stage" increased exponentially. After auditioning this device for about two weeks, I've decided it's a keeper. If you choose to do so, you can check out my more in-depth review of the DragonFly at http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-r.../ref=cm_cr_pr_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00H00VLZQ. I meant every single word of my review, including the apology to audiophiles.

    Source:
    HP Compaq Business dc7600 Small Form Factor PC
    Winamp 2.95
    250+ band Equalizer for Winamp 1.62 by Nevi (with my own sound engineer enhanced EQ plot)
    Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 DAC

    Amp:
    Marantz NR1402 (Pure Direct mode)

    Speakers:
    KLH 9250B
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016

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