Looking for a usb DAC/headphone amp/ with pre-outs

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Huck, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Huck

    Huck Active Member

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    266
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Just received my Schiit Fulla 2 today and it came with a dead right channel on the variable output on rear,also,I also could not plug in my 1/8" TRS male to stereo RCA male cable to the variable output on rear due to the top housing blocking the insertion of the 1/2" diameter steel connector barrel....BUMMER!!...now pack it up and send back to the U.S. for replacement,or tell em to keep the piece of Schiit! Huck
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017

     

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  2. WobblySam

    WobblySam Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear that your Fulla came in toes up. Since your back "in-between", I'll offer a suggestion. The Oppo HA-1 seemed to fit your requirements. It seems to have been discontinued, so if you're not averse to used, it might be an option. In any case, I hope you get the Fulla squared away - it's always a letdown when you're expecting something new and there are problems.

    Merry Christmas
     
  3. Huck

    Huck Active Member

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    266
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I guess Schiit happens!....now the fun part of going through all the B.S. sending it back from Canada to the U.S.?!
    From the short amount of time I got to use it,only the headphone output worked,so no much diff in sound from what I have already....so,I may just tell them to keep it and don't bother sending a replacement. Thanks,Huck
     
  4. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,009
    Bummer, well, it happens, however one would expect that a company that uses the "Made in the USA" strategy to attract buyers to have better quality control. I suppose they need to cut corners somewhere to stay profitable selling gear that has a thin profit margin.

    Have you seen this: http://matrix-digi-usa.com/mini-series/mini-i-pro_2 ? Pushes your price range a bit but compact and it ticks all the check-boxes on your list. I got their USB to SPDIF converter and it is very well made. Not a well-known brand it seems so may be difficult to unload but if it works for your needs and you like it may not matter much in the long run.

    Edit: also check their M-Stage series, HPA-2 Classic has variable outputs it seems.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  5. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    I don't think the irDAC-II is discontinued.

    It does not, however, mute the line out when a headphone is plugged in.

    It does, however, have a very nice headphone amp with a published and seemingly accurate (haven't measured it for myself yet) output impedance of 1 ohm. Stereophile did measure it and reports that's a good number.

    I'm listening to Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball and John Prine's Souvenirs right now, and the soundstage over the speakers (Gallo CL-1) is awesome. The headphones (Senn 598) sound very fine as well - a very good tonal match with the main system.

    (The Senns have a fairly variable impedance across the frequency band. Because of that, a 50 ohm output on a headphone amp makes them sound pretty awful - it blooms the bass badly. I looked at the Cambridge, for instance, and its output impedance into headphones is high enough that I know it'd color the sound a lot with my headphones.)

    but the irdac, paired with the speakers on the desktop in near field mode, sounds extremely good. And the headphone section is very good as well.
     
  6. gvl

    gvl Super Member

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    1,009
    My bad, yes it is still listed on their web-site.
     

     

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  7. gvl

    gvl Super Member

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    From the manual:

    "Volume and Mute The volume (+ and –) adjusts the headphone and variable line output volume. The mute (@) button will mute the output of the irDAC-II."

    Sounds like you can at least manually mute the line-level outputs while keeping the headphone output alive?
     
  8. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    Location:
    286 miles south of arcata
    Nope, just tried it as an experiment - the line out and headphone out both mute at the same time, and I went ahead and tested the variable out as well - it also mutes.

    I also tried another experiment recently, I ran the variable gain output into my Schiit Fulla 2 (which I like, but it's very limited as a DAC by only supporting USB input) to compare the headphone output of the irDAC against the analog amp in the Fulla 2. The Fulla 2 has maybe a bit more treble emphasis than the irDAC does? It didn't feel as if it was handling the low end as well, but the treble emphasis gives it a slightly wider-sounding presentation. This was not a blind test - this was me using a mic inside the headphones to be sure I had the gain set equally with each signal, then manually moving the cable.

    Then I took off the headphones and put the CL-1s back on.

    These headphones in my setup don't have a meaningful soundstage. They sound nice, and they capture the tonality of the music, but they don't, for me, do anything like what the little monitors can, with a well-recorded track, as far as "yeah, the upright bass is there on the left, and the singers are duetting center stage, and the pedal steel is off on the right, oh, and, oh yeah the harmony singer also plays fiddle."

    I'm very glad I bought the Gallos on closeout.
     
  9. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

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  10. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

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    Location:
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    I don't plan to encourage the folks behind MQA by ever buying MQA hardware until such time as it's Federally mandated.

    I was very disappointed to see Pro-Jekt supporting it. Linn, Ayre, I think Schiit and a number of others have looked at it and see a poorly defined specification which, when implemented, won't benefit the listener but will cost everyone a great deal.

    https://www.linn.co.uk/blog/mqa-is-bad-for-music

    I'm sorry they went that route - until I learned that the S2 supported MQA, I was looking at it as a possible choice.
     
  11. phosgene

    phosgene New Member

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    love the teac ud-301 and also think the pro-ject is interesting, but it is hard to find anyone who has really listened to it. only about $50 difference in price. i am considering using these as dac/preamps for my home system and it almost seems wrong because almost all the applications i see use these with a computer system, not an adcom power amp driving vandersteen 2ci's. am i nuts to want to buy these, or should i just get a regular cd player?
     

     

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  12. Huck

    Huck Active Member

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    Their stuff looks pretty good...just sent the Schiit away this morning..not sure if I want to go with a replacement or not...still thinking.Huck
     
  13. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    286 miles south of arcata
    for about the price of the schiit, Monoprice sells a desktop amp with USB in, line and variable out. and analog out.

    https://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=120&cp_id=12008&cs_id=1200801&p_id=11567

    the things to be careful of with that is that it has a gain switch on the back and is able to put out 6 volts in high gain mode on the variable line out - enough to clip an amp if used as a preamp, even if the signal it is pushing isn't distorted. probably also enough to damage your powered monitors. I have no idea why they built the system to potentially make trouble downstream.

    the other issue is that the headphone output impedance is 10 ohms, so some headphones won't play well with it.

    that said, it sounds pretty good, the connectors are not cramped and it takes a full size headphone jack.
     
  14. SiliconTi

    SiliconTi AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    +1
     
  15. Huck

    Huck Active Member

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    Thanks! Huck
     
  16. W9TR

    W9TR Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Huck,
    If you decide the fulla is not for you....

    A used Benchmark DAC1 USB is well within your price range. Balanced and single ended outs, variable gain on the front panel, super high quality build, great performance. There are two 1/4" trs headphone jacks on the front panel, the left one mutes the variable high level outputs. The output impedance is zero ohms.

    The DAC2 HGC is even better but now around $1100 used. If you can stretch your budget you'll be amazed. It made a class A+ rating in Stereophile's
    2017 Recommended Components.

    I've got both a DAC1 and a DAC3 HGC and both drive my Audeze LCD-4 cans really well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017

     

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  17. Huck

    Huck Active Member

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    Location:
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    I don't think I will be going with a replacement Fulla 2 and there are a couple of DAC1's for sale in my area...not sure what to go with right now/! Thanks,Huck
     
  18. Huck

    Huck Active Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks! Huck
     
  19. PAGS

    PAGS AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Careful. Benchmark also made in US. Build and reliability may be questionable. :D
     
  20. PAGS

    PAGS AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Before anyone freaks. That was tongue in cheek.
     

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