Pros: LOW COST, hand made in Canada,SIMPLE, sounds really nice to a point, can be used as a single item to power headphones.
Cons: I hear noise if I amplify it with a silent signal, but not at normal listening levels.
I bought one of these for a single reason: My sound card in my PC at work is sub par and I wanted RCA outputs to a headphone amplifier I have. However, upon using the device, I don't need my amplifier because it sufficiently powers my 250ohm Beyerdynamic headphones on its own with the 3.5mm jack. I was quite surprised. Basically what this thing is, is an external sound card and it's very simple. You plug it into Windows PC and your output magically goes to it. You control the volume with your operating system sliders. On a Mac it also installs itself immediately, but you have to get into the Sound preferences to change the output source to the USB DAC. Nice and simple!
The unit is self powered and pocket sized. This is a pro or a con depending upon whether you like to wow people who see the stuff sitting on your desk. It's just made from a plastic project box. That said, the holes drilled into mine are clean. It was put together by a professional. Dave did a good job soldering it all up and all that. Getting this much hands-on gear created in North America for so cheap is pretty much unheard of.
I hooked it up to my Bottlehead Crack amplifier and it worked great. Then I tried plugging my headphones right into it. Imagine my surprise when both my Mac and PC powered my 250ohm DT770 headphones with no problem! This is a great way to give yourself an 'on the desk' audio output that spits out a 'clean enough' signal. When I had no music source selected, my botthehead crack could create some low pitched static if I cranked it up when the DAC Destroyer was attached. The device is -not- dead silent (at least no my copy.) However, that doesn't matter to me because it was at levels so high I'd never listen to my headphones at.
I have not experienced 5000 dollar DACs. My hearing stops at 15000 hz. I just wanted to be able to listen to my Beyerdynamic headphones while at work and this DAC allows that to happen. I'm not the guy to ask about sound stage or any religious statements. However, I'm able to pinpoint annoying buzzes, whistles, static, etc... and the DAC Destroyer is clean in that regard. Bass to treble is all covered well. This is where the device bests my on-board sound card easily. The best part is I can unplug it and throw it into my pocket to take home and hook up a laptop to my stereo if I want to for the weekend.
There's a ton of devices out on the market in the under 200 dollar range. I was considering a JDS ODAC, but honestly I don't need one. This device fulfills my needs. I'm not a picky person. I just like nice things and no-nonsense setups. This meets my needs AND I get to support some dude named Dave up in Canada in some small way by purchasing this. Try one out if your needs are similar to mine before ponying up more cash. You may just be surprised that your search stops at the 50 dollar device. (You might not even need a headphone amplifier.)
Product usage shots:
Simple setup at work with no amplifier: