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Best DAC/Line out for PC under $1000?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Currently using a M-Audio Audiophile USB wondering if there is something that is regarded as much better?

I mostly listen to FLAC of my ripped CD's. In a month it will go Line out->Woo Audio 5 or Zana Deux.

Which is why I'm considering upgrading my source
post #2 of 14
woo nice upcoming amps..just wondering what headphones will you use?
post #3 of 14
My M-Audio USB Audiophile is feeding its digital signal into my Lavry DA10 outboard dac. I also have my computer configured to use the HagUSB-XLR device from HagTech.com into my Lavry. I also have a third device going into my Lavry which is my Oppo DVD player.

The Lavry DA10 is 975$. Other devices in this league are the Benchmark DAC1 w/o USB since you have the M-Audio. A Stello DA100 works well. The Apogee miniDac is another one. All these will run you under a 1000$. Another one I just remembered that I heard at a friends home is the CIAudio Dac for around 600$. I really like this one for the price. You need the PS with it as well for best results.

Then there are others that are around the $500 mark. Then there are some below that. I have one that was right at $200 and it is the Beresford TC-7510 Mk6/3. I use this one with my Squeezebox.

Many ways to go to your solution. Just do the research.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kamal007 View Post
woo nice upcoming amps..just wondering what headphones will you use?
For the first few months I'll be using my K701 and HD650's. On the hunt for a pair of K1000's from someone reputable
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slwiser View Post
My M-Audio USB Audiophile is feeding its digital signal into my Lavry DA10 outboard dac. I also have my computer configured to use the HagUSB-XLR device from HagTech.com into my Lavry. I also have a third device going into my Lavry which is my Oppo DVD player.

The Lavry DA10 is 975$. Other devices in this league are the Benchmark DAC1 w/o USB since you have the M-Audio. A Stello DA100 works well. The Apogee miniDac is another one. All these will run you under a 1000$. Another one I just remembered that I heard at a friends home is the CIAudio Dac for around 600$. I really like this one for the price. You need the PS with it as well for best results.

Then there are others that are around the $500 mark. Then there are some below that. I have one that was right at $200 and it is the Beresford TC-7510 Mk6/3. I use this one with my Squeezebox.

Many ways to go to your solution. Just do the research.
Thank you I had no clue where to start!

So using the M-Audio to output the digital optical signal is no different than using say my Macbook to output a digital optical out signal is it?
post #6 of 14
No, it shouldn't be any different as long as both support bitperfect output, i.e., your music isn't being resampled before it's sent to the DAC.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCC View Post
No, it shouldn't be any different as long as both support bitperfect output, i.e., your music isn't being resampled before it's sent to the DAC.
It shouldn't, but that doesn't mean it isn't. Different sources output at different voltages, introduce noise into the line, have different output impedances, etc. I didn't think a better digital cable would make a difference, but it does. A good transport is a very important part of the chain.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post
It shouldn't, but that doesn't mean it isn't. Different sources output at different voltages, introduce noise into the line, have different output impedances, etc. I didn't think a better digital cable would make a difference, but it does. A good transport is a very important part of the chain.
Well, my logic used was that kelvinz mentioned that he is using optical, so these issues shouldn't apply. You are right about the quality of output possibly being different though, I should have thought my reply through a bit more- the stability of the clock on the source and the quality of the signal LED might have an impact on the sound.

Coax is usually better than optical but the electrical isolation provided by an optic cable cuts down on noise prevalent in computers.

All I can really say is: try both.
post #9 of 14
post #10 of 14
Ori Zhalou is the best Dac I have ever had. Used with my Pc to give me a very solid sound.
post #11 of 14
Check out this thread by Iron_Dreamer. He reviewed some of the more popular DACs at around the $1000 price mark. Judging by your join date, I don't have to mention that opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one but ID does give a nice overview of the DACs. If anything, it's a good starting point.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/rev...-opera-226919/
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelvinz View Post
Thank you I had no clue where to start!

So using the M-Audio to output the digital optical signal is no different than using say my Macbook to output a digital optical out signal is it?
M-Audio USB, note that my USB Audiophile does not do optical but coaxial. It is using the USB Audiophile as a USB to S/PDIF converter only.
post #13 of 14
I think it will heavily depend on the type of sound you like. A lot of these dacs(around the $1000 mark), I suspect, will be very complimentary. They are all great from what I have read. What type of sound signature would you like. Then maybe people who have heard them can steer you in the right direction, because right now everyone is saying "get this one, its great", which it might be to them but maybe not to you.
post #14 of 14
Any opinions on the Headroom Micro DAC Ultra? How does it stack up against the competition?
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