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Poll: Best cheap DAC?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Simple question, difficult answer. Question: what is the best cheap DAC out there?

A few things to note:
  1. I'm interested in the DAC itself, not the headphone amp that some DAC's have.
  2. The DAC will be connected to a tube amp (LD MKIII) which in turn drives a pair of K601's.
post #2 of 39
These might be a good place to start:

*broken links*

Please feel free to take advantage of other similar search terms. Best of luck!
post #3 of 39
Keces DA-151....
post #4 of 39
If you are using a computer - E-MU 1616. I owned it at the same time as Stello DA100, the sound is almost equivalent (Stello is more crisp in the treble). Has balanced outputs also, and has a headphone out if you really end up needing one.
post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ironman64 View Post
These might be a good place to start:

Search #1

Search #2

Please feel free to take advantage of other similar search terms. Best of luck!
The links don't seem to be working for me...

What are the search terms you used?

post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by doubletaps View Post
The links don't seem to be working for me...

What are the search terms you used?

Sorry to hear that. Well, first select the equipment category (so you don't receive For Sale threads), and I chose "cheap dac" and "help dac." But try any combination you'd like--the more the better.
post #7 of 39
Thread Starter 
I think the exact search in the second link was "DAC recommended".

Of course I did the search and read hundreds if not thousands of posts. It's difficult to choose the right DAC on individual observations. There are loads of discussions about opamps and such. Comparisons with regard to SQ are harder to find. Furthermore, there seem to be a number of 'fanboys' that defend their own DAC. Therefore I thought that a poll would be a way to check if there is a consensus on the forum.
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by verbaan View Post
I think the exact search in the second link was "DAC recommended".

That may be correct--sorry if I misquoted my own entry!

You've probably thought through this, but polling doesn't eliminate the presence of fanboys either; sometimes forcing people to choose one encourages "bandwagoning" (w/ name recognition, etc). It's because of this that yourwork's cut out for you. My two cents is to look for consistency and longevity of a product: was it a passing fad, did only a handful of members post in multiple threads making the support base appear larger . . .
post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You've probably thought through this, but polling doesn't eliminate the presence of fanboys either; sometimes forcing people to choose one encourages "bandwagoning" (w/ name recognition, etc). It's because of this that yourwork's cut out for you. My two cents is to look for consistency and longevity of a product: was it a passing fad, did only a handful of members post in multiple threads making the support base appear larger . . .
Of course you are right. I'm very curious if the ZERO frenzy continues and I wonder what people think in a few months. The Beresford is around longer but only a very small number of people are very enthousiastic about it. The KECES is very new, not many people have one to review. It looks great though (also with regard to the specs).

So the quest continues... I think I get the Beresford or .... maybe the ZERO?
post #10 of 39
Of course, you could always buy one, or two, or all three and let us know what you think! You could always sell what you don't want to keep.
post #11 of 39
Fubar and or Spitfire
post #12 of 39
Behringer uca202 hands down winner at $30.00!!!
It has both optical and analog out as well as headphone out.
post #13 of 39
How would a cheap dac compare to an auzen prelude?


Or how would a cheap dac compare to a $500 dac-5 or $1000 Benchmark dac-1 even?

Technically what are the advantages and disadvantages to all of these? I know that using an internal soundcard can introduce interference. I notice it myself when I set the volume level below 45% and turn up the volume on the amp.

But what would a dac do for me that the auzen prelude can't do on it's own?

My interest in getting a dac would be to use it in combination with the prelude over spdif so I can still keep all the eax effects and all the gaming stuff.

Really though what differences would I notice if I were to have a Benchmark Dac-1 hooked up to my Darkvoice vs just having it connected directly to the line-out (which seems somewhat pathetic but I really haven't found any good source that could explain to me the specific differences)

So I have the same interest as the OP I guess if it can give me significantly better sound than the prelude can on it's own. I don't have $500-$1000 to spend on a dac though.
post #14 of 39
How are people using all these DACs with RCA outputs, when most headphone amps have 3.5mm inputs?
post #15 of 39
Mini to RCA cable?
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