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DAC/Soundcard to replace Prodigy HD2.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm moving to laptop and wanna have good sound there. I got Audiotrak Prodigy HD2 Advance with my AKG K271S. Since i sold my soundcard i want to get something for lappie.
I've looked at audiotrak dr.dac nano, but i was told it bad choice.

I don't need any recording ability, want to get best stereo quality for money.
USB or FireWire.
No special need in portability. I use my lap mostly at home, and i don't think i'll listen to music when on the go.
I got $150 max for dac or sound card shipped.

I'm looking at NuForce uDAC, and i like positive feedbacks but i want to know if there's anything better?

Thanks in advance!
PS. Excuse for my bad english, it's not my native.
post #2 of 22
I used (still do) the same soundcard, although in a different itteration (the cheaper version, but with upgraded components and RFI shield).

The HD2 is pretty much a landmark in soundcard audio quality and a tough one to beat.

My Nuforce uDAC has arrived only recently and I'm still waiting for a complete burn in.
So far they are more similar than different and it's difficult to choose a winner.

uDAC has a bit more timbre accuracy and gives more body to the instruments. Also it appears to be giving more spatial information (better depth).

I'll post more as the uDAC burns in.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
I understand that HD2 is pretty good, but i don't need anything way better, i think the "next level after HD2" cost way more then $150.

That's good that HD2 and uDac is some similar, cause i like how does HD2+K271 sound.

I just need some DAC of soundcard not worse then HD2. Also i was told that AKG k271 have low SPL and require more voltage. I mean not all DAC's would perform well on that headphones.

What DAC/Soundcards i should look at? I'm sure uDac is't the one that suits in that price range, is it?
post #4 of 22
At the price, the uDac is hard to beat unless you go DIY or find a lucky deal in the used market. it also has a very good integrated headphone amp (powered by USB). There is another $99 DAC called HRT Music Streamer. It only has RCA analog output though. You will need to connect it to a standalone headphone amp.
post #5 of 22
I forgot to mention that neither uDac nor Music Streamer support anything higher than 16 bits/48kHz audio playback. You old HD2 is capable of 24 bit/192kHz playback. do you need this feature?
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I want the one box to listen. so HRT Music Streamer is not for me. I've chosen hd2 because it has not so bad headphone amp. But i still has nothing to compare.

I don't need 24 bit/192kHz, i think all the music i have is 16 bits/48kHz, anyway i think it'd much harder to notice the difference between 16 bits/48kHz and 24 bit/192kHz, then 320 to lossless, would it?

uDac seems to be the best to my needs. if it wouldn't play worse then hd2 i will be happy!
post #7 of 22
Originally Posted by TLN View Post
I just need some DAC of soundcard not worse then HD2. Also i was told that AKG k271 have low SPL and require more voltage. I mean not all DAC's would perform well on that headphones.

What DAC/Soundcards i should look at? I'm sure uDac is't the one that suits in that price range, is it?
If more voltage is want you want you need to pay more attention to the amp rather than the DAC.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
I need a good sound. I asked about dr.dac nano and was told that it can do only 1V, but k271 need about 3.4v. Don't know if it's true, i just need good sound.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
I found this one DAC/Amp HA INFO NG98
Here's the specs:
Sampling speed: 16Bit 32K 44.1K 48K 96K
Audio output: 3.5mm earphone socket, 3.5mm Line-out
Audio index: earphone output 7V RMS Line-out output 2V RMS dynamic 118dB SNR 110dB
Power: Regulated DC24V
Accessory: 1.5m Shielded USB line and 24V 600mA power (220V AC INPUT)

And here's the one for Nuforce uDac:
Analog RCA Output = 2Vrms
Dynamic Range: 110dB
THD+N= -95 dB
S/N Ratio: 98dB
Digital Output: coaxial RCA 75-ohm
Headphone output jack
Power output: 80mW x 2 @ 16-Ohm
THD+N 0.05%
SNR > 98dB

What is better for AKG k271? Any ideas more?
post #10 of 22
I'm personally leaning towards the Musiland serie
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
I'm personally leaning towards the Musiland serie
any specific models?
post #12 of 22
If you has a satisfactory DAC, then choose Monitor 01USD
If you do not have a DAC, then Monitor 02US

I like them both. Make sure you buy one made after Sept. 2009; otherwise you have to go through the ridiculous license activation procedure which usually takes a couple of days to finish after you initiate update request. The updating procedure itself is not technically complicated, but waiting for Musiland to issue the license takes time (a couple of days, not hours). Without the update one cannot use the new driver 1.08.2 whose precision mode is much better than other version
post #13 of 22
well I don't care for >96kHz, so a cheapo "Lilo Joy" would be fine...but they only released the new "precision clock" firmware updates for the Monitor serie.

several things annoy me, though:
1)- in "high precision" mode, there's a 3 secs delay when switching sample rates(luckily it's automatic, like on the HD2)....I'm still undecided whether it's because of a major design fault, or because they are light years ahead of the competition...apparently doing digital clock conditioning allows them to get a jitter-free dead stable clock, that a plain PLL crystal could never reach: H I F I D U I N O

the VIA chipset on the HD2 and the M2Tech hiface both use two discrete crystals..

2)- there's a bunch of OP275 dual op-amps...dual op-amps always seemed to shrink down the center channel to death on the HD2, compared to two single op-amps on an adapter.

OTOH they'd most like be used as I/V on the PCM1794A output, and not as LPF like on the HD2

anyway, drivers look killer, my cd1k(same drivers as the cd3k) is dead easy to drive, the M02US has a standalone PSU(so I won't suffer from the jitter HDD/ODD put on the ATX PSU)

the more I think about it, the more the M02US seems to be a no-brainer.

there's also the nuforce uDAC, but its DAC costs $0.97 and is capable of 24/192....but those retards put a 16/48 USB chip on it...and the head-fi shill machine goes ahead and allows them to sell like hot cakes

also, it costs USD99 on their site, but 115 EUR(USD175) on their european site....so they're asking USD175 for a $0.98 DAC on a 16/48 USB chip w/ a crappy analog pot and a bunch of caps...their markup must be STELLAR!
post #14 of 22
hehe, I was just confirmed by the guy who made the measurements I posted above that switching SR takes forever due to major design limitations...so I'm clearly not willing to wait 3" for peanuts.

I hate how all the available solutions fail in one way or another..
post #15 of 22
well, the plot thickens...apparently OP275 is indeed good stuff: So many DACs, which to choose - Page 3 - diyAudio

so the Musiland Monitor serie seems like a hell of a deal, too bad they went cheapo on the clocking system..either you get instant sample rate switch and play CD music at 44.2kHz...or wait 3 secs and get it at a jittery 44.1

hopefully they'll fix it in the Monitor 03, then we'll have a pretty perfect little DAC+headamp

anyway, I'm not paying 100 EUR for a foobar'ed clocking system...and besides my cd1k is very easy to drive, I'll prolly pull the trigger on the Monitor 01 US, it's almost half cheaper than the 02...bang for bucks should be huge on the built-in HP amp.

all the ppl on this forum seem to be only using the S/PDIF output on these things, hopefully the HP out will be pretty sweeet

the uDAC looks like a major rip-off in comparison to the M01US.
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