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How does the uDac honestly stack up?

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
I am in desperate need of a better DAC and I was curious if the uDac is really all that good or just great for it's price? I am torn between the Little Dot DAC and the uDac but leaning toward the uDac because it's 1/3 the price. My question is, does the uDac really compare to something in the price range of say a Little Dot DAC or is it just raved about because it's a great value for the price? Is there anything in the $250-$300 range that blows the uDac out of the water?
post #2 of 82
I want to know opinions on that as well
post #3 of 82
Unfortunately I've never owned a better dac/amp than the uDac. But to try to give you some quantifiable idea, it sounds maybe 10-15% better than the iPhone headphone out. In pro audio land, a 10% improvement on a decent sounding device (iPhone) ain't at all bad for $99.
post #4 of 82
I own the uDac, audio-gd compass and little dot dac II. I have used them all as usb headphone amps with my grado hf-2's. The compass is quite smooth and tonally dark (doesn't matter which opamps it is using). The little dot has a clearer sound, but is a bit dry for my taste and slightly bright. The uDac is in between the compass and the little dot tonally, but it imparts its own colour into the midrange. Its is pleasant to listen to and an amazing value. My only problem with the uDac is that the sound is a tiny bit louder on the left. I've tried 3 uDac's and heard the same thing.

Biggie.
post #5 of 82
The uDac is the best in it's class. But I think for a 100+ over the price, you may be able to score something better.
post #6 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotoriousBIG_PJ View Post
My only problem with the uDac is that the sound is a tiny bit louder on the left. I've tried 3 uDac's and heard the same thing.
Interesting, mine is a tiny bit louder on the right. I've got another one coming, so we'll see how that goes. Amazing piece of kit for the money though.
post #7 of 82
It's an inherent problem with the attenuator. If the problem is still there when you turn the knob past 30%, then it's quite bad. It should be there only when the knob is at low levels. Btw, this is a common problem on many audio gear, don't think it's anything to be surprised about, especially when the udac is $99
post #8 of 82
yes, cheap analog pots are worthless...stereo imbalance, distortion, crackling after a while.

it's even better when it's a fake ALPS in a random chinese amp
post #9 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by roker View Post
The uDac is the best in it's class. But I think for a 100+ over the price, you may be able to score something better.
So which one is a better alternative?
post #10 of 82
I own the Udac (Red) and Little Dot Dac_II. I love to switch between them but I always go back to the Dac_II. It just sound worlds better and it just sounds fuller. But $100 is a very enticing price. IMO If your new to all this get the Udac. But if you can get a used Dac_I or Dac_II go that route!
post #11 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotoriousBIG_PJ View Post
My only problem with the uDac is that the sound is a tiny bit louder on the left. I've tried 3 uDac's and heard the same thing.
I found the same problem, i couldn't live with it so it went back to NuForce.
post #12 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by h.rav View Post
I found the same problem, i couldn't live with it so it went back to NuForce.
Really? I never experienced this with my uDAC. Maybe I'm just lucky.

The uDAC is a great bargain for the money. Of course, it can't stand firmly against my other 'full-sized' DACs (DacMagic, DAC1 and B32s) but I prefer it to the other portable ones (Gamma-1 and Pico DAC). Having a headphone out is a plus for me. As a USB DAC/Amp, it only stands stand behind the Corda Move (had it long time ago but I definitely liked it a lot) and iQube v2.
post #13 of 82

Happy owner, but...

I am a happy uDac owner and primarily use it with my IEMs. For the $250 or less category, I haven't found a better one.

But, when doing a side by side with the Cambridge Audio DacMagic, it just doesn't stack up. The sound stage imaging is more compressed and it does seem slightly muddy in the bass, mid bass.

So once you break the $400 dollar barrier, there do seem to be better. But again, still very commendable. However, it's amp section does also falter with 300 ohm + headphones.
post #14 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
I am a happy uDac owner and primarily use it with my IEMs. For the $250 or less category, I haven't found a better one.

But, when doing a side by side with the Cambridge Audio DacMagic, it just doesn't stack up. The sound stage imaging is more compressed and it does seem slightly muddy in the bass, mid bass.

So once you break the $400 dollar barrier, there do seem to be better. But again, still very commendable. However, it's amp section does also falter with 300 ohm + headphones.
This is what I was looking for, but not the $400 barrier. I was hoping for a $250-$300 barrier
post #15 of 82
personally, when you're comparing a $100 item with a $200-$350 item, what you should be looking out for is the value for money. it is a bit over the top to expect a $100 to be better than all items priced twice or more its value ( possible, but highly unlikely). if possible, i'll like to borrow my friend's uDac sometime in the future and do a detailed comparison with my audio-gd compass, just to get a better feel of the uDac's price-value.
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