I recently went from a Zero DAC to an Auzentech Bravura. Running into an issue with this card and thinking of going back to a DAC since I never ever had a problem with the Zero I had. I am looking for something that is a step up over the ZERO DAC I had before. It must have a headphone amp for my Denon D2000's and must also be able to drive a 2.1 setup which consists of some AV40s and a BIC V1020 sub. I think most just use an RCA Splitter off one side to send a signal to the sub? I also wan't something fairly compact as I don't have much desk space and going away from the ZERO to begin with was just to pickup some desk space. I was looking at the NuForce HDP but its a bit out of my price range. Thanks for any recommendations!
Help choosing DAC.
Yeah, I have onboard SPDIF out but ran into issues where it would turn my ZERO ON and OFF. This started with windows Vista and 7. So everytime there was sound my amp would turn on and then off when the sound stopped so I had constant clicking. USB to the DAC might be better?
You're the second person to think that it's an issue with the Zero. Mine did it all the time, when there's no sound coming out it clicks and turns off the amplification stage. That's not a bad thing.
There's the Sparrow aswell, which is the smaller brother of the FUN, but you'd have to get a 1/4" to RCA adapter for your speakers. Other options include the uDAC, Audinst HUD-MX1, Matrix Mini-I...
That was an issue.. trust me. Every time there was a windows sound "CLICK CLICK". I don't see how this repeated powering on and off of the amp was good. I picked up a creative card and used the SPDIF out of that and issue resolved. This only happened with the on board with Win7 and Vista. No issues with XP.
Interesting.. I have not heard much about the Maverick. How does this compare to a Zero? I do use mine for gaming , music and movies but I honestly could card less about any hardware gaming support. My Zero always impressed me but I like the smaller footprint of the NuForce HDP. I am actually bidding on one on ebay but its already up to 305$. Ill probably bid up to 350$ for it and then if I dont get it consider the Maverick or Matrix. The Audio GD FUN looks really nice but worried about the foot print. Main thing is being able to run a 2.1 setup and my headphones with no problems. Sound cards seem to always give me trouble.
Since you said the size is important I measured mine and it's about 10 1/4" wide, 7" deep an 2 3/4" tall. I don't know enough about the Zero to compare it, but there's a quite good wiki article already. It's got the 2 sets of stereo rca outputs, one tube and one solid state, and a ss headphone amp that should be able to drive anything short of K1000s or electrostats. With my SE530s just 2 ticks on the volume dial is as loud as I'd want to listen for extended periods, and 3 is too loud to listen to more than one song. Others have reported that they drive 600 ohm Beyers with plenty of headroom, so your Dennons should be fine. It also has socketed opamps for both the DAC and hp amp so you can roll those in addition to the tube, if you're interested in that. It works fine over usb without drivers. I like mine just fine but I don't have anything more expensive to compare it to.
If you don't win the HDP and have any questions not answered in the wiki, then feel free to ask. I'll probably be bringing it to canjam too so you can take a listen next weekend if you happen to be coming.
If you're really into the small footprint, another idea is the Musiland 02 US. (Not the USD) Or commission a Gamma1 and get a small $100 headamp to go with it. Maybe even a Pico DAC/Amp, if you can find one used for $350ish. That might even come up again the HDP, except that it can only do 16/48 max (16/44.1 support of course) over USB, and it upsamples to 24/96.
I'm personally not a big fan of the Maverick compared to my Zero, when the OPA-Earth worked, and I don't like the fact that you don't gain anything out of the tube inside (the advertised selling point) unless you use the device as a DAC only.