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best bang for the buck usb dac and amp

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

whats the best bang for the buck usb dac and amp.

my computer i like to listen to music with my sennheiser headphone.

right now im using creative labs X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional sound card.

i want a usb/dac/amp that is better the my card im using now.

also i want to use it with my powered speakers.

thank you,

valtopps

post #2 of 12

uDac might be a good choice for under $100

post #3 of 12

how much did you pay for your titanium fatality card?

 

I'm reading a lot of good things about some ibasso amp/dac, can't remember if D4 or D10 or something. Compared favorably with some much more expensive stuffs. Can't remember. Anyway, the comment that went along with the sq was the fact that it could be had used for around a hundred or so.


Edited by digger945 - 6/27/10 at 1:53pm
post #4 of 12

Audinst HUD-MX1 is a good value, and you can roll opamps to tailor the sound slightly.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by KnightK View Post

uDac might be a good choice for under $100


X2

A good alternative to computer soundcards. 

post #6 of 12

~$100 ... Nuforce µDAC

~$180 ... Audinst HUD-MX1

 

Both are probably your best choice in their price range. I had both and was able to test them thoroughly and was quite impressed. The HUD-MX1 is better in every aspect and more flexible but it's also more expensive.

So it depends on how much you want to pay... as always. ;)

 

regards.

bearmann

 

PS: If you can read german, here are my reviews of the Nuforce µDAC and the Audinst HUD-MX1

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearmann View Post

~$100 ... Nuforce µDAC

 

 

PS: If you can read german, here are my reviews of the Nuforce µDAC and the Audinst HUD-MX1


The udac has better bass extensions, weight and definition. 

post #8 of 12

A few choices below $100...

Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro is $25, and also acts as optical converter.

Hotaudio has several good items for cheap. I got the DacDestroyer for about $60.

FiiO e7 is about $80

Nuforce uDac is $100

 

I would consider that a solid breakpoint.

post #9 of 12

Don't forget the Aune (a.k.a. Aune mini USB DAC/amp) at $160.

 

A good sounding amp with room for upgrading should you want to improve the sound later on. It can also function as a standalone amp, so you can hook it up to a dedicated DAC in the future.

post #10 of 12


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by desktophifi View Post




The udac has better bass extensions, weight and definition. 


Well, I can't second this. Furthermore, the HUD-MX1 is more capable of driving "heavy weight" headphones, like DT880/600 and so on. And you have an adjustable gain...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoga Flame View Post

Don't forget the Aune (a.k.a. Aune mini USB DAC/amp) at $160.

 

A good sounding amp with room for upgrading should you want to improve the sound later on. It can also function as a standalone amp, so you can hook it up to a dedicated DAC in the future.


If the budget isn't to tight I would suggest to grab the HUD-MX1 instead of the Mini USB DAC MKII - the HUD-MX1 is technically superior.

 

regards.

bearmann

 

PS @ Yoga Flame: What's the name/picture of your avatar ... looks nice. :)


Edited by bearmann - 6/30/10 at 12:56am
post #11 of 12

From what I have read elsewhere, I agree that the Audinst beats in the Aune in various aspects, especially the DAC section. To be fair, the HUD-MX1 does cost a bit more.

 

But in terms of upgrade path, the Aune comes out on top. It has 2 socketed op-amps versus the 1 socket in the Audinst. It has RCA analog line-in jacks, so you can upgrade the DAC separately. And it has an SPDIF input, while the Audinst as an SPDIF output. So the Audinst can only ever be used with a computer, while the Aune is more versatile. Its power supply can be upgraded, as can the Audinst's. However, the Aune's DIY roots means you'll find sweet mods like the ±10VDC dual regulated power supply. (Takes a bit of work though, unless you buy it pre-modded.)

 

Objectively, there's probably some owner's bias affecting me. I own an Aune, and have not heard the Audinst. And from all the positive reviews I have read, I can accept that in stock condition, the Audinst HUD-MX1 sounds superior to the Aune.

 

 

 

PS Thanks bearmann. It's a picture of Shanoa from the Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia game. I used to have an actual Dhalsim yoga flame as my avatar, but for some reason it got removed.

post #12 of 12

Hey Yoga Flame... without the flame. ;)

 

You're right, that you have to use the Audinst always with a PC (and you can use the Audinst as an USB->TosLink transporter, which isn't true for the Aune). But the HUD-MX1 has analog line-in! It's just not on the outside, but you can find some jumpers on the PCB and if you trust the manual those jumpers are for a future daughter board which will give you analog line-in. :) (as a DIYer you can use them today, of course)

 

As for swappable opamps: That's right, you can "only" swap the LME49860 in the HUD-MX1 and the line-driver (OPA2134) isn't swappable and in a SOIC package.

 

I have had both, the HUD-MX1 and the Mini USB DAC. I didn't have them concurrently, so I can't say exactly how they perform against each other in terms of sound quality. But I was more satisfied with the HUD-MX1, definitely.

 

regards.

bearmann

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