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DAC for some great speakers / Volume?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi Forum,

 

You guys rock! I have gotten some great advice and am starting out my path to empty pockets. 

 

I just picked up some good Neumann studio monitors. They sound great but I have a couple of questions.

 

  • Do I need a DAC? - currently running through mini headphone on my Mac Mini to XLR inputs on the speaker
  • If I do need a DAC, do I need one with a volume control nob?
  • What DAC would you all recommend?

 

I cannot thank you enough!

 

Cheers,

Prestige

 

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

Oh and my budget is around $500. :)

post #3 of 16

A dac would be much better than a headphone jack, if one with a volume control would make things easier then look for 1 with a volume control, what inputs do your monitors have?.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

JRG1990 thanks for the reply! 

 

Do I need volume control? The monitors have XLR inputs.

post #5 of 16

In general the headphone out of a PC is not top, simple DAC, simple amp.

A good DAC improves on it substantial

 

To get you started

Have a look at Benchmark DAC 1

  • Volume control

  • pre-amp

  • headphone out

  • XLR out

There is also a version with USB input.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/223006/benchmark-dac1-now-available-with-usb

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Looks awesome, but very pricey! Any other options at a lower price point?

post #7 of 16

Dacmagic, emu 204 , emu 0404 , emu 202 , Little Dot DAC 1 , any dac with a balanced output should be fine you can use trs to xlr cables it doesn't have to be xlr to xlr.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

But to those of you using powered speakers...do you need a volume control? My understanding is yes. thanks in advance.

post #9 of 16

Well it depends if your monitors have a full range volume control and how accessible it is, you should know if you need a dac with a volume pot or not.

post #10 of 16

I recommend the NuForce HDP.

 

It is a GREAT DAC!  It has volume control so it can serve as a preamp as well.  Works with USB or SPDIF input for the DAC function.

 

Also has a very respectable headphone amp capable of driving even hard to drive headphones such as K701/K702.

 

I think I really got a lot more than what I paid for with this piece of gear.

post #11 of 16

I have a Yulong D100 for my Mac Mini and Focal CMS 50 monitors, very happy. I use a TC Electronics Level Pilot for volume control.

post #12 of 16

Hey,

 

When considering studio monitors I read the following review often: http://paulstamatiou.com/how-to-upgrade-to-studio-monitor-speakers in which the reasonably priced audiobox is used. USB from your computer to the DAC, volume control and both balanced and unbalanced outputs. http://www.dv247.com/computer-hardware/presonus-audiobox-usb-portable-2x2-usb-recording-system--48498

 

Good luck

post #13 of 16

I'd say DACPort without the Headphone amplifier version.  Super clean driver free, jitter free sound. 

For a lot cheaper, you can get an EMU 0404 USB.

 

For 500$ you might want to shop around for an used DAC of high quality. 

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy Ray View Post

I'd say DACPort without the Headphone amplifier version.  Super clean driver free, jitter free sound. 

For a lot cheaper, you can get an EMU 0404 USB.

 

For 500$ you might want to shop around for an used DAC of high quality. 



Forgot to mention, if you don't have a readily accessible volume control on these monitors, you can get the headphone amplifier built-in version of the DACPort, and use its volume control and amplified output as a pre-amp. 

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

thanks for all the information! i have my research cut out for me. for under $600 what is my best bet? I have heard great things about the Apogee Duet 2. 

 

Will the $129 units work or will the law of diminishing returns apply after that? my speakers are stellar.

 

so happy with the set up so far. just need a dac...

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