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Cheap USB line level DAC

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I've been using the search function for a while, and couldn't find a specific answer.


I've developed the need for a cheap line-level dac to work in conjunction with my JDS C421 amp.
I mostly just use my iphone with 320kb/s track > LOD > C421


I've been wanting to give some of the internet music services a try (mog probably), however I don't like either of my computers as sources. My home computer is a MBP, couple generations back. With my more sensitive phones I can pick up HDD noise among other things. SQ wise, i don't know how good the MBP of that generation's sound card is or what it will take to improve upon it.


My work laptop is a lenovo T4XX which is just awful in general.



My question are:


-About how much would it cost to improve upon what I already have?

-Are there any really cheap line-level DACs that i can use with my amp?


I don't really use my computer as a source much, and i probably won't for much other than just MOG or spotify, so I don't want to spend a lot of money at all.



post #2 of 3

I might be reading this incorrectly, but you want to run a MBP > (USB) DAC > C421 > headphones?


I know the HRT Music Streamer is a popular choice around here, though it may be out of your budget at $150. Ditto with the ODAC, though it's footprint would work nicely with your C421.


There's also HM-101 from Hifiman. At $40, that might be what you're looking for. Here's a review from Mike. http://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-express-hm-101/


Sorry if I got this all wrong :)

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Yeah thanks, that's what i'm looking for.


Just to add, I'd like to avoid having multiple volume controls.


I've been following the ODAC for a while, but honestly i'm not sure if i'll actually use it enough to justify the $150 spent.


That's why i'm looking for something pretty cheap that would serve that purpose, should my listening habits change I'd probably get the ODAC.


thanks for the response!



edit: what i think I want is something without an internal amp circuit. I'd like to avoid amplifying before the C421. Something like the headstage USB DAC cable, only cheaper.

Edited by dnullify - 6/22/12 at 8:19pm
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