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fiio D5 as just a dac? Only need a usb dac.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've been looking into getting a usb dac for the past few weeks but haven't been able to dig up the info I need.  I already have a Hot Audio Thunderbolt amp that I use with my ipod.  I really like the sound of the amp.  I now do a lot of listening on my laptop while at work and would like to have access my lossless collection (ipod music is down converted to save space).  I've looked into usb amp/dac options (narrowed to fiio e17 w/L7 or a Hot Audio Dac Extasy) but I'll need to stretch my budget atm to get either setup.  I started looking at usb powered dacs but am not sure about the quality of the cheaper fiio products.  Most reviews of the fiio D5 use the built in amp which is understandably cheap sounding.  But what about as just a dac? Any other dedicated, usb powered, budget dac options?  

 

Potential setup:

Laptop usb -> fiio D5 via line out -> Thunderbolt -> headphones

 

I'm a student trying to save a buck and am just trying to avoid paying for a second amp I don't really need.

 

Thanks


Edited by Mzisman4 - 7/18/12 at 4:51pm
post #2 of 3

I would also like to know what DAC is used....

post #3 of 3

The FiiO D5 uses a low end C-Media codec chip, the CM108. It is actually worse than the newer Realtek chips used on PC motherboards, although with the D5 at least you avoid interference from the computer. If you do not need the built-in headphone amplifier, then it makes more sense to buy the similarly priced FiiO D3 that is only a (somewhat better) DAC. Other low cost alternatives that are worth considering, but have USB input only, include the Creative X-Fi Go!, the Behringer UCA202, and the Asus Xonar U3.

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