Originally Posted by kskwerl
I'm looking for a DAC with a good DAC and un-amped line-out I can connect to my iBasso PB2. I'm been looking but I can't seem to find a straight answer anywhere, was hoping you guys could help.
My portable setup is an iBasso DB2 (DAC) and iBasso PB2 (AMP), here's my dilemma. I can only hook use COAX, TOSLINK or micro USB on the DB2 (DAC), there are very little DAPs that has these that I can hook up to the DB2 (DAC) to use the DB2's DAC. Since there are very few options to pair with the DB2 in terms of a DAP or PMP I am now looking for a DAP or PMP that has a good DAC like a Wolfson or equivalent that I can just run a line-out 3.5 to 3.5 on the PB2 (AMP). This is driving my insane, if anyone has any suggestions I can't tell you how appreciative I will be.
Having just spent a week making comparisons, I consider the first of these two chains to offer superior sound quality to the second:
44/16 or 96/24 WAVs on SDHC cards -> Sony PCM-M10 Line Out (single-ended) -> iBasso PB2 with LME49990 in L/R and HA5002 as buffers (balanced) -> Toxic Cables Silver Poison -> LCD-2 rev.1
44/16 or 96/24 WAVs on SDHC cards -> Foobar2000 on a Windows 7 laptop -> USB -> iBasso DB2 (balanced) -> iBasso PB2 with LME49990 in L/R and HA5002 as buffers (balanced) -> Toxic Cables Silver Poison -> LCD-2 rev.1
Surprised? For my tastes, my ears, my equipment chain, I'd much rather listen to the first chain than to the second. The DB2 is just too dark and smooth for my tastes. The Sony PCM-M10's proprietary DAC (accessible via Line Out) is just a little bit bright, if anything - a perfect match, in terms of frequency response, when used with the LCD-2 rev.1, which is known for its shelved highs. The PCM-M10's DAC is a sigma-delta design, supporting 24-bit 96-Khz playback. I find it to be very high resolving, much like a Sabre DAC, and never glaring or harsh. It is, however, I must admit, a wee bit grainy in the highs. I still prefer the overall sound of the Sony PCM-M10's Line Out to the DB2 - by a long shot! And it's portable - not tethered to a laptop.
For more on the Sony PCM-M10, see this thread, where I state that I consider the sound of the Sony PCM-M10 DAC to be superior to everything in the following list), with the exception of the phenomenal CEntrance DACport LX (for my ears, my tastes, my equipment):
Centrance DACport LX
April Music Stello DA1000 (USB)
Rocboxed Sansa Clip+
iBasso DB2 (USB, balanced out)
JDS Labs Objective DAC (a.k.a. ODAC)