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What is the best DIY DAC up to $500 - Page 2

post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post

In the true tradition of posting responses that have little to do with the actual question. 

In a sound test I was unable to tell the difference between the Modi and a grubDAC. Considering the grub costs less than half. its a good buy. But these are fairly cheap DACs, so whatevs. 

What about a higher end DIY DAC? Like around $300-$500?
post #17 of 51

It's not a good idea to look to spend $500 on a DIY DAC.

 

To design a DAC that justifies that price requires a lot of experience of PCB design techniques and sophisticated (read expensive) test gear.

 

It might be possible for an experienced engineer to achieve a very good performance based on experience and sheer technical bravura, but to verify it requires test equipment.

 

You will find those, such as Telstar, who insist that the ultimate performance is achieved by listening to the final product. You will find though, that very few of them are actually designers, they're afficionados and pundits. Those designers who operate on that basis are almost certainly commercially motivated, i.e. they are trying to sell you something, something produced at comparatively low cost, and sold at a vastly inflated price. Frauds, not to put too fine a point on it, but I think we have reached to point with cables where most commonsense individuals recognise that high-end cables are a fraud..

 

If you must spend a lot of money on a DAC, and IMO, $500 is a lot to spend on a DAC (too much when a very good soundcard costs <$200), buy one produced by a reputable company and one that is accompanied by extensive documentation showing a very good technical performance. You can figure out which have a very good technical performance by comparing the numbers from a few well-specified soundcards and reading some reviews. It'll quickly become clear that 124dB output SNR trumps 109dB. Look here:- http://sound-cards-review.toptenreviews.com/

 

In some instances some effort spent on quieting (both electrically and acoustically) a PC will provide a bigger performance boost than spending a lot of money on a DAC.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big DIY enthusiast, but you have to be realistic about what can be achieved on an individual's test-gear budget, and very few DIY designers have access to company equipment. At the very best an enthusiast is likely to be using a top-end soundcard as part of their test setup.

 

Finally, it's worth bearing in mind that while the exact limits of human hearing are not well defined, it is likely that much comparatively modestly priced equipment, such as the O2 and the ODAC already exceed the limits of human perception.

 

w


Edited by wakibaki - 8/25/13 at 2:55pm
post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

It's not a good idea to look to spend $500 on a DIY DAC.

To design a DAC that justifies that price requires a lot of experience of PCB design techniques and sophisticated (read expensive) test gear.

It might be possible for an experienced engineer to achieve a very good performance based on experience and sheer technical bravura, but to verify it requires test equipment.

You will find those, such as Telstar, who insist that the ultimate performance is achieved by listening to the final product. You will find though, that very few of them are actually designers, they're afficionados and pundits. Those designers who operate on that basis are almost certainly commercially motivated, i.e. they are trying to sell you something, something produced at comparatively low cost, and sold at a vastly inflated price. Frauds, not to put too fine a point on it, but I think we have reached to point with cables where most commonsense individuals recognise that high-end cables are a fraud..

If you must spend a lot of money on a DAC, and IMO, $500 is a lot to spend on a DAC (too much when a very good soundcard costs <$200), buy one produced by a reputable company and one that is accompanied by extensive documentation showing a very good technical performance. You can figure out which have a very good technical performance by comparing the numbers from a few well-specified soundcards and reading some reviews. It'll quickly become clear that 124dB output SNR trumps 109dB. Look here:- http://sound-cards-review.toptenreviews.com/


In some instances some effort spent on quieting (both electrically and acoustically) a PC will provide a bigger performance boost than spending a lot of money on a DAC.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big DIY enthusiast, but you have to be realistic about what can be achieved on an individual's test-gear budget, and very few DIY designers have access to company equipment. At the very best an enthusiast is likely to be using a top-end soundcard as part of their test setup.

Finally, it's worth bearing in mind that while the exact limits of human hearing are not well defined, it is likely that much comparatively modestly priced equipment, such as the O2 and the ODAC already exceed the limits of human perception.

w

Okay that was a lot to process lol. Well ODAC is okay, except I don't want to use USB, I'd prefer toslink/optical from my iMac. I used to have a gaming PC with a Xonar Essence, but I gave up that hobby. Hmm....
post #19 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post


What about a higher end DIY DAC? Like around $300-$500?

no clue man. I am poor. 

post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post

no clue man. I am poor. 

smily_headphones1.gif
post #21 of 51

ODAC. No jokes.

 

I've seen used Gungnir DAC's sold around $500-600 mark so maybe keep your eyes peeled out for one of those.

post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post


Okay that was a lot to process lol. Well ODAC is okay, except I don't want to use USB, I'd prefer toslink/optical from my iMac. I used to have a gaming PC with a Xonar Essence, but I gave up that hobby. Hmm....

You  can also find Yulong D18 for around $500. Better than Gungnir IMO.

post #23 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefQon View Post

ODAC. No jokes.

 

Please respect the views of other members.

 

w

post #24 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post

In the true tradition of posting responses that have little to do with the actual question. 

 

In a sound test I was unable to tell the difference between the Modi and a grubDAC. Considering the grub costs less than half. its a good buy. But these are fairly cheap DACs, so whatevs. 

Many thanks for your review and comparison experience.  However, the OP actually mentioned the pupDAC.  I could shill and get this thread killed, but let me please state that Beezar's price/performance is always proportional: pupDAC > grubDAC > SkeletonDAC.  I could say a lot more, but I'll leave it at that because of the MOT rules. wink.gif

post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

Many thanks for your review and comparison experience.  However, the OP actually mentioned the pupDAC.  I could shill and get this thread killed, but let me please state that Beezar's price/performance is always proportional: pupDAC > grubDAC > SkeletonDAC.  I could say a lot more, but I'll leave it at that because of the MOT rules. wink.gif

I would totally believe this guy. I have never built a pup but have built a few grubs now. I am sure the pup is also an excellent product. But the Modi box is just so SEXY. 

 

Sorry to derail. 

post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

 

Please respect the views of other members.

 

w

Now wtf is this supposed to mean?

 

OP asked asked for DAC recommendations under $500. I gave him a recommendation as mentioned the ODAC (despite how awful sounding the O2 is). With DAC's you're paying for that 1-2% difference.

 

I think you are the one WHO should respect the views of other members.

post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefQon View Post

Now wtf is this supposed to mean?

OP asked asked for DAC recommendations under $500. I gave him a recommendation as mentioned the ODAC (despite how awful sounding the O2 is). With DAC's you're paying for that 1-2% difference.

I think you are the one WHO should respect the views of other members.

Technically the OP asked for DIY DAC recommendations, and yet the majority of responses are for brand name DAC's. I understand that the ODAC has a lot of praise, but you shouldn't assume his budget is low all because he asked for DIY DAC recommendations. I used the Modi in the past and wasn't too impressed, so the ODAC may not be on my list personally. Oh well this is about the OP not me.
post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post


Technically the OP asked for DIY DAC recommendations, and yet the majority of responses are for brand name DAC's. I understand that the ODAC has a lot of praise, but you shouldn't assume his budget is low all because he asked for DIY DAC recommendations. I used the Modi in the past and wasn't too impressed, so the ODAC may not be on my list personally. Oh well this is about the OP not me.

Yes I'm aware the OP asked for diy DAC's (which there aren't many except those ebay junk) for the said price range. I listed those two DAC's if OP might look into non-diy DAC's if proven too difficult for him/her. 

 

Regardless what the OP want's, telling someone to respect other users opinions when you're not in the wrong is just plain disrespectful in itself and rude.

post #29 of 51

I'm interested in hearing people's opinions on DAC's (especially DIY) that can outperform the ODAC. I don't have enough money for the Buffalo III and I wonder if the Buffalo 3 only adds more options but not really better sound than the ODAC? Everything else in my system is top notch, at least that's how I feel, and I don't want the ODAC to be the bottleneck. I don't feel like it is, I just want to know if there's something better out there that is reasonably priced.

post #30 of 51

Can't believe nobody has suggested the AMB designs yet.

 

AMB γ2

 

AMB γ1

 

I've got a gamma 2 and it's brilliant, technically and acoustically. I bought mine assembled for $200 and don't plan to ever replace it.

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