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Direct USB input DAC products

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I've just started looking into PC driven DAC's - it seems to be the case that one can't buy a DAC which reads WAV and FLAC files striaght from a USB stick or memory card and that you have to drive the DAC from a PC or laptop. I realise that a WAV file has to be played but am surprised that so far no one seems to have come up with a DAC which will also do the playing for you - which I would have thought would also allow for a better sound by eliminating a usb cable and the PC from the pathway. 

 

Can anyone correct me on this or is it the case that there are no quality DAC products by Rega etc of this type?

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul77 View Post

Hi,

I've just started looking into PC driven DAC's - it seems to be the case that one can't buy a DAC which reads WAV and FLAC files striaght from a USB stick or memory card and that you have to drive the DAC from a PC or laptop. I realise that a WAV file has to be played but am surprised that so far no one seems to have come up with a DAC which will also do the playing for you - which I would have thought would also allow for a better sound by eliminating a usb cable and the PC from the pathway. 

 

Can anyone correct me on this or is it the case that there are no quality DAC products by Rega etc of this type?

A DAC that does the playing for you is called an iPod. wink.gif

post #3 of 11

I have a Sony Blu-ray player which has USB input and analog stereo output.
 

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

...was really looking for 'high-end' hi-fi products that do it - from the likes of Rega, Linn, Cambridge Audio

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul77 View Post

Hi,

I've just started looking into PC driven DAC's - it seems to be the case that one can't buy a DAC which reads WAV and FLAC files striaght from a USB stick or memory card and that you have to drive the DAC from a PC or laptop. I realise that a WAV file has to be played but am surprised that so far no one seems to have come up with a DAC which will also do the playing for you - which I would have thought would also allow for a better sound by eliminating a usb cable and the PC from the pathway. 

 

Can anyone correct me on this or is it the case that there are no quality DAC products by Rega etc of this type?

 

That's not really a DAC anymore but some kind of digital source/server if the device itself will directly read the audio files and you can browse from there. Some of those are pure digital transports, but some are basically CD players with the transport replaced by a HDD or other connectivity options. Look into the Olive music servers (HDD and CD transport on basic models), or the Musical Fidelity M1Clic (a basic DAC and fixed and preamped output section, nothing fancy but has a plethora of connectivity options), Cambridge 640H (salesman claims its the 640 CDP with NAS and USB instead of a transport), and what I'm saving up for currently, the Aune S1 (USB-thumb drive, HDD-USB, wired NAS, etc with decoding circuit built around an AKM4396 DAC).

post #6 of 11

Might not be USB input, but the Resonessence Labs Invicta has an SD card slot as well as a built in headphone amp that I've heard isn't too shabby. Plays WAV and I'm sure by now the AIFF update has been released. 

 

It's on my short list of DACs to audition for later in the year and I think I'd get a lot of use out of the SD card slot. Take it on the patio and have tea or something. No PC needed.

 

Only issue is that it's gonna set you back 4k. :D Welcome to Head-fi.

 

EDIT: Pair it with a 128gb or even a 256gb SD card and you've got a monster system that only needs 1 power outlet. 


Edited by MorbidToaster - 1/2/13 at 9:30am
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Had a look at a review of the Aune S1 (www.hi-fiworld.co.uk) - it looks pretty good for £500 - "way ahead of CD by fully exploiting

high resolution recordings" - but the review does not really mention the sound quality you get with 16 bit recordings (ripped from CD)

- presumably there is an improvement compared with a CD player. From my research the question now is whether something like this is

as good as the highly regarded J Kenny JKDAC even though input has to be from a laptop?

post #8 of 11

The Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 will play from a USB connected device (thumb drive, USB HDD, etc.) up to 24/96, and a connected PC via a different USB port upto 24/192, as well as the obvious UPNP streaming up to 24/96. I have one in my main 2 channel setup and it's a great device. It also as 2 digital inputs for connecting digital devices like TVs, blu-ray players, etc.

 

I think Naim and Cyrus also make something similar, but in a higher price bracket.

post #9 of 11

You're pretty much looking for a media player, maybe something like Logitech's discontinued Squeezebox series of products that can read digital files off of USB storage. 

post #10 of 11

The Bryston BDP-1 is one of the higher-end versions of a USB storage player.

 

http://bryston.com/products/digital_audio/BDP-1.html

 

 

Quote:

The Bryston BDP-1 is the world’s first dedicated player for high resolution digital files. Employing a modified Linux OS optimized to provide the highest quality audio performance, the BDP-1 will play high resolution audio files (up to 192k/24b) from any USB storage device without compromise.

Inputs: 4x USB 2.0
Outputs: SPDIF (BNC), AES/EBU (XLR)
Control: Ethernet (RJ-45), RS-232 (DB9)
Audio Format: AIFF, FLAC, WAV, MP3, M4A, OGG

 

I neither own nor have used one, but have seen it favorably reviewed in the usual trade rags. Bryston itself has a fantastic reputation for performance-per-dollar as well as a 20 year warranty to assure of bullet-proof construction.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Nice but at over £2000 its a bit too 'hi-end'  - the Aune S1 looks a better bet. 

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