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$250 amp/DAC combo for Squeezebox based system

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm finally getting serious about my music again and want to upgrade the quality of the experience. I don't have a huge budget at this point but I want to do the best I can with what I have to spend. I'm already searching for some new headphones in the <$250 range to replace my beat up Sony v600's from the 90's. I'm starting to look at the other areas of the system to see if I need to do anything. That's where the question about a different amp/dac comes in.

Back in 2005 I got a Squeezebox v3 and converted all my CD's to FLAC using EAC. The reason I got the Squeezebox at the time was that it came highly recommended as a streaming device because of the ability to handle FLAC and also because it had a decent built-in DAC. I've been very happy with the performance of it so far but a lot has changed in the digital audio world since 2005 so I want to see if it's really worth it to upgrade or not. Here’s how my system is configured currently:

Source:Squeezebox v3 streamed from computer
Integrated Amp: Cambridge Audio Azur 540a

I currently have the audio from the Squeezebox going to the amp via RCA cables. I plug the headphones into the amp. This works fine unless someone else wants to watch the TV, which is also connected to the amp. So, to be able to listen to music while someone else is using the TV I need to have a separate headphone amp. Since I’m doing that I’m thinking I might as well upgrade the signal path by getting a better DAC that can connect to the Squeezebox digitally. I don’t know which headphones I’ll end up with so I’d like to have an amp that can drive pretty much anything within reason.

My budget for the amp/dac would be an additional $250 on top of the headphones. I’ve read a few threads and there are so many options that it’s overwhelming! I really like the look and design of the Schiit Magni/Modi combo but it doesn’t have digital inputs for the DAC, which I’m assuming I will need if I want to upgrade the Squeezebox’s DAC.

So, given my modest budget and requirements, what amp/dac combos should I be considering/researching?

Any feedback greatly appreciated!


Edited by ruleof72 - 2/21/13 at 11:32am
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

Bump-I changed the title and refined my question.

 

Thanks in advance for any help!

post #3 of 7

I use a Logitech Squeezebox Touch and come out of that via coaxial S/PDIF into a NuForce Icon HDP and use that as my DAC and it either has Pre-Amp outs to go into any amp I wish or it has a built in headphone amp that is very decent. Do some research on the unit and youll see it is very popular and very nice for the price and size.

post #4 of 7

Personally I would go with the Magni/Modi and upgrade the Squeezebox to an external drive. That way you still have a way to store your FLAC files, and you can run the Magni/Modi out of your computer without needed digital audio input.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron94 View Post

Personally I would go with the Magni/Modi and upgrade the Squeezebox to an external drive. That way you still have a way to store your FLAC files, and you can run the Magni/Modi out of your computer without needed digital audio input.
Except then you have to have a computer there and running. Maybe the squeezebox is in the living room or somewhere where there isn't a computer or one wanted.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_r_ View Post


Except then you have to have a computer there and running. Maybe the squeezebox is in the living room or somewhere where there isn't a computer or one wanted.

That's exactly it. The computer is upstairs and the Squeezebox is in the living area. That's why I'm looking for a way to take the digital out of the Squeezebox and into the amp/dac.

post #7 of 7

Yep I gotcha. Just dont know of any decent/good DACs that have S/PDIF coax/optical inputs in the price range youre looking for. If you could bump it up another $100 then you would be in the NuForce HDP area at around $340.
 

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