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Recommend me a DAC!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

I'm looking to buy a USB DAC, but I do need some help deciding/hunting.

 

Basically they will be mainly used for speakers, and only rarely, headphones. So what this means is that I need a DAC with great line-out(for active speakers) and decent headphones out. Of course, mic-in would be nice but that is not necessary as I'm planning to get the AT2020 USB Mic by the end of 2013.

 

I would like the line-out to be connected to my speakers all the time, and only when I plug my headphones in, should it stop the speakers and send the sound through my headphones instead.

 

Reside in an Asian country, Singapore, so some DAC's may be priced much higher here, or unavailable.

 

I have a very low budget, about $150(USD), best if I could go lower.

 

Currently looking at the USB DAC from Creative, X-FI HD USB, as well as the newly released Asus XONAR U7, are they any good for my speakers, or am I better off getting a sound card?

 

 

I'm a speaker guy and they are my main priority, doesn't matter if the headphone out has subpar amps w/e, they just need to work better than on board, and have a good DAC for line-out to my speakers.

 

My speaker is coming in on Tuesday, they are the Swans M200MKII.

 

 

Would appreciate any help or comments!! Should I even spend that much on a DAC to begin with? The Swans sound brilliant and are great value for $300(I have auditioned them).

post #2 of 14

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z or Zx.

Comes with separate headphone and Front speaker line-out, CS4398 DAC chip.

Ok/decent headphone amplifier.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z or Zx.

Comes with separate headphone and Front speaker line-out, CS4398 DAC chip.

Ok/decent headphone amplifier.

 

 

I would think a sound card would better fit my setup (desktop + 2.0 speakers), but then I might have an issue with having my headphones plugging in the rear port of my rig. It is a massive full tower rig (NZXT Switch 810), and I have it on the floor. Afraid headphone cables will not be long enough to reach, and I've read people advising against using the front port.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Any more recommendations?
Need something cheap and good, with line out(for active speakers) and headphone out(with in built amp).
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Hacking View Post

Any more recommendations?
Need something cheap and good, with line out(for active speakers) and headphone out(with in built amp).
You're demanding quite the DAC. I would love to help you, but does it really need the turn off function when you connect your headphones?
post #6 of 14

For your budget, if don't mind DIY product, you may want to do more research on this:

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=87

 

I have the small USB version, the UAE23 which basically using the same USB chip and DAC chip, and it sounds really2 good, especially for the price.  At home I'm using Mytek 192-DSD, in office I use UAE23 which cost a tiny fraction from Mytek, and I'm very happy with UAE23 :D

 

Or if you need 88.2k and higher sampling rate all the way to 24/192, you may want to look at this:

http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=84

But I don't know how it sounds, different USB chip, might make the sound signature different from the famous Tenor USB chip.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProximaCentauri View Post

You're demanding quite the DAC. I would love to help you, but does it really need the turn off function when you connect your headphones?

Nope, i do not need such a feature.
Sorry I actually thought most DAC's would turn off your speakers if headphones are plugged in, like the Xonar U7.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by earfonia View Post

For your budget, if don't mind DIY product, you may want to do more research on this:
http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=87

I have the small USB version, the UAE23 which basically using the same USB chip and DAC chip, and it sounds really2 good, especially for the price.  At home I'm using Mytek 192-DSD, in office I use UAE23 which cost a tiny fraction from Mytek, and I'm very happy with UAE23 biggrin.gif

Or if you need 88.2k and higher sampling rate all the way to 24/192, you may want to look at this:
http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=84
But I don't know how it sounds, different USB chip, might make the sound signature different from the famous Tenor USB chip.

Not sure why, but I cant seem to open the links at the moment on my phone.
I'd really much prefer a pre-built though, but I dont mind getting my hands dirty if I could get much better sound, for cheaper smily_headphones1.gif
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Hacking View Post

Not sure why, but I cant seem to open the links at the moment on my phone.
I'd really much prefer a pre-built though, but I dont mind getting my hands dirty if I could get much better sound, for cheaper smily_headphones1.gif
I'll try to find something when I get home from school. Budget?
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
150usd roughly smily_headphones1.gif
post #11 of 14

There is this from Light Harmonic through a Kickstarter campaign. You would have to wait a few months for it to arrive but likely to be good..especially for the price.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gavn8r/geek-a-new-usb-awesomifier-for-headphones

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Hacking View Post

I would think a sound card would better fit my setup (desktop + 2.0 speakers), but then I might have an issue with having my headphones plugging in the rear port of my rig. It is a massive full tower rig (NZXT Switch 810), and I have it on the floor. Afraid headphone cables will not be long enough to reach, and I've read people advising against using the front port.

Get the Sound Blaster Zx, comes with an external box can plug the headphones into, you can keep on your desk.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoo Animal View Post

There is this from Light Harmonic through a Kickstarter campaign. You would have to wait a few months for it to arrive but likely to be good..especially for the price.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gavn8r/geek-a-new-usb-awesomifier-for-headphones

 

Not a fan of kickstarter programmes, but thanks for the recommendation!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Get the Sound Blaster Zx, comes with an external box can plug the headphones into, you can keep on your desk.

 

Ah indeed it does! Will any audio quality be lost though, if using the 'external box'? Sorry if it is a stupid question!!

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Hacking View Post

Ah indeed it does! Will any audio quality be lost though, if using the 'external box'? Sorry if it is a stupid question!!

I would assume(?) no.

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