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Simple USB DAC? Halide vs W4S vs HRT

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I have Grado RS1 and am about to pull the trigger on a WA6 (maxxxed, of course), but the only component missing would be a good, simple DAC. The ones in my mind are:

- Halide Design DAC HD
- W4S uDAC
- HRT Music Streamer II+

As far as i know, all of them require just USB to work (no AC connection), all are under $700, all top out at 24/96, basically serve the same purpose (simple plug n play) and have good reviews, but having trouble to decide which one.

which one?

If there is another i may have overlooked, please comment. Thank you.
Edited by Duartisimo - 9/20/13 at 10:54am
post #2 of 12

In my experience, at least with Macs, the HRT needs a self-powered USB hub to work reliably.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post
 

In my experience, at least with Macs, the HRT needs a self-powered USB hub to work reliably.

I am sorry, not knowledgeable at tech stuff... USB Hub?

An example, please? Because somehow i get the feeling you maybe talking about a kind of surge protector type device.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duartisimo View Post
 

I am sorry, not knowledgeable at tech stuff... USB Hub?

An example, please? Because somehow i get the feeling you maybe talking about a kind of surge protector type device.

 

He means an external multi-connector USB expansion device.  Typically, these come with 4 to 8 additional USB connection outputs.  The distinguishing factor is which of these devices (there are hundreds of types) come with their own power supply for the USB.

 

One of the important qualities of the USB protocol is that it contains a 5V power supply in USB connections and cables.  Typically, that 5V power comes from the power buss in a PC.  With most desktop PC's, the power is not an issue.  Even with multiple USB peripherals, there's ample current to supply whatever USB is hung off the buss.  However, in some laptops and I guess an Apple MAC, the USB power from the motherboard is not sufficient.  Hang a few peripherals (or just one that needs significant power) off of the buss and then there's not enough current left to properly supply the devices.

 

The market for USB "hubs" includes many models that come with their own USB power, typically in the form of a 5V switching wall adapter that can supply several Amps of power for the hub.

 

Bottom line, if the external DAC does not have sufficient current requirements, it may negate all the clean power devices in the DAC (regulators) and result in significant sound quality degradation.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Great info! Thank you.

I wonder if i get that degradation from an iMac, as it is in fact a mac but it's supposed to be a desktop.

post #6 of 12

If you go with the HRT and you have an iMac, then I think you can expect to also need a powered USB hub.  They're cheap and easy to find.

post #7 of 12
Get a Jkenny dac32 or the ciunas and use jplay as playback software and you will be set for a long long time
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

I will look into it, thanks guys.

post #9 of 12

I am also deciding between Halide and HRT Streamer HD (II+ seems nice too).

How have you decided?

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bananiq View Post

I am also deciding between Halide and HRT Streamer HD (II+ seems nice too).



How have you decided?


 


Actually no, as I'm still giving my CLASS/SR-71B another chance... My Grados are opening up very nicely by this time. I'll decide by the end of the year.
post #11 of 12

For Grados I would think the Halide Design DAC HD would be best.  I think it's the warmest and thickest of the three (just from reviews).

post #12 of 12

I've had no issues with my HRT MSHD on my MacBook Pro's USB port, or windows laptops USB port or any desktop USB port. It just works.

 

My vote is HRT an amazing product that just works, it does what any good DAC does converts your music from digital to analog and doesn't mess with it.

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