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DAC with more than one unbalanced output?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've been looking into an upgrade to the Channel Islands VDA-2 that has served me well for some years now.  One of the features of this DAC that I rely on is the fact that it has dual unbalanced analog outputs.  I've been looking for an upgrade in the 1K to 1.5K range but after combing through a dozen DAC reviews everything seems to feature a single unbalanced RCA and single balanced XLR output.  I can't believe there aren't users out there with two unbalanced amps they are wanting to drive from the same DAC.  I'd prefer not to employ yet another box to solve the issue such as a switch.


Any thoughts or suggestions on a DAC I may have overlooked would be appreciated.

post #2 of 9
Why not use a XLR to RCA cable?

Dunno your price range, but here are two:

Benchmark DAC2
Audio-GD DACs like NFB-28 can be custom ordered to replace ACSS outputs with RCA

Pretty sure there are more. For low production DACs made for audiophile use, you can probably request the DAC builder to replace the XLR output with RCA output.
post #3 of 9
Gungnir also has two RCA outs. I use two RCA out from my DAC through a splitter. Works perfectly fine.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post

Pretty sure there are more. For low production DACs made for audiophile use, you can probably request the DAC builder to replace the XLR output with RCA output.

This might be a good option, though doing a one-off for the back plate would probably cost a lot.


I haven't read much about doing XLR > RCA but I hear some DACs can't accomodate this, like the Yulong DA8.

post #5 of 9

Not sure I have seen much of any source component with 2 sets of balanced XLR outputs.  I use a pre-amp that has 2 sets, the Wyred4Sound DAC2 dsd, and plan to use one set to my upcoming DIY amp, and an upcoming BHSE.  Currently using RCA out to my current amp, which is single ended only.  I use the 2 sets of XLR inputs for my DAC and Phono Pre.  Very good set of in/outs on the Wyred4Sound STP-SE.


Edit - next thing I looked at has them, but out of your price range :




The Metrum Hex

Edited by Bones13 - 10/23/13 at 9:20am
post #6 of 9

You can safely split a signal up to 3 times.  It doesn't really matter if you use the balanced or unbalanced sockets as the master source. Balanced usually reverts to unbalanced if you use a TS rather than a TRS plug. You can even get XLR plugs wired up to do the same.


Although the ideal solution to your requirement, given you have money to spend, is to get an audio interface that can output more channels than simple stereo.

You will have more control and future flexibility that way.


As you have found Hi Fi grade gear usually only caters for stereo in and out but pro and prosumer interfaces can offer as many channels out as you could wish for.

You don't have to spend that much money to get a transparent output either.


This is an inexpensive option which offers wat you want if you insist on 4 unbalanced outs.




This one is brand new and a fantastic combination of interface and monitor controller in one unit.




If you have the cash RME are the most revered name in interfaces worldwide.






MOTU are almost as good. < $




So are NI. even < $




There are loads of alternatives. You just need to know where to look.



post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Appreciate the time and links, I will look into them.  Ideally I was just hoping to get a new DAC with the same convenience as the one I have now but that might not be possible.  Keeping both the old and a new DAC side by side is another option, I could run a new one via USB but it is so involved to get good performance out of USB I just don't want to touch if if I can help it.

post #8 of 9

There is NOTHING wrong with USB, its generally plug and play and will have no impact on your audio chain.  I am on my 2nd USB audio interface and manage to record and playback just fine, never had an issue.  If you are really concerned about "quality" an RME fireface will offer you everything you will ever need from a DAC along with custom designed drivers and ongoing support, RME are a really pro company.  The babyface is more designed for mobile recording and as such there are a few compromises in terms or build and I/O options but the Fireface is a simply awesome bit of kit, I have used one on a few occasions for recording and  if I had the money I would own one but my day to day needs don't require it.


The benchmark DAC2 is also well respected in terms of performance but it may be beyond your budget.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well, it's difficult to sort truth from fiction on these subjects.  Upstream signal chain and power conditioning are the two areas I've neglected the longest in terms of upgrades to my setup for a reason:  it's a minefield full of contradicting info and heresy that's hard to navigate.  I prefer to feel comfortable with a change when making it.  When buying amps, headphones, and interconnects I can come to a confidence that I'm making a good choice.  Here not so much.


I suppose the only thing to do is keep reading threads and collect data on the subject.

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