i decided to grab a cheapo dac, i thought there would be a clear winner but there is a lot more on offer than id imagined, so in the running is:
Gets great reviews and is async, and not that it should matter with audio gear but its by far the best looking, the downside to this one though is that theres somewhat shaky linux support from reports ive read
Cambridge Audio Dacmagic XS:
Tiny and it supports 192k rather than the 96k on the other two on offer here, its also very small and low powered so i may be able to get it working with my phone which would be amazing, downside is the lack of RCA outputs
last up is the ODAC or rather edac from epiphany which gets largely good reviews but the schiit generally seems better received, the bonus to the odac though is its linux support
or should i just hold out and get something better overall, the next step would be the dac magic 100 at around 200 quid (is it worth twice the price of the others?) then it would probably mean looking at the DM100+ or the schiit bifrost at around 400 quid. it will be replacing the soundcard in my vaio laptop (a realtek of unknown chipset) it does have optical out but when run through my AV rec (a yamaha ax750-se) it doesnt even manage to better the sound of my note 2 (wolfson 1811) so im guessing all the above would be an improvement
so thoughts ladies and gents?