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Best standalone DACs under $100

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I need a dac to better run CDs/Spotify app on my mac. The $99 Schiit modi looks pretty cool, but I'd like to know if there are any alternatives. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

must be:

 

- standalone. (no integrated amp)
- rca output

- usb input


Edited by rtruong15 - 11/17/13 at 4:36pm
post #2 of 8
Well, there's the Fiio E10 - it's also an amp, but it has RCA line outs that bypass the amp. I have an E10 - it's nothing special, but I'm not a big believer in significant differences in reasonably designed DACs. Quite frankly, I'll be surprised if you really notice much difference going from the line-out of your Mac to an external headphone amp, and going from the Mac USB port to an external DAC and then to the same external amp. YMMV...

What do you believe is lacking in the line-out from your Mac?
post #3 of 8

Schiit Modi is my pick

post #4 of 8

Behringer UCA202 USB Audio Interface

 

This... best $30 I ever spent! it has an integrated Headphone Amp Out but ofc it is just a bonus I guess. There is an RCA in and RCA out, Primarly, slap the USB into ur pc slap an RCA pair onto the RCA out and ur in buisness

 

Did I mention it was $30? And honestly it sounds the same as the USB Dac on my HM 801 [which the Hm801 has a seperate DAC for USB and  it's S/pDif and onboard Audio Conversion 

 

Oh and the UCA202 has SpDif out... so I could use it act as an intermediate into my hm801 Spdif Dac... which is a good idea actually 

 

Still great device, small sounds great and has a nice mix of functions! Highly Recommended! 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

@billybob_jcv: The highs sound very tinny, and the bass never seems to have much impact. But sometiems, I have a feeling that this may just be from streaming compressed Spotify mp3s.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtruong15 View Post
 

@billybob_jcv: The highs sound very tinny, and the bass never seems to have much impact. But sometiems, I have a feeling that this may just be from streaming compressed Spotify mp3s.

Well on board audio + compressed mp3s= Tinny Highs and Impact less bass. 

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtruong15 View Post
 

@billybob_jcv: The highs sound very tinny, and the bass never seems to have much impact. But sometiems, I have a feeling that this may just be from streaming compressed Spotify mp3s.

Spotify isn't MP3, it's Vorbis. Normal encodes are q5, which the Vorbis folks claim is right around the point of transparency for many recordings, though I'm not so sure I'd agree with that one. Premium subscriptions get most content at q9, which should definitely be good enough to where you should concern yourself with your equipment instead...

 

And, for a hundred bucks, the Modi is a great little DAC. Follow your gut!

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by brhfl View Post
 

Spotify isn't MP3, it's Vorbis. Normal encodes are q5, which the Vorbis folks claim is right around the point of transparency for many recordings, though I'm not so sure I'd agree with that one. Premium subscriptions get most content at q9, which should definitely be good enough to where you should concern yourself with your equipment instead...

 

And, for a hundred bucks, the Modi is a great little DAC. Follow your gut!

Indeed the Modi is a nice dac, It compares to an oDac [which I owned] and has reviewed as a very nice unit. Plus it looks great. 

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