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Best USB DAC under $100?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've been looking at the Fiio E10 AND Hifimediy Sabre so far. It will be only used with my laptop. Am I missing any other hidden gems?
post #2 of 13

I'd probably look into the Audioquest Dragonfly Ver. 1.0.  It currently sells for about $100 from most major online retailers and your local Best Buys.

post #3 of 13

Fiio E7K ?

post #4 of 13

some sub-$100 hidden DAC gems:

 

1.) Stoner Acoustic's UD 110v2 (PCM5102A dac chip same as the $1000 W7 firefly) for $49+10S&H.

http://stoneracoustics.blogspot.com/

 

2.) FiiO E70k dac/amp ($89) [Wolfson WM8740 - also same components as the E17 except slightly less powerful amp]

 

3.) DAC Destroyer ($45.99 - AD1955 chip)

http://www.hotaudio.com/store2/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=244

 

4.) Styleaudio carat ud-1 ($58: PCM 2704)

http://www.headfonia.com/styleaudio-carat-ud-1/

 

5.) Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface ($30: PCM2902)

google: "The little Behringer UCA202 has a rather loyal following" for a interesting review

 

6.) Firestone Audio Fireye II Dac/amp ($79: CS4344)

http://www.amazon.com/Firestone-Audio-Fireye-II-Headphones/dp/B002BFH1X6

 

sub-$200 dac list (Click to show)

I recently made a silly lil list on sub-$200 dacs, if you're interested

http://www.head-fi.org/t/696401/giant-list-of-sub-200-portable-dacs-w-their-chips-price

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

some sub-$100 hidden DAC gems:

 

1.) Stoner Acoustic's UD 110v2 (PCM5102A dac chip same as the $1000 W7 firefly) for $49+10S&H.

http://stoneracoustics.blogspot.com/

 

2.) FiiO E70k dac/amp ($89) [Wolfson WM8740 - also same components as the E17 except slightly less powerful amp]

 

3.) DAC Destroyer ($45.99 - AD1955 chip)

http://www.hotaudio.com/store2/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=244

 

4.) Styleaudio carat ud-1 ($58: PCM 2704)

http://www.headfonia.com/styleaudio-carat-ud-1/

 

5.) Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface ($30: PCM2902)

google: "The little Behringer UCA202 has a rather loyal following" for a interesting review

 

6.) Firestone Audio Fireye II Dac/amp ($79: CS4344)

http://www.amazon.com/Firestone-Audio-Fireye-II-Headphones/dp/B002BFH1X6

 

sub-$200 dac list (Click to show)

I recently made a silly lil list on sub-$200 dacs, if you're interested

http://www.head-fi.org/t/696401/giant-list-of-sub-200-portable-dacs-w-their-chips-price

Thank you,  that was just the info was I hoping for. 

post #6 of 13

Cakewalk UA-1G, if you can get it cheap, which is better than the dragonfly v1.0 and way better than the behringer uca202, both of which I own. Having said that, the dragonfly is good and more compact, just not as good SQ as the cakewalk and the lack of a separate volume control I find annoying.

post #7 of 13

I'm in the same market. Thanks for the great post money4me247!

I do have to mention that the DAC DESTROYER description actually says it's $29.99 + $8.88 shipping for the Christmas season. Maybe you can message them if you're looking at it.

I'd like to add to that list external usb sound cards such as the Asus Xonar U3 ($45) and the Creative X-Fi Go Pro ($25). On a blogspot which I don't think I'm allowed to name, a very smart, objective-focused engineer has a comparison of several low budgets DACs.

I was eyeing the Behringer UCA202 until I saw several comparisons, and realized it definitely won't be good for me since all my gear is all portable-range resistance.

 

I think I'm torn between the Hifimediy line (not sure which one again..), Stoner Acoustics UD110, and the X-Fi Go Pro. I might possibly be using it along side my Galaxy S4, hence why I'm sticking to the smaller ones.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfvtn View Post
 

I'm in the same market. Thanks for the great post money4me247!

I do have to mention that the DAC DESTROYER description actually says it's $29.99 + $8.88 shipping for the Christmas season. Maybe you can message them if you're looking at it.

I'd like to add to that list external usb sound cards such as the Asus Xonar U3 ($45) and the Creative X-Fi Go Pro ($25). On a blogspot which I don't think I'm allowed to name, a very smart, objective-focused engineer has a comparison of several low budgets DACs.

I was eyeing the Behringer UCA202 until I saw several comparisons, and realized it definitely won't be good for me since all my gear is all portable-range resistance.

 

I think I'm torn between the Hifimediy line (not sure which one again..), Stoner Acoustics UD110, and the X-Fi Go Pro. I might possibly be using it along side my Galaxy S4, hence why I'm sticking to the smaller ones.

yup, glad it was helpful. i actually made a full sub-$200 list of dacs & their chips, found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/696401/giant-list-of-sub-200-portable-dacs-w-their-chips-price

 

I didn't include the those two because I wasn't sure what sound quality they were. I've seen the ASUS Xonar U3 Sound Card for $40 and it's supposed to have the ASUS-branded UA100 dac. Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Go! Pro is $24ish w/ some sort of Creative-branded dac. cldn't find any info on it.

 

i personally ended getting the stoner acoustic ud110v2. i'll probably post impressions on its appreciation thread once i get it. i am a bit skeptical of the amount of sonic improvements that will be gained w/ a dac, so it should be an interesting experiment! all three of your picks should be steals at their price point, considering how the more well-known audio-company-branded dacs are sooo pricey. both the PCM5102A dac chip & ESS Sabre ES9023 are very quality dac chips considering the pricey gear they are found in!


Edited by money4me247 - 12/24/13 at 10:56am
post #9 of 13
Do you have any knowledge to elaborate on the differences between the Hifimediy line by any chance money?

Im looking forward to your impressions!
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfvtn View Post

Do you have any knowledge to elaborate on the differences between the Hifimediy line by any chance money? Im looking forward to your impressions!

Mmm... the only difference so far as I can tell is that there is one version w/ an external power supply+amp for desktop use, one version w/ async... the rest (tiny/android/optical) versions should be the same product with just different input/outputs & a different usb receiver chip. they all use the same sabre ES9023 DAC chips.

 

unfortunately, i have not been able to compare the different products within the hifimediy line against each other so I can't help you there. not sure what kind of sonic quality variety would be between the products, but I would imagine it is marginal.

 

there are some great comparison threads on the hifimediy on head-fi. note that impressions may be of an older version of the product.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/682439/hifimediy-sabre-u2-async

http://www.head-fi.org/t/688300/hifimediys-new-budget-offering-asynchronous-usb-dac-looking-for-thoughts-upcoming-review#post_10017186

vs dragonfly 1.0: http://www.head-fi.org/t/678798/hifimediy-sabre-usb-dac-uae23-and-audioquest-dragonfly-brief-comparison

vs fiio e10: http://www.head-fi.org/t/673976/usb-dac-for-under-100-hifimediy-sabre-usb-dac-or-fiio-e10

vs breeze: http://www.head-fi.org/t/679883/first-dac-amp-advice-hifimediy-sabre-usb-vs-breeze-cm6631-cs4398

post #11 of 13

I can testify for the E10 unit. For what it's worth, it is a warm sounding DAC and I currently use it it in conjunction with a HiFiMAN EF2A amplifier. The headphone amplifier of the E10 is much rather neutral so it's built-in DAC does fair a bit better with it much more. To get straight to my point, it's a well regarded recommendation on my behalf. : - )

post #12 of 13

Hello there, I am using a Behringer UCA202 as my DAC for office use. No obvious problems, decent sound. There is surely much better equipment around, if you are willing to spend considerably more.

At home, I have a Peachtree DAC-It and two asus xonar essence stx. Nothing really fancy but they are obviously better; still the small Behringer won't make you run away from the listining room crying.

I have used it with pleasure in my countryside house where I have an old hi-fi set. Just brought the laptop and a USB hard drive, and I had my whole library available during the summer vacations. Newborn child enjoyed Mozart Concertos and Symphonies just like at home :wink:

post #13 of 13

FWIW the modi is $99. I love mine :)

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