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DAC recommendations

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just got my Ultrasone HFI-580s and I'm loving them. But my Xonar DGX sucks. It has hiss/white noise on headphone mode, on speaker mode it's quiet. I think its time to buy DAC. I have Cute Beyond amp which I havent used because it amplifies hiss from Xonar. DAC needs to have low output impedance because Ultrasones are 32ohms? So recommend me DACs, budget 0-100 +/- 20 euros. Thanks.

post #2 of 14

Hi Sasasd, welcome to Head-Fi!  :smile:  Sorry about your wallet.  :o

 

DigitalFreak and I just got done reviewing the NuForce uDAC-3:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/696640/review-nuforce-dac-3-a-k-a-udac-3-a-k-a-micro-dac-3

 

Would something like that serve your needs?


Home of the Liquid Carbon, Liquid Crimson, Liquid Glass, Liquid Gold and
Liquid Lightning headphone amplifiers... and the upcoming Liquid Spark!

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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I don't know should I buy DAC+Amp because I have amp. I'm not looking best DAC possible for my budget, I just want cheap as possible which doesn't produce hiss.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

I was wondering does DAC also need to have low output impedance to have no damping factor. Because I found out that Cute Beyond has very low output impedance and putting Xonar on speaker mode (high output impedance?) would solve my problem.

 

Hopefully someone understood that :)

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasasd View Post
 

Thanks. I don't know should I buy DAC+Amp because I have amp. I'm not looking best DAC possible for my budget, I just want cheap as possible which doesn't produce hiss.

 

You can actually run the uDAC-3 as just a DAC, and send the output into your amp.  But there's also a chance that you might like the uDAC-3's amp... thus making your current amp obsolete... which means you can sell it if you want.  ;)

 

Or, alternatively, you could just get an ODAC.  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasasd View Post

 

Hopefully someone understood that :)

 

Okay, hold on... I don't see a line out jack on the Xonar DGX.  So you're probably running the output from the Xonar's internal amp (the green jack) into your Cute Beyond.  You're basically double-amping, which is not ideal.

 

Anyway, the point here is that you should get a DAC (or a new sound card that has true line out - usually a blue jack).  The ODAC should suit you just fine.


Home of the Liquid Carbon, Liquid Crimson, Liquid Glass, Liquid Gold and
Liquid Lightning headphone amplifiers... and the upcoming Liquid Spark!

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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yeah I'm using green jack on Xonar but when I switch to speaker mode I hear relay clicking. Are you sure that "amp" is still on use? Anyway I should get a DAC.

 

ODAC should work just fine with my Cute Beyond? Because everyone recommends O2 amp with it

post #7 of 14

if you're asking for a cheap dac, here are some sub-$100 options:


1.) Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface ($30: PCM2902)
2.) DAC Destroyer ($45.99: AD1955 chip)
3.) Stoner Acoustic UD 110v2 ($49: PCM5102A)
4.) Hifimediy usb dac ($35-60: ES9023 sabre) 
5.) Styleaudio carat ud-1 ($58: PCM 2704)

6.) Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Go! Pro ($24: prob some random Creative dac)

 

all those devices have a bunch of positive reviews.

 

full sub-$200 list can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/696401/giant-list-of-sub-200-portable-dacs-w-their-chips-price

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Example Behringer: MEASUREMENT SUMMARY: In most ways, especially via the line outputs, the UCA202 performs respectably well. The headphone output, however, has a 50 ohm output impedance. Behringer likely intended using professional large headphones of the sort often used for studio and monitoring work (they are, after all, a pro-sound company). Most of these headphones are 80 – 600 ohms and would work reasonably well with the Behringer depending on how loud you want to listen and their sensitivity. But with typical 16 to 32 ohm portable headphones, it’s a different story. Here the UCA202 struggles. And with most balanced armature style IEMs, the frequency response will no longer be even close to flat due to the impedance interaction

 

Struggles with 16-32 ohms headphones. Or can I ignore that if I use amp?

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasasd View Post
 

Example Behringer: MEASUREMENT SUMMARY: In most ways, especially via the line outputs, the UCA202 performs respectably well. The headphone output, however, has a 50 ohm output impedance. Behringer likely intended using professional large headphones of the sort often used for studio and monitoring work (they are, after all, a pro-sound company). Most of these headphones are 80 – 600 ohms and would work reasonably well with the Behringer depending on how loud you want to listen and their sensitivity. But with typical 16 to 32 ohm portable headphones, it’s a different story. Here the UCA202 struggles. And with most balanced armature style IEMs, the frequency response will no longer be even close to flat due to the impedance interaction

 

Struggles with 16-32 ohms headphones. Or can I ignore that if I use amp?

mmm... i have no idea what the reviewer means by "struggles."

 

you should ask Mshenay. I believe he has a behringer uca202.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

if you're asking for a cheap dac, here are some sub-$100 options:


1.) Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface ($30: PCM2902)
2.) DAC Destroyer ($45.99: AD1955 chip)
3.) Stoner Acoustic UD 110v2 ($49: PCM5102A)
4.) Hifimediy usb dac ($35-60: ES9023 sabre) 
5.) Styleaudio carat ud-1 ($58: PCM 2704)

6.) Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Go! Pro ($24: prob some random Creative dac)

 

all those devices have a bunch of positive reviews.

 

full sub-$200 list can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/696401/giant-list-of-sub-200-portable-dacs-w-their-chips-price

 

Availability of those DACs are kinda bad here in Finland. I can find Creative but I don't think that is very good. I was looking at FiiO E10, that should be ok?

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasasd View Post
 

Yeah I'm using green jack on Xonar but when I switch to speaker mode I hear relay clicking. Are you sure that "amp" is still on use?

 

Speaker mode is a software setting right?  If so, I don't see how that mechanically takes the amp out of the signal path.  If anything, it's probably trying to mimic a line-out signal in some way, but not getting it quite right?  :confused:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasasd View Post
 

Anyway I should get a DAC.

 

Yup.  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasasd View Post

 

ODAC should work just fine with my Cute Beyond? Because everyone recommends O2 amp with it

 

It should work fine with almost any amp.  I can't say how it will sound though, as I've never heard the Cute Beyond.

 

As for the O2, it really depends on what you want the rig to sound like.  The O2 is neutral, clean, and pretty dry to my ears.  If you're trying to do any kind of music production, the O2 would be a good amp to pair with the ODAC to avoid coloration.

 

But if this is primarily for personal listening, I say go with what you like.  And if you like the sound of the Cute Beyond, just stick with it.  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

if you're asking for a cheap dac, here are some sub-$100 options:


1.) Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface ($30: PCM2902)
2.) DAC Destroyer ($45.99: AD1955 chip)
3.) Stoner Acoustic UD 110v2 ($49: PCM5102A)
4.) Hifimediy usb dac ($35-60: ES9023 sabre) 
5.) Styleaudio carat ud-1 ($58: PCM 2704)

6.) Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Go! Pro ($24: prob some random Creative dac)

 

all those devices have a bunch of positive reviews.

 

full sub-$200 list can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/696401/giant-list-of-sub-200-portable-dacs-w-their-chips-price

 

money4me247, have you heard the Styleaudio Carat UD-1?  I have a Styleaudio Carat-Topaz.  I don't think the internals are the same, but if the Carat-Topaz is indicative of their sound quality, the UD-1 might make for a good choice.  And of course, you know what other DAC I have already.  ;)


Home of the Liquid Carbon, Liquid Crimson, Liquid Glass, Liquid Gold and
Liquid Lightning headphone amplifiers... and the upcoming Liquid Spark!

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post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ooh, I found Nuforce uDAC3 from my country. 125 euros, I think I'm getting that soon if I can't find better solutions. Gotta sell my Cute.

 

Hopefully it does not hiss and sounds good :D


Edited by Sasasd - 12/25/13 at 1:54pm
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

I found out that Nuforce uDAC-2 was pretty horrible? I read couple reviews about uDAC-3 and it should be much more different than second version but still...

 

I was thinking FiiO E10 or E17. Can you use FiiO amps/DACs without charging them on desktop use?

post #14 of 14

I've never heard the uDAC-2, but I'm definitely aware of the mixed impressions of it.

 

As for the Fiios, I don't know.  Not much experience with them, but I bet bowei006 would know.  :smile:


Home of the Liquid Carbon, Liquid Crimson, Liquid Glass, Liquid Gold and
Liquid Lightning headphone amplifiers... and the upcoming Liquid Spark!

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