Edit: DO NOT TRY THIS. See my experience here http://www.head-fi.org/products/breeze-audio-pd05-xmos-pcm5102-dac
As I understand, perhaps the most important determinant of how a DAC sounds is its chip. Higher end DACs have very fancy chips, 32 bit 384k etc. Lower end DACs don't. Each chip also has its unique sound signature. So . . .
1. You can go to this website, or another, to find the DAC chip used. http://www.alldacinfo.com
2. For example, the very expensive Foxtex HP-A8 uses an Asahi AK4399 chip http://www.alldacinfo.com/?p=7383. Or, the expensive Luxman DA 100 uses a Texas Instruments PI5102 http://www.alldacinfo.com/?p=8532 .
3. Then you can search ebay for DAC [chip], e.g. search for DAC ak4399 http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.XDAC+ak4399&_nkw=DAC+ak4399&_sacat=0&_from=R40 or search for DAC PCM5102 http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.XDAC+PCM5102&_nkw=DAC+PCM5102&_sacat=0&_from=R40 to find USB DACs already assembled, containing that particular chip.
Will these sound significantly different from the pricey versions?
Edited by ag8908 - 3/30/14 at 6:52pm