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Need a dac (dsd/dxd capable, balanced, linux support), with a neutral/analytical sound, max 750$

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Dear Head-Fiers,

 

I am about to buy my self the first dac. The maximum I would like to spend is 750$. Searching this subforum, brought up some pretty old threads or newer ones where the op hat different priorities.

 

Features I want:

- DSD/DXD support

- Linux support (only to some extent important)

- a balanced design with xlr outputs (not a must, but I would appreciate to have something more future proof)

 

Needed inputs (at least):

- USB

- SPDIF

 

The sound I'am after: Neutral. Probably even a bit on the analytical side with a lot of details. And it should be airy.

 

So far I only have one device on my list: A Yulong D200.

I'am not to shure how it qualifies in terms of neutrality, since there arent any reviews yet. All there recent stuff was either warm or pretty smooth. But the price performance will probably be very good and it has all the features I want. Of course I'am still awaiting impressions.

 

The amp I will use in combination is a Yulong A100, my headphones are the AGK Q701. I will mostly end up with flac and some few mp3 files, played by foobar2000. But I also plan to add some hi-res stuff later. Since I mostly listen to metal, it probably wont be that mich hi-res stuff in the end. But some classical music can be amazing too!

 

There are a lot of other companys with a high repuation, like Audio-GD or Schiit. But either some of my wanted features are missing or the dac has a warm/smooth sound.

I shurely missed a lot of interesting devices. So any recommendations for me?

 

TL:DR: I'am searching for the most detailed and feature richest dac for less than 750$.

 

Thanks in advance,

Asound


Edited by Asound - 4/25/14 at 6:08pm
post #2 of 10
No XLR , but the Concero HD or HP has USB and spdif input and supports DSD/DXD & Linux. Might check it out. Used they are in that ballpark for price.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Oh, I heard good stuff about the concero. I definitely will have to check for a used hd version.

By the end of may I will buy the dac, if my plans wont change. So I still have some time to hear more recommendations.

But a concero does sound very tempting.


Edited by Asound - 4/25/14 at 7:13pm
post #4 of 10

Audio-GD NFB-1 fits the bill, the ESS Sabre 9018 chip is very detailed and neutral, with recently added full support for dsd and dxd (as of today (officially) on their site). That's the only other option I know of... throw in shipping and you're just around your budget. Best of luck to you!

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hmm, that one is pretty new. I was only aware of another generation 2014 dac by Audio GD, which was not balanced, but at least dsd/dxd compatible. From what I read, every Audio GD dac is known for a slightly warm and smooth sound. But also for an exceptional value for that price. I will put it on my list.

Maybe it is a nice analog sound, which could be better for me, than what I actually have in my mind.

My 25 year old cd player by Toshiba seems to have a really nice analog sound, which I do like very much. But the only sources I can compare it to are my onboard and creative x-fi soundcard, which arent near as nice sounding.

Yet I would consider myself as an analytical listener, since I dont want to miss any details and don't care if it's even a flaw brought up. So something even slightly smooth is a small turn off at first.

 

I will probably not make a mistake in choosing any of the three devices of my list. But I'am also sure that I would prefer one of those over the others in direct comparision...

 

Such a difficult decision, argh.


Edited by Asound - 4/26/14 at 10:24am
post #6 of 10

It's hard to know without auditioning... reviewers call Kingwa's Sabre implementation as very detailed, and just a tiny touch on the warm/smooth side. It should be quite revealing of a poor recording. I don't think you'd mess up on any, I'd see which you can get cheapest.


Edited by jodgey4 - 4/26/14 at 10:29am
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Oh well, I probably aim for the NFB-1 now. Many inputs and outputs, fully balanced and a good build quality. So like an D200, but I am a bit more amazed by an Audio GD dac.

It also is a pure dac, I already own an good fitting amp. So all my money/energy is put into the dac it self.

At the end I will enjoy the dac a lot, no matter what I choose out of these options. That's for sure.

And there is no or only a small difference in the amount of money I have to spend between these devices.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asound View Post
 

Oh well, I probably aim for the NFB-1 now. Many inputs and outputs, fully balanced and a good build quality. So like an D200, but I am a bit more amazed by an Audio GD dac.

It also is a pure dac, I already own an good fitting amp. So all my money/energy is put into the dac it self.

At the end I will enjoy the dac a lot, no matter what I choose out of these options. That's for sure.

And there is no or only a small difference in the amount of money I have to spend between these devices.


So how did you make out?

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

I bought the NFB 1. The best choice I probably could have made. :k701smile:

post #10 of 10


Congrats!  And good to know that you're happy with it.

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