Best DAC/amp for under $200? $300?
Jul 8, 2008 at 12:49 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

shleepy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Posts
480
Likes
10
My requirements: USB input (preferably also optical but not a must), at least one set of RCA out (and 2 if the built-in amp is not great), and 1/4" headphone jack. I would be using something like Audioengine A2 speakers running from the RCA-outs. Headphones would either go from the front 1/4" connector or from my Meier Headfive (if y'all folks think that's necessary), in which case a second pair of RCA outs is a must.


What my research has brought me so far:
* Fubar III - Seems decent, but only fits the bare requirements... only USB and only one pair of RCA connectors.
* Diyeden SVDAC04 - Doesn't have a second pair of RCA outs, but otherwise good. Can probably do a bit better for ~$200, and certainly $300, though.
* City Pulse 7.2x II - Looks good, but no USB, and I don't feel like spending extra money on a special adapter.
* Zero and Zhaolu - same problem as above, but should be lower quality
* Citypulse DA2.03e II - has everything I want, but I would like to spend less money.
* E-MU 0404 USB - lots of features, cheap
* Audiotrak Dr. Dac 2 - hard to find reviews, but has the features that I would want.

What other options should I be looking at? Is there anything that fits all of my needs and wants but is cheaper than DA2.03e? Anyone wanna make me something using DIY kits?
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 4:48 AM Post #3 of 14

shleepy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Posts
480
Likes
10
And good luck to you, too!
smily_headphones1.gif
Why Travagan's and Icon aren't on the list: Travagan's White actually only has RCA-in, not out. I don't think the Icon has the best built-in headphone amp, and since it only has one pair of RCA-outs, I wouldn't be able to use it with my amp + speakers (I don't think I would want to get the Nuforce speakers).
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 5:06 AM Post #4 of 14

BIG POPPA

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Posts
4,143
Likes
120
Jul 8, 2008 at 7:11 AM Post #5 of 14

shleepy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Posts
480
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by BIG POPPA /img/forum/go_quote.gif
what about a Zhoalu 2.5 Zhaolu 2.5 DAC with headphone amp
Can't hurt for the price.



Already had it in my list, albeit with a typo in the name.
smily_headphones1.gif
The biggest problem is that it has no USB, and I would want to use that as my primary connection.
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 7:42 PM Post #9 of 14

shleepy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Posts
480
Likes
10
Now added (totally slipped my mind): E-MU 0404 USB. I'm surprised nobody else caught that! It's definitely a good value. Can anyone say how it would compare to something like Fubar III?

*sigh* If only Citypulse DA2.03e II was much cheaper...
frown.gif
Anyone wanna sell their used one for a really good deal, by any chance?
wink.gif
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 10:33 PM Post #10 of 14

BIG POPPA

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Posts
4,143
Likes
120
Jul 9, 2008 at 12:19 AM Post #11 of 14

shleepy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Posts
480
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by BIG POPPA /img/forum/go_quote.gif
What about a Blue Circle Thingy or a Trends USB, USB is cheap. or spend 30 bux more and get the Zhoulu D3 Audiomagus - high end not high priced audio products or very cheap USB DAC707 Super Pro USB
or this Audiomagus - high end not high priced audio products this should help if you only want USB.



My main requirement is the ability to run both, headphones and powered speakers (e.g., Audioengine A2's via RCA), so none of the ones you linked fit the bill.
smily_headphones1.gif
Something like THIS should be a good deal... right? $160 is cheaper than buying just the Zero from other eBay sellers, anyway. I just hope that this seller is legit, hehe. He did send me a pic of the USB adapter, though, and it's the same one that the original Zero eBay seller sells for $25+shipping. Hmm...

Can I get some more opinions about the Zero vs. Fubar II vs. Fubar III vs. Zhaolu vs. Citypulse 7.2x? I think I'm a little too needy, hehe.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 12:48 AM Post #12 of 14

BIG POPPA

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Posts
4,143
Likes
120
The Zero has a big following here. You also can get a USB transport and hook it up to a cool DAC. That is another option. If you get something and don't like it you can always sell it in the F/S forum. No big deal. A good way to try out some gear.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top