Cheap Beginner DAC
Oct 12, 2020 at 2:23 PM Post #5 of 20

gimmeheadroom

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Any recommendations for cheap beginner DACs?
No. I have a friend who likes to say "I'm not rich enough to able to afford cheap tools." I think it applies to audio as well. No point in buying something you'll throw out in a few months. Seeing as you're in Australia, have a look at the Burson website.
 
Oct 12, 2020 at 2:33 PM Post #6 of 20

grooveriders

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If you could define "cheap" and put number (price) that would help lot. That aside I'd say the SMSL SU-8 is one of the best option for low-mid tier DAC ($250).
 
Oct 12, 2020 at 2:45 PM Post #7 of 20

goodleechanghwa

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1. if your laptop's soundcard is bad for whatever reason like mine (I once spilled coffee over it.. It never got really fully recovered even after this and that fixes), then even a simple $10 USB external soundcard would be a vast improvement.
2. If you expect yourself that you might need a mic-in functionality, anything from $10 USB external soundcard to Schiit Fulla and Hel would be great. Fulla is attractive in that it can serve as a passive DAC if you upgrade amplifier later. Not sure about Hel, but I would expect the same. I bought $10 USB external soundcard for this purpose because I already had dedicated DAC+AMP, but if I didn't have them, I would've bought Fulla or Hel.
3. There are also great options for portable options in between 50-150. ES100, BTR series, ifi hip dac, etc. But these cannot serve as a passive DAC usually.
4. If you want to get serious and get external DAC+AMP right away, a lot of good options starting from $100 - Schiit Modi 3, Topping, JDS, etc etc. All are similarly good. If I have to pick one, I would Modi 3, but again, differences are not night and day.
 
Oct 12, 2020 at 7:01 PM Post #8 of 20

buke9

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Any recommendations for cheap beginner DACs?
You need to define beginner and give a budget that would be more helpful .
 
Oct 13, 2020 at 7:08 AM Post #9 of 20

HBen

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After years of testing and trying out different gear I found that cheap DAC's are basically just not worth it. The difference between a cheap DAC and the DAC in your phone / computer-soundcard etc. is most likely too small to even be heard - even more if you don't use TOTL amps and headphones and in that case you should invest in a good DAC anyway. If you think about it, it actually makes sense: Much of the price of a cheap DAC goes into marketing, the case, the packaging, the accessories, the assembly ... leaving little money for the actual internals.
If you are planning to spend less than a few hundred $ on a separate DAC, better invest that money into better headphones or save up (in my humble and personal opinion of course) :wink:
 
Oct 14, 2020 at 2:44 AM Post #11 of 20

gimmeheadroom

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You guys are all asking the right questions but two things come to mind.

Beginners often have no idea where to begin or what to ask.
OP seems to have disappeared...
 
Oct 14, 2020 at 2:25 PM Post #12 of 20

m-i-c-k-e-y

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9 have responded and no response?:smirk:
 
Oct 14, 2020 at 2:28 PM Post #13 of 20

gimmeheadroom

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Op has left the building :D

Unsubbed...
 

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