Cheapest USB-DAC for an analog head amp
Apr 26, 2006 at 8:24 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

dodap

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What is the cheapest USB-DAC for the connection of an dacless headphone amp to a Windows XP PC with USB out?

Do I need an ASIO compatible device if I only listen to my music files?

The cheapest that I found so far is/seems to be the BEHRINGER U-Control UCA-202 USB-Audio-Interface, in Germany 29 Euros. How much better is the 80-100 Euro crowd with the M-Audio Transit or the Edirol UA-1EX?

How important are the Windows drivers (I have read a few complaints about M-Audio drivers)?
 
Apr 26, 2006 at 9:46 AM Post #3 of 11

dodap

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I know about those roughly 100 $/€ devices. My question was, whether the substantially cheaper things are a waste of money or not.
 
May 1, 2006 at 6:34 AM Post #4 of 11

facelvega

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how about a Turtle Beach audio advantage micro? tiny, better than most sound cards, and available for under $30. Is it as good as a top-of-the-line dedicated DAC? No. Is it going to sound better than your stock soundcard? Yes, it is.
 
May 1, 2006 at 6:51 AM Post #5 of 11

Uncle Erik

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Well, it depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for upsampling, balanced outputs, an integrated amp, and so on and so forth, the inexpensive ones will be a disappointment.

If you're just trying to get clean sound out of your computer, they're pretty good.

Speaking of the EB01, I just ordered one. It's a gift for my brother-in-law (please don't tell him!) who turns 30 in June. He's getting the rest of a headphone setup, too. My sister and he live here in town, so I should get to know it pretty well. And I would not have bought it if I thought it was junk.
 
May 1, 2006 at 7:11 AM Post #6 of 11

kramer5150

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Philips aurilium and turtle beach are the cheapest units Im aware of... yet still put out a useably clean signal.
 
May 1, 2006 at 4:21 PM Post #7 of 11

nightfire

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kramer5150
Philips aurilium and turtle beach are the cheapest units Im aware of... yet still put out a useably clean signal.


As a bonus the TBAAM also has a toslink out, so when/if you do go for a high end DAC, you can feed it without additional hardware.
 
May 1, 2006 at 4:39 PM Post #8 of 11

K2Grey

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It's worth pointing out that there is also a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Amigo and a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Roadie, which cost more and presumably are superior to the TBAAM (although then again, it might be additional features that you are paying for as opposed to SQ).

http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/products/Soundcards.asp
 
May 1, 2006 at 7:14 PM Post #10 of 11

dodap

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Quote:

Originally Posted by labrat
you do need an amplifier with both of these, I see no point in having a DAC and then trying to power headphones with Line-signals!


No problems: I have ordererd Jan Meiers new amp, the Headfive, already.

Regarding the Turtle Beach products: They see to be unavailable here in Germany.

So far I have narrowed down my dac candidates to the M-Audio Transit or the more or less equivalent Edirol UA-1EX (the newer version with ASIO support) or the nice Fubar II Dac with 220 V as power. But this would mean one more box to store away / hide behind the desk / find another outlet. If the Fubar (some 165 € via a french ebay shop) does not sound considerable better, I will stickwith the Edirol (only 90 €), as I hope for better drivers from them compared to M-Audio, where I read some complaints.
 
May 1, 2006 at 8:45 PM Post #11 of 11

raduray

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I would think the disadvantage of the Turtle Beach device is the "thumb-drive" type build which means that the analog output is near the PC and you need to run analog cables to the amplifier. In a desktop application, that might be some distance.

Seems like the Edirol, M-Audio, and Silverstone devices have advantage in that they can be placed near the amplifier and minimize the analog cable distance. The digital USB cable doesn't degrade the signal as a function of distance. I'm thinking of the Edirol myself for its compact size and RCA outputs, so that I can use short RCA-to-RCA patch cord to my soon to arrive LaRocco PPA.

Radu
 

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