Looking for a DAC at a budget of $350-ish.
Mar 26, 2013 at 4:49 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

MrLazyAnt

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Hi, I'm sorry if this is a thrashed and beaten subject, but after a long time of searching through the forums I couldn't find the information I needed, so I'm hoping this yields better results.
 
I am looking for a USB connectable DAC. My budget is, at a stretch, $350US. My intention is to plug this into a Marantz PM230 amplifier (a mid-80's amplifier) which is in turn connected to some 13-inch speakers built out of components from the 70's (brand not known), but still sound better than a lot of the modern sound systems I've heard.
 
I intend to keep this rig as a sound reference system for future use, but will eventually upgrade to modern active speakers (I've been drooling over a pair of Swan MKIII's), so I need something as universally applicable as possible.
 
Thank you very much for your time
 
Lazy Ant
 
EDIT: My current rig isn't better than a lot of stereos, but for what I paid (270USD), it blows anything I've seen at the same price out of the water, modern or otherwise.
 
Mar 29, 2013 at 8:42 AM Post #3 of 10

MrLazyAnt

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Thanks fellas, I think I'll be getting the ODAC. The audio-dg is 350 not including shipping prices, and being in Israel, that can get quite expensive.
 
Mar 30, 2013 at 9:45 PM Post #4 of 10

tomb

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Quote:
http://www.jdslabs.com/item.php?fetchitem=46
 
It is a high performance 24 bit DAC whose measurements proving such cannot be linked because this site hates science. :)

Maybe this site hates boastful claims that are not subject to the peer review of an open forum.  The scientific world is full of wonderful demonstrations that measure well but fall short of a mass-marketable product.  Specifically, it seems that some DACs may have power issues and a sub-optimal power design.  Interestingly, there is no large power capacitor in the primary USB power bus in the ODAC.  It would've been a simple correction if subject to an open design collaboration as happens regularly in the DIY section of Head-Fi.  Users submit preliminary schematics and layouts online and other users make comments about it.  If the suggestions are good ones, then the designer incorporates those features.  Further, there are often "prototyping" stages where Head-Fi users are given the opportunity to build the prospective design themselves.  Additional comments/reviews result that are incorporated into the design.  All of this "open" process has a leveling effect that ensures usability and that proven design techniques are not omitted.  A much better product often results and frankly, I am thankful that Head-Fi provides this opportunity.
 
On the other hand, designing in a protected environment for output performance measurements only is just one aspect of designing a succesful product. If no input is taken - either the designer is assuming himself/herself an expert or the design is subject to risk. There are many companies that have the resources or expertise to make the risk very small.  So, all of the above may not be an issue.  Unfortunately, it often takes the customers to make this determination. Bottom line, if a design's usability is less than universal, then it could be that the measurements become a superficial factor and the risk inherent in a closed design process was greater than expected.
smily_headphones1.gif

 
Mar 30, 2013 at 10:10 PM Post #5 of 10

KamijoIsMyHero

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Quote:
Maybe this site hates boastful claims that are not subject to the peer review of an open forum.  The scientific world is full of wonderful demonstrations that measure well but fall short of a mass-marketable product.  Specifically, it seems that some DACs may have power issues and a sub-optimal power design.  Interestingly, there is no large power capacitor in the primary USB power bus in the ODAC.  It would've been a simple correction if subject to an open design collaboration as happens regularly in the DIY section of Head-Fi.  Users submit preliminary schematics and layouts online and other users make comments about it.  If the suggestions are good ones, then the designer incorporates those features.  Further, there are often "prototyping" stages where Head-Fi users are given the opportunity to build the prospective design themselves.  Additional comments/reviews result that are incorporated into the design.  All of this "open" process has a leveling effect that ensures usability and that proven design techniques are not omitted.  A much better product often results and frankly, I am thankful that Head-Fi provides this opportunity.
 
On the other hand, designing in a protected environment for output performance measurements only is just one aspect of designing a succesful product. If no input is taken - either the designer is assuming himself/herself an expert or the design is subject to risk. There are many companies that have the resources or expertise to make the risk very small.  So, all of the above may not be an issue.  Unfortunately, it often takes the customers to make this determination. Bottom line, if a design's usability is less than universal, then it could be that the measurements become a superficial factor and the risk inherent in a closed design process was greater than expected.
smily_headphones1.gif

 
The designer was banned here though, I think it was because his objective views were just too strong for regular subjectivist to stomach but I do agree on user feedback. I like Fiio stuff for this
 
Mar 31, 2013 at 8:20 PM Post #7 of 10
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I intend to keep this rig as a sound reference system for future use, but will eventually upgrade to modern active speakers (I've been drooling over a pair of Swan MKIII's), so I need something as universally applicable as possible.

 
Whatever you get, you want something that can both act as a DAC and pre-amp I imagine, if you want to also use it to control the volume of the Swans, so the Audio-gd NFB-11.32 is the only thing I can think of offhand that is in your budget.
 
Mar 31, 2013 at 8:57 PM Post #8 of 10

hodgjy

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+1.  
 
Quote:
 
Whatever you get, you want something that can both act as a DAC and pre-amp I imagine, if you want to also use it to control the volume of the Swans, so the Audio-gd NFB-11.32 is the only thing I can think of offhand that is in your budget.

 
Apr 1, 2013 at 12:30 AM Post #9 of 10

steve2151

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Quote:
I don't think audio-dg DAC is good. The sound output is Ok. however, the driver is highly unstable and refuse to work.

 
I've heard that they fixed the USB stuttering with the new 32 bit 192 kHz USB implementation. I've seen reviews of some high end Audio GD dacs where some think it's equal to an Audiophileo transport now.
 
Apr 1, 2013 at 3:06 AM Post #10 of 10

ccdd

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I think it's terrible to have a new product of 6 month after purchase, then it is out of support on that. though i did not try their latest product. but I don't have confidence on that.

I've heard that they fixed the USB stuttering with the new 32 bit 192 kHz USB implementation. I've seen reviews of some high end Audio GD dacs where some think it's equal to an 
Audiophileo transport now.
 

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