Need help Buying DAC
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Crayonmuncher

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Sorry I know this has probably been covered 4 million times,
 
Main use will be for music from pc, current using a dgx which is not that great and that's driving HD518's but will eventually be looking to upgrade to something more higher end, prob HD650, but wanna start with dac first, then amp. I am after best quality for price, no fussed about it taking a while to buy component , Budget for DAC would be £100 and would need optical input, USB would be good but not essential, also needs to be extenal, not interested in soundcards.
 
First question:
 
Is it worth getting DAC/AMP combined or worth buying separate DAC and AMP (id buy the DAC now and amp later when headphones upgraded.) I feel if I spend around £100 on just solely an DAC  it would be better quality than a DAC/ AMP combo, is that right? if not happy to listen to suggestions.
 
And which DACs would be best, seen several I have considered the Audioengine D1 Premium 24 Bit, but if I am gonna stretch a bit extra would like to know weather the dac only theory would be better at 140
 
Also looked at dacmagic xs and dragonfly 1.2, but both are dac/amp but cant seem to find much on the DAC only in £100 range.
 
Edit: just found that Beresford TC-7510, know its a DAC/AMP, but is only 105.00 and has 5 stars on what hifi, anyone here know more
 
 
 
 
Thanks.
 
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Hapster

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Portability, if you plan on using the amp/dac with mobile devices/laptops, then get a dac/amp combo, something small like the dragonfly or Fiio E07k/E17.
 
E17 has optical.
 
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Crayonmuncher

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Thanks for the reply.
 
Forgot to mention, dont care about portable I have cx980's which work well enough with my portable device/s. This would just be for home audio.
 
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cel4145

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If you buy a separate DAC, you still have to buy a headphone amp. A DAC alone cannot supply the proper power requirements for headphones.
 
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Crayonmuncher

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Thanks.
 
I understand that an amp would be needed as well as the DAC, but what I am getting at is if I buy a dac for say £100 would the audio produced be better than an dac/amp for £100. As I said not fussed about buying the dac first and the amp a bit later on.
 
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notox101

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Okay so first of all, be ready to read long long threads on that topic, My point of view and advices are far far away from the knowledge of the whole head-fi community 

However, I can see you're aiming to get the best quality for a tight budget for HiFi, and trust me it's
POSSIBLE (yes we CANs !)
I'm might be in a similar position than you, my mind on my HiFi and my money on... well not enough money to be on something anyway 

 
Beside all the dac references you will find on that forum (or you could just start with the head-fi winter guide btw) there is an interesting alternative.
If you're in England (I guess, according to your post), you can start with the U-Sabre USB DAC 24Bit/96Khz SA9023/ES9023 sold in England and in France.
I'm not kidding, it's 50 € I know, but check out the reviews, you will be quite surprised. 
I actually own this one, a MF V-Dac, and a Schiit Bitfrost. The U-Sabre is not better than the Schiit Bitfrost of course (50 € vs 500 €), but I would definitely put it in the same arena of quality of sound restitution.
You should put more money for your first amp, I think it's a better idea. And with this one you got a really decent DAC and have more money for an amp. IMHO you're sound quality will be firstly impacted by the audio source then your combo headphones/amp, then the dac. But this last point is highly subjective.
And if you feel like and adventurer, don't hesitate to build your own DAC (DIY or DIE) ! They're actually quite easy to do buying some pre-made dac card. You will do something very good for quite nothing...
 
About the combo AMP/DAC, actually it depends of what you want. If you're looking for a sedentary solution, I would recommend you to go to two distinct devices : easier to upgrade, and for the same average amount you'll find better quality (however it exists some very good combos, but it's just my opinion, I like my things separate). Of course, you'll need to buy some optic or coax cable.
 
If you're looking for a compact / nomad solution then of the combos Amp/Dac like the FiiOs are what you need.
 
OK I cannot let you without few common names for sedentary dac around 100 of brand flying high today
Schiit vali, Musical Fidelity V90-HPA, Micromega MyZIK, CYP AU-D150, Cambridge DacMagic. 
 
Hope it will help you to build the ultimate sound chain !
 
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cel4145

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Thanks.

I understand that an amp would be needed as well as the DAC, but what I am getting at is if I buy a dac for say £100 would the audio produced be better than an dac/amp for £100. As I said not fussed about buying the dac first and the amp a bit later on.

Most likely. Depends. Here in the US, yes. But pricing and product availability is different for you. For its price, the EHP-O2D is probably the best dac/amp that you could buy. It's the same as the Objective 2 (O2) and ODAC regularly discussed on Head-Fi (they changed the model number). You can buy it as that combined unit, or as separate pieces.

Buying the DAC first makes no sense to me because you can't use it without the amp. You should buy the amp first.

Never heard of the Beresford TC-7510. You are kind of in the wrong forum area for external DAC recommendations. See the Dedicated Source Forum and look for the Beresford there. Might also be listed in the portable amp or full sized headphone amp forum. This is the computer audio forum. So tends to focus more on sound cards and configuring computers for audio.
 
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Crayonmuncher

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Thanks for your responses, Sorry if i am in the wrong forum its just it will connected via my pc via optical, so I figured this is the best place.
 
Gonna check those suggestions out in a bit.
 
The DAC first, then amp is fine  for me, the amp wont be too far behind and, as notox101, said i am aiming for the best quality on a budget so im not that fussed about immediate results, Im happy to wait a month till next pay day for the amp :).
 
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cel4145

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You don't have to apologize. Your post just might not get much attention here, and then those other forums are the best places to do research. Most people with this kind of request for help when they are new actually post to the Introductions forum.

But you can use the amp prior to having the DAC and it might help. But you can't use the DAC at all without a headphone amp. That's why it makes no sense to me whatsoever to buy the DAC first. :)
 
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Crayonmuncher

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I ended up going for the beresford 7510, got it for £74.10 on ebay, hopefully will get it ok from the seller. Seems to have very good user reviews, five stars on what hifi and a god review from techradar, so hopefully will live up to the reviews
 
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