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Recommendations for high-end DAC with no volume control

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by elmoe, Feb 25, 2019.
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  1. elmoe
    Hi all,

    My Benchmark DAC-1 being several years old, it is time for a change.

    I am looking for recommendations on studio-like, neutral DACs in the 1000-2000 USD range, with no volume control. The simpler the DAC the better, I'd like some options for gear with minimal functionality, maximized component quality.

    I have not been in the game for years and I am way behind on the latest and greatest. Any opinions/recommendations are much appreciated!

    This DAC will be hooked up to a desktop PC, and output to my Singlepower MPX3. For use with my Solus bookshelves (to be replaced with Dynaudio towers at some point) and Grado SR325i/Sony MDR-SA5000s.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  2. Burkebang
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  3. Baten
    I would say Holo Spring 2, level 1 or level 2. It's laughably superior to the R2R mentioned above...
    For top-tier D-S DAC I would go Auralic Vega, any variant within your price range as vega is freaking great too, real top notch engineering on both.

    Both work very well for speaker set-ups (the intended use case).
  4. F208Frank
    I would actually imagine the DAC1 still being relevant even to today's standard no?

    Benchmark is awesome. I have the DAC3 B.
  5. Baten
    The DAC3 is significantly improved from the DAC1 (which was not bad by any means especially at standards from that time).
  6. F208Frank
    Interesting. Did not know that. Thought in audible terms it would be very very similiar.
  7. Baten
    Of course, much better on paper might not translate to very noticeable audible changes. Many people here overstate our hearing capabilities or think themselves supermen/women :) !
  8. Toni Vallejo
    What about the chord qutest? Give it a listen, I was stunned myself when I did...
    Ragnar-BY likes this.
  9. escalibur
    CactoesGel and Soundwave76 like this.
  10. Soundwave76
    ^ I also vote for Khadas. It has superb specs and measurements. I have had this now for a few weeks together with the JDS Atom hp amp and this is a superb combo.
    escalibur likes this.
  11. Baten
    I do think this is one of the best budget options out there, but since his budget is 1000-2000 USD I figured he wants some high-end device through and through.

    Khadas nor JDS Labs have that really 'premium' feel
  12. Ragnar-BY
    In this price range Chord Qutest could be the best option. No unnecessary functions and great sound. I love mine.
    Scrum92 likes this.
  13. pichu
    With this said, if it doesnt perform better in the real world test, why would you need to upgrade to a new DAC? DAC1 is an awesome and well built DAC. Couldnt that $1-2k be better spent on headphones and or source? Or maybe a retirement fund? Just giving alternative ideas based on what ive read so far.
  14. newtophones07
    You can fix the volume (in settings) on the SMSL VMV D1. That's the way that Inrun my device.
  15. Soundwave76
    This is true, neither of these have a 'premium feel', but they sound and measure premium - MUCH better than many of the so called 'premium brands'. Which is more important is of course a subjective opinion.
    escalibur likes this.
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