Sub $200 DAC questions
Oct 6, 2015 at 11:00 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7


100+ Head-Fier
Jul 11, 2015
Hey all, I'm poking around the DAC world and looking for some input. Right now I'm using a Turtle Beach DSS2 -> Torpedo I Parafeed amp for both my computer and CD player. I actually have two questions regarding this, mainly because I know nothing about DACs (my focus has been entirely on amps and cans until now).
1) Will I see an improvement over the DSS2 in this price range? I hear mixed thoughts about just how much benefit DACs of varying quality give, and if the DSS2 (without any "improvements" turned on, it's pure stereo output) is acceptable, thumbs up!
2) I have it in my head that I should leave my Torpedo turned off as much as possible, so I'm not "wasting" hours when all I'm doing is burning hours on Youtube (not exactly known for audio quality). Is that a legitimate concern, or am I being paranoid? This is why I'm looking at offerings like the TubeMagic D1 and SMSL 793II.
The biggest restriction in my choices is the need for an optical in, my CD player only has optical out that doesn't go through it's built-in DAC. I know that kinda kneecaps my options, but it is what it is. The ones that I've been poking around:
- SMSL 793II / SMSL M6 - I've heard mixed reviews of the SMSL offerings, which is a shame because they seem nice.
- Schiit Modi 2 Uber - Why wouldn't I consider this guy, people love these things. That said, if question #2 is something I should worry about, it doesn't have the headphone side.
- TubeMagic D1 - Really pushing the edge of my budget, but it seems like it has some pretty nice features and would have a nice pre-amp when (if... stupid apartment living...) I can expand to a set of speakers and a power amp.
- HiFimeDIY Sabre SPDIF DAC - Again, heard nice things about the Sabre and clicks the right boxes for what I'm looking for.
I know there are a ton of "Sub $200 DAC" threads out there, but the majority are looking for a USB one or something portable. I'm looking for a desktop with optical input, and amp as an option, not the only output. I appreciate any assistance I can get.
Oct 6, 2015 at 2:30 PM Post #3 of 7
  I wouldn't bother getting a DAC with that headphone, I'd get a new headphone first.

The Q701 doesn't scale well with DACs?
Oct 7, 2015 at 5:39 AM Post #5 of 7
Oh it would.  I didn't see anything about a Q701 in your post though, only a Turtle Beach headset.

My mistake, I meant to say I'm using a Turtle Beach DAC. The headphones I'm using are AKG K550s and AKG Q701s.
Nov 21, 2015 at 4:26 AM Post #7 of 7
+1 for Modi 2 Uber.  I have one and really like it.  SMSL M6 is also a solid choice and was on my list before I got my Modi.

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