Which under-$100 USB DAC, from these choices?
Jul 30, 2015 at 9:34 PM Post #16 of 29

MisterMudd

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I have :

Fiio EO7K,X3 2G
Hifimediy Tiny Sabre Dac
HIFIMEDIY UAE23+ Sabre Dac
Topping TP30

And they All sound different! HIFIMEDIY to me has best resolution,Soundstage and air. They have taken up permanent residence both at work and at home. Just my vote.
 
Jul 30, 2015 at 10:45 PM Post #17 of 29

goodyfresh

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I have :

Fiio EO7K,X3 2G
Hifimediy Tiny Sabre Dac
HIFIMEDIY UAE23+ Sabre Dac
Topping TP30

And they All sound different! HIFIMEDIY to me has best resolution,Soundstage and air. They have taken up permanent residence both at work and at home. Just my vote.

 
You sir, are EXACTLY the Head-Fi member I have been hoping would respond in this thread! ^_^  Thank you for input.  You've helped me make up my mind, unless I end up being told an overwhelming number of opinions contradicting yours from others in the near future, I will almost certainly go with the HiFiMeDIY UAE23+.  Just to be clear. . .the HiFiMeDIY one you have is the one which is both asynchronous and isolated, and has an analog volume control, correct?  And you say that it in fact has better resolution and soundstage than the X3 2nd Gen?  Because that's EXACTLY what I'm looking for, a DAC which will be MORE of an improvement upon my laptop's onboard sound than what I'm currently getting with the Fiio X3 2G.  Also, what headphones and/or speakers are you using to listen to these devices, and what kinds of files are you playing on your computer using them?  With the HiFiMeDIY, did you install the optional ASIO drivers, and if so, did taht make a difference at all?
 
  The differences you are describing here are in the amplifier portion of the devices.


And your point is?  The amplifier portions do make a difference in the sound-quality. . .it's not JUST determined by the chipset, ya know?  The noise-floor on the one is about 30db lower than the noise-floor on the other, that's most certainly a HUGE measurable difference between two under-$100 external DAC/Soundcards.  And while both have levels of THD which are certainly below being detectable by human hearing anyways, it's NOTABLE that they are measurably different by a whole entire factor of ten in terms of THD percentage!  Also, one has a more accurate swept-sine-wave response, etc. etc.
 
 
Anyway guys, so. . .why two votes so far for the Schiit Modi?  I've seen many people say that it honestly only provides A LITTLE improvement over most on-board sound, aside of course from eliminating noise/hissing it supposedly, according to many, doesn't really improve soundstage, resolution, or dynamics very much.
 
Jul 30, 2015 at 10:53 PM Post #18 of 29

Japheel

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You sir, are EXACTLY the Head-Fi member I have been hoping would respond in this thread! ^_^  Thank you for input.  You've helped me make up my mind, unless I end up being told an overwhelming number of opinions contradicting yours from others in the near future, I will almost certainly go with the HiFiMeDIY UAE23+.  Just to be clear. . .the HiFiMeDIY one you have is the one which is both asynchronous and isolated, and has an analog volume control, correct?  And you say that it in fact has better resolution and soundstage than the X3 2nd Gen?  Because that's EXACTLY what I'm looking for, a DAC which will be MORE of an improvement upon my laptop's onboard sound than what I'm currently getting with the Fiio X3 2G.  Also, what headphones and/or speakers are you using to listen to these devices, and what kinds of files are you playing on your computer using them?  With the HiFiMeDIY, did you install the optional ASIO drivers, and if so, did taht make a difference at all?
 

And your point is?  The amplifier portions do make a difference in the sound-quality. . .it's not JUST determined by the chipset, ya know?  The noise-floor on the one is about 30db lower than the noise-floor on the other, that's most certainly a HUGE measurable difference between two under-$100 external DAC/Soundcards.  And while both have levels of THD which are certainly below being detectable by human hearing anyways, it's NOTABLE that they are measurably different by a whole entire factor of ten in terms of THD percentage!  Also, one has a more accurate swept-sine-wave response, etc. etc.
 
 
Anyway guys, so. . .why two votes so far for the Schiit Modi?  I've seen many people say that it honestly only provides A LITTLE improvement over most on-board sound, aside of course from eliminating noise/hissing it supposedly, according to many, doesn't really improve soundstage, resolution, or dynamics very much.

If you're going to disregard one head fiers opinion over another's, then don't ask for recommendations. If you want opinions that fit your plans, you're much better off auditioning them yourself; if you can't, you still shouldn't tell someone they are wrong based on the impressions of others
 
Jul 30, 2015 at 11:21 PM Post #19 of 29

goodyfresh

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  If you're going to disregard one head fiers opinion over another's, then don't ask for recommendations. If you want opinions that fit your plans, you're much better off auditioning them yourself; if you can't, you still shouldn't tell someone they are wrong based on the impressions of others


I'm sorry!  You misunderstood me.  Sound is a subjective thing.  What I was really hoping was that I'd find someone who has had experience using several of hte DAC's I am considering, or similar products, who could compare and contrast their pros-and-cons for me.  If you think I'm dismissing folks who like the Schiit Modi, you are wrong. . .I'm actually still considering changing my mind and choosing to get the Modi instead of the one from HiFiMeDIY.  I'm just not sure, at this point!  Sure, plenty of people SAY that the Modi gives "hardly any noticable improvement" and such, but. . .it's what their ears and brains seem to pick-up on from that particular piece of equipment, with their particular headphones or speakers.  Obviously I'm not sure if they're right. . .the fact is, that in-general the Schiit Modi seems to be the one of the highest regarded under-100-dollar DAC out there right now.  So why do some people hate it so much, while other people love it so much?  Meanwhile, not nearly as many people buy and use HiFiMeDIY products, so I'm both eager to try them out, as well as reluctant to possibly waste my money on them.  Thus, what I'm hoping is that folks on here, such as yourself, will enlighten me as to not just their opinions on these different pieces of equipment, but on the reasons behind those opinions, ya dig? :)

I never meant to seem dismissive or anything, and I apologize if I did! I value everyone's opinion.  The main reason I was giving SPECIAL consideration to MisterMudd's opinion up there is quite simple, really: He has used both the Fiio X3 2nd Gen as a DAC, which is what I myself currently use, as well as the same HiFiMeDIY that I am considering getting.  He seems to think that the HiFiMeDIY UAE23+ has noticably better soundstage and detail-resolution.  The former is something more subjective, but if he means what I think he does (more open and "live music" sounding), then that means that the UAE23+ would give a noticable improvement that I, personally, would enjoy over and above what I'm currently using.  And detail-resolution is something mostly objective, not subjective. . .if he hears more details in the music with significantly more clarity using the UAE23+ as opposed to the X3 2nd Gen, well, that, again, means it would be an improvement upon what I already have.

So at this point what I'm REALLY hoping is to find someone, somewhere, who has used both the Schiit Modi, as well as any of HiFiMeDIY's DAC's using the ES9023 chip.  I already know now that HiFiMeDIY>Fiio for my purposes, so now what I need to find out is whether the Modi is < or > the HiFiMeDIY, and if I can also find someone with opinions on the SMSL and the newer models of external sound-cards from ASUS and Creative as compared to HiFiMeDIY, that'd be a huge plus :)

Oh and of course, man, if I could audition theses products myself, I would!  But where I am, all these products are only available to order online, so I don't have the money or resources with which to compare and contrast them myself, with my own ears, all in one big listening-session :frowning2:
 
Jul 30, 2015 at 11:30 PM Post #20 of 29

Sam21

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differences between DACs are subtle, once you move from onboard to an introductory DAC, you notice a huge improvement, but upgrading to more expensive DACs after that wouldn't dramatically improve the sound. 
 
Jul 30, 2015 at 11:40 PM Post #21 of 29

goodyfresh

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  differences between DACs are subtle, once you move from onboard to an introductory DAC, you notice a huge improvement, but upgrading to more expensive DACs after that wouldn't dramatically improve the sound. 

Oh well yeah I've noticed a HUGE improvement over my laptop's onboard sound when using my Fiio X3 2G as a DAC.  Granted, while my laptop is a HP Envy with Realtek's best available audio chipset inside (and the HP Envy, as a more premium-level Entertainment Laptop, is designed so that the components are actually well-isolated, so one problem it DOESN'T have, at least, is noticable background-noise or hiss. . .with nothing playing on it, I can crank the volume ALL THE WAY up and still not hear any hiss), HP just had to go ruin something potentially good by signing a deal with Beats Audio, so that all the processing and filtering for the sound, software-wise, is being done through Beats Audio's software equalizing hocus-pocus. . .seriously, UGH.  There's a "Beats Audio" LOGO branded on my laptop next to the build-in speaker on the upper right, and it's starting to annoy me so much I'm considering covering it with a sticker or something :p

But hey, the onboard speakers, I'm not sure what exactly they are but while still only mediocre, they're much better than what you typially get in a laptop. . .they've even got a subwoofer, so the bass-response is decent!  When using ASIO4ALL or WASAPI output, the onboard speakers actually sound quite good.  Still not NEARLY as good as headphones or external speakers using my Fiio X3 as a DAC, though :wink:

But obviously that was all a huge digression from the main topic here.  In case you guys can't tell, I REALLY HATE the Beats Audio built-in to my laptop, with a PASSIONATE hatred >_<
 
Jul 31, 2015 at 6:39 PM Post #22 of 29

MisterMudd

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All my files are FLAC ripped from vinyl, captured at 16/44100 or 24/96000.  
 
Headphones @ Home: Philips Fidelio X2, Audio-Technica ATH-M50, Sony MDR-V6, Havi B3 Pro 1, Philips SHE3590
 
Headphones @ Work: Koss KSC75 w/Parts Express headband & Havi's occassionally
 
Did not install additional drivers. 
 
Source and playback gear will only get you so far, and the particular headphones you choose may be a bigger factor in your listening pleasure. 
 
Best advice I can give you is that we all hear differently. My setups work for me, but others who listen do not always express the same sentiments/enthusiasm as I have. Since brick & mortar stores are rare, find good return policies (which are worth their weight in gold) elsewhere (e.g. Amazon, B&H Photo, etc.) and AUDITION, AUDITION, AUDITION!!  
 
Jul 31, 2015 at 7:03 PM Post #23 of 29

goodyfresh

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  All my files are FLAC ripped from vinyl, captured at 16/44100 or 24/96000.  
 
Headphones @ Home: Philips Fidelio X2, Audio-Technica ATH-M50, Sony MDR-V6, Havi B3 Pro 1, Philips SHE3590
 
Headphones @ Work: Koss KSC75 w/Parts Express headband & Havi's occassionally
 
Did not install additional drivers. 
 
Source and playback gear will only get you so far, and the particular headphones you choose may be a bigger factor in your listening pleasure. 
 
Best advice I can give you is that we all hear differently. My setups work for me, but others who listen do not always express the same sentiments/enthusiasm as I have. Since brick & mortar stores are rare, find good return policies (which are worth their weight in gold) elsewhere (e.g. Amazon, B&H Photo, etc.) and AUDITION, AUDITION, AUDITION!!  

Personally I like Amazon because they are AWESOMELY accomadating with their return-policies and customer-service.  One great example:  I recently got some used desktop/computer speakers from them, and when they arrived, they were missing one key part:  the 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable to run from the computer to the central speaker/subwoofer!  Luckily I have a detachable cable from my V-Moda M-80's so I was able to use that for the time being.  But, I emailed Amazon Customer Service about the problem, and within TWO HOURS (keep in mind I emailed them at 7pm) they had refunded 10 dollars to my account so that I could buy a new cable of my choice for that price or less!  Now THAT, my friend, is top-notch customer-service, wouldn't you say so? :-D
 
Aug 1, 2015 at 2:49 AM Post #24 of 29

Shaffer

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I'm sorry!  You misunderstood me.  Sound is a subjective thing.  What I was really hoping was that I'd find someone who has had experience using several of hte DAC's I am considering, or similar products, who could compare and contrast their pros-and-cons for me.  If you think I'm dismissing folks who like the Schiit Modi, you are wrong. . .I'm actually still considering changing my mind and choosing to get the Modi instead of the one from HiFiMeDIY.  I'm just not sure, at this point!  Sure, plenty of people SAY that the Modi gives "hardly any noticable improvement" and such, but. . .it's what their ears and brains seem to pick-up on from that particular piece of equipment, with their particular headphones or speakers.  Obviously I'm not sure if they're right. . .the fact is, that in-general the Schiit Modi seems to be the one of the highest regarded under-100-dollar DAC out there right now.  So why do some people hate it so much, while other people love it so much?  Meanwhile, not nearly as many people buy and use HiFiMeDIY products, so I'm both eager to try them out, as well as reluctant to possibly waste my money on them.  Thus, what I'm hoping is that folks on here, such as yourself, will enlighten me as to not just their opinions on these different pieces of equipment, but on the reasons behind those opinions, ya dig? :)


Simply put, a different frame of reference. Let me give you an example. I'm 51, started playing with audio as kid when I built my first system (literally), and continued on the same track for ~40 years during which I spent ~15 years (on and off) working in the audio industry. I've assembled more high-performance systems than I could possibly recall and have personally auditioned as much quality gear as would fit in my music room, not to mention owning high-performance systems since 1986. Are you still surprised that my frame of reference is not identical to an individual who just bought his first DAC? :wink:
 
Aug 1, 2015 at 9:40 AM Post #25 of 29

goodyfresh

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Simply put, a different frame of reference. Let me give you an example. I'm 51, started playing with audio as kid when I built my first system (literally), and continued on the same track for ~40 years during which I spent ~15 years (on and off) working in the audio industry. I've assembled more high-performance systems than I could possibly recall and have personally auditioned as much quality gear as would fit in my music room, not to mention owning high-performance systems since 1986. Are you still surprised that my frame of reference is not identical to an individual who just bought his first DAC?
wink.gif


That makes ALL THE SENSE :p
 
Aug 1, 2015 at 5:49 PM Post #27 of 29

goodyfresh

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