It is currently Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:49 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: DAC
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:13 pm 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 9:09 am
Posts: 2269
Location: Northern California.
Can anyone recommend a decent DAC for my PC to feed my whole house?
I certainly dont need anything audiophile grade, but want to avoid the junk... (goldilocks zone)

I currently use the 3.5 analog jack on mobo, and split it to my small pc speakers and also a preamp/mixer that then distributes the sound to my bedroom, lvingroom and outdoors, -via their own amps.

But looking at DAC reviews has me lost in the audiophile technobabble alphabet soup... and now I dont even know if i should be looking at USB or optical....?

Thanks.

_________________
Help SPCR keep the lights on, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DAC
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 661
Location: de_DE
Audioquest Dragonfly is nice and portable.
02 DAC is another favorite for a starter kit.
I use the Creative E5, I bought it for Bluetooth, it also has an optical in. Now that I have it I only use it wired via USB, though the EQ is nice for my headphones.

Are you happy with the onboard sound? If so, you might not really need a DAC. Some audiophiles might disagree with me here.
My onboard sound produces crackling sounds when I access a hard drive, that's why I bought a sound card and later the E5.

_________________
Lian Li V600, Asus P77Z-M Pro, i5-3570K 4.4GHz with Scythe Orochi, 140mm Slipstream 500RPM and Mugen2 115X Bolt through kit, Evga GTX 970 Superclocked, BeQuiet E9 580W CM


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DAC
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:25 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 6:53 am
Posts: 1813
Location: Sweden
I have a Musical Fidelity V-DAC and I'm happy with it. It's the only discreet DAC I have used so I'm not really sure how it stands up to the competition. But I do know that the improvement in sound quality was incredible. So while I'm not really an audiophile, I do think that getting a DAC is a good idea, even if the onboard sound is "good enough".

_________________
Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
HTPC: ASRock H81M-ITX | Pentium G3420 | 4GB DDR3 | Intel 535 120GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 11.2W
Gaming: Intel DH77EB | i5-3570K | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB DDR3 | TJ08-E | RM750X
Server: ASRock N3150-ITX | ~30TB | G-360 | Idle ~25W


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DAC
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:17 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Posts: 614
Location: London, UK
I'm using a Beresford DAC (http://www.homehifi.co.uk/PP/cartlist.html). Apparently, they are all the rave. You could possibly find a used one for cheap.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DAC
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:32 pm
Posts: 38
Here is my take with my personal biases noted.
There are a bunch of inexpensive DACs made in HK or the PRC that may or may not be good. Personally I would not buy them because almost none of these companies have a real North American presence with a service center. If you have a problem it is ship it back to Asia and keep your fingers crossed. I prefer to buy from companies that I strongly believe will still be around in a few years, that offer factory or fully factory authorized service in North America and where the provenance of the intellectual property is not in any doubt.
Schiit makes some good DACs http://schiit.com/ and Mike Moffatt has a long and very credible resume in digital audio circuit design. From what I understand the Bifrost Multibit is a significant step up from the less expensive options but it may be more money than you wish to spend.
Others worth a look IMO:
http://www.gracedesign.com/products/m9XX/m9XX.htm This is designed by Grace Design in Lyons, CO but sold only through Massdrop so you have to sign up (free) wait for a "drop." The wait might be as short as few weeks or it could be months.
Alternately, something from iFi perhaps this http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/micro-idac2/ Thorsten Loesch is another well credentialed designer. iFi is the mobile/"budget" range from Abbington Music Research (AMR).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DAC
PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:51 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:32 pm
Posts: 38
I seem to have failed to address the question of which data transmission standard to recommend. The short answer is that you can build a theoretical case for almost any of the standards but implementation tends to trump theory in audio design especially given real world cost constraints.
Asynchronous (as opposed to adaptive) USB has become the dominant standard for consumer devices and I have heard a number of very, very good DACs using asynchronous USB.
Toslink S/PDIF offers better electrical noise isolation usually at the cost of higher jitter. If you go down this road I strongly suggest investing in a glass fiber rather than cheap plastic Toslink cable.
RCA S/PDIF I regard as the worst choice. Few of the RCA connectors even manage to meet the 75 ohm standard and RCA, despite broad market adoption, is a very poorly designed connector.
AES3 with either the BNC connector (unblalanced) or XLR (balanced) should be fine, certainly much better than S/PDIF RCA but both are rare in consumer products at least until you get into the $2k+ range. They are more widely used in professional DACs, in part because they are better suited to the long cable runs common in studios.
For more detail about the choices see here: http://thewelltemperedcomputer.com/Intro/SQ/SoundCard.htm


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DAC
PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:30 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 9:09 am
Posts: 2269
Location: Northern California.
Thanks for all the suggestions...going to have to spend a little time reading up on them.

and yes, i want a DAC mainly to eliminate pc noise, and not so much for the high fidelity and super bitrates. when i upgraded to a higher wattage GPU and PSU to run it, the noises that used to be barely noticeable, got worse.

_________________
Help SPCR keep the lights on, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DAC
PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:50 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2003 12:27 am
Posts: 98
Location: Scotland, UK
I use a Sony MDS-S38 Minidisc deck http://www.minidisc.org/part_Sony_MDS-JE510+S38.html
It has an optical in, headphone amp with seperate volume and normal two channel phono out.

It sits under my monitor so essentially takes up very little space.

I really like the sound, but I grew up with the Sony sound, so your milleage may vary.

There are higher end units available, but for £40 for a nice headphone amp/DAC with some nostalga built in it is nice.

DAC mode is a single press of the record button with not MD inside.

It has a VFD, it does show an equalizer, but a VFD is much less harsh than an LED.

That said I am not an minimalist in taste like many here, so I can expect it would not be to all tastes.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group