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Budget DACs

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Beese's picture
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So I'm looking to set my Mac Mini up as my music server to play my lossless rips at optimal volume.

I'm feeling pretty set on the Yamaha A-S500 amp for this, but I think I'll need a DAC as well.

This is proving more difficult. I've had a few recommendations, but nothing has jumped out at me. I can't afford to spend much more than £150 on the DAC. I want something that will provide me with good sound quality. I will only be looking to connect my Mac to the DAC, so I don't need one that I can connect multiple devices into.

I've heard that the HRT Steamer II USB is good bet and also the HRT Microstreamer.

However I have also seen the following on Amazon/ Richer Sounds, but not seen any word on them here:

Lawton AUD CYP http://www.richersounds.com/product/tv-accessories/cyp/aud3-192/cyp-aud3-192

LINDY SPDIF http://www.amazon.co.uk/LINDY-Digital-Analogue-Stereo-Converter/dp/B002A...

Both of these are substantially less and they each have some very good reviews on Amazon, but I was wondering if they were really fit for the purpose.

Any suggestions?

 

dragon76's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

HRT dacs are good value, but I would suggest you also check Arcam rPac. It is a newer model and within your budget I believe. I have no idea about other DACs you noted, but judging by their price I don't believe they will suit you - it seems that these are mainly for 'low-fi' systems, like TVs and such. As many will suggest you should attempt to demo anything you'd like to buy before making commitment.

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Beese's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Yeah I figured that may be the case with the lower priced models.

I didn't really consider the Arcam rPac as I thought it was more designed for headphones... does it work well through an amplifier/ speaker set-up too?

dragon76's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

I don't see a reason why rPac shouldn't work in a speakers setup. It has 2xRCA line outs and it should work fine. If you have doubts you better check it with Arcam or with a reseller. Clearly my suggestion to you would be to demo both HRT and rPac, if you have such possibility, and decide for yourself which one works better, I presume the sound quality would be more or less equal and both devices are well regarded, so you probably won't go wrong with either of them.

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Dedicated Win7 Music PC -> Audiolab M-DAC -> Plinius 9200 -> ATC SCM 40; Furutech GT2 USB Cable, Oyaide Interconnects and mains cords; Kimber Kable 8tc speaker cables

Beese's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Thanks very much for the help! I'll try to give both a test!

Overdose's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Epiphany E-DAC Approx £90.

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gurjitsidhu's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Lol I've got the same dilemma with as500 amp and a DAC for airport express with AirPlay. I'm keen to learn ( started another thread) if we would be better spending the amp and DAC money on a more expensive amp that has a good DAC built in? Such as a £400 plus amp

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HIFI= Yamaha CDS300 CDP ----> Rega DAC-----> Yamaha AS500 Amp-----> B&W 684

Airport Express ------> Rega DAC-----etc..

AV=

Yamaha RX-673 ------> Q Acoustics 2050i

Exoticsounds's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Richer Sounds used to have TEAC UD-H01 for sale at £150 , if you can snatch on up at that price its a steal. It has gotten very good reviews at both What Hi-Fi and Hi-Fi Choice.

OneBoxSystem's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Nothing in Richer Sounds for that price. Superfi for £199.99.

ruskiru's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

You could also consider the Kingrex UD-01 Pro. 250 from itemaudio.com in the UK. It's highly praised in reviews and I've been very satisfied with mine.

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Fulci's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Beresford Bushmaster DAC... It is really in a league of it's own. Better than MDAC, some say... No usB, but you can connect the Mac Mini through the optical out, depending on it's age.

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jjbomber's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

gurjitsidhu wrote:

 I'm keen to learn ( started another thread) if we would be better spending the amp and DAC money on a more expensive amp that has a good DAC built in? Such as a £400 plus amp

 

Rotel RA-11. Asking £499, so you'll have to barter. It has 2 optical and 2 co-axial inputs. Job done.

 

OneBoxSystem's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Reconsider the rPac as it is excellent. Smile

dbbloke's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Yamaha make a good sounding amp compared to the competition, i'd be extremely surprised, especially if its got 5 whf stars Tongue

So get a hifimediy dac, they are great and only cost £27-£37.

 

And hunt down a used class a ja-88d / ja-88d value edition or a vincent/shengya a17cs from one of the great online guys in china.

If you must get a fridge brand then waste your cash on a rotel/cambridge.

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hifimediy usb dac (100hrs+ run in!), Jungson JA-88D, Jungson Impression MK2, Vincent LS-310, Usher S520, Pink Triangle, Denon, Marantz, Modded Behringer, TDL, Harman Kardon!, Yamaha.

SUPERLUX 668B, 681 MK1 with parametric EQ (Electri-Q) Laughing out loud

serendipitydawg's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

I haven't noticed any mention of the Fiio D3.

Only £30.

And if you really don't like it you can gift it to a less fussy friend, or keep it as a spare.

It's as cheap as chips, and (IMHO) sounds wonderful.

dbbloke's picture
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RE: Budget DACs

Probably nobody mentioned the Fiio D3 because apart from lack of USB (the guy is after building a computer based setup) even with the new chipset its not very audiophile sounding at all. It's cheap for a reason, unlike the hifimediy which is just cheap for no reason.

Would love to hear hifimediy back to back with the audioquest thing which costs a whole lot more to see which is best.

Not heard myself but the guys at rockgrotto seem to enthuse about the Aune T1 DAC and if you get one from them it comes with a spare £30 valve so you can roll it and see if its any better. Quite expensive so better be bloody good.

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hifimediy usb dac (100hrs+ run in!), Jungson JA-88D, Jungson Impression MK2, Vincent LS-310, Usher S520, Pink Triangle, Denon, Marantz, Modded Behringer, TDL, Harman Kardon!, Yamaha.

SUPERLUX 668B, 681 MK1 with parametric EQ (Electri-Q) Laughing out loud