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cafeintegral's picture
Last seen: 3 years 9 months ago
Joined: 17/04/2014 - 14:28
Posts: 1
DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

Long time reader, first time poster here, needing a bitch of advice. 


I am looking for a DAC recommendation, I've done tons of reading and research and can likely afford to audition two of these with the manufacturer's generous policies. A good DAC is important to me, and allowing some room for it to grow with the system is nice, though I dont see my system taking a quantum leap any time in the 5 year plan. I undersatnd the hype/snake oil and "science" angles and really I'm looking for a sound investment that is generously featured and will keep me happy and content.

Must Haves:

-Optical IN - 

Bonus: Gain/Volume Control


Brief system breakdown:

Airplay to Airport Express or AppleTV optical out into DAC - 

 - From here I would run it into one of two amps: A Sansui AU5900 that is sounding great, or an AU317 - which was just recapped and reconditioned, also sounds great with some room for improvement once it's done burning in. This feeds to a pair of Cambridge SX-50's - nothing too crazy. 


Generally, I like the sound the Amps give me with my table, and I often use the Loudness curve since quiet ambient listening is what I use during the work day. When turned up I either prefer a flat curve, or a touch of EQ sometimes adding/removing bass or adding/removing treble. 


On to the suspects:

In the sub-$200 region:

Audioengine D1

In the sub-$300 ranks:

Emotiva XDA-2

DACMagic 100

In the sub $400 rank:

Cambridge DACMagic Plus - Available for about $420

Schiit Bifrost - $349 with Uber costing $419, but still in the same ballpark

NAD D 1050 - Can swing one for about $405


I understand that this last category is a bit more volatile, since the pricing is more attractive that their retail and makes them. They also may stand to be a considerable jump.  Then again, the Emotiva retailed at $400 when it launched. 


Anwyays, your advice will be greatly appreciated, as it's been tough really nailing this down.  I am thinking of test driving a couple of them, and retunring the other. Would rather NOT spend the $400, but if its worth it for a long time, then I might as well.  But if say the D1 is enough, then let's be honest. 


Thanks in advance, 




gasolin's picture
Last seen: 4 hours 59 min ago
Joined: 17/03/2013 - 10:40
Posts: 1968
RE: DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

Volume knob on Nad D1050 is only for headphone, mabye Nad  D3020 (amp and dac)



Nad 3020I,Marantz CD5005, RP1 Queen LE, Focusrite Lightning iTrack solo,White pair of Genelec 6010a, inakustik, real cable, monster usb.

Overdose's picture
Last seen: 3 years 2 days ago
Joined: 08/02/2008 - 18:23
Posts: 3672
RE: DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

In all honesty, unless you are using an earlier AEX you won't notice much, if any difference from just the AEX analogue output.


alchemy1969's picture
Last seen: 10 months 5 days ago
Joined: 03/07/2014 - 14:22
Posts: 4
RE: DAC Recommendation and Shootout - A touch of advice please

My recomendation in 200 region is  CA Dac Magic 100 , after 1,5 year of every day listening and 3 other DAC compare that is best DAC for that money....

Roksan Kandy K2, Naim Dac V1, Kef LS50, HiDiamond Speaker cables, Grado 325e, FIIO x3 II gen, DELL with JRiver media centar 22

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