Author Topic: Desktop DAC Question  (Read 3103 times)

Offline t1m3ch453r

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Desktop DAC Question
« on: August 14, 2020, 10:05 »
Gentlemen,

I hope this finds you well. Haven't posted here in a while but have been lurking and watching!

Been working from home (like a lot of others) with no end in sight. To improve my "working environment" I bought Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 speakers - and they run beautifully.

With such good speakers, I thought that feeding them off just my PC would be horrendous, so I put my Oppo HA2 into use. The Oppo is connected to my PC via USB (which nicely powers it up as well) and outputs line out to the Ruarks.

While I am loathe to spend a lot of money, I am still curious if I can improve this setup by changing the DAC. I don't need an amp in the chain, and the connections would be similar to what I have right now i.e. USB into the DAC and then line out to the speakers.

Any suggestions on making this better? Also, desktop space is limited, so the DAC has to be small - that's one thing the HA2 is doing pretty well.

Have tried to dig but haven't found anything compelling to date.

Any directions would be much appreciated!

Cheers
TC

Offline wizardofoz

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2020, 10:21 »
Unless you really want something different the HA2 is no slouch and you might be hard pressed to find something under at least a few hundred $ to compete.

I also have HA2 and HA1 and a number of other DAC's

Features
• Digital-to-Analog conversion by ESS Sabre32 Reference ES9018-K2M DAC chip
• Supports PCM audio up to 384 kHz / 32-bit, DSD audio up to 12 MHz (DSD256 or DSD4x)
I have a pile of stuff that pushes out squiggly waveforms from smaller squiggly waveforms that sometimes come from 1's and 0's.
It's wonderful to behold as long as you don't let the magic smoke out.

Life is short! Enjoy the music while it plays, when it stops, there might be a chair for you...or  maybe not.

Offline t1m3ch453r

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2020, 10:47 »
Thanks a lot for the response. That was my conclusion as well after trawling the interwebz for a few days, but thought would ask the knowledgeable folks here in case someone had other suggestions!

Cheers
TC

Offline Gondon72

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2020, 11:21 »
Unless you really want something different the HA2 is no slouch and you might be hard pressed to find something under at least a few hundred $ to compete.

I also have HA2 and HA1 and a number of other DAC's

Features
• Digital-to-Analog conversion by ESS Sabre32 Reference ES9018-K2M DAC chip
• Supports PCM audio up to 384 kHz / 32-bit, DSD audio up to 12 MHz (DSD256 or DSD4x)


Hi wizardofoz ,

of all your DAC's, is there something that comes with amplifier out to speakers? 

My PC just broke down and since i cannot use the legacy onkyo soundcard anymore, i have to search for something to connect from the new motherboard optical out. 

Thanks

Offline wizardofoz

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2020, 12:16 »
you might have to consider external amp and DAC as combo is normally the domain of integrated amps with digital inputs and these are often expensive - as I don't use I can't give any guidance
I have a pile of stuff that pushes out squiggly waveforms from smaller squiggly waveforms that sometimes come from 1's and 0's.
It's wonderful to behold as long as you don't let the magic smoke out.

Life is short! Enjoy the music while it plays, when it stops, there might be a chair for you...or  maybe not.

Offline Quest

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2020, 12:24 »
hmmm.. there used to be something like nuforce icon.. no updated product in this category?

Offline Boxerfan88

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2020, 12:26 »
There are quite a few of those China designed/made DAC+class D amp integrated.

SQ wise


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Offline malsound

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2020, 13:00 »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/E6WC2LjfEX0&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/E6WC2LjfEX0&fs=1</a>
why is it so dam  hard to obsoleted this turning pieces of equipment ?

https://youtu.be/y3RIHnK0_NE

https://youtu.be/FELbmXdS4xM

Offline headfiman

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2020, 14:14 »
You did not indicate your budget, but if you are willing go up to $500+ or so I would strongly recommend the Audio-GD R2R 11:

http://www.audio-gd.com/R2R/R2R11/R2R11EN.htm

I use it as a pure DAC in my system, but you can use it as a preamp, DAC and headamp in your setup. Very pleased with the sound. Lots of positive reviews on the net.


Thanks a lot for the response. That was my conclusion as well after trawling the interwebz for a few days, but thought would ask the knowledgeable folks here in case someone had other suggestions!

Cheers
TC

Offline headfiman

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2020, 14:24 »
If you require a small footprint (as is usually the case for a desktop setup), have a look at amps like the PS Audio Sprout or the NAD D 3020 etc.

Also, consider using the USB out from your PC instead of the optical out - it will likely give you a better sound.

Hi wizardofoz ,

of all your DAC's, is there something that comes with amplifier out to speakers? 

My PC just broke down and since i cannot use the legacy onkyo soundcard anymore, i have to search for something to connect from the new motherboard optical out. 

Thanks

Offline Gondon72

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2020, 14:29 »
you might have to consider external amp and DAC as combo is normally the domain of integrated amps with digital inputs and these are often expensive - as I don't use I can't give any guidance

Thanks for the advice

Offline Gondon72

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2020, 14:31 »
If you require a small footprint (as is usually the case for a desktop setup), have a look at amps like the PS Audio Sprout or the NAD D 3020 etc.

Also, consider using the USB out from your PC instead of the optical out - it will likely give you a better sound.


Yes, i am looking at a small print amp.  As not sure in 2020 is it better to go the soundcard path or external DAC path.  But my budget might just be <$500


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/E6WC2LjfEX0&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/E6WC2LjfEX0&fs=1</a>

Wah bro, this one is a good one. too bad price is at a higher side

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/smsl-m400-balanced-usb-mqa-dac-review.13732/
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 14:36 by Gondon72 »

Offline TheMachinist

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2020, 14:59 »
Saw this few days ago
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/2n22Bjq7AyI&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/2n22Bjq7AyI&fs=1</a>

using it too. small but very clean sound, and satisfied me past year. Next change, changing to Audio-gd NFB-1 ES9018 dac.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 15:02 by TheMachinist »

Offline Doggie Howser

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2020, 15:04 »
Not sure how cheap the Chinese ones are but the Project sounds really good. 9038 DAC and isn’t crazy expensive. Also MQA compatible.

End of Line - Derezzed

Offline headfiman

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Re: Desktop DAC Question
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2020, 15:23 »
The convention these days to get a better stereo speaker sound from a desktop/laptop usually runs like this:

1. Desktop/Laptop USB Out -> External DAC -> Powered/Active Speakers
2. Desktop/Laptop USB Out -> External DAC & Amp Combo -> Passive Speakers
3. Desktop/Laptop USB Out -> External DAC -> Integrated Amp -> Passive Speakers

If your budget is <$500 and if you like your current speakers, then I would suggestion Options #2 or 3. A number of MIC offerings are available that can fit the budget and function, check out brands like Topping and SMSL etc. You can search on Carousell or Littlemart etc.

Actually the Class D amps from brands like Topping and SMSL are actually pretty decent for the money, from my experience.

Yes, i am looking at a small print amp.  As not sure in 2020 is it better to go the soundcard path or external DAC path.  But my budget might just be <$500


Wah bro, this one is a good one. too bad price is at a higher side

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/smsl-m400-balanced-usb-mqa-dac-review.13732/

 

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