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Old 25th June 2011, 12:19 PM   #1
DaveCan is offline DaveCan  Canada
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Default Completed Budget DAC Consensus

Wondering what the consensus is nowadays on purchasable, budget, completed DAC units, that are capable of all the usual connections and sound top notch etc?
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Old 28th June 2011, 11:49 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveCan View Post
Wondering what the consensus is nowadays on purchasable, budget, completed DAC units, that are capable of all the usual connections and sound top notch etc?
There is no consensus

How much you want to spend?
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Old 28th June 2011, 01:45 PM   #3
ptempel is offline ptempel  United States
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There are a lot of good DACs out there. I'm also doing some reading and found that this thread with a list of DACs under $450 is a nice starting point:

List of DACs Under $450

Sorry I can't give any recommendation for brand X yet. Many folks seem to be happy with the Gigawork small and big DACs. I was thinking of getting one of them since my skill level with a soldering iron is good but my troubleshooting still needs a lot of work. For something more DIY, the AMB Labs y1 and y2 (gamma 1, gamma 2) DAC (AMB Laboratories DIY Audio Site), look really nice. Would probably also do their s11 (sigma 11) power supply. But it could wait since the DAC can run on 5V from USB, or an external wall wart.
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Old 28th June 2011, 02:00 PM   #4
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I have the Gigawork big Dac using Jensen output trafos, cost me around $300 all told, and it's outstanding. Actually, I have two. Technically it has many faults, but it sounds damned good. YMMV

Best, Bill
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Old 28th June 2011, 05:19 PM   #5
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I second what Bill said, although I've got the larger gigawork DAC with op-amps, and a similar one of my own design with Lundahl transformers for the output.

One thing I've learned over the years, is that the differences between digital front ends are really small compared to the differences in say speakers or even amplifiers. So make sure the rest of your house is in really good shape before your spend lots of effort and money on the digital side. Speakers are the best bang for the buck IMHO.

Sheldon
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Old 28th June 2011, 05:30 PM   #6
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Once I got to a certain point with my system, room treatment and speaker placement became a huge factor. I'm lucky enough that I have full discretion, no WAF.
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Old 28th June 2011, 11:52 PM   #7
DaveCan is offline DaveCan  Canada
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No WAF to worry about here either Rest of the system is up to snuff too, so was thinking on a DAC... Are the Gigaworks sold completed, or do you have to do some work to them?
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Old 29th June 2011, 11:03 AM   #8
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There's no soldering involved unless you wish to mod it. You used to be able to get the board with or without the power trafo, haven't looked lately. They also have them completely finished in a case for a little over $300 shipped.

Best, Bill
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Old 30th June 2011, 07:59 AM   #9
DaveCan is offline DaveCan  Canada
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Thanks Bill.. Is there a link to where to purchase a completed unit?, all I can find is an ebay area where it looks like they need to be put together etc. Is it a good unit as is or are mods required/recommended? Thanks all
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Old 30th June 2011, 11:33 AM   #10
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I just did a couple Google searches. If you can find the Head-Fi reveiw of the Lars Audio unit, at the end they talked about some problems Gigawork had with the Decware people, who were packaging the Gigawork board in a cheap case and selling it for $875. It looks as though Gigawork has stopped production and is designing a new board, so if you can drill holes in aluminum, get one of the remaining boards and a cheap case from Par-Metal or such and save yourself $650 or so. Maybe you have a friend that can help.

There are no "required mods", us hackers just like to hack.

Best, Bill

Last edited by Bill Fuss; 30th June 2011 at 11:35 AM.
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