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Old 9th September 2012, 03:51 PM   #1
atharva is offline atharva  India
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Default Help me pick a DAC kit

This is my first into DIY world. I play FLAC/MP3 from a media streamer into a NAD C352 AMP. I'm looking at the following DACs to improve audio quality.

1. NEW V1.9 DAC WM8741 WM8805 Coaxial Optical Decoder 24Bit assembled | eBay

2. 2011 24bit/192kHz CS8416+PCM1798+ACD827 DAC Decoder Kit, DIY, Assembled | eBay

3. High Performance MUSE HI-FI DAC TDA1543 DIR9001 Decoder Digital Coaxial Optical | eBay

4. Full Assembled Kit-Lampucera CS8416+PCM1798 24Bit/192KHz DAC Stereo Decoder | eBay

5. SMSL SD-793II DIR9001+PCM1793+OPA2134 Coax/Optical MINI DAC+Headphone Amp S | eBay

The only MUST HAVE is a digital S/PDIF input. Price wise I'm tempted by the SMSL fully assembled DAC. It is probably not as good as the others, but how poor and will I be able to tell with my configuration?

I'd very much appreciate your thoughts. Thanks much in advance!
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Old 10th September 2012, 10:00 AM   #2
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Really interested in also hearing peoples thoughts on this as I'm still yet to get a definitive answer to what is the difference SOUND QUALITY wise between one of these cheap DIY DACS and a 500 AudioLab M-Dac or a 5000 "High Fidelity" DAC...

At the moment I believe the only difference to be a nicer case, dials, screens, buttons and a large portion of snake oil!
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Old 10th September 2012, 10:05 AM   #3
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Really interested in also hearing peoples thoughts on this as I'm still yet to get a definitive answer to what is the difference SOUND QUALITY wise between one of these cheap DIY DACS and a 500 AudioLab M-Dac or a 5000 "High Fidelity" DAC...

At the moment I believe the only difference to be a nicer case, dials, screens, buttons and a large portion of snake oil!
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Old 10th September 2012, 10:20 AM   #4
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i'm about to order one of these,
well exactly the same but from taobao.com as i'm working in China, and it's about 1/3rd the price direct from china.
at the price, it's worth a go, but it should be decent,
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Old 10th September 2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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Can you tell me why you chose that DAC and not one of the many others available?
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Old 10th September 2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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In my experience the difference between cheap and expensive DACs depends on your sensitivity to the distortion that is introduced by the DAC you are listening to. If you are insensitive, then the difference is snake oil for you. Also, to hear the difference between DACs usually takes a system that is very low in distortion since even cheap DACs tend to have less distortion than almost any other piece in the chain.

The only way to know for yourself is to swap out components in a system you are very familiar with.

It is only recently that my own system has become low enough in distortion that I can reliably tell the difference between DACs. I tried a raw, bare bones DAC without an output filter and liked it compared to my Audio Research DACs. Then, it developed problems and I am back to one of my AR DACs.

James
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Old 11th September 2012, 04:14 AM   #7
atharva is offline atharva  India
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@gbullimore,

Which one are you planning on getting?
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Old 11th September 2012, 12:25 PM   #8
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for some reason my link did not post,
but look on ebay for item number 110745704829
no real reson to pick this but it looked good.
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Old 11th September 2012, 12:36 PM   #9
atharva is offline atharva  India
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Yeah, I've seen that. Forgot to put that on my list. Actually all of them seem to use good chips but I'm sure the circuit design matters. I was hoping that someone would shed light on that. Else the SMSL seems great since it's fully assembled!
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Old 11th September 2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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The red Wima film caps in the SMSL ebay add seem very counterfeit to me. Never seen any Wima without series identification and very poor labelling (printing) like those. Prepare for some genuine parts replacement....
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