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Old 25th September 2012, 05:08 AM   #1
magreen is offline magreen  United States
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Default very budget USB DAC w/ line out

Hello. First post after reading and searching through lots and lots of threads. Thanks for making a great forum.

Can someone recommend a <= $65 USB DAC with line out? (I'd like to spend as little as possible, preferably < $50.) To be clear, I do not have digital out from my laptop. I only have USB. So the DAC has to accept USB input.

I'm going to be playing this through a Denon PMA-300V integrated amp into EPI T E 70 Epicure speakers, and also through my Grado SR60 phones. So you can see I don't need the ultimate in high quality audiophile DACs. But I do want something that sounds significantly better than my laptop's audio out, because I can hear a noticeable difference with my Grados between the laptop out and the headphone out from my Denon DCD-860 CD player (in use w/ a different stereo system). I'm not sure if I need the DAC to be a headphone amp as well -- I figure I can just plug the Grados into the headphone out of the integrated amp, no?

Here are the five options I see:

1. MUSE DA10 PCM2704 MINI USB DAC Digital Decoder Headphone Amplifier+ Adaptor for $40 on ebay (free ship)

2. MUSE Mini 24Bit 192Khz Coaxial Optical USB Input DAC Headphone Out,Silver for $50 on ebay (free ship) -- this is the one w/ the CS4344 DAC processor /CS8416 Digital receiver / CM108AH USB receiver

3. Silver MUSE DA20 PCM2706 MINI USB DAC Decoder Headphone Amplifier+ Power Adaptor for $56 on ebay (free ship)

4. FiiO E10 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier for $65 on Amazon (free ship w/ prime)

5. ultra cheap option: Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Go! Pro USB Audio System with THX SB1290 for $30 on Amazon (free ship w/ prime) -- just headphone out, but if it sounds good, it sounds good, right?

EDIT: one last hybrid option: Audio DIR9001+ 4X TDA1543 parallel connection NOS DAC S for $57 shipped on ebay, plus some cheap USB-->digital out option?

I've had the damndest time trying to find any reviews or opinions on the various Muse products. I'm wondering whether anyone knows whether they would sound better than the FiiO E10?

Thanks very much for bearing with me on this long post, and for any advice you can give me!

Last edited by magreen; 25th September 2012 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 27th September 2012, 04:18 AM   #2
magreen is offline magreen  United States
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Nobody?
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Old 27th September 2012, 04:48 AM   #3
syklab is offline syklab  Hong Kong
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This should be a nice USB DAC with line out for less than 50$US. You could go wrong with the ES9023.

Hifimediy ES9023+TE7022 24/96 USB Dac
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Old 27th September 2012, 04:58 AM   #4
magreen is offline magreen  United States
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Thanks ! Looking at that thread now.
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Old 27th September 2012, 05:12 AM   #5
magreen is offline magreen  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syklab View Post
This should be a nice USB DAC with line out for less than 50$US. You could go wrong with the ES9023.

Hifimediy ES9023+TE7022 24/96 USB Dac
After reading that thread, I'm very tempted to buy that HifiMeDiy right now. Thanks! Seems like the best option in this price range (and perhaps higher price ranges, too). Anyone else want to chime in before I pull the trigger?
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Old 27th September 2012, 06:42 AM   #6
syklab is offline syklab  Hong Kong
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Oh sorry, typo , it should be
"You couldn't go wrong with the ES9023."
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Old 27th September 2012, 02:02 PM   #7
magreen is offline magreen  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syklab View Post
Oh sorry, typo , it should be
"You couldn't go wrong with the ES9023."
I figured.

At this point, it looks like the only other option to consider is the Stoner Acoustics UD100 mentioned towards the end of that thread. But as that one is harder to order and you have to make a case yourself (and costs a few $ more), this is probably the better option for me, it seems.
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Old 27th September 2012, 04:18 PM   #9
magreen is offline magreen  United States
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Thanks very much for the helpful suggestions. Hmmm, this clouds things a bit for me -- it's not clear to me which I should go with.

Do you think these options provide better sound than the Hifimediy recommended above? I do see that they cost less, for the most part. Though I saw people in the Hifimediy thread linked above saying it (the Hifimediy) blows away the various 2704 DACs on the market ("Definately a HUGE step up from cheap PCM 2704-based $ 20 USB DACS that flood the market."). Do you have an opinion one way or the other?

Thanks very much for your contribution to my knowledge of this!
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Old 27th September 2012, 06:28 PM   #10
syklab is offline syklab  Hong Kong
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Hi,
The links below is related to 2 group buy (the original V2.6 was closed already, a V3.0 GB is going on right now) on the ES9023 DAC if you are into DIY.

ES9023 / WM8804 S/PDIF DAC Group Buy

ES9023 / WM8804 S/PDIF "Subbu DAC V3" GB Interest
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