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Confused noob: Need a USB DAC
Confused noob: Need a USB DAC
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Old 16th November 2012, 12:21 AM   #1
munce31 is offline munce31  Australia
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Question Confused noob: Need a USB DAC

Hi everyone

I'm a noob and I've recently just built a jaycar siliconchip headphone amplifier with some help from the guys over at the rockgrotto forums. Its currently sounding great with my Audio Technica A900X cans.

However I've been currently using a Samsung Galaxy Tab (GTP-1000) as source with the Voodoo Kernel to best take advantage of the WM8994 ultra low power DAC. However I know full well that it isn't a substitute for a good quality DAC.

I've been doing some research on various forums but I need a bit more guidance on which is better.

The ObjectiveDA is one candidate but my concern is the fact that it's powered by USB only and shouldn't that introduce interference from the computer?

Another like this from hifimediy can be powered by a separate power supply. However I don't know whether or not the chip set on this works as good, worse or better than the ObjectiveDA. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Ultimately I could just save myself a headache and buy a DAC from audio-gd like the NFB2.32, but this is $500 bucks!!

Any tips, suggestions are more than welcome.

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Old 18th November 2012, 02:08 PM   #2
Pano is online now Pano  United States
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Confused noob: Need a USB DAC
Good questions.

I don't think you'll find a USB powered DAC that is really free of the USB power noise for a low price. My M-Audio card is USB powered (or external) and is amazingly quiet. They've done a great job on the power supply. But it's a $200 box.

If you can find one with separate power, that may be the best way to go. It has usually been so for me. Really cheap USB DACs are very noisy by ear and by measurement. Better power supplies also sound more dynamic than cheap ones.
Take the Speaker Voltage Test!
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Old 18th November 2012, 09:00 PM   #3
munce31 is offline munce31  Australia
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Yeah that's where I think USB powered DACs ultimately fall flat on their face.

Perhaps battery powered would be a better alternative to USB power but I find that to be inconvenient as you have to charge the battery from time to time.

Has anyone had first hand experience of the Valab dual WM8741 DAC? I've read a couple of reviews on various forums and they were praise-worthy, however there were no comparative A B testing with similar priced DACs like the Audio-gd 3.32....
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Old 19th November 2012, 06:28 AM   #4
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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avoid the audgd

buy locally

some on that page are well over your budget, but the 9016 dac (AKD16) and the es9023 dac there are excellent choices. team the 9023 based dac with a nice buffer and you have a well contained high grade system. the 9023 is the same dac as the ODAC (which actually does measure very well, despite the USB power) but Ackos version has onboard high grade regulators and possibility for any I2S source you like. the 9016 is balanced so that might cause problems with your amp if it isnt.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:54 PM   #5
munce31 is offline munce31  Australia
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Hi Qusp,

I read your message too late. I ended up buying an ODAC locally from the JDSLabs local distributor, which in fact is located here in Melbourne.

JDS Labs Standalone ODAC (Silver) - Noisy Motel

The acko dac looks very interesting. If im not happy with the ODAC i'll definitely look towards the 9023.
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