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Old 19th March 2014, 12:46 AM   #1
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Default DIY DAC better than the Profire 2626?

Greetings DAClings-

I mostly listen to vinyl on my main stereo. When I'm not, I am playing CDs via a Rotel with a TDA1541. I'm pretty happy with this setup, but I'm building a second smaller system in the office and I'd like to base it around a laptop as the source/transport. Amp is all tube SET and the speakers are Fostex full-rangers. I may use this with headphones from time to time.

Now I have an M-Audio Profire 2626 from my recording days that's actually pretty decent, as far as I can tell, but it's a firewire interface and Apple seems to be trying to kill firewire off, not to mention my wife can't use her laptop with it. That said, I would expect it to be a pretty decent DAC so I'm worried I'll downgrade myself if just choosing something willy nilly.

So, in order to better the DAC in the 2626, what am I looking for?

Here's some needs:
-USB input
-small footprint (6in x 6in, or 15cm x 15cm, or less)
-volume control
-less than $300 (ie the going price of 2626's on the 'Bay)

Here's some would-be-nice's:
-SPDIF input to play with it on my regular stereo
-comes in a kit (at least board and components)
-not a buy-and-rebuild situation (but minor mods are cool)
-less than $200
-at least 1.5V output

So what'dya think? What's out there? I am woefully behind on the DAC scene.
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Last edited by Sodacose; 19th March 2014 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 19th March 2014, 11:49 PM   #2
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No input? Not enough info?

How about if we remove the whole bit about the 2626 and just look for something that fits the rest of the criteria? 'Better than' may be a little too subjective.
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Old 20th March 2014, 02:11 AM   #3
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The best way to answer your question would be to actually look inside the 2626 to see the parts and layout.

Focusrite's VRM Box is a good baseline for a compact USB DAC. Innards are a CS4398 with MAX4477 output buffers.
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