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Old 29th October 2011, 02:05 PM   #1
sfasf is offline sfasf  United Kingdom
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Default Decent affordable DAC for PC?

I am making a low power linux system to play my music, and i am looking for a DAC (to supply into a t-amp). I would like it to be of a similar quailty (or better, of course!) to the modded PS1 cd player, whilst remaining as affordable as possible. I don't have an aversion to modding/hacking anything, etc. I want this to live in the same (small) box as the PC, so i'm not looking at a prebuilt commerical DAC unit.

What are the best options?? If there is no cheap option, i'd like to hear the cheaper alternatives, too, and how they compare?
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Old 29th October 2011, 02:44 PM   #2
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You need to define "cheap" and "affordable".

There are too many options available to just start throwing out suggestions if they all end up being ouside your price range anyway. Location makes a big difference as well.
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Old 29th October 2011, 02:52 PM   #3
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Ditto was A1 says. Also - what input? Coax, Optical, USB? Power supply?
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Old 29th October 2011, 06:07 PM   #4
sfasf is offline sfasf  United Kingdom
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I would guess USB input. (I'm not fussy but i don't intend to have a coax or spdif output, nor do i see the point; i thought USB was better).
I'm not sure what your power supply question is asking.. i don't mind an external power supply, obviously that would be relevant to the cost.

I don't know what $X gets you, which is why i didn't put a price. As low as possible. But i've given you an idea of what sort of league i'm aiming at, the PS1. But i don't know how easy this is, either. I'm in the UK. (but even if you recommend me something i can't get, it would give me a good starting point).
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Old 29th October 2011, 06:16 PM   #5
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How about this one? 6moons audio reviews: HRT Streamer II
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Old 29th October 2011, 06:24 PM   #6
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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If you want to keep it in the same box as the PC internals, why not a decent stereo PCI soundcard, such as Juli@?
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Old 29th October 2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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NwAvGuy: UCA202 DAC Take 2
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Old 29th October 2011, 06:28 PM   #8
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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I was going to suggest the FiiO D3, but it does not have a USB input.
There are a lot of decent USB DACs based on the TI PCM27XX series. They sound quite good. Maybe something like the MUSE DA20. Have a look on eBay.
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Old 29th October 2011, 06:43 PM   #9
sfasf is offline sfasf  United Kingdom
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I haven't had a chance to read all the links provided but since the replies are coming fast, i'll put in a quick response. The HRT streamer II ($150) is more than i was considering, for this application. Also, i'm looking an an 'embedded' pc board, so likely no PCI for a soundcard (but a sound card is more than just a DAC so shouldn't a similar DAC be cheaper anyway?.. and it forces power from the PC which would be a bad thing right?).
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Old 29th October 2011, 07:08 PM   #10
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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Many truly embedded boards (with e.g. ARM SoC - beagleboard), feature I2S outputs from the SoC, ready to hook to a DAC chip ( Need a starting point for DAC/preamp setup with BeagleBoard for audio processing - General Questions - Twisted Pear Audio Support ). But you are probably looking at x86 hardware. E.g. Alix 1D has one PCI slot.
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