Who wants a DAC test, with comparison of 'bargain' options Who wants a DAC test, with comparison of 'bargain' options - diyAudio
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Who wants a DAC test, with comparison of 'bargain' options
Who wants a DAC test, with comparison of 'bargain' options
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Old 19th January 2015, 04:23 PM   #1
nannoo is offline nannoo
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Default Who wants a DAC test, with comparison of 'bargain' options

Ok, so a while ago I blew my amp, and am not back on a path to my final 'goal' set up, but in the mean time I have some interesting stuff lying around or soon to be aquired and would like to know if people would like to see some objective DAC measurements, and if so what measurements would you like to see?

Here's what I have:
On-Board speaker output of modern motherboard, claims the audio circuitry is physically seperated from the motherboard by a line of LED lights... yeahhhhhh

Cheap amazon FiiO Taishan DO3K DAC (30)

Dragonfly USB DAC on its way thanks to another DIY member

Things that may be of interest to those on a budget:

Digidesign Digi002 in storage - of interest as it provides a high quality I/O for the PC through firewire, originally these retailed at 800 but you can nab them for around 100 on ebay, it would be interesting to compare the output to 'audiophile' dacs, I use mine for measurement inputs...

Additionally, there's the option of my old go-to audio bargain of old AV amps, the old behmoths like the Denon AVC A1D, A1SE, A10SE, A1SR etc etc are all startlingly good amps IMHO, previously retailing at anywhere from 1000 to 4000, you can nab them on flea bay for 100 to 200. I love them as they are a good 'base line' (in my opinion) for mid to high end audio, they present a cheap doorway to better hi-fi, can be used to bi-amp stereo set ups, (5 to 10 power channels with external inputs) typically have a direct mode that turns off all video processing and best of all... for me... effectively have a DAC built in (in case you don't know, my whole music library comes of flac files on my computer).

So what do you think of the bargains, do you think they really are, does anyone else have any 'secret' bargains they'd like to share, would you like to see a comparison of all these potential 'low cost' DACs, and is there anything I'm missing?

(Can't help but feel I should include a beresford DAC of some kind and the meridian version of the dragonfly, which apparently sounds a little more analytical, but also has the interesting feature of a built in optical out - so can function as an asynchronous USB to optical converter to run into a better DAC.. maybe try it with one of the big old DENON amps and see if there's any actual difference between asynchronus USB output and the standard PC digital out)

also... other suggestions of bargain equipment please, currently looking at something but I won't say what until I aquire one
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Old 19th January 2015, 06:17 PM   #2
john blackburn is offline john blackburn  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Wirral UK
One problem I have had using a firewire interface was that it doesn't work easily with anything newer than XP. Some say you can use a "legacy driver" but it didn't work with our win7 machine when we tried.

I have a little usb Behringer UCA202 that gave a nice step up in sound quality from the onboard pc soundcard. It records nicely too and has an optical output I have read there are fakes with inferior internals out there so buyer beware.

Decibel Dungeonhttp://www.decdun.me.uk/ Elliot Sound Proucts ESP http://sound.whsites.net/ All About Circuits http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/education/
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Old 19th January 2015, 10:33 PM   #3
Charles Darwin is offline Charles Darwin  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Birmingham, UK
I like this one: Firewire audio recording interface 12 IN 12 OUT | Echo Digital Audio

Paid around 350 for it some years ago which I consider a bargain for what you get.
Never had any problems with it and even when everything else on my computer (a Mac) locked up on occasion it never stopped playing.
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Old 19th January 2015, 11:38 PM   #4
spzzzzkt is offline spzzzzkt  Australia
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Melbourne
The TC Electronic firewire interfaces are pretty decent and relatively cheap if you look at the older Konnekt 8 or 24D. Their weakest spot is the output volume pot tends to die but TC support will either repair or send you a free replacement if you want to DIY the repair. The 24D is the best choice as one of the output pairs bypasses the internal mixer. On the 8 you are stuck routing via the internal mixer.

Last edited by spzzzzkt; 19th January 2015 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 19th January 2015, 11:42 PM   #5
Illusus is offline Illusus  Canada
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Prairie Wasteland, Canada
Great idea. I'd love to see some measurements; like these, from OADC's NwAvGuy's own comparison (NwAvGuy: ODAC Released):
Freq. Response 10 hz – 19 Khz 24/44
THD+N 100 hz 0 dBFS
THD+N 20 hz –1 dBFS
THD+N 10 Khz –1 dBFS
IMD CCIF 19/20 Khz –3 dBFS
Noise A-Weighted dBu 24/44
Dynamic Range –60 dBFS A-Wtd
Linearity Error -90 dBFS 24/44
Crosstalk 0 dBFS Line Out 100K -
USB Jitter 11025 hz J-test 24/44
Maximum Output Line Out 100K
Fighting the program since 1976.
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