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  • DAC shaming

    Constant discussion of DAC inadequacies have shamed me into abandoning my little Behringer $30 USB DAC. I have a Schiit $200 USB DAC coming and I'm upgrading to balanced cabling.

    How long before Schiit shaming commences? Anyone want to share similar experiences?

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  • #2
    I was using a no name cheapo DAC for the last 10 years and I finally recently upgraded to a Topping D90. The only reason that made me do it was I wanted built in Bluetooth but it’s nice! -Trevor

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    • #3
      If you don't like your Schitt, I'll pay shipping to my address. Boy has some of their Schitt and we really like it.
      http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...khanspires-but
      http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...pico-neo-build
      http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...ensation-build

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      • #4
        I think Schiit makes high quality at a fair price, though they do cater to the "audiophile" mystic with tube buffer stages in their high end products. . I will agree, emphasis on DACs is way over-rated. Money far better spent on better speaker drivers. Their two basic DACs are actually well priced and have tested well to the Topping and SMSL. $200 for a DAC with balanced outputs is pretty fair. If looking to pick on someone, how about $20,000 DACs that don't even have current SOA chip sets?

        Behringer produces millions of products on automated lines in China. I have good luck with them as long as I consider it to be like Harbor Freight tools. Frequently, good enough. Their analog crossover was not bad. It took a few mods to make their switching amp useable for my subs and their digital crossover was the worst piece of crap I ever owned. Their market is for starving ( most are) musicians so they design and build to that market. It is not studio quality equipment.

        I too am looking to upgrade. Just ordered a Topping E-30 as the SMSL I bought was defective. Mostly looking for one that can do asynchronous USB audio mode 2 or 3. I do not know if I can hear the difference, but would like to try. My current MUSE DAC only does 16 bit 44/46K. I do not care about 24 bit, but would like to see if I can hear the difference in filter artifacts of higher bit rate files. Using my Focusrite IO box with my trusty Grados, I think I can but only found identical files in 44 and 96K. I want to test carefully before spending any money on high def files if the difference is only cost or subjective placebo effect because if they cost more, you think and have to justify they sound better. I am too old to pay attention to my ego and being retired on negative income, too cheap to spend because I think, not hear.

        I see big push still for balanced cabling. In a studio where you have miles of cables, absolutely. In my old house, my preamp was 50 feet from my amps, so I did run balanced. ( Thank you THAT) My stereo has no cable longer than 2 feet. I have no audible noise I can attribute to cables. Good quality DIY RCA cables using Belden 75 Ohm "Brilliance" mic cable. All I need. For the typical home, balanced lines are not snake oil, but neither are they likely to be an improvement. Actually, one cheap thing in the Behringer crossovers I had were very poorly designed receivers so not getting the CMRR one might expect. hey are cheap!

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        • #5
          Best money I ever spent on digital audio.

          https://www.audiolab.co.uk/mdac-plus/

          System

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          Matthew
          BSME
          Kannapolis NC

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          • #6
            What about DACs that are part of a player, such as a Pioneer blu-ray with analog outputs. How good, bad, or so so are they alleged to be?

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            • #7
              I have an NAD with access to the DAC. ( soon for sale) I would say it was decent. Typical NAD. Not the very best, but decent and a good value.

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              • #8
                If I remember, that 51FD was a pretty hot BD player. ( I went OPPO as it responded faster) But we are talking 10 years old, so SOA has progressed. Better or not is another debate as it could be a DAC became better than we can hear some time ago. New may be only more features.

                As a general rule, DVD and BD players were better than most CD players as they had to have more stable transports and the digital processing included buffers and better error recovery. On the other hand, cheaper players would have cheap analog. That said, I still think my old Rotel 1070 internal DAC sounds just fine compared to my external Muse with BB DAC 10 years newer. If it had a PCM input, I would have never bought an external DAC . I will listen carefully to see if my coming Topping is audibly better. I am not actually optimistic.

                Why I won't use a DVD player for a CD transport is I can't stand the delays. My Rotel, if you push "open" it opens. Now. It plays now. Some of this is just stupid software design, some inherent in the amount of processing needed. In my view, I don't care what processing is going on, an open/close button push should be an interrupt handled immediately. My Windows PC actually boots and lets me play music quicker than many CDs. Love SSDs. I actually would just use the internal PC drive if it was not sideways and inconvenient. Going to test an external laptop DVD drive and probably sell my Rotel, NAD, and Panasonic drives.

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                • #9
                  All of my CD, BR players and discs are in storage in the attic. I struggled with this for a long time. Years. But when I turned 60 I found myself spending more time searching for CDs, songs and movies than I did listening or watching. Sometimes I never found what I was looking for. I have hundreds of CDs and have never been very organized. For that reason I bought a good DAC and a subscription to Tidal and I also have Netflix and Amazon Prime. No Cable. Just internet. Like I said I struggled with The decision for a long time but to be clear @ 62 years old my ears cannot tell the difference and the convenience is well worth it to me. I have never looked back. My wife thanks me every day too. She has a turntable and some vinyl that she still uses from time to time but for the most part she streams too.
                  BSME
                  Kannapolis NC

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                  • tvrgeek
                    tvrgeek commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Unhappy with any streaming I found, so put my 500 or so CDs on a SSD. Actually, finding a CD was quicker than finding anything on-line. Add that we listen to a lot of stuff that is not available streaming. CDs from artists in pubs, old stuff, Filk, limited pressings etc. I did notice my hearing is not what it wasm but stil very good. My wife's is still insane.

                • #10
                  The 51FD was indeed very slow. It got worse as it got old, and was having trouble recognizing what kind of disc was in the tray. Sometimes, it was obvious that it couldn't read the disc, but it still took a minute, sometimes more, to give it back!

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                  • #11
                    The Schiit products are great value for the price - and made in America. I have one of there headphone amps and will be getting a DAC pretty soon as it is time to replace my 10 year old Sound Blaster card in my computer
                    See my projects on Instagram and Facebook

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by djg View Post
                      Constant discussion of DAC inadequacies have shamed me into abandoning my little Behringer $30 USB DAC. I have a Schiit $200 USB DAC coming and I'm upgrading to balanced cabling.

                      How long before Schiit shaming commences? Anyone want to share similar experiences?

                      Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0020.JPG
Views:	274
Size:	440.6 KB
ID:	1454678
                      Well, my complaints about the SMSL seem to not be isolated. "Pops" when driven by an Apple are another. Seems like intermittent pops are not uncommon on the newer stuff, where our old stuff was solid. If my $160 Focusrite does not pop ( It does not) than supposedly super audio dedicated DACS had better not!

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by tvrgeek View Post

                        Well, my complaints about the SMSL seem to not be isolated. "Pops" when driven by an Apple are another. Seems like intermittent pops are not uncommon on the newer stuff, where our old stuff was solid. If my $160 Focusrite does not pop ( It does not) than supposedly super audio dedicated DACS had better not!
                        That's good to know. Which SMSL unit did you get that you had issues with? I was looking at the SU-9 for my office.

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                        • #14
                          Sanskrit 10. The one the objective site was raving about.

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                          • #15
                            Topping E30 came today. Instructions make no mention of driver ( Found and downloaded) From the included cables, one might think you plug into two USB ports. One data and one additional power. Terrible instructions.

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