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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Best Quality Sound and "Inexpensive" ($100-400) DAC with highest resolution

    Best Quality Sound and "Inexpensive" ($100-400) DAC with highest resolution

    Hi, I am an A&R Director and a huge FAN of music - all genres. Though I have lots of gear ( Old Marantz. and Bryston - newer Rotel) and a couple of set-ups ( Living room 5.1 Rotel ) .. my main listening is in my office..
    Intel imac
    Rotel integrated
    Nht sub amp w/sub
    Near-field- NHT Classic 3
    Room- Ohm Walsh 3x0

    I have thousands of CDs..and slowly converting my favorites to WAV files and using itunes for listening. ( at the very least using my m Intel iMac) My desire is to also download hi-res tracks from places like and other labels that are providing 192/24=96/24 resolution.

    Many of the well-reviewed DACs I have seen in forums here ( in this price range) seem to be limited to 44.1kHz / 16 bit, I am desiring to get the best resolution ( for my ears... unaffected sound) possible that works with my system and the intel iMac. ( I will never be using a PC)

    Some I have looked at..thoughts on these or others?
    Beresford TC7510 and TC7520
    Valab NOS
    Musical Fidelity V-Dac
    Edirol UA-25
    Cambride Audio DacMagic
    M-Audio Transit

    My interest in best sound/value for dollar.
    Your ideas and input is appreciated. Thank you in advance for your thoughts and advice.


  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    I would search and look for a used Benchmark, Monarchy, or PS Audio digilink III.

    Or spend a few extra dollars and buy this PS Audio Digilink from here-

    This is a great little DAC with a usb interface.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  3. #3
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    I have this dac in my main system and am quite please with it

    Just FYI, the 44.1kHz / 16 bit resolution is typically a limitation of USB. USB wasn't designed to support higher resolution; I don't know of any computer that will output higher resolution audio along USB. Thus, most USB dacs don't support higher resolutions. Some will upconvert 44.1kHz / 16 bit signal but that adds to the price of the budget dac.

    If you use the mini-optical output on the iMac, you can support the higher resolution. All you need is this $2 part to adapt the mini-optical to Toslink.

    There's also this older thread. Lots of the DACs are still around.
    DAC's for under $400 ??

    I also have a Zhaolu 2.0 DAC. The 3.0 is out. I use this with my MacBookPro and Senns 580s and enjoy it a lot. I typically use the Audio Midi Setup application to upsample iTunes to higher res, before it goes optically to the DAC.

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