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Recession priced DAC/AMP needed.


refueler1
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Hello, was wondering if anyone has a suggestion for a recession priced dac/amp. I'm no audiophile though I do appreciate good sound. I recently purchased a set of Sennheiser HD 595s and I have a new pc with on-board sound ALC889A. Not looking to spend alot. Actually, the least spent the better. :-). I do not expect audiophile quality from a one dollar dac but looking for somewhere around the $100 mark should suffice. I did a look on ebay and there are lots of kits available that look like all you need is a case but I have no idea how to put a kit together. I would try if I new the difficulty level. Anyone have a suggestion on building one? Thanks.

 

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Is that DAC and amp for $100? Headphone amp, to drive the Senns? That's going to be a really tough one. I'd say your best bet is to look for a used Yamaha AV receiver, ignore the extra 2.1 channels, plug the PC into the optical or digital coax input on the back, plug your new Senns into the headphone jack in the front, push the little blue "Pure Direct" button and enjoy.

 

But even that is likely to run a bit more than $100.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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I had been toying with the idea of buying a used receiver but was under the impression that it would be no better than the on-board sound in my pc?

 

Im not to familiar with dac chips but from what I have read there are MANY! To many to make a guess at which ones make up a good dac unit. I found several dac/amp units on ebay for around $60, just don't know if they are any good enogh or not, and they are small, so I don't see how they could effectively run a set of Seens?

 

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Been hanging around Head Fi? There is a ton of misinformation over there about the headphone sections of receivers and integrated amps. The truth is that most of them are simply the speaker amps, stepped down through resistors, and the effect that has, other than a headphone section that is a reflection of the overall quality of the receiver, is that it tends to create rather high output impedance. That can alter the response of very low impedance headphones, resulting, most often, in a bit of a lack of bass control (boominess). It doesn't seem to effect high impedance phones audibly. 595s are on the low side, but it's easy to check it out. Carry your phones into a local store and audition some receivers. If you like the way it sounds, look for a similar, same brand receiver on the used market. The odds are pretty good that even if it isn't perfect, it will be better than a combination DAC/amp for $60 on ebay.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Assuming your total budget is $100 the Dac/amp is no problem, but do you already have any loudspeakers. They are the critical component !

 

Absolute minimal cost audiophile quality is easily obtained by using a new Behringer UCA202 dac cost $30 and v good sound. You then need a good old second-hand amp and speakers for $70. I would visit a "car boot sale" here in the UK, perhaps they are called "garage sales" in the US. I would look for Armstrong amp and Wharfedale LS. Beware of faulty kit on ebay - always try before buy at thes prices.

 

Regards JC.

 

 

 

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I forgot about the Bithead (I have an old Airhead lying around here somwhere...). One of these would drive 595s nicely. Check the classifieds on Head-Fi and see if anyone is selling one used.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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I just bought a good set of active monitor speakers (KRK 6G2s). They sound great. I guess I could hook up my phones to them? I will look around for the 202 dac you were talking about. As a side note; I miss merry old England! I was stationed at RAF Mildenhall from 1991-1997. Great place. My family and I went to the Banham Zoo carboot every weekend. Fabulous stuff. I always told myself that if I could, I would retire in England. But Airforce retirement and family matters didn't let that work out :-( .

 

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Yeah I have looked at those and they have good reviews. Just need to find one closer to my budget. I have priority things I need and this dac/amp issue is not on that list, however I still am trying to find a place for it on our (family) list : - ) . The less it costs the less CRAP I have to take from the LOML. HA!

 

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If you've already got the KRK active speakers, then all you need is the Behringer UCA202 dac - Just $30 and it works with no drivers with MacOSX or Windows PC's, and just plugs straight into the usb port.

 

Using your KRK's the sound will be very very similar to ADM9's. I know because that combination was one that I evaluated before settling on my AVI kit 2 yrs ago. The bass on the KRK,s is stronger But the ADM9's are cleaner on voice. Important for me on classical female opera.

 

It will easily outperform most of the high-end $2000+ cd players because the computer is doing all the hard work and the UCA202 uses the same Burr-Brown chip as the ADM9's.

 

Not many people know this !

 

Regards JCBrum.

 

 

 

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The UCA202 has a separate headphone out with level control.

 

It also has spdif optical out so you could use it to drive ADM9.1's, for example, from a computer which has no opt out, but that is incidental to this topic.

 

It's a lot of facility for $30.

 

JC.

 

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How about the Beresford 7510 DAC?

 

http://www.beresford.me/main/main.html

 

4 switched S/PDIF in puts, 2 electrical 2 optical

 

fixed and variable output

 

phone socket

 

~£130

 

very shortly the 7520 will be on the website ~£200

 

1 USB in, 1 optical, 2 electrical s/PDIF

 

new model has better analogue section and will drive high quality phones better

 

and maybe has better definition as a "digital pre-amp"

 

to either add active speakers or power amp and passive speakers

 

cost effective high quality system with analogue volume control and digital source switching

 

the fan club runs here

 

http://www.theartofsound.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=3

 

 

 

Brian

Squeezebox Classic - Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC - Quad 520f with Dada refresh - Quart 980s German Tower Loudspeakers.

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I had one of the recent incarnations of the 7510 here for a couple of weeks a few months ago. It sounded great. The headphone jack didn't drive Senn 580s with quite the authority I'm used to, but it wasn't bad at all. It would probably work great with 595s. One of these, used, would probably fall within budget and be a great solution. Stan's 7520, would probably be even better, both as a headphone amp and a preamp for the active speakers, but it is out of the budget.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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How does the UCA202 compare with the Edirol UA 1EX? It's twice the price but I am told it has bit perfect drivers - ASIO etc and works with XP and Vista.

 

Brian

Squeezebox Classic - Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC - Quad 520f with Dada refresh - Quart 980s German Tower Loudspeakers.

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Most people I've spoken to think the 202 is better. You don't need ASIO drivers for a Mac, they do it already.

 

Behringer supply ASIO drivers for UCA202 on Windows here -

 

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Support/U-Control-Downloads.aspx

 

The 202 is already bit perfect anyway and is excellent with the standard drivers. Don't forget AVI use the Burr-Brown chip in the adm9's, and Burr-Brown audio stuff is top-draw anyway.

 

Rather than the UA 1EX, I much prefer the Edirol UA25EX, which is a bit more money but has superb facilities for recording.

 

JCBrum.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Am using the 202 from PC (downloading lossless) to go from USB to Optical Digital into Accuphase DAC into Advantage 300 monoblocs into Quad ESL 2905s connected by top end Acoustic Zen Technologies interconnects. Also using 202 DAC into Westone3s. Both configurations produce high quality results. For the price the 202 is an amazing piece of equipment.

 

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+5 (or whatever number we are up to) for the UCA202 aka The U-Control.

 

Will drive headphones or a stereo receiver/integrated amp. Does Windows and Mac.

 

Excellent enry level DAC/hp amp/USB to optical converter. You can always upgrade when your budget so allows. I do not think the Edirol is better.

 

$30 @ www.parts-express.com Part #248-599

 

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