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Emotiva, Schiit, or something else....


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Sorry if you all receive too many questions like this, but this seems to be where the digital audio experts reside. I'm making the jump into computer audio....too many CD's stacked on the stereo, and I can't get to the turntable.

 

I'm looking to add a DAC and Apple TV or Airport express to my system. These are the possible connections I'd use: Apple TV (optical), cable box (optical if available), CD player (coax), macbook pro (USB), possibly an ipad with camera connection kit and home sharing (USB).

 

My top contenders right now are the Schiit Bifrost with USB ($449) or Emotiva UDA-2 ($349). The Bifrost seems to get great reviews around here, but the Emotiva is $100 cheaper, has a remote, and has extra inputs for the cable box. I'm also open to the DAC Magic, MyDac, Peachtree DACit, or any other option in that price range.

 

Anyone have any experience with the Emotiva? The price seems to good to be true....what would you do?

 

My current system is NAD325BEE --> Epos M22i

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Hi Aaron,

 

being an owner of various Emotiva products myself (not the DAC unfortunately) I just have one word of advice: Take the time to read through their forum and check for yourself potential problems or shortcomings that the product might have. It is then up to you to decide whether you can live with that product or not.

 

A link to their forum for DACs can be found here

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Sorry if you all receive too many questions like this, but this seems to be where the digital audio experts reside. I'm making the jump into computer audio....too many CD's stacked on the stereo, and I can't get to the turntable.

 

I'm looking to add a DAC and Apple TV or Airport express to my system. These are the possible connections I'd use: Apple TV (optical), cable box (optical if available), CD player (coax), macbook pro (USB), possibly an ipad with camera connection kit and home sharing (USB).

 

My top contenders right now are the Schiit Bifrost with USB ($449) or Emotiva UDA-2 ($349). The Bifrost seems to get great reviews around here, but the Emotiva is $100 cheaper, has a remote, and has extra inputs for the cable box. I'm also open to the DAC Magic, MyDac, Peachtree DACit, or any other option in that price range.

 

Anyone have any experience with the Emotiva? The price seems to good to be true....what would you do?

 

My current system is NAD325BEE --> Epos M22i

 

I think you mean the XDA-2. (It's hard to keep straight with the alphabet soup of models Emotiva offers.) I have the XDA-2. Although I don't have a lot of comparative experience with DACs (I too am a recent convert to computer audio), I can tell you that it sounds excellent. Compared to the Audioquest Dragonfly, which is the only other dac I have at hand, it throws a slightly bigger soundstage has better bass and offers a little more detail. The differences aren't major, but then the Dragonfly apparently punches above its weight also. I'm very satisfied with the XDA-2's sound quality. Build quality is very impressive for its price as well. It looks like a real audio component that belongs in the rack with other nice looking audio components. Some of the other dacs you've listed look like cheap boxes that you'd probably want to hide from view.

 

If you go to the Emotiva forums as has been suggested you'll see that I've complained about a problem I have in getting the XDA-2 to sync to the correct sampling rate when it's first turned on or when the sampling rates of the tracks change. This is related to the fact that I'm driving it from my Synology NAS, which runs an older version of Linux that isn't compatible with the USB receiver chip in the XDA-2. I'm led to believe (although I haven't been able to confirm) that my NAS would probably work with some usb audio class 2 dacs based on the XMOS chipset. Some of the other dacs you've listed also use the same usb receiver chip as the XDA-2 (I know, for instance, that the Schitt Bifrost does), so this isn't necessarily a limitation unique to the Emotiva. You're not likely to encounter the same issues I have if you're relying on the Apple platform as indicated. There was also an early issue with a problem with the Windows driver, but that's been resolved and I think Emotiva was quite responsive to early purchasers of the XDA-2 that had the Windows driver problem.

 

Bottom line: the Emotiva is an excellent dac for somebody like you (and me) who's looking for a good sounding option at a "reasonable" price point. However, from what I've read most of the other dacs you've listed would also be excellent choices. Good luck.

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Hi Aaron,

 

being an owner of various Emotiva products myself (not the DAC unfortunately) I just have one word of advice: Take the time to read through their forum and check for yourself potential problems or shortcomings that the product might have. It is then up to you to decide whether you can live with that product or not.

 

A link to their forum for DACs can be found here

 

Good advice, I also have had numerous problems with these product like their UMC-1 which had all kinds of issues, a pre-amp which was sent back after the 2nd unit. Read up.

 

Hard to beat the Schiit products for the money and their customer service is pretty darn good.

The Truth Is Out There

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Hello,

Something very nice about Schiit and Emotiva is they offer a 15-30 day in home trial. If you have never owned an outboard DAC, you should take this opportunity to get your hands on both of the units and play with them. Learn what you like or dislike be it sound quality, features etc. Choose the one that fits your needs best.

 

Enjoy the music.

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All,

 

Thanks for all the good advice. I'll spend some time lurking on the forums of the Emotiva site before making a purchase. Right now, I'm still mostly considering the Emotiva or Schiit, but it seems that something new comes out everyday. I think I just saw something new coming from NAD....

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