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Beginner needs a shove in the right DAC direction...

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Hi, i have a nice audio system - Sonus Faber, audio analogue maestro settanta inegrated amp and cd player - and want to experiment with use of 'Spotify' to create a web based music collection that can be streamed to the system (wired). I will use a netbook to do the work, but what is the best way to assure best sound possible from pc to system? Having looked at various articles, it seems the USB DAC route is the best option. But I'm a little confused and not sure how or what or implications of 'spotify' music standards. Can anyone help? I'm looking to spend up to £250 on a DAC solution. Just need simple approach... and gentle push... but please be gentle!!


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There's a few options at your budget that are regularly praised for their value for money. Plus others the I'm sure other people will meantion.


Straight forward DACs with USB connections include...

Cambridge Audio DACMagic (£200)

E-Mu 4040 (£180)


Or get a USB to SPDIF converter such as M-Audio Transit and then a standard DAC such as Beresford (£130) or could examine second hand options but exploring there can open a minefield. This option doesn't necessarily povide any sound quality improvement but does all future use of high resolution (96/24) files with a suitable DAC and gives more flexibility over your choice of DA which will suit some peoples tastes.


There's really not right or wrong answer over your choice of DAC at this level - as with all HiFi partly it's down to taste and what music you listen to.






...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many thanks for that.


I don't intend to rip or download anything and just want to use web based software, like 'Spotify', to play directly into an existing amp. I'm going for 'access' rather than 'ownership'! Are these options still needed or, can the same effect be achieved with something cheaper and simpler??


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