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DAC/Pre under $1k


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Yeah, I know, here we go again. I haven't seen a thread like it in a few weeks so...

 

I need a DAC/Preamp with:

 

 

  • XLR outputs (some long runs to powered speaks)
  • A second pair of outputs (can be SE, for subwoofer connection)
  • Analog volume control is preferred, or implementation that does not impact sound quality
  • 1/2 size chassis (this is for a desktop rig) so narrow and shallow
  • Remote (don't need, but is preferred)

 

My current list:

Schiit Jotunheim

Teac UD-503

Nuprime DAC 9 or 10 (the latter can be had at $1k sometimes)

 

Any other suggestions? I only do WAVs, Flac, and MP3s, no DSD currently, or MQD, though either of the latter could be used in the future. I already owned an Oppo HA-1, so that's out.

 

Thanks guys!

Paul

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I might be selling my LH Labs Geek Pulse soon. It would be at the top of your budget though. It has both XLR and RCA but I'm not sure if it does both at the same time.

 

Sabre DAC, Femto clock, half size.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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You can't use the XLR and RCA outputs on the UD-503 at the same time, so that goes off your list.

 

Whoa, that was unexpected. I have a small laptop rig using the UD-301 and both outputs operate simultaneously.

 

The LH labs is interesting. Will do some reading on it, thanks!. I wasn't thinking about used gear, but perhaps that also opens up a few additional opportunities.

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You can't use the XLR and RCA outputs on the UD-503 at the same time, so that goes off your list.

 

I spoke with Teac, they stated that all outputs are active, and controlled by the volume on the unit. Are you thinking of the 501?

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I'm going by what it says in the manual, p. 19: three possible settings for "line output", none of them outputting RCA and XLR at the same time. I've only used mine as a DAC/headphone amp, but if you have some compelling reason to believe that the manual is wrong, I could take the thing upstairs to my speaker system and check.

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"Your submission could not be processed because the token has expired.

Please reload the window."

 

I REFRESHED 3 TIMES. I LEFT THE PAGE TWICE. GET A DAMN CLUE. Rant over.

 

-------------------------------------------

 

Jay-dub is right, no go. Not like Schiit, which always buffers their SE outputs on their balanced gear because they believe in quality. (Jason Stoddard strongly corrected my initial underestimation of their designs.)

 

All outputs are active in all of these circuits unless a switch disables that: think about it. The problem is that without a buffer on the SE output, the noninverting leg of the output circuit gets loaded, albeit mildly, by the SE-attached load. So the balanced output becomes a bit unbalanced. OTOH, splitting *either* (not both) kinds of outputs is okay, provided you're not making a BAL-SE adaptation with cables.

 

 

I spoke with Teac, they stated that all outputs are active, and controlled by the volume on the unit. Are you thinking of the 501?

 

I'm going by what it says in the manual, p. 19: three possible settings for "line output", none of them outputting RCA and XLR at the same time. I've only used mine as a DAC/headphone amp, but if you have some compelling reason to believe that the manual is wrong, I could take the thing upstairs to my speaker system and check.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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Thanks guys. Teac didn't mention only one pair would be usable at a time, and indeed stated that both sets were active. Therefore, I'm assuming that they are active, but the balanced connections are impacted by the simultaneous use of both sets. That said, either the tech who answered my inquiry, or the manual, must be wrong. I have the 301, and though it uses a cheap digital volume control, both sets on it are indeed active, and controlled by it.

 

I'm still leaning towards the Teac, though I'd love the Jot. It simply appears that it was more of a focused attempt to provide a head amp, instead of a preamp (makes sense of course, being that's their specialty).

 

Welp, now I'm looking at the Nuprime DAC9 as well...

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This why I have a four channel Dac. The volume controller can be selected to control any or all of the four outputs. The 4Pre is a nice unit. Purchased on sale for less than 500.00.

Used a LH Pulse Infinity for a while. The SE outputs are separate circuits. Used the low pass filter in the sub.

The Focusrite has a more balanced sound compared to the Infinity. That may be break in. Some report 400 hours of use for the unit and the included two leg USB cable to sound the best.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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Hi, with your criteria in mind I suggest a look at the Audio-gd NFB-28:

 

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB282016/NFB282016EN.htm

 

No affiliation and I have never heard one, but Audio-gd gear gets rave reviews on another popular audio site and this piece looks solid to me "on paper."

 

Happy new year and good luck with your search.

 

PS - I have heard the TEAC UD-503 extensively in a friend's system and it sounds really good for the $$$ as long as you do NOT engage the 4xDSD upsampling feature.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

Melco HA-N1ZH60 Mk. 1 --> USB --> Matrix X-SPDIF 2 --> I2S --> PS Audio DirectStream Sr. DAC --> XLR --> Mark Levinson No. 326S --> RCA --> JL Audio E-Sub e110 (active crossover @ 100 Hz) --> RCA --> Bryston 4B3 (Cubed) --> Magnepan .7

 

 

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Thanks for the Pro gear recommendation. I use the lower Scarlett 2i4 for my guitar rig. However, my concern is still going to be the volume control. I'm assuming its digital, and is not compensating for low level listening, and thus , potentially losing resolution. I've written to them to find out! Thanks!

 

I've also checked out AudioGD. Many seem to like them, though I'm concerned about support on such a device since I believe they supply direct from China. Nice looking stuff/internals though!

 

I did read the Teac manual after JayDub commented on it. It does specifically state both sets of outputs cannot be used at the same time. Grrr...of course, in the rear diagram earlier, it also points to the inputs as outputs. LOL. Regardless, thanks for setting me straight on that JD!

 

Happy New Year folks!

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Benchmark. Even the DAC-1 meets those requirements (but no remote on entry level models) and you can get a model with remote if you move up the food chain. No fears of buying used. If you live in North America, you won't have to ship it across an ocean if you need service. I use the balanced outputs to my Bryston power amp and the RCA outputs to my sub.

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Benchmark. Even the DAC-1 meets those requirements (but no remote on entry level models) and you can get a model with remote if you move up the food chain. No fears of buying used. If you live in North America, you won't have to ship it across an ocean if you need service. I use the balanced outputs to my Bryston power amp and the RCA outputs to my sub.

 

If you only knew how many times I eyeballed their offerings and just closed their website because I'm trying to stick to a budget. :) While I'm sure even the DAC1 is rock solid, I'd be torturing myself looking at the DAC2 HGC, and worse, now the DAC3 is out. In the end, I'd probably just put my credit card on the line and get the outstanding AHB1 while I'm at it. Benchmark is a slippery slope! :) Definitely keeping used models in mind though!

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Thanks for the Pro gear recommendation. I use the lower Scarlett 2i4 for my guitar rig. However, my concern is still going to be the volume control. I'm assuming its digital, and is not compensating for low level listening, and thus , potentially losing resolution. I've written to them to find out! Thanks!

 

 

 

Let us know what they say about the volume control. The tech support is a very supportive. But seems to focus on performance issues and less willing to share hardware details.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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used B.M.C. Puredac :} pm me if you are interested

 

I wish I could fit that beauty on my desktop. Unfortunately, I really need a compact chassis. At this time, I'm leaning towards a new Nuprime DAC9, as it can be had for around 650 shipped.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Let us know what they say about the volume control. The tech support is a very supportive. But seems to focus on performance issues and less willing to share hardware details.

 

Hey Panelhead, I exchanged a few emails with them to finally learn that only their Red line has an analog volume control, and the Scarlett and Clarett lines do indeed truncate bits at low levels.

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I haven't heard the DAC3, but the first two versions are easily beat within their price points. The Benchmarks have a lot of PRaT, but they are decidedly colored IMO. Their assertion that the inputs are immune to the the source are true to a point, but it is in a bad way. The reclock/ASRC will, for better or worse, lend its color to whatever you put into it.

 

If you only knew how many times I eyeballed their offerings and just closed their website because I'm trying to stick to a budget. :) While I'm sure even the DAC1 is rock solid, I'd be torturing myself looking at the DAC2 HGC, and worse, now the DAC3 is out. In the end, I'd probably just put my credit card on the line and get the outstanding AHB1 while I'm at it. Benchmark is a slippery slope! :) Definitely keeping used models in mind though!

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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Hey Panelhead, I exchanged a few emails with them to finally learn that only their Red line has an analog volume control, and the Scarlett and Clarett lines do indeed truncate bits at low levels.

 

I prefer a digital volume control. The AK4413 used in the Clarett 4Pre has a 255 step attenuator built in.

The Focusrite Control allows selection of what is attenuated. The outputs can be 2, 4, or all.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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A little over your budget but PS Audio has a new product, in beta testing now. If you become a beta tester, you can get a discount. You can still use the 30-day money back offer if you dont want to keep the unit after testing.

 

Stellar Gain Cell DAC | PS Audio

Sparky SBC/USBridge (HDPlex) –> Uptone ISO Regen(Uptone LPS-1) -> Singxer SU-1(Uptone LPS-1)/Holo Audio Spring –> Cary Audio SLP-05 –> Electrocompaniet AW180 Mono Blocks –> Martin Logan Summit X

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