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Advice on purchase of DAC, USB or firewire, for USD $500 or under


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Hi All,

Just came across this site today and discovered the wealth of information! As with some other first time posters I am an ingenue in this area. I'm pretty much at the budget end of hi fi. I have been wanting to update my speakers for some time and have just put a deposit down on some Quad 22L series two. My amp is a 10 yo Rotel 60 w RMS integrated amp (RA 971) which I am thinking about upgrading to an ARCAM or Cambridge Azur when I can. I have also wanted to make the jump to using my Mac powerbook as my major source instead of CDs (CD player is also a 10 yo Rotel). However I wasn't sure what to do. Looks like getting a USB (or firewire) DAC may be my best bet. Given that this is my first foray into this area I don't want to spend too much on a first purchase (I was thinking about $500 or under) but am not sure whether there is anything reasonable in this price range. My local hi fi dealer stocks a couple of Carat Dacs - does anyone know anything about these? The couple of reviews I have read suggests that the volume may be an issue.

 

For information, my music tastes tend to be towards classical and jazz and I prefer a sound which is neutral to warm - too bright or harsh a treble fatigues me pretty quickly.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers,

Julienne

 

Melbourne, Australia

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Hi Julienne - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. No worries about budget around here. This is a very laid back site where nobody really cares if you spend $500 or $50,000 on a DAC. If it sounds good to you then it's good :-) I'm not familiar with the carat DACs. I do know many people recommend the Apogee Duet http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/duet.php which is under $500. Since this is your first purchase you could always spend about half as much on a Devilsound DAC just to get you startedhttp://www.devilsound.com/DAC .

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Hi Julienne,

 

I'm in the same boat.

Love "stereo sound" but in the fold of revamping my old system.

I just picked up a pair of B&W685's and about to go from my Mac mini to amp via the "USB Thingee".

No joke, it's really called the " Thingee " by Blue Circle Audio.

 

Looks like the step sister of Frankenstein but sounds like an angle!

Best of all it's a 24-bit DAC for only $169.00 USD!!!

 

Here's a few links / reviews:

 

http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/blue_circle_usb_thingee.htm

http://www.bluecircle.com/index.php?page_id=7196

 

 

Anthony.

 

 

 

 

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