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Recommend a USB DAC

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by AVT, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. AVT

    AVT [H]ardness Supreme

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    Hi,

    I don't listen to music that much on my computer (usually take my headphones with me), but I recently opened Spotify and realized that the DAC built into my monitor is terrible. There is substantially less bass than when I plug my headphones directly into my phone or laptop.

    So, I want to buy a DAC. Ideally under $100. Any recommendations?
     
  2. ocbaud

    ocbaud I'm a baud Man!

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  3. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    Could also be lack of decent power. And you'll need an amp in addition to the DAC if you get a DAC. What headphones are you using?

    Simple cheap and good Dac amp combo would be Fiio E10k. I have one and it even gets my planars (HE560 and 400i) plenty loud.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  4. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th Limp Gawd

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    I agree I think you will want an amp/dac combo. Even the best headphones can sound like trash if they don't have sufficient amplification.

    For the price, I would recommend The Schiit Fulla 2 at $99 (yes that is their company name.. They are the real deal and they make their products out of California if that means anything)

    That amp/dac with serve you well. Some others would as well of course.. Most options would be a step above plugging into a monitor or laptop as you have.

    Note: I had a friend buy the Fulla 2 and he mentioned when he used it close to his phone, and he got a text or a call, he would get some noise in his music caused by the interference... So make sure you don't put them right next to each other.
     
  5. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Audioquest Dragonfly black is the best price/performance USB DAC if a simple USB DAC is what you're looking for. It doesn't have a specially strong headphone amp for example.
     
  6. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    Is this thing worthwhile? AVT might want to mention the model of headphones you have because some are harder to drive than others.
    http://schiit.com/products/fulla

    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 2Hz-200KHz, -3dB
    Maximum Power:
    16 ohms: 250mW RMS per channel
    32 ohms: 200mW RMS per channel
    50 ohms: 175mW RMS per channel
    300 ohms: 40mW RMS per channel
    THD: <0.004%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
    IMD: <0.005%, CCIF
    SNR: >101db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS
    Crosstalk: >-67dB, 20 Hz-20KHz
    Output Impedance: Less than 0.4 ohms
    Gain: 1.5 (3.5db)
    USB Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
    Bit Depth and Sample Rates Supported: 16/44.1 to 24/96, including 24/88.2
    DAC: AKM AK4396 with Analog Devices ADA4610-based filter stage
    Output stage: TI LMH6643 high-current rail-to-rail amplifier
    Headphone Output Size: 1/8", unlike all of our other amps
    Power Supply: Via USB, with +/- 5V rails via high-current negative rail generator with inductor filtering and local regulation
    Power Consumption: 0.8W typical
    Size: 2.5 x 1.2 x 0.45”
    Weight: 3 oz
     
  7. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have one at work. It's great for the majority of cans. (Actually I have two, I bought a spare when it went on sale for $59...)

    Yes, OP we need to know your headphones. In all likelihood something like the Fulla 1 (the old model because it is way cheaper) is plenty.
     
  8. AVT

    AVT [H]ardness Supreme

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    Sorry, I thought I added my headphones to the OP. They are the Audio Technica PRO700MK2.
     
  9. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    ATH-PRO700MK2
    Type Closed-back Dynamic
    Driver Diameter 53 mm
    Frequency Response 5 - 35,000 Hz
    Maximum Input Power 3,500 mW
    Sensitivity 106 dB/mW
    Impedance 38 ohms
    Weight 305 g
    Connector 3.5 mm mini-stereo, gold-plated
    Accessory Included Screw-on 1/4" (6.3 mm) adapter, detachable 1.2 m coiled cable (max. 3.0m), detachable 1.2 m straight cable, carrying pouch

    38 ohms should be easy to drive.
     
  10. fenixv

    fenixv Gawd

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    Another vote for the Schiit Fulla 2. Great little dac/amp for the price. Controls both my Fidelio x2's and JBL LSR-305s.
     
  11. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    For those headphones no reason to spend more on Fulla 2 if you can still snag the closeout price of the Fulla1.
     
  12. AVT

    AVT [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ordered the Fulla1, which seemed to be the consensus. Thanks everybody!
     
  13. capt_cope

    capt_cope Limp Gawd

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    Tough to beat that schiit. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)