What DAC should I buy in budget segment?

krisna

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Hi, I own Denon x250bt and elac b6.2. I am very happy with the sound. Recently, i got a used marantz sr301 for free. Would buying a separate dac in the budget segment (15k) like topping, smsl, schitt etc., improve the sound? What dac should I buy?
Right now, use Rpi4 to stream Hi-Res songs through HDMI to my Denon AVR. So, i plan to use the DAC with pi usb for music.
 

magma

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So
You are using the analog processing of the denon or the marantz

Conventional wisdom would say that the dac would make a difference
And that would not be wrong

But
If you're gonna keep that marantz stereo receiver , its a dated and that's the choke
I would suggest -

Though you may see some gains with maybe an smsl or topping

Your future would be best if you bought even the new class d
High powered infeneon chip amps and then connect the dac's to that
 

ssf

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I have a Marantz receiver. When I was first trying out Tidal, I on an impulse bought the iFi Zen Dac. While streaming Spotify, I have tried very hard to see the difference between music played via the Dac and natively via the Marantz. While they both do sound different, I would be happy with either. Would not really say that they made a big enough difference to warrant a purchase of a seperate DAC.

But then, I would also like to add, I have Olden ears
 

krisna

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So
You are using the analog processing of the denon or the marantz

Conventional wisdom would say that the dac would make a difference
And that would not be wrong

But
If you're gonna keep that marantz stereo receiver , its a dated and that's the choke
I would suggest -

Though you may see some gains with maybe an smsl or topping

Your future would be best if you bought even the new class d
High powered infeneon chip amps and then connect the dac's to that
I have a very limited budget, so upgrading amp is out of equation. I am planning to use the DAC with my Denon, as i am planning to return marantz. In that case, would adding a decent budget DAC like smsl or schitt would benefit me.
 

krisna

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I have a Marantz receiver. When I was first trying out Tidal, I on an impulse bought the iFi Zen Dac. While streaming Spotify, I have tried very hard to see the difference between music played via the Dac and natively via the Marantz. While they both do sound different, I would be happy with either. Would not really say that they made a big enough difference to warrant a purchase of a seperate DAC.

But then, I would also like to add, I have Olden ears
Yes, i do like the denon-elac combo that i have right now. may be a dac could add something to the system?
 

DB1989

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Yes, i do like the denon-elac combo that i have right now. may be a dac could add something to the system?
Unfortunately, but rather fortunately considering you like the sound, not with your amps. Of course, unless you try it, you'll never know!
 
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vkalia

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An entry-level DAC is likely what the receiver already has. I am not sure that another entry-level DAC is going to be a significant upgrade (or any kind of upgrade at all).
 

bobbyprajan

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The OP has mentioned that he is into hi-res music streaming. Entry level DACs like Topping E30, SMSL Sanskrit 10 MKII has impressive figures in their specifications. He will not have an advantage with new entry level DACs and high-res music ? I am also thinking about going for an entry level USB DAC in the near future, hence following the topic
 

DB1989

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The OP has mentioned that he is into hi-res music streaming. Entry level DACs like Topping E30, SMSL Sanskrit 10 MKII has impressive figures in their specifications. He will not have an advantage with new entry level DACs and high-res music ? I am also thinking about going for an entry level USB DAC in the near future, hence following the topic
That depends on your current Amplifier and speakers.
 

drkrack

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An entry-level DAC is likely what the receiver already has. I am not sure that another entry-level DAC is going to be a significant upgrade (or any kind of upgrade at all).
+1
Go with Entry level DACs only when some compatibility issue is cropping up or your current in built DAC is lacking your desired input option.
Entry level DACs like Topping E30, SMSL Sanskrit 10 MKII has impressive figures in their specifications.
They're good on the Specifications front, but don't offer significant upgrade in final SQ ; the Midrange DACs like Chord 2 Cute, Ares2, D90 actually offer a good VFM SQ upgrade, otherwise its not worth going to separates IMHO.
 

Mayasandra_l

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Any DAC in the 15K region (example ifi Zen Dac) may not give you any perceptible difference. You would have to step up to around 40L plus to hear difference. You may not like a cheaper Topping DAC as well, considering you already are into Marantz house sound. My understanding is that a DAC alone does not lead to audio nirvana, it is the entire chain. Elacs are known to be bright hence try and pair them with suitable electronics. I pair my ancient Elacs with my R2R / Class A pre/AL 6000 to make them sound wonderful. Topping E30 was totally unsuitable in my chain and I had to sell it off. All the best in your journey.
 

krisna

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Any DAC in the 15K region (example ifi Zen Dac) may not give you any perceptible difference. You would have to step up to around 40L plus to hear difference. You may not like a cheaper Topping DAC as well, considering you already are into Marantz house sound. My understanding is that a DAC alone does not lead to audio nirvana, it is the entire chain. Elacs are known to be bright hence try and pair them with suitable electronics. I pair my ancient Elacs with my R2R / Class A pre/AL 6000 to make them sound wonderful. Topping E30 was totally unsuitable in my chain and I had to sell it off. All the best in your journey.
Thanks for the suggestions. But i don't think elacs are bright, atleast to my ears
 

rikhav

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Gustard dacs ??

The x16 goes up against the su9.

I think spec wise it betters it.

The build and psu sections also are better when compared to the topping or smsl offerings.
 

Hari Iyer

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An entry-level DAC is likely what the receiver already has. I am not sure that another entry-level DAC is going to be a significant upgrade (or any kind of upgrade at all).
An entry-level DAC can be easily converted to a high end DAC by replacing the active low pass Filters that uses all entry level opamps and 5% carbon resistors and cheap Chinese capacitors by a simple audio transformers with 1% thin film resistors for as less as just 5k to 7k. Agreed this is an invasive process but nevertheless worth consideration.
 

Hari Iyer

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Best entry level DAC is the Apple DAC for INR 900. Posted above
Is this a DAC Chip? Only DAC chip that don't have an inbuilt LPF can be modified. I have seen some awful DAC chips that is an all-in-one package to save cost like I found in the Arilic streamer. Such chips can't be modified with the audio transformer method.
 

rwnano

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Is this a DAC Chip? Only DAC chip that don't have an inbuilt LPF can be modified. I have seen some awful DAC chips that is an all-in-one package to save cost like I found in the Arilic streamer. Such chips can't be modified with the audio transformer method.
The Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter includes a DAC with CS4272 Chip, and Apple’s chip number 338S100104. You can google CS4272, it has 24-bit 192kHz 114dB output capability, though I wonder if Apple still limits it to 24-bit 48kHz.
 
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