Scott Nixon USB DAC..simple and pure ..based on the venerable Phillips TDA1541 DAC...brilliant.... 250$ new..can find it for 220 used.
Once you get used to the non oversampling Philips TDA15xx sound, its very very hard to go back to oversampling DACs. They just sound so mechanical and boring .
Posting here since my question is exactly the title of the thread. Except I have narrowed down to the following candidates, listed in no particular order:
M-Audio Transit $70
NuForce uDAC $99
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Nuforce uDAC USB DAC AMP with line out and S/PDIF out - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio
HRT MusicStreamer $99
SoundStage! - The Digital Domain - High Resolution Technologies MusicStreamer Digital-to-Analog Converter (5/2009)
EMU 0202 $99
EMU 0404 and 0202 Compared - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio
Fubar II $137
6moons audio reviews: Audio Candy from Audio Magic, BPT, Eastern Electric, Firestone Audio & Skylan
Let me describe the system I am trying to configure for my friend, in which the DAC will play an important role:
It is a system that is built for both stereo and HT use. WHF 9.5s form the fronts, and the rest of the 9 series for centre and surround. A NAD T742 AVR (5.1) is used as a preamp, which connects to a Marantz PM7001 (in pure power amp mode). The 7001 powers the fronts and the NAD powers the centre, sub, and surrounds. An HTPC connects to an old Creative soundblaster external card via USB. The Creative connects to the NAD inputs via RCA analog. Foobar with an ASIO plugin bypasses the horrible default Win audio drivers, directly to USB.
The system sounds balanced (to our ears at least). The NAD and Marantz sounds complement each other and the 9.5's characteristics. However, I do feel the Creative is the weak link currently and needs to be improved. Can the forum members please rate these DACS with respect to how well they would suit this particular system's sound signature? Is the $37 of the Fubar II worth the sonic upgrade over the NuForce and HRT Streamer? Is the EMU still better than the others? My friend's budget cannot exceed around $150 so we are not looking at costlier DACs, though I know they exist and sound beautiful.
Thanks for all advice and help in advance,
Thanks for the replies.
I have need for only one DAC and that too, as fast as possible. So I will buy online this time but will keep you in mind for bigger orders next time.
I am not looking for new DAC candidates but any inputs/reviews/sound feedback on how the 5 will fit in the existing system.
I'd like to recommend the Pico DAC from headamp.com
Very decent for the money.
Another one is Audio GD 19MK3..go for the one with the PMD100 digital filter for a more warmer musical sound or the DF1704 if you want slightly better detail level.