Author Topic: Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?  (Read 389 times)

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Offline Shohei-kun

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Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?
« on: May 05, 2016, 11:06:01 pm »
I'll go ahead and state upfront that I know almost nothing about the DAC market. I know what they are used for and how they work, but I know nothing about what makes for good and bad ones. This is where I need everybody's help. Could you guys give me some solid recommendations with the following guidelines?

1) Between $125-$225 USD before taxes and shipping.
2) Primary use is for gaming and lossless audio with a pair of expensive Sennheiser headphones. This means quality is actually a factor and the DAC should be specialized for headphones (if this is actually a thing).
3) USB input (I do not have an external sound card to act as a "router" or "signal transport"). I've been told that USB will likely give worse quality than..whatever the alternative is - is this true? What are my alternatives?
4) 3.5mm output jack (which I believe is standard).
5) Can't be a USB "stick".

Some tips on how to best use the DAC would be appreciated as well (for example things not to do, how to get the best quality out of it, etc...).

Thanks!
Since nobody online can ever present an intellectual discussion and internet discussions bring out the worst in me I have decided to abandon all forms of social media, message boards, and media comments. If you want something from me feel free to send me a message.

Offline halfelite

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Re: Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2016, 11:22:05 pm »
You have two different requirements.  For gaming you need more surround sound if you play FPS and need to listen to your surrounds IE footsteps if you play games you need directional sound which a DAC will not help you with. Lossless FLAC or DSD is where the DAC will shine.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 11:26:50 pm by halfelite »

Offline Shohei-kun

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Re: Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2016, 11:24:19 pm »
I don't play FPS games and do not need to worry about surround sound. I do not care much for surround sound in the first place. Stereo does the job just fine.
Since nobody online can ever present an intellectual discussion and internet discussions bring out the worst in me I have decided to abandon all forms of social media, message boards, and media comments. If you want something from me feel free to send me a message.

Marked as best answer by Shohei-kun on June 06, 2016, 11:58:37 pm

Offline halfelite

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Re: Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2016, 11:31:29 pm »
For your budget I would suggest the

JDSLABS Objective2 + ODAC Combo

its 50$ more then your budget but anything cheaper would not be worth it.

In your budget although you said no USB sticks the Audioquest DragonFly v1.2 would be option number 2
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 11:42:40 pm by halfelite »

Offline krumm

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Re: Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2016, 12:51:10 am »
Do you already have a amp?  dac and amp are separate items.  I'm not an expert but at the 200ish price, there are 2 popular choices.  the o2+odac and the schiit stack.  I use mostly the Sennheiser hd600 and bayerdynamic dt770 250ohm with an o2 amp.  The o2 is a great amp, but i don't have much experience with the odac and never heard the schiit stuff.  The schiit stack I think its the magni and modi are 100 dollars each.  from my understanding they are both great starts into high end audio and a lot of people don't care to spend anymore money.

What headphones you using sennheiser makes a lot of expensive headphones.  the o2+odac or schiit stack maybe good for the hd600/650, but it could be completely different for the hd800.  I dont like the HD700 and may need a entirely different setup.  a audio forum would prob be a better place to look.

Offline Shohei-kun

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Re: Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2016, 07:36:55 am »
I don't already have an amp. I'm currently using HD 558s, but I'll be upgrading to HD 700s (most likely) together with the DAC. I'm looking into the O2+ODAC, but I'm holding off on my purchase for right now since something seems to be off with either a majority of my USB ports or my PSU. Thanks for the recommendations, fellas.
Since nobody online can ever present an intellectual discussion and internet discussions bring out the worst in me I have decided to abandon all forms of social media, message boards, and media comments. If you want something from me feel free to send me a message.

Offline AceHigh

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Re: Looking for a good DAC. Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2016, 01:08:50 pm »
Audioengine makes stuff that is quality wise above the common shit, yet not in the professional hi-fi class. While I myself was looking to expand the use of my pc as a media centre in an additional room with the use of wireless DAC sender/reciever, I believe that a headphone DAC like this one is what would be perfect for you.