Please recommend a DAC (or is the Colorfly C4 adequate?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I currently have a pair of Audioengine A2's for my desktop/computer desk. I don't have much space.

I store all of my music in lossless and the speakers sound great! However I want to add a DAC into this set up. So I am looking into purchasing the Colorfly C4 for my portable music needs and I know the DAC and amp on that thing is supposed to be pretty good. Is it possible to use this as a DAC using the signal from my computer. Reason being, it would be more convenient to use the music from foobar instead of from the Colorfly as my music collection simply wouldn't fit onto the Colorfly. The only problem here is that I would be amping an already amped signal (amps in the speakers too). Unless there is a way to bypass this.

As an alternative I have seen several different DAC's recommend such as the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic. However this one does not have a volume control, I have hear this can reduce signal quality? Please confirm this. I hear iBasso and and the NuForce DAC are pretty good too, but the Dacmagic seems to have more to give....

Thanks.
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 09:54 AM
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If by chance you have a PC (not a laptop), then look into the Asus Xonar Essence ST or STX sound cards. Gets fantastic reviews that say it is comparable to the many external usb DACs. Here's one from Stereophile: http://www.stereophile.com/computera...tx_soundcards/

Then you control the volume through your PC (I use a multimedia keyboard), and it has built in EQ that would allow you to adjust the frequency response of your speakers to compensate for room acoustics.

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post #3 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 10:13 AM
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Hit Craigslist and search for:

EMU, MAudio, Focusrite, Presonus, Cakewalk, Tascam. These are the audio interfaces that professional sound engineers use to produce the music you listen to.

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post #4 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Thanks for the replies however I am using a laptop. Any suggestions ?
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Or what about driving some passive desktop speakers with the Colorfly? If it is possible that would do away with buying a seperate DAC and amp
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 12:13 PM
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It looks like the Colorfly will do what you want it do. I'd download a manual and double check. You might also research at head-fi.org. I'm sure they've been discussing it.


Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #7 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 01:15 PM
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Have you checked out the Musical Fidelity V-DAC Mark II ??

I use the Audioengine A2s on my computer table; good stuff!




Quote:
Originally Posted by BA88 View Post

Hi,

I currently have a pair of Audioengine A2's for my desktop/computer desk. I don't have much space.

I store all of my music in lossless and the speakers sound great! However I want to add a DAC into this set up. So I am looking into purchasing the Colorfly C4 for my portable music needs and I know the DAC and amp on that thing is supposed to be pretty good. Is it possible to use this as a DAC using the signal from my computer. Reason being, it would be more convenient to use the music from foobar instead of from the Colorfly as my music collection simply wouldn't fit onto the Colorfly. The only problem here is that I would be amping an already amped signal (amps in the speakers too). Unless there is a way to bypass this.

As an alternative I have seen several different DAC's recommend such as the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic. However this one does not have a volume control, I have hear this can reduce signal quality? Please confirm this. I hear iBasso and and the NuForce DAC are pretty good too, but the Dacmagic seems to have more to give....

Thanks.

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post #8 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 01:24 PM
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I use an HRT Music Streamer II USB DAC. It works great, sounds great. Lots of reviews on the web for it. No sound card needed.
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.

I wonder why they recommend using an amp in first image series above, and then below using a DAC and an amp coming from a CD player? Seems strange.....

Surely amping an already amped signal is a bit of waste of time....? And there is already a DAC in the Colorfly too. lol.

This seems as if to keep things simple I may as well have the Colorfly for my portable music needs and look into the Dacmagic, Music Streamer or the Musical Fidelity V-DAC Mark II as a standalone DAC.

Can't see any reason to amp the signal twice as the A2's are already amped.
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post

I use an HRT Music Streamer II USB DAC. It works great, sounds great. Lots of reviews on the web for it. No sound card needed.

Isn't the HRT a sound card, so that is why none is needed?

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post #11 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BA88 View Post

Thanks.

I wonder why they recommend using an amp in first image series above, and then below using a DAC and an amp coming from a CD player? Seems strange.....

They are saying that it will take an input that is sampled at 24/44.1 and resample to a higher rate like 24/192.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BA88 View Post

Surely amping an already amped signal is a bit of waste of time....? And there is already a DAC in the Colorfly too. lol.

This seems as if to keep things simple I may as well have the Colorfly for my portable music needs and look into the Dacmagic, Music Streamer or the Musical Fidelity V-DAC Mark II as a standalone DAC.

Can't see any reason to amp the signal twice as the A2's are already amped.

You if you have the Colorfly you don't need the Dacmagic, HRT, M Fidelity. The Colorfly is a stand alone DAC. Although I have never heard of it and haven't seen any credible reviews.

Hop on Craigslist and hit the musical instruments section. Search for the brands that I referenced and lets see what you find. Problem with the DAC's you are looking at is if you ever integrate a sub you really can't do it with those products (at least with the HRT and DacMagic).

With a pro-audio DAC you can (plus headphones etc...) what is your budget? That thing is $549(English pounds) quid? Are they joking? I can get RME/Lynx/Apogee for that kind of scratch.

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post #12 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Isn't the HRT a sound card, so that is why none is needed?

Kind of. It is a USB DAC, which eliminates the need for a sound card. The only output is stereo RCA jacks.
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post #13 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BA88 View Post

I wonder why they recommend using an amp in first image series above, and then below using a DAC and an amp coming from a CD player? Seems strange.....

Out of context maybe. But if you look at the website, that's from a sequence of slides, one of which shows other possibilities. They are just trying to show potential uses.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #14 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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So if I also wanted a sub I wouldn't be able to drive it with the Colorfly?

Do I really need an amp if I have the audioengine a2's? I'm not sure what kind of quality the amp in the speakers is.

hmmm options. I like the reviews on the Musical Fidelity M-1 DAC.

My budget, I'm not sure. I don't think its worth spending more on a DAC than I have on the speakers?

Well I suppose it's probably not worth spending more than £300 on a DAC. Whilst I would use something like the MF M-1 or the HRT Music Streamer II DAC with the A2's I am actually looking to upgrade the A2's at some point. I am in the process of drawing up two wall mounted speaker shelves and I am going to make them big enough to fit the Audioengine P5's or other similar bookshelf speaker.
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post #15 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 02:44 PM
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The A2s don't need an amp.

A sub comes with a built in amp. Get a sub that has both L/R RCA inputs. Buy a couple y splitters for RCA. Split the RCA output from the Colorfly to the A2s and Sub. As long as you can control the volume from the Colofly or your computer, this will work fine. Set the sub crossover to the low frequency roll off the A2s, and set the speakers and sub to have balanced output using their volume controls.

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post #16 of 16 Old 02-25-2012, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

The A2s don't need an amp.

A sub comes with a built in amp. Get a sub that has both L/R RCA inputs. Buy a couple y splitters for RCA. Split the RCA output from the Colorfly to the A2s and Sub. As long as you can control the volume from the Colofly or your computer, this will work fine. Set the sub crossover to the low frequency roll off the A2s, and set the speakers and sub to have balanced output using their volume controls.

Comparatively speaking that is a hack vs the pro-audio sound device route. You can pipe output to additional channels in the mixer and then use the sub's x-over. Additionally with a lot of the DSP based cards you can apply EQ per channel (think sub integration).

Other things that this path offers is Balanced and Unbalanced I/O. ADAT/SPDIF/AES-EBU I/O. I can actually take my 1212M feed a Behringer ADA-8000 and feed subs with it.

If he was using a desktop machine and used something like the EMU 1616M he could even integrate a Turn Table since one of it's inputs features RIAA equalization. All for $350 US dollars.

I'm seriously considering doing a write up of the 1616M vs the DAC Magic or Benchmark DAC1.

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