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USB or Optical DAC for < $150

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I want to DAC, but I'm not sure how to sift through the options. I have an ARM computer with usb and optical out.

As far as usb goes, I've been looking at things like the Creative X-Fi HD and the Fiio E10. There are others too. I just have no idea what to look for in them besides the input/output I need.

I just recently realized that the computer also has optical output, and maybe that would be better/cheaper. A quick search made me find the Fiio D3 for only $30.

All I need it for is good stereo sound.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 12
Behringer makes a good USB DAC for well under $50. It won't be better or worse than that Fiio. With DACs, you really can't go wrong.
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypophthalmus View Post

I want to DAC, but I'm not sure how to sift through the options. I have an ARM computer with usb and optical out.

As far as usb goes, I've been looking at things like the Creative X-Fi HD and the Fiio E10. There are others too. I just have no idea what to look for in them besides the input/output I need.

I just recently realized that the computer also has optical output, and maybe that would be better/cheaper. A quick search made me find the Fiio D3 for only $30.

All I need it for is good stereo sound.

Any suggestions?


I have the Schiit MODI Dac powered over USB, asynchronous $99. It's a great unit.


post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
The Schiit MODI looks nice. Nice plain box, simple I/O. It seems to be reviewed well too. I'm leaning towards that now.
post #5 of 12
I'm also looking for the best low price DAC with one optical input. USB support is random under Linux so I prefer to stick on TOSLink.
The Behringer UCA202 would be great but it's just USB...
Any opinion on the Lindy ?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
What do you mean when you say USB support is random under Linux? As I understand it, USB audio is a standard that's widely adhered to, so any usb DAC should just work with the usb audio driver.
post #7 of 12
Oh no. I'm not a Linux expert, but I'm definitely not a beginner. Audio in linux has never been easy. Alsa supports Audio class 1 and 2 (most of synchronous DAC), but there are quite a lot of exotic DACs around here... Of course there is most of the time a way to get a device work, but it can be overcomplicated... cf http://tuxradar.com/content/how-it-works-linux-audio-explained
Edited by poukill - 2/23/13 at 1:56am
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
The Behringer UCA202, Schiit MODI, Fiio E10, Creative X-FI HD, NuForce uDAC2 should all be plug and play in Linux. I personally have the Asus Xonar U3 which is plug and play (I'm replacing it mainly because somebody decided it'd be fun to bend the usb plug back and forth, so now I can barely touch it without it turning off).

You should only need to make sure you have the usb audio driver in the kernel or loaded as a module, and specify which device to use either in the program or pulseaudio if you're going that route.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypophthalmus View Post

The Behringer UCA202, Schiit MODI, Fiio E10, Creative X-FI HD, NuForce uDAC2 should all be plug and play in Linux.


My MODI has been used in a Linux system, plug the USB cable in to the computer, chose the Schiit MODI as the audio player and away you go.
post #10 of 12
Good news someone tested it for me ! :-)
Initially I was thinking of buying the Cambridge DAC 100, which has many inputs (USB, TOSLink and 2 coax) and a beautiful design...
But yeah the MODI looks great and is quite cheap.

A long time ago I thought I was going to buy a 1000 $ DAC, but now I'm cured. I stay where science is. Thanks guys.
Edited by poukill - 2/24/13 at 3:08pm
post #11 of 12
Hello K Shep,
I already had The Shiit Modi run it off from my laptop(windows 7.) Now, I would like to use Raspberry Pi + XBMC combination to replace my laptop but I am not sure if it work ?
Thanks.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
It should work on the Raspberry Pi. Like I said before, you should only need to make sure you have the usb audio driver in the kernel or loaded as a module, and specify which device to use either in the program or pulseaudio if you're going that route.

There shouldn't be any difference between between using it on a tiny ARM computer like the Raspberry Pi and a desktop/laptop, except that the distribution for the desktop/laptop is more likely to include the usb audio driver by default and have pulseaudio set up alongside a GUI for pulseaudio for selecting the output device.
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