Please recommend me a USB DAC (and related questions) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-22-2019, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Please recommend me a USB DAC (and related questions)

I currently have a Teac UD301 USB DAC/Headphone which powers my headphones and also feeds a pair of powered bookshelf speakers. I have a Massdrop THX AAA 789 Amp on order and now looking for a separate DAC to pair it with or a combo DAC/AMP that can provide a similar performance for a similar combined price.

I need DAC with at least 2 pairs of outputs and one that can feed both at the same time. I also prefer black colored chassis.

I have shortlisted
- SMSL SU-8 - $200 - AFAIK, it comes only in silver
- Topping D70 -$425
- Monolith by Monoprice Liquid Platinum Balanced DAC by Alex Cavalli (AKM4499) - $500 - Not released yet so don't now how good it will be but I can wait if its expected to offer significant improvement.


1. Is Topping D70 worth twice the price of SMSL SU-8?
2. Can I control the volume of powered speakers from DAC or only from the speakers?
3. Is there a combo DAC/Amp that can offer similar performance for < $1K? I am open to reselling the Massdrop THX AAA 789 amp if I can find a good combo solution.

I returned the Monolith THX DAC/Amp because of usability issues. It required me to go to menu every time I wanted to switch outputs between speakers and headphones which my Teac does automatically depending upon whether headphones are plugged in or not.

Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 9 Old 10-22-2019, 11:52 AM
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The two outputs thing reduces the field significantly. I usually recommend the JDS EL DAC for people who want a standalone but it only has one out. If you're open to a combo DAC/headphone amp/pre out unit with volume control they sell the Element. A pro option would be the Mackie Big Knob studio but it's not much to look at.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 04:02 AM
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I'd check out Schiit dacs.

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post #4 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 09:47 AM
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check out the new ifi zen dac

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post #5 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qirex View Post
The two outputs thing reduces the field significantly. I usually recommend the JDS EL DAC for people who want a standalone but it only has one out. If you're open to a combo DAC/headphone amp/pre out unit with volume control they sell the Element. A pro option would be the Mackie Big Knob studio but it's not much to look at.
I like the looks of JDS Element but in its case you have to manually switch between headphones and RCA out with a button on the back which is going to be cumbersome in my usage. Thanks for the suggestion!

My Build Thread
HT - Seymour Centerstage XD 2.39:1 133" W| JVC X790R | Denon AVR | Nord NC500 | ATI AT528NC | Procella P8/P5V | Revel C763L | Monolith 12" x4
Living Room - LG OLED 65" | Yamaha 2060 | Monolith 3x200 | KEF Q900 L/R | Paradigm Millenia 20 CC | Polk Surrounds | Rythmik FV15HP x2
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-23-2019, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post
I'd check out Schiit dacs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post
check out the new ifi zen dac
Thanks!. Will checkout both.

My Build Thread
HT - Seymour Centerstage XD 2.39:1 133" W| JVC X790R | Denon AVR | Nord NC500 | ATI AT528NC | Procella P8/P5V | Revel C763L | Monolith 12" x4
Living Room - LG OLED 65" | Yamaha 2060 | Monolith 3x200 | KEF Q900 L/R | Paradigm Millenia 20 CC | Polk Surrounds | Rythmik FV15HP x2
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-24-2019, 02:09 AM
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-24-2019, 10:36 AM
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Why not connect your equipment in parallel to a single out?
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-24-2019, 06:49 PM
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I currently use SMSL SU-8 v2 DAC to feed my THX 789 (via XLR) and Loxjie P20 (via RCA). The XLR and RCA output from SU-8 are always on so you won't have the issue you mentioned about switching outputs via the menu. Permanently connect the XLR output to the THX789 and the RCA output to your powered speakers. I have plans to buy the Topping D70 in the future for my 2ch speaker system, but I'm quite satisfied with the SMSL SU-8 v2 and the Topping D50 currently used in my 2ch speakers.
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