£30 Ish dacs on Amazon - anyone tried these?

jaypatel

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Amazan curreently have a few DACs on sale for around the £30 mark - some marked as half price

Cabbleson - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cablesson%C2%AE-SAP-3-Digital-Analogue-Converter/dp/B002KHA1J6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1331903866&sr=8-2

Neet - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neet%C2%AE-DAC-Digital-Analogue-Converter/dp/B0038M3ID8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1331903901&sr=8-4

Fiio D3 - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Digital-Analog-Audio-Converter-Optical/dp/B0068IPE40/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1331903931&sr=8-11

I am thinking of using one to connect my Apple TV directly to an Integrated Amp (rather than via a HTMI into the TV and back out to the Amp).

Anyone have experience of these and would they improve on my current set up via the TV??
 

BenLaw

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I just bought the Fiio D3 for a bedroom setup. I bought it as it was the cheapest dac I could find and Fiio have a good rep for other products I've read about. This has given me an obvious improvement on the tv's speakers, but I'm afraid I've not compared with any other DACs.

I'm assuming at the moment your tv is doing the conversion and you're sending analogue out to your amp. I suspect at this price level improvements will be subtle at best. I guess you would always be able to return within 7 days if you weren't happy with the level of improvement, although that's not a personal recommendation.

Edit: if you're using a headphone out at the moment I'd expect a worthwhile improvement.
 

busb

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Hi Jay

Until I bought an audiolab M-DAC, I used to run both iTunes via ATV's HDMI & my Panasonic TV's sound through a cheap 3m interconnect into my amp. The sound of the Pana's DAC was surprisingly good! Buying a cheap ext DAC may not give better sound. Many modern TVs actually have decent DACs as do many BR players.
 

shooter

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Ordered the Fiio D3 today so should be with me in a few days. It'll be used in the boys room with the TV but I'll give it a workout in the system first and will post some thoughts then; end of week sometime.

WHF reviewed the Neet DAC and gave it 3 stars here: http://www.whathifi.com/review/neet-dac
 

wilsmusic

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Funnily enough I've spent the entire evening comparing my FiiO D3 to a Music Fidelity V-DAC (first version). I'm using Spotify on Tivo and Flac files through Coax into the V-DAC and FiiO and then into my Arcam Alpha 8 amp. Using tracks by Kate Bush, Metronomy and Thom Yorke to compare and contrast.

I've ultimately come to the conclusion that the V-DAC is very slightly better than the FiiO.

However, considering that the V-DAC new was around £200 and the FiiO is £25 then in my view the FiiO represents very good value for money.

I recommend it thoroughly for the use you outline.
 

jaypatel

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Thanks all for responses so far, of the three listed in my OP I may try the fiio d3. Obviously would love to be able to spend £200 plus on a dac but it's not going to happen any time soon!
 

shooter

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Okay the Fiio has arived, blimey its small :O

Easily fits in the palm of the hand, solid piece though thats well made. I havent had a chace to listen yet but its been on for a couple of days and if i get a chance over the next day or two i'll update on sound then with add some pics aswell

Looking forward!
 

shooter

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Brief intro of the Fiio:

• Built in phase locked loop (pll) with low jitter receiver chip

• Upto 192/24 signal

• Optical/Coax input

• Mini UBB power supply & DC 5v

• S/N 90db

Been having a listen to this little DAC for couple of days now, i bought it with a very cheap 75ohm coax cable from Amazon and using it with dedicated transport into my amp.

One thing that struck me on first impression was how vague it sounded out the box, this was friday night though and part of it could of been down to mood; tiredness and some mild cold that i had picked up only the day before posssible contributers to it.

It hasnt changed though over the last couple of days and i've put in a good 15hrs or so listening with tunes from the XX, Django, Beck, Noel Gallagher, MGMT, PJ Harvey, Eagles and others.

Music is lacking in detail, nuances of sound i know is on the discs just aren't their, those subtle changes in tone dont happen. Not sure what this is down to, cheap cable, high noise floor smearing?? Dunno.

Expecting to much from a £25 DAC, probably and those initial thoughts still haven't changed. Saying that though the sound is good enough, the balance from top to bottom is pretty good, nothing stands out in any way though on some tracks i seem to get some very high frequency noise that sounds like static, though just audible.

Jitter artifacts?

The Fiio sounds very similar to the AEX using the analog out though a little resessed in the mid, this is only a smidge though, a gnats whatsit of comparison.

If you know the AEX sound then this is what to expect, if not expect okay sound but you wont be dazzled with detail and drive, not a bad thing if thats what you like (i like lo-fi CDP's) and i'm not sure this DAC would work well with TV/Film with its dynamic swings.

Id like to try it with the AEX using a 3.5mm Toslink and use some EQ in iTunes, see how it responds but thats for another day.

Off now to enjoy the day!
 

shooter

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The Fiio.

DSCF6065.jpg
 

shooter

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It going back, the return ticket has been filled out.

Been listening again and there is some problems with this DAC in that it has some static effect at high frequencies. Not sure why its doing it but it sure isn't right but i would of thought it would effect the sound overall.

Tried to order again but unable to, so i'll get the refund and get another.
 

quadpatch

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That's a shame, I had a pretty good experience with Fiio. I'm sure it's just bad luck. Where did you get it btw? Are they being ok with the return?
 

shooter

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quadpatch said:
That's a shame, I had a pretty good experience with Fiio. I'm sure it's just bad luck. Where did you get it btw? Are they being ok with the return?

Picked it up from Amazon so no probs with returns, though searching around the www. they seem to be a bit hit and miss regarding quality control.

Your right it could of been a one off problem but it was a big one, it had some serious grounding issues that was carrying its noise into the transport as static and had me throwing emails at MSB thinking it was its fault, thank goodness it wasn't!

It had a very limited frequency band and its limitations shone through on some test tracks, though some of it could of been due to the grounding, not 100% sure though.

Couldn't recommend it tbh, some pretty basic problems and from a unit that RRP's around £50 but sells for less should be better.
 

quadpatch

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shooter69 said:
Picked it up from Amazon so no probs with returns, though searching around the www. they seem to be a bit hit and miss regarding quality control.

Couldn't recommend it tbh, some pretty basic problems and from a unit that RRP's around £50 but sells for less should be better.
I remember looking up lots about Fiio before I bought one and don't remember finding large numbers of unhappy customers. I didn't look up the D3 specifically to be fair but the less cheap as hell models seem to have the most consistantly high scoring customer feedback of any DAC I have seen.

I would recommend anyone getting a Fiio to go through Advanced MP3 Players btw and no they don't pay me, they are the only official UK seller, if you buy a Fiio E9 for example it's the only way to assure you'll get a UK plug on the adapter. They are one of the Amazon marketplace sellers for the Fiios you'll find on the Amazon site anyway. Their customer service is superb too, maybe even better than Amazon if that's possible, honestly they don't pay me.
 

rjb70stoke

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Ive got the Cablesson DAC, that you mention and the reviews on Amazon are very accurate for this product.

I bought it, just to see if a DAC would make a difference from using an analogue audio lead from my Airport Express, and bypassing the supposedly poor quality of the Airport Express DAC.

Initially I was quite sceptical about it, and couldnt really tell any difference, however after leaving it "Converting" over a couple of nights, to run it in, it now sounds considerably better than my old analogue lead. The thing I wonder now, is, would an expensive DAC, make another big difference?

My advice would be buy one. Its a quality little product and if it doesnt make the difference you expect, its only the price of a couple of CD's
 

shooter

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steve_1979 said:
It's a shame it was faulty. Are you going to try one of the other £30 DACs?

Yep at some point, still need one for the boys room. Peeps still rate the Fiio so i may try another though my thought are elsewere at the moment :)
 

ReValveiT

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Why shouldn't they be great? Come on people! This is 30+ year old tech.

While the big 'hifi' companys might have you believe in spending 300-600 quid on such a simple device, these newer companys are showing you don't need to.

These cheaper DACs are minus the voodoo of course... :)
 

quadpatch

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shooter69 said:
Wish that was true, sadly not.
I agree, I recently heard some expensive ones with headphone amps and they were amazing. You certainly do get a nice boost with these cheep ones compared to the standard PC output but it doesn't stop there if you have the gear to take advantage of it.
 

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