DAC...what to buy.

Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
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Evening..I've just bought an Arcam A29 so I'm now looking for a DAC to use, I'll be connecting a Wiim Mini and also a laptop.

I've had a look around on-line and the choice is baffling. What would be a good buy with a budget of £200/300.....used or new..

Also, is there much difference in DACs or is it more a case of buying the one that has the connections that you need.

Thanks for any help.
 

Gray

Well-known member
If you can hide it away (or put in a case) I can assure you that this will be (at least) as good as anything up to £300.....If USB and coax inputs are enough for you.
It's what's used in the March Audio DAC1.

Or, USB only, same DAC chip in a nice case:

No need to treble your outlay - despite some saying that "no DAC below £1000 is worth considering" (y)

....though if you want to spend, this gives a choice of inputs + HQ Bluetooth as a bonus:
 
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Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
160
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18,670
If you can hide it away (or put in a case) I can assure you that this will be (at least) as good as anything up to £300.....If USB and coax inputs are enough for you.
It's what's used in the March Audio DAC1.

Or, USB only, same DAC chip in a nice case:

No need to treble your outlay - despite some saying that "no DAC below £1000 is worth considering" (y)

....though if you want to spend, this gives a choice of inputs + HQ Bluetooth as a bonus:
I'm liking the look if the Topping, have you any experience with the E30, seems to get good reviews.
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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Evening..I've just bought an Arcam A29 so I'm now looking for a DAC to use, I'll be connecting a Wiim Mini and also a laptop.

I've had a look around on-line and the choice is baffling. What would be a good buy with a budget of £200/300.....used or new..

Also, is there much difference in DACs or is it more a case of buying the one that has the connections that you need.

Thanks for any help.
£45 for the both.
Wiim Mini has an aux output already, so just a 3.5mm to 2 RCA cable will suffice.

Laptop is a no brainer. Behringer UCA-222 has a USB input and a choice of outputs, including 2RCA.
 

Gray

Well-known member
I'm liking the look if the Topping, have you any experience with the E30, seems to get good reviews.
I've no personal experience of the E30, but like other Topping products, I don't doubt the value.
My (favourable) experience of the brand, is with their A50S headphone amp.

I can imagine that D50S being good (certainly well built - made from a solid aluminium block).
But DAC sound differences are fairly subtle - and personally, I doubt it would be worth the extra money over the E30 - and £149 is enough money to be paying.
 
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Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
160
58
18,670
I've no personal experience of the E30, but like other Topping products, I don't doubt the value.
My (favourable) experience of the brand, is with their A50S headphone amp.

I can imagine that D50S being good (certainly well built - made from a solid aluminium block).
But DAC sound differences are fairly subtle - and personally, I doubt it would be worth the extra money over the E30 - and £149 is enough money to be paying.
I've just put a bid in for the
Amazon users certainly recognise it as being a bargain.
Great if you use any of the streaming
services.
If you could connect a USB stick / HDD to it....they'd sell a few million more I'm sure.
I'm primarily using it for the Tidal connect feature, I'm leaning towards the E30....
 
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plastic penguin

Well-known member
I'm not the best person to respond on Dacs, but the budget ones I've owned and demoed, just choose any brand... they're all much of a muchness.

Many will disagree but I can only go by what I've heard, based on used with CDs.
 

doifeellucky

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2016
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You must use the optical out of the Wiim mini, not the 3.5 as someone suggested, otherwise you’ll be using the internal DAC on the Wiim which is not good. So you need a DAC with two optical inputs, one for tv and one for Wiim, and a usb input. Looks like that might limit your options somewhat. You could get an optical switch for about £15 to get around this.

SMSL and Sabaj are two other brands to consider.

Look on YouTube for recent reviews. Also get the Mk2 version of the E30 if that’s what you’re going for.
 
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twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
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If it were me I’d spend just a little more and get the bluesound node 2i. I know you have wim mini but the blue sound will give you so much more in regards of usability and youll only have one box and a few less cables. You also gain hdmi connectivity for tv, if that matters.

But if you want a straight dac there are plenty I’d probably look at topping

Sound wise dacs do have a different sound but subtle at best it’s more about implementation not the chip itself.
 

doifeellucky

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2016
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The DAC in the latest Bluesound Node is regarded by some as being equivalent to a standalone costing £100, so you’d be paying a lot for convenience as you already have the Wiim. However the hdmi input would get round the issue of only one optical in on the Node, though you wouldn’t actually need optical at all with the Node as the TV would use HDMI and the Wiim would be redundant. But you couldn’t connect your laptop to the Node, as the USB is for maintenance only.
 
The DAC in the latest Bluesound Node is regarded by some as being equivalent to a standalone costing £100, so you’d be paying a lot for convenience as you already have the Wiim. However the hdmi input would get round the issue of only one optical in on the Node, though you wouldn’t actually need optical at all with the Node as the TV would use HDMI and the Wiim would be redundant. But you couldn’t connect your laptop to the Node, as the USB is for maintenance only.
No being able to connect a laptop sort of negates Node doesn't it?
 

daveh75

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Jul 31, 2008
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Evening..I've just bought an Arcam A29 so I'm now looking for a DAC to use, I'll be connecting a Wiim Mini and also a laptop.
Nobody seems to have bothered to ask, but what will you be connecting the laptop to the DAC for?

If it's to play locally stored music for example, you could just use the Wiim Mini to stream from it via DLNA/UPNP
 

MrSinghsStereo

Well-known member
Feb 22, 2022
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be mindful of the limitations of the optical input . however if you are using software on your laptop that sends data bit perfect , you can overcome the limtation if your downstream dac is say mqa capable and can unfold and render
 

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