Best DAC under €200

Tomjoppe28

Honorable
May 7, 2013
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Hi i'm kind of new in the audio stuff but i do have some nice equipment. I'd like a dac to add to my speakers for under 200 euro. My speakers are a pair of B&W DM110's and my amplifier for them is a NAD 3400 its from the monitor series. (not much information about it on the internet but it sound really really good) I'd like my dac to have as flat of a frequency response as possible. I mostly listen to rock. I hope this is enough information and that you can help me in my search!
 

Verndewdimus

Commendable
Oct 29, 2016
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http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlet2i4G2?product_id=%7Bproduct_id%7D&adpos=1o1&creative=93365752201&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAiA3qXBBRD4_b_V7ZLFsX4SJAB0AtEV2hiJ0BQ455DVY0xkaAj7Yinwk-w8-tTpZUUQRLOP0BoCj1fw_wcB Focusrite is world class DAC, AD / DC AND mic pre. considered the reliable studio work horse. Up there with appogee and avid. RME is another top tier brand. You can find apogee under 200, but the reason they are so liimted in i/o is they dont compromise on chip quality. You'll notice in their line the average i/o configurations you get under 200 elsewhere , costs 3 and 500. The same would be true of RME interfaces, these two companies simply dont use crap chips but you pay through the nose for it.
 
Frequency response is not a specification that will tell you anything in a DAC. Tube output DACs may not be as flat but any solid state DAC will be ruler flat.
Good inexpensive DACs can be purchased from Cambridge Audio. Schitt, M2Tech, and Meridian. Some will be USB only. Others include ARcam, Audioquest and Musical Fidelity.
 

Tomjoppe28

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May 7, 2013
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Could you recommend some models and what about m-audio my dad said m-audio was good but it was quite a wile back. Thanks for responding so quickly!
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
as far as usb models, the schiit modi 2 or modi 2 uber (adds optical input) are excellent. they get paired often with headphones and headphone amps but can be used for 2.0 speaker setups as well.

i'll let AA mention some of the other brands as he is more familiar with those.
 
M-audio is a studio type DAC and won't sound as good as an audiophile oriented one like the Schitt. If you want one with the latest updates the Meridian Explorer 2 with MQA might be of interest. I think it's in your range. Prices will vary depending on where you are. Local audio magazines or websites will have some reviews on the DACs available to you some of which are not imported to the states.
 

Tomjoppe28

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May 7, 2013
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There is a bit of a issue the meridian explorer 2 is 295 euro in the Netherlands. Any other recomendations would be much apreciated. Thanks again for helping!
 

Tomjoppe28

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May 7, 2013
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The reviews say its really flimsy and if I know myself the usb connector will most likely break off. Doesn't M-audio (being studio) make it as neutral as possible? Because like i said before I'd like the audio to be as close to the source as it can be! For me it would be handy if the dac is like a box that connects with a cable and if it can not needed but handy a tulp output. Thanks for all the recommendations!
 
Any USB stick can be touchy if it's under stress. The solution is to use a USB extension cable. Go as short as you can. The DAC can now be placed in a convenient location without any stress on itself or the jack.
Cheap pro DACs are not very neutral. They often have a grainy quality that is quite annoying if you are used to audiophile DACs. There are some very very expensive pro DACs that are excellent but not remotely close to your range.
If you want one with a case this one is pretty good for the money.
http://schiit.com/products/modi-2
 

Tomjoppe28

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May 7, 2013
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I'm now deciding between the SMSL M6 and a Schiit modi 2 they come in at around the same price. What do you think of the SMSL M6?
Thanks and regards, Tom
 

Verndewdimus

Commendable
Oct 29, 2016
15
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1,570
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http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlet2i4G2?product_id=%7Bproduct_id%7D&adpos=1o1&creative=93365752201&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAiA3qXBBRD4_b_V7ZLFsX4SJAB0AtEV2hiJ0BQ455DVY0xkaAj7Yinwk-w8-tTpZUUQRLOP0BoCj1fw_wcB Focusrite is world class DAC, AD / DC AND mic pre. considered the reliable studio work horse. Up there with appogee and avid. RME is another top tier brand. You can find apogee under 200, but the reason they are so liimted in i/o is they dont compromise on chip quality. You'll notice in their line the average i/o configurations you get under 200 elsewhere , costs 3 and 500. The same would be true of RME interfaces, these two companies simply dont use crap chips but you pay through the nose for it.
 
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