Around $100 or less dacs

with Z havng reviewed and ompared all the popular $100 amps I feel as though there should be a video or tread made on $100 DACs
DACS I feel that should be compared are
topping d10
topping D30
Grace Design Sdac
JDS Labs Odac
Schiit Modi
smsl m100
smsl Sanskrit

there could be more.
now before you go dacs dont matter and such I agree they dont matter yet we feel the need to sped the money on them and I feel especially at this price point where people are either dabbling in audio or this i the dac they will be using of every amp they will ever acquire so they want to not spend a lot of money cause “dacs don’t matter right”

I know there could be better reviewers on this respect sho actually would use measurements but I feel as though whenever zeos does something other reviewers start to follow. I would just cheack what audio science review thinks about them. but I feel amir is a little too stuck on the numbers sometimes. ad lacks the subjective touch I crave.

You can just reference the master SINAD list from ASR (higher is better) if you have to have a number or objective scale, but they are all good.

Shiit Modi 3 - 107
Topping D30 - 106
Topping D10 - 106
Grace SDAC - 101
SMSL M100 - 101 (via SMSL’s own graph)
SMSL Sanskrit - 101
JDS Labs OL DAC - 96

The SMSL site with the above measurement as included in the documentation from SMSL:

  1. Jollibee!!! - I had to get that out of the way, been waiting to say that.
  2. Totally Agree.
  3. Khadas Tone board - There are probably others more convenient, but for me–I want a project. If I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this… Until I find a 5 x 5 x 1.5 inch plastic box, its on. Otherwise I’m learning a CAD program or whatever 3D printers need to design one to sit neatly under the Atom.
  4. You should just go check Audio Science Review , because numbers. LOL

I’ve got a iFi iOne coming. They can be had for around $100 used and support MQA if you update the firmware. Not sure if I believe in MQA yet but I wanted something to try it before I wrote it off as crap

I meantiom audio science reviews I’m just not the type to look at one person’s measurements and opinions and accept it like that. I need to see more measurements for consistency.

I know I was kidding about ASR. I wanted to to be 3rd post in row. I’m not buying an DAC because it has a 105 or 107 next to it.

same. I already have a d10 so I’m not really in the market for a dac. but when I was researching dacs to add to my budget setup I felt that it was the most confusing componentunlike $100 amps which to me were very clear cut. if you want the cleanest sounding thing grab the atom. but if you care about build and power grab the liquid spark. where with dacs you have feature sets and such that I didnt know what to pick.

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I had this case printed up by someone via treatstock for ~$20. Looks great, fits perfectly and stacks nicely with an Atom using a little blue tac.

You have to go on something. Why not a measurement? It’s certianly better than comparing each company’s marketing brochures, which is what we did prior to 3rd party measurements being available.

For me, the research is part of the process. If I went by ASR’s SINAD alone, the KTB scores higher than those listed.

Does the 4-6 points make it better than a D10 or 50 or even and an EL DAC?

I know there are already 3DP designs, as well as what is on thingiverse. But I want the atom to stack on top, so I’d want a customized box that matches the atom’s footprint exactly.

I think the point of the SINAD scores is to be sure that there will be no issues. After a certain point you will not hear THD plus noise over the signal, so anything above is good enough.

What this level is for you and your equipment is subjective. Scores above 100 mean there there is a 100 dB difference between the signal you want to hear and things you do not (I doubt most people would be able to hear this at all).

If you find or design an Atom matching case let me know, I’ll be next in line!!

I have a solution but I don’t think I’d need to do a 3D print. Well hopefully not. I’ll see how it will work, I’ll have it here later in the week. If it works out I’d definitely hook you up.

For me I also like to do my researchamd like to have multiple sources and multiple texting methodologies to go off and sadly ASR is the only one that goes to that extent.

The m100 dips down into the 78 dollar range on amazon… really cant beat that, HOWEVER its important to note that you need to buy a 2nd USB A to USB mini cable for both the aux power in and the dac streaming port… if you don’t it and run power and streaming through a single cable it… well… sounds like muddy garbage, I have no idea why they didn’t fix this but the usb powered aspect wasn’t tested or QC’d very well, this also applies for the Sanskrit m10 Ann edition.

The topping d30 has its own unique smoothness with the CS4398 chip… I have all 3 and they are all very comparable… can’t go wrong.

The Khadas tone board if you don’t mine the “naked” nature… is prob the best of the bunch.

or you could make it simple and get the Fulla 2 and get both an DAC and Amp for $100. :slight_smile:

I personally bought the d10 as it was $75 in Canada when I bouvmght it and was a great bargain while the rest like the sdac and the tone board were only available with shipping and customs prices I didn’t want to deal with.

I’m sold on a DAC.

My Khadas arrived and i was able to make a temporary ghetto case with a ZSN Pro IEM box I had lying around (hopefully it doesn’t catch :fire:), until my permanent solution arrives.

I didn’t want to believe it makes a huge difference but it really does.
The sound is so much better coming out of the Atom amp.

Here is the ghetto Khadas in its temporary cardboard and plastic goodness.

I am too my issue is not the fact the we should or should not get a dac. to me I think a dac is somewhat important because it insure’s cleanliness and the abiulity to play formats like DSD. I think the issue is I want to know if theuir are any audible diffrences between a bunch of a $100 dacs or is it a situation of grab any because they are all good.

Thought I’d made a table for quick reference. I left off the ASR #'s, they range in the 100s+

$100 DAC Source MFG Location Max PCM Max DSD DAC USB Coax Optical
Topping D10 Topping China 384kHz 256 ESS ES9018K2M XU208 Yes Yes
Topping D30 Topping China 192kHz 128 Cirrus CS4398 Yes Yes Yes
Grace Design SDAC Drop ? 96kHz n/a AK4452 X200
JDS Labs Odac JDS Lab IL, USA 96kHz n/a ESS Sabre ES9023 Tenor TE7022 Yes**
Schiit Modi Schiit CA, USA 192kHz n/a** AK4490 C-Media CM6631A AKM 4113
smsl m100 SMSL China? 768kHz 512 AK4452 Yes Yes Yes
smsl Sanskrit SMSL China? 384kHz 256 AK4490 Yes Yes Yes
Khadas Tone Board Khadas China? 384kHz 256 ES9038Q2M XU208 ** **

** Will support depending on configuration options.
USB, Coax, Optical are all inputs supported, with chipset if available.
? are assumptions.
There possibly is misteaks, but I tried to ensure accuracy in what was collected