DAC pairing for A90D

So ive had my eye on the A90 for a while now but with the recent release and the overall good reviews ive decided i should proablly go for the A90D. But im not sure what Dac i want to pair it with, now i would prefer a balanced DAC (just to get a little extra from it) but i know its not really a big deal.

Now i’d like to keep it around the 300$, I was considering a D10 Balanced (ive already got one feeding my Loxji P20, it does a fine job), but im open to suggestions

For $300 find a DAC you like the features of and go with that. In the price range you’re looking at there won’t be a big difference in sound. Good luck and I hope this thread stays civil.


An obvious choice would be a J2 if youre only going to budget $300, otherwise a D90LE would be an obvious choice. Im with Zeos, being MQA is a scam.


The SMSL SU-8S goes on sale for under $200 on drop. I grabbed one last time and I’m happy with it. Running an A30pro.

Balanced with XLR cables, remote, volume knob, screen, looks decent, and MQA if you want that.

I just ordered a Geschelli JNOG2 (J2) with USB module and AKM chip and an A90 Discrete, plus another set of 1-foot World’s Best XLRs to hook them up. Looking forward to hearing the combo.

The J2/A90 D stack will be replacing my Audio-GD R-28 all-in-one. The headphone out is fine, but unfortunately the line/pre-out is suffering channel imbalance.

Wish i could go for Geschelli , most of their stuff looks pretty dang great, but shipping to my part of the world is a pain in the arse so im sticking to amazon for the most part (also DHL/Fedex like to tack on hidden fees unless its through amazon)

I’ll probably go above my initial budget and go for something like the S.M.S.L SU-9n

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I just spent a huge amount on a DAC to go along with the A90D *which was just delivered. The DAC should be delivered toward the end of october.
This is the one I ordered.

Alrighty. An update after a few months… I got the SMSL DO200 MKII - it died within 4 hours after arriving. No idea why, it just stopped outputting sound entirely. I sent it back and out of frustration bought the RME ADI-2 DAC FS.

Now I am about 2 months into using it as a combo with the A90D - and I am very happy with this unit as a DAC/AMP pairing with the A90D. The DAC is quite good, but what really surprised me was the precision and very clean quality of the EQ options in the ADI-2.

  • With the ADI-2, when using the EQ, the music loses nothing from it’s original presentation, it just accurately raises or lowers the variables, as you would expect from a very precise and more expensive EQ, it is definitely a professional/precision piece of equipment.

The bonus from this - I can hook up any headphones into the A90D, and then make a custom EQ setting for those headphones, so even cheap headphones still can be made to sound great with a little tweaking - then I can save those settings for each different set of headphones, and enable each saved setting for the various headphones anytime. The ADI-2 lets you save a massive amount of presets and name them anything you like and set those options for different outputs. It’s extremely useful.

Overall I am extremely happy with the RME ADI-2 DAC FS. With the large number of outputs and inputs, combined with all the other options it has, and finally paired with the A90D, it offers me everything I think I will ever need. I run these through my computer, satellite speakers, movie setup, etc. and it all works exceptionally well.

The only thing it lacks is bluetooth or wireless, but honestly I never use those anyway, I prefer wired connections to everything in my setup. Maybe someday i’ll need wireless, but if I ever do, I can always add a third device for that to easily update the setup when needed.

Short version - Extremely happy with the DAI-2 and the A90D. Would purchase again. No buyers remorse after 2 months, and I don’t expect any.

(Although this blows the doors off the 300 dollar price point from the original poster - Just felt I should drop an update to show where I ended up.)

  • the one thing that people could take away from this, the RME ADI-2 DAC FS is a great unit, even as a dedicated DAC, or you could easily grab it as a combo DAC/AMP by itself and would likely be very happy.
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The new topping e70 velvet ($449) looks interesting. It uses two of akm’s new totl 4499ex chip. I don’t base my decision solely around specs, but the noise floor and distortion look very very low. Pretty reasonable price. Hopefully get reviews soon

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