Help: desktop dac or dac dongle?

Before commenting on my problem or my doubt, I must first say that my budget for what I am looking for is a maximum of 100 dollars. because i bought a smsl sp200 amplifier and i need a good DAC to match it for my hifiman sundara headphones. and i want a DAC that will match my smsl sp200 well for great sound and MQA compatibility. but searching I have only been able to find a dac dongle at the price of 100 dollars and they support MQA and I would have to buy an RCA to 3.5mm cable to connect it with my smsl sp200.

But I have heard that dac dongles do not have much life and the truth is that I do not know anything about dac dongles, I do not know which brand is good or which one is worth it. Now looking for a desktop DAC and the only decent Dac I found for $100 was the Topping D10s mini and I know it doesn’t support MQA but I’ve heard it’s a good Dac for dsd and flac. and about dac dongles I found many references that I have no idea which one is good:

-TempoTec Sonata HD V

-ASUS ROG Clavis USB-C Gaming DAC


-TempoTec Sonata MHD MQA 8X


Those are the dac dongles at the price that I can buy because there are other more expensive ones but my budget is 100 dollars.

Now my question is the following: What do you recommend me to buy better, the Topping D10s mini dac or any of the dac dongles that I mentioned? and which of those dongle dac is the best in sound and durability?

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I’d just avoid MQA altogether…it’s literally Tidal marketing speak for not lossless. Pay more for less just because of the MQA badge and get lower quality music files to boot.


The only one off the top of my head is the FIIO BTR 5 (2021), though it isnt a dongle (it is very small though, bout the size of a “chonky” usb flash drive) and it is slightly over 100$. If you pass on the MQA you can get the “old” version for about 100 on aliexpress

  1. MQA is a fairly contested topic, but if you shopping for a sub 100$ dongle, id say dont mess with it you have much more important things to look into ( personally i think its total BS but that IMO)
  2. Are you sure you want a dongle dac? y
  3. If you are running Sundaras you are going to need power, but you are going to be pretty close to the limit a BTR5 will get you there but its getting close to the limit
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so is it better to go for the Topping D10s mini?

friend I don’t know if you didn’t read everything I posted but I need the dac to combine it as my smsl sp200 amplifier and with that amplifier it has enough power for my hifiman sundara. and i can connect a dac dongle with rca to 3.5mm cable to my smsl sp200 amp. now the FIIO BTR 5 costs 130 dollars and as I said my maximum budget is 100 dollars. So I better go for the Topping d10s mini dac? or what do you recommend?

That’s why i asked why you needed a dongle dac, if you are using it on a desktop and not using it in a mobile setting then there is no reason to use a dongle dac, you are better off with a desktop dac.

You can go with a SMSL M100, its a cheap solid dac

Unfortunately the smsl m100 is not available on amazon and they don’t sell it in my country, will I have to go for the Topping D10s…or do you know of any other dac with better sound quality than the Topping at a price of 100 dollars??

the Topping is fine
Also keep in mind that Aliexpress is a thing :smiley:

what country you live in? i always recommend linking a site or 2 for us to look at to see what is actually available where you are at.

edit: when you live outside of a handful of countries on this planet, unfortunately your choices seem to drop dramatically.

In Colombia

which amazon you have access to, the NA?

edit: douk audio. they make good chifi stuff. it also ships to colombia according to amazon


I think Ifi has a good performance with the Zen Dac, which has everything you want.
But if you want to be mobile with the dongle in addition, it’s also okay.
Then it also depends on the price-performance ratio.

There is also the Ibasso, but I don’t know if it supports Mqa.

Because of Mqa:
I got a taste for it with the Ifi Hip Dac 2.
My opinion is that it’s really good for mobile use.
When I’m on the train, in a hotel or at home, it’s quite passable and you can really enjoy it a bit more than usual.
But for home use with big amplifiers I have a problem with Mqa, it’s the other way round.
My equipment is simply better and I couldn’t get used to listening to it at home on big equipment.

But I have to say that Ifi has done a good job in this respect.
I was really surprised how good their mobile amps are.
And you hear good things from Dac/Amps too.

this HiFi Dual ES9038Q2M has better sound than the Topping D10s mini? or which one is better?

I am not looking for a dac dongle for my mobile, I was looking for it to connect it with my smsl sp200 amplifier, because my headphones are hifiman sundara and they are difficult to move at 100% and the ifi hip dac 2 that you mentioned, I could not move them at 100% . and I’m more of listening at my quiet desk with high fidelity music. To listen to music with the mobile phone on the street I have other wireless headphones.

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I don’t like to buy from Aliexpress because I have already bought before and since I live in Colombia the shipment takes more than 1 month and Aliexpress does not have a good support like Amazon for returns.

I know Zeos speaks well of the FX-Audio DAC-X6, which runs about $55, and is an older model.
He said it was better than the SMSL sAp VI, but I am not a big desktop guy.

i have not heard that one, but i have other douk audio products and they are solid. and its 10$ cheaper with dual chips instead of single =)

edit: the d10 is solid. just not my cup of tea. i find topping to be to analytical for my tastes. the cheaper chifi products cater to my tastes more.

edit2: but honestly…i would get a better dac then a 100$ dac for your other gear. there are some pretty cheap offerings you could purchase to get you by while you save. amazon has plenty of 20$ dacs that would do a bit better then your onboard audio until you save for better. your money your choice. but even going up to the 200$ range makes a decent difference.

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