M300 died, looking for a balanced option

I have a modi3 as backup. It feeds a thx789, soon a cavalier cth. I have he4xx, ether cx, t50rpIII, and will have aeon x soon. The modi 3 sounds ok and does the job but I feel like it’s my weakest link. I would also like to match the balanced input for the thx.

FYI I had the smsl M300 for a couple days before it suddenly sounded crunchy, like distorted.

Side note, I like the physical switch for input that the modi has, and I’ve been recommended teac 501 and adi rme2, but those might be a bit expensive for me rn.

Is SMSL or whoever you bought the M300 from not sending a replacement? If you only had it a few days I’d check with them before buying something else.

I’m just doing a straight return, I don’t trust the build quality/qc.

Gotcha. Do you need USB? If not, I’d say check out the Geshelli Labs Enog 2 Pro. The SMSL SM200 is $280, but is still an SMSL. FWIW, I’ve been using an SMSL SU-8 for months with no issues.

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Yeah I had a Sanskrit for years and it was great but I’m looking to move away from smsl now and want balanced output. So yeah USB is a must with Bluetooth as a bonus

TBH, at the moment I’m drawing a blank on a non-SMSL balanced DAC in the $200-300 range, or even more. There is the iFi Zen Dac for $130. It has a warmer signature which may or may not appeal, and to use balanced out you’d have to get a 4.4mm pentaconn to XLR adapter. The Drop Grace SDAC balanced comes in at $150. The Geshelli is just above that. Then it’s SMSL for the next couple hundred dollars, to my knowledge. At $500 you get into the Topping D70 or DX7s. If you’re willing to push to $700 the Schiit Bifrost 2 is there. There are other DACs around $300, but they’re single ended, AFAIK (JDS Labs Element II, Aune X8). @M0N is quiet today. Maybe he knows of something else.

I’m actually looking at the bifrost at now, I’ve had great experience with schiit so far.

That may end up being what’s best to stop me from upgrading again in a year :confused:

If you get a Bifrost your next electronics upgrade will probably be an amp :grin:

IMO in this case, I would either grab a su8 for a solid balanced dac with features, but I wouldn’t spend more on that actually until you get to the 700 ish range. I think the bifrost 2 is excellent, also check out the ares ii, but that is more expensive.

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I think biting the bullet and getting the bifrost is my move, schiit has proven themselves to me and I feel like I’m supporting a good company. Appreciate the rec @M0N

You just have to wait a bit, it might take awhile lol, they are supposed to get back on the 22? I think

Using my modi in the meantime probably won’t kill me

Yeah you should be fine hopefully lol