Best budget DAC

Hi all,

I'm considering a DAC for my system and I have to keep the expenditure very reasonable (under $300).

DACS considered: Audioengine D1, Audioquest Dragonfly, Cambridge Audio DACMagic XS & Azur DacMagic 100, Musical Fidelity - V90-DAC,  Schiit Modi,

Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated, especially if you have actually heard or compared the DACs above, or others.

Also, if I do get a DAC, is there any advantage to ripping a CD and then playing the FLAC/WAV file through the DAC? Keep in mind that the DAC chip in my CD Player is listed as a "24/192 Cirrus Logic Delta/Sigma", but no specific chip number.

I haven't seen any comparisons of CD's to ripping and playing the file through an outboard DAC, so if you have seen such a comparison, your link to it would be greatly appreciated.

These are the components in my system:
Speakers - Elac B6
Subwoofer - Elac S10
CD Player - NAD C 516BEE CD Player
Preamplifier - Parasound Halo P5
Power Amplifier - Rotel RB-1080

 Thanks. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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Showing 1 response by skoczylas

Does the nad cd player have inputs so you can use it as a dac for computer files? If it does I would question if a stand alone dac in this price range would be better than the one in the cd player. Perhaps consider holding off until you can purchase a dac in a higher bracket? For me in your price range i love my usb halide dac hd which has a very small footprint and no power cable. But input is usb only. 

As to your question yes files ripped from cds can sound great. "Better" is a matter of your cd player vs dac vs file types - basically comparing your overall implementation for reduced jitter, good conversion, etc. Look at the threads on ripping software before you get started.