I used Sonos Connect (and other gear) with Parasound Zdac, Peachtree Dac itX, and Simaudio 100D - all very good and usually available under $200
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Agree about the Schiit Modi Multi (Mimby for short). Another excellent option is the AudioQuest Dragonfly Red at $200. Not too much better than that for anywhere near the price. If pressed for a comparison I'd have to say the Mimby is somewhat warmer, but very marginally. It's in my main system now driving Martin Logan ESL and sounds great. The Red is on my computer feeding a Schiit Magni 3 and a Hafler DH200.
I have an older DAC-IT from Peachtree that I just swapped in for kicks. I thought it sounded rather splashy on top and not very detailed. Took it out and put it back on the shelf/
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. Out of all the recommendations, the Schiit Modi Multibit was mentioned several times. I emailed Schitt and they said confirmed too my iPad will direct-connect into the USB--so long as you use the Apple Camera 3 connector, not he original camera adapter.
So in looking at Schiit's DAC's, I see to there is a Bifrost model. I wonder then: Does anyone know how a "standard" Bifrost would compare in sound quality to the Modi Multibit? Reason I ask is, there is a used Bifrost for sale now here on A-gon. If the sound is better, perhaps I could pick it up somewhere in my price range. I read too the Bifrost can be upgraded. However, that would be later down the road. If the Modi Multibit sounds better than a "standard" Bifrost, then I will just go for the Mimby.
Yes, the Bifrost can be upgraded to a multibit version--and you can add a USB board. I had emailed Schiit regarding sound quality differences between the Modi Multibit and Bifrost non-multibit version. They did not give me a specific answer, but I got the inference that the multibit DACs are the way to go.
WHAT TO DO?
I've been kinda going in circles in trying to decide which direction I want to take and which DAC I want to choose. As of this writing, I am considering the following:
1. Schiit Modi Multibit
2. Arcam irDAC
3. Theta DS Pro Prime
The irDAC (vs. the original rDAC) is specifically made to accept direct connection from idevices, as well as the standard coax, optical and USB connections. From what I have seen on recent ebay sales history, they can be had for around my price range. The irDAC appears to be rated very well in sound quality. Anyone out there own one that can comment?
The Theta DS Pro Prime is my oldie-but-goodie selection based on reviews from owners, as well as what I could find in comparisons to other DACs of the time. My only reference to Theta was of the Miles CD Player, which was one of the best sounding player I ever owned--along with the Naim CD3.5. I understand this DAC is "pre-USB" and therefore I will need to use my Monster Cable 1/4" mini-jack to RCA cables for anything audio related on my iPad; other than the app for my Sonos Connect. To reiterate, I would be using the coax digital-out of the Sonos to the DAC.
My question is this: For those who own (of have owned a Prime or other Theta DAC) how would the sound of the Theta compare to the sound of the Arcam and Schiit? As for pricing of these items, all three of these contenders can be had for around $270 shipped (used) except for the Modi, which is brand new.
I didn’t quite follow your reference to the Monster minijack cable but what I can tell you is in my system the sound quality using the iPad analog output- using a minijack to stereo RCA adapter to preamp, is lower than using the digital output - using a lightning camera adapter going into a Modi Multibit to preamp. Both approaches streaming the same Tidal HiFi content.