Budget USB DAC

I'm looking for a budget USB DAC. Does anyone have any experience with Diyeden, Fubar II, or Keces? Are these worth looking at?

All I need is the USB port, and RCA outputs like the Scott Nixon and Wavelength units have. I can't afford that price range though.
I have a Stereo-link that is pretty good.
The Fubar II is a great little DAC, but you'll need the Supplier power supply to make it really sing.
If you get the Fubar III it will come with the power supply and has the headphone amp.

The Fubar III comes with a wall-wart power supply. It does not come with the Supplier power supply. If you look at the bottom right corner of the page, you'll say a box to check to add the Supplier power supply for an addition $100. The Fubar III is a Fubar II with the addition of a headphone amplifier.
UHF Magazine just published a review of Blue Circle's The "Thingee", USB converter/DAC. It can be used to convert the USB output to another type of interface such as coax, optical, or balanced (SPDIF?) for output to an external DAC. However, in the article they said their "jaws dropped" and "How could it be this good?"when they heard the analog output from the onboard DAC of The Thingee. For $170 to $190 it might be worth looking into.

Good luck.
Thanks for the replies. I saw the review on Stereo Link in the NY Times. I think they are backlogged because of that article.

Fubar II needs an external power supply? Guess I thought it was usb powered. I'll check out their web site again.

The Thingee sounds interesting for the price. I have surfed their web site before. Looks like you can config it the way you would like as far as connections.

I'll keep looking. Wish one of these would show up here on A'gon from someone that upgraded to a higher priced unit.
Once again - The Fubar II comes with a wall-wart power supply. It is not bus powered. The upgraded "Supplier" power supply improves the performance of the Fubar II.
I have used a stereo link, a fubar with power supply and an m=hdt paradesa. I like them all. If budget allows, id start with the fubar and work up....

I think hagtech sells a usb dac for cheap as a kit if you can build it...
The Hagerman DAC USB DAC, the Chime is pretty expensive, so I think Kbuzz is refering to the HagUSB, which is similar to the "Thingy" mentioned by Jwmazur and converts a USB signal into a digital signal that can be input to a DAC. In the case of the HagUSB, RCA Coax and AES/EBU outputs are available. Both devices still require a DAC.

I have a few systems and one uses a HagUSB into a Slimdevices Transporter's RCA Coax digital input.
The Blue Circle Thingee is on back order too. Just like the Stereo Link. Angela from BC linked me to a dealer in IL.

I've checked the Hagerman web site before. Forgot to mention them. I've built kits before Kbuzz .. a Dynaco 410 amp. No problem soldering but it has been a while.
But I would still like to point out that the Hagerman and Blue Circle just convert the USB sugnal to a digital signal. You still need something to convert the digital to analog. The Stereo-link does the whole trick.

Also, cruise head-fi. There is a lot of info there on less expensive DACs.
Riffer ... this is from the Blue Circle web site:


The USB Thingee

No, it doesn't have a tube in it. The tube is just for a visual reference.

The "USB Thingee" allows you to plug into your computer to access music files, internet radio and even DVD.

It can be used with the internal 24 bit DAC and output via headphone or line level to your stereo. For maximum sound quality you can use an external DAC via SPDTF or AES/EBU output.


It does have analog L/R RCA output jacks, and a headphone jack. Am I missing "maximum sound quality"?

You are correct Riffer. I just went back in and re-read the UHF review on the Thingee. They were running the signal to another DAC.

Think I'll just go out and spend $20 on a Xitel HiFi-LinkĀ™ Audio Processor and be done with it.
I'm getting a Blue Circle USB Thingee. This is the info I got from the Blue Circle dealer:

The DAC in the Blue Circle USB Thingee can most certainly be used in lieu of an external DAC. In the UHF review they seemed to focus primarily on using the USB Thingee as an alternative to a dedicated CD transport or CD player. The reason why many folks have used this approach is they can take advantage of the added convenience that the computer-based system provides (large library of music online).

From an audible perspective the integrated 24-bit DAC in the USB Thingee is quite good. In terms of noise floor & overall sound quality it is a noteworthy improvement over the typical soundcard in the PC.

I'll do an update next week after I've had a few nights with the USB Thingee doing some comparissons. I'm sure it's going to be much better than the Soundcard to pre-amp connection I'm using now. I'll be sure to use the ASIO driver also. (I have a PC not a Mac.)
Sorry for the misinformation, I didn't realize there where RCA and headphone outputs on the Blue Circle.

Let us know how it sounds.
Oh no problem Riffer. This is a learning process for all of us.

I'm planning on doing an A/B/C comparison of Wav, Apple lossless, and my normal ~320k or VBR files.
I have the Blue Circle USB Thingee up and running. I am running off the headphone jack into my preamp.

Initial impression is awesome for the money I spent. A lot of dynamaic range, really clean bass. I have not begun the A/B/C testing yet.

I can understand why UHF mag ran it into another DAC, to get more gain out of the unit. It runs fine in stand-alone mode though.

I got a gold palted 3ft USB cable (from the Shack) to go from the puter to the Thingee. I'll replace the headphone cable later on, or switch to the RCA jacks.

Make sure you set all your volumes in the system settings on your PC to the max.

It truly is ALL in the music!
Found this review of the Keces DA-151, if you hadn't found it for yourself.

May 2008 review of BC USB Thingee.

Mightconsider a Lite Audio DAC AM Modified - had one pretty good for the money Pacific Valvecarries the (not affiliated)
I strongly recommend the Audiosector USB DAC. $380, hand assembled in Canada by its designer, Peter Daniel. I found it to be, overall, about as good as the Altmann Attraction DAC -- with slightly different strengths.
Hi Scramman

Did you happen to try the headphone output of the Thingee. I am trying to decide between the Thingee and Headroom Total Bithead as portables. The Bithead has an internal DAC as soundcard and is said to be capable of driving some load.