Cheap Blu Ray Player + DAC for hi fi ?

Hi Guys,

I posted several weeks ago about advice on picking out a system. After much gnashing of the teeth and lots of auditioning - I've settled on the PSB Alpha B1 and NAD 316BEE to drive them.

Now it comes to picking out source options.

I have a Mac Mini which will double as a HTPC, storing all my lossless tunes.

I need to get a Blu Ray player for some of the Blu Rays, DVDs and redbook CDs I have as well.

I plan to get a DAC to hook both of these components to as well (tiny budget so a DAC that's about 300 bucks used)

My question - would a Blu Rayer player from big box stores (the cheap ones that cost 100US-200USD) be any good when hooked up with a budget DAC?

I don't have superlative requirements - my budget kinda explains it no? haha - just something that puts out decent audio and video.

Btw pls do let me know what DACs I should be looking at. Preferably with optical inputs and something I could get for less than 300bucks. Lower the better =)
Would this be cheap enough for you?!

I have one and it betters the analog outs of my Oppo.

or just go for this-
Keep in mind that a regular DAC connected via coax or toslink (as opposed to HDMI) will not decode BlueRay audio.
So in the context of your budget, I would recommend to set priorities. Your Mac Mini can double as a CD player, even DVD player if it has a DVD drive. For now, I would focus on getting the best DAC possible for the money you have, and then later lurk around this site for a decent used BlueRay player (such as Oppo BD-83).
For your Mac Mini, I would recommend a dac with an asynchronous USB input-or other dac design with very low USB jitter. However, in your price range, the options are quite limited, but I would look into HRT Music Streamer II+ and CEntrance DacPort LX.
Thanks for all the replies guys! Ah Fiio - the cheap and cheerful brand I remember for all their head-fi stuff. Haven't looked at their products and lately and this looks surprising for the price.

Thanks Arni for the tip on BR audio. Does this mean that audio will not work at all via the DAC? I'm not using a 5/7.1 channel setup, just a traditional 2.0 - cuz music is a much higher priority and I don't have the space nor budget for a full fledged HT.

I'm reviewing my options right now. Budget is a bit of a constraint given how much we've spent on furniture and wallpapers etc. Haven't bought the Mac Mini actually. So if I buy brand new it's gonna be the new one, which means no CD drive. Was thinking of a Blu Ray player - cuz the mass market brands are pretty affordable right now.

I could save some money and plug in my Macbook Pro to the computer instead. But it'd be a hassle to keep plugging and unplugging everything every time I want to actually get some work done on the computer.
Yes, Blue Ray audio material will not output via the players coax and optical out, only via HDMI and analog. CDs and DVDs can, however, be played via most higer bits traditional DACs.
If you have not pulled the trigger yet, have you thought about a DAC that has a volume on it (like the Emotiva DAC they are closing out on special from their website) and going with a power amp instead?

I use this unit and found my Samsung bluray player to be a very decent transport...better than my philips CDR.
The emotiva DAC's volume control will result in loss of fidelity. They had initially promoted this as a no loss of resolution volume control, but they have since gone back and said that since the volume control is in the digital domain that you lose resolution.

My experience with the DAC is that it sounds best when the volume is set above about 65, and I use a tube buffer after it.
I have been Using a Musiland Monitor 02US, It has a built in power supply (not through USB), it has optical, spdif and USB inputs, it will out put all rates from 16/44 to 24/192 through all inputs and after burn in sounds very very good. It is noticeably better than my NAD 515BEE cd player. Be aware that if used for computer audio that it will not run MAC, has proprietary windows drivers only. This is around $150 on ebay. At $300, I would recommend the Musical Fidelity VDAC 2. I don't believe either will work with a BluRay. I would guess that if you got a cheap cd player and deadened it with lots putty or other dampening material, then ran through an optical or spdif, you would have very satisfying results. Good Luck, Tim
My PS3 has extensive audio output choices.
For my Optical? I chose PCM at 48 or 44.1 which gives me FINE stereo sound thru my DAC to stereo.
If I had an HT receiver? some of the multichannel choices would be obvious.
Thanks guys. Just wondering... To circumvent the no audio thru Blu ray problem - since I'll be plugging my Blu ray to the LED TV thru HDMI, and since my tv has a Toslink out, can I plug an optical DAC to my TV instead? Will Blu Ray audio work this way via the DAC.
If your are lookin to watch Blue-ray movies oin your Mac sysytem, then why don't you just try Mac Blue-ray player. It will only cost you 39 USD. It is cheap and best.

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