Cheapest DAC with USB + Optical/Coaxial inputs
Putting the final touches to my setup. I'm going with either a PSB Alpha B1 + NAD 316BEE or Audioengine A5 or Aktimate Mini - pending final auditions =(
This setup will be in my living room with 2 sources - my Macbook Air (USB input) and Samsung Blu Ray Player (Coaxial or Optical via LED TV).
I need a beer budget DAC (under 150USD preferably) with both USB and Optical or Coaxial inputs. I don't have any 24/96 files so that's not much of a concern right now.
On a sidenote, I tried the Musical Fidelity V-DAC mk2 through USB into a NAD316BEE and PSB Alpha B1 and honestly found very minimal improvements compared to directly connecting the headphone out (blasphemy!!!) of my Macbook Air into the amplifier. The sound was cleaner, spaces between notes were 'blacker' but to my ears it wasn't worth the extra 300-400 dollar investment.
I found speaker placement and positioning to make a much bigger difference/improvement.
Hence the reluctance in investing much in a DAC. Just need something to deliver a clean signal into the amp/speakers. Planning on this also cuz the Aktimates/Audioengines have minimal inputs only an 1/8" and RCA in.