Dac options with Chromecast Audio SUB $500

I am enjoying the 30 day trial of Tidal HiFi...currently the only DAC I have is the Chromecast. It does a decent job, holds its own but it has its limits.

 I currently do heavy listening to vinyl only. VPI Scout 1.1. 

Looking to use the Chromecast as the streamer with Tidal and then into a DAC. I am looking at a few sub $500 dacs. 

Looking into the:
Parasound Zdac. 1st or 2nd version seems fine.
Musical Fidelity V90 Dac (sterophile recommended class A)
Schitt Bifrost
Jolida FX Glass

Anyone with any of these units or perhaps have compared them to each other?

System: modded Jolida 502a, Cardas cables, Merlin TSM-MMM Speakers


What Chromecast device will you be using? What types of digital connections does it have available for connectivity to a DAC? How does this work? Do you stream from, or control from, a smartphone/tablet/laptop?

The Google Chromcast is the device. Not sure if there is more than one model. Its a recent purchase so if there is a new version perhaps I have it??

It has Toslink/mini out. I would use it for streaming Tidal from my iPad/iPhone or laptop. 


Sounds like the Chromecast Audio. So, you need a DAC with an optical input, right? That does rule out some of the USB only DACs. The Bitfrost is probably a good choice. Great company and popular product that could be re-sold if you don't love it.

You are correct, Chromecast Audio and yes I would need an optical input.

I see the Schiit Bitfrost gets good reviews. Anyone use anyone use any of the above mentioned products?

Thanks reubent!


I am in the same boat.  I have a Chromecast Audio feeding into my Yamaha A-S1000 integrated and want a $300.00 to $500.00 DAC also.  I have looked really hard at the NAD D 1050, Teac AI-301DA, and Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus.  Just waiting to find the best deal of the three.

I have a Chromecast Audio feeding a Musical Fidelity V90 Amp.  Works nice for a small garage system; a poor mans Sonos Connect:Amp.  The V-90 has a built in DAC, but I'm not using it because it's just a garage system and I don't think it's warranted.  
Just as an interesting datapoint for you, I run a CCA optical into a Schiit Yggy. It sounds great, and the "buy better gear" light has never illuminated, so the CCA clock must be decent enough.

Jolida as a DAC/source is actually very nice for the money.  It is not the highest resolution device, but the sound is very natural and it does have excellent response for a tube device.  Recommend you get some Electro-Harmonix 12AX7 tubes if you choose the Jolida.  Also, throw in a very fast/strong fuse like a Synergistic SR20 or a Furutech and a high-current power cord.  These are things that will make the Jolida excellent.

I know Eric loves to recommend the Zdac for the money.  I have not heard it.  Could be good as a pre-driver for your Jolida integrated.

Musical Fidelity V90 DAC has a wall-wart power supply so I would avoid that unless you got an upgraded linear power supply module.

Schitt audio has had a lot of good comments, but I have no idea how it sounds in relation to other conventional DACs.  I might choose the Shitt over the Zdac, based on how I see their approach to circuit design.

I recently purchased a used Schiit Bitfrost with uber output stage for $220. It did not have the USB board however has optical and coax input. I can recommend the Bitfrost. They often come up for sale used here on AG. The USB version would likely be easier to resell if you found you wanted a different DAC.  As with auxinput, I like to stay away from the wall-wort power supplies.
Hi there,recently purchased a Arcam rDAC (used) to use with Chromecast audio,so much better sounding ,more detail,more musical less closed in sounding.
It's been over a year since I last responded to this thread. That said, one other great DAC for those not needing USB input, that can be purchased for ~$300 used, is the PS Audio Digital Link III. Has RCA and XLR outputs, robust power supply, and quality analog output stage. A far more solid built DAC that those offered new under $1000.