DAC's Made in the USA


I am shopping for my very first dac and the sheer number of product available is bewildering.Unlike many members, I have never owned an outboard dac for a 2 channel system, my budget is extremely limited and my technical knowledge of the product is low.
Further I am committed to purchase a dac made in the USA, or at least a friendly democratic country. 
You can see by my equipment list that I have nothing of any great quality or renown and much of this inventory is likely to be sold to partially pay for the dac. 
I am 80 years old, wear hearing aids and I am pretty satisfied with the sounds I presently hear and really wonder if I can enhance the sound quality of my CD collection (Jazz, blues and classical). 
Would appreciate it if I can get some real help, i.e., people who have actually used their recommendation/not read about it.  Also please remember my spending limitation, more is impossible.
Many thanks 

New (not used)
Made in the USA 
Ideally less than $1500 
Headphone jack is not necessary
Two channel analog output 
Optical and digital coaxial input 

Accuphase E-202, 
Adcom GFA 555, 
McCormack TLC-1, 
Pioneer SA-9500II,
McIntosh MA-6100
Sony DVP S9000ES (DVD, CD, SACD),ADS 910,Klipsch Forte II
stebut
You should also consider a Schiit DAC. They have several models under your price point, specifically the Bifrost ($700), Gungnir ($900) and the Gungnir Multibit ($1,300). The Bifrost and Gungnir Multibit are ladder DACS while the base Gungnir is a delta-sigma DAC.

The products are US made (including components) and the company is a direct-sales only operation.  They offer a 15 day money back trial period with a 5% restocking fee. 

The DACs are designed by Mike Moffat, one of the hi-fi legends in the audio world. He was responsible for the first-ever stand-alone DAC (Theta Digital) back in the 1980s) so there is a lot of experience behind the products.  
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Hello, Made in the USA really winnows it down as most audio manufacturers have long ago moved their facilities to Asia. Also, that Sony dvp looks like a flagship unit from the early 2000’s. It does have digital outputs, which would be essential.

I’ve purchased a few dacs over the last few years from a company called Schiit Audio. They started up about 10 years ago now, and their founders are veterans in the audiophile industry and have come up with many innovations. I’ve purchased their Modi, Modi Multibit, Modius, Bifrost Multibit and the Gungnir Multibit. All of their products are Made in the USA, right there in California, out of domestically sourced parts. Except that the little resistors and transistors, etc, are from off shore.

The Gungnir Multibit is my current dac in the main 2 channel system, and it presents very life like imaging. In fact, you may need better than average speakers to recreate the subtle nuances that can be present. The Gungir goes for $1299, has a 15 day trial(there is a restocking fee if you return it) and has a 5 year warranty.

But I’d also suggest the recently updated Bifrost Multibit. Fans in the audiophile community says since the update it rivals the more expensive Gungnir Multibit. It uses the same dac chips now, but the analog output stage isn’t fully discrete as the Gungnir is. But guys marvel at how good it sounds now, and at almost half the price, at $699. Same 15 day trial and 5 year warranty.

I really don’t think you can go wrong either way.  They sell directly from their website, as they are an internet direct company.  Schiit.com



Each response is right on target!
Thank you so much.
Get the Shiit......

US designed and manufactured. Trial/return policy. Well regarded and reviewed products. Popular, so they can be re-sold if you don't love it over time. Multiple choices of DACs at price levels from $99 to $2500, depending on your goals and budget. 
Get the best Schiit you can afford.
15 day trial.
Oops, I just noticed that you need an optical input a well as SPDIF.  I'm not sure if Gary can add one to his Border Patrol DAC or not.
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Once you have a shortlist, search the forum for feedback on the models you're interested in.  There have been quite a few detailed DAC threads of late.
Made in US, and reasonably priced: there is only one that jumps off the mind.... Schiit!!!

Put Cary in your list. North Carolina 
+1 @twoleftears

Reading this thread while helping a friend looking for the same as @stebut the first DAC that came to mind was Border Patrol. Maybe a 2nd-hand Border Patrol SE I noticed for sale on USAM (made in Maryland) until I saw the "optical" requirement. A post on another thread is so true right now, quote ".....you have neurotic audiophiles dumping cutting edge current dacs at deep discounts all the time".

@stebut
Well under your budget there are some nice DACs popping up on the used market right now too. Looking at your component list and proper matching, you could end up with a nice DAC and still save $500 or more under your budget for "listening to your CDs." While others recommend new Schiit DACs, also noting some former Schiit models. Or, maybe the new Schiit Bifrost 2 if you wanna save 800 bucks.

However, If you went with SPDIF Digi COAX instead of optical, still think one of the non-oversampling DACs by Border Patrol would be nice and musical for you. If I had not bought my overseas MHDT Orchid tube dac, would have bought the Border Patrol DAC SE+ (R2R non-oversampling) with coax only option for $1425 brand new. Good luck. http://www.borderpatrol.net/DAC.htm
It’s funny how made in USA works ,at least 50% I believe made and assembled here ,but you can have  many parts from overseas.
No, that is incorrect, depending on which state we are talking about.  
Ayre Codex about $300 more then you wanted to spend but      made in the good old USA and better performance then DACs costing  2 to 3 times

Enjoy the Music 
Tom
I use a Bel Canto. Made in USA and sounds great.  Not too hard to find in the used market. 

I will also endorse a Schiit DAC, but don’t sell yourself short on what you have. You have good stuff!
Schiit has a special yggy gs . Look into it. It’s upgradable as well. 
I'll add my vote for Schiit. You may be able to find a used Yggdrasil A2 for $1500. A new Gungnir Multibit is within your budget. Both of these are great values and made in the US.
Schiit Audio Modius,  Schiit Audio Bifrost2,  Schiit Audio Gungir
Thanks to all of you for having cleared my head enough to approach a decision.Its obvious Schiit brand is well respected.

My most difficult decision now is to make up my mind whether California is a friendly Democratic country.
Thank you again.

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Not made in the USA, the musical fidelity lowly v90 dac @ only $299.... by keeping with USA only, your missing out on a bargain of a dac. Read what Stereophile had to say about it at the bottom of my reply....I recommend it often for a reason, because it just sounds damn good. No reason to spend thousands. All just my opinion. For a USA dac, ok fine, the Border Patrol is a nice one, if you can give up on the need for optical ( it only comes with spdif coax). Also, the Jolida, or now known as Black Ice is also a nice dac. however, I do believe the final assembly is in CHINA...if that is bothersome. I own the jolida glass dac 3. Here’s the review for that one...
http://v2.stereotimes.com/post/jolida-glass-fx-tube-dac-iii-w

Here is the border patrol,
http://www.borderpatrol.net/DAC.htm

Here is the musical fidelity v90 dac, if you can get over the non-USA made thingy....
https://www.stereophile.com/content/musical-fidelity-v90-dac-da-processor

Lastly, a quote from stereophile’s John Atkinson concerning the v90 dac;

*But from my own listening and my comparisons with the outstanding Auralic Vega and my workhorse Benchmark DAC1, I think the V90-DAC belongs in high Class B or even low Class A of "Recommended Components"—no disgrace for a digital processor priced at just $299.—John Atkinson*
Benchmark,

Bel Canto,

Schiit,

one of these 3 should have a unit worth considering. If not. 

Van Alstine is another option. 
If you are going to be in the Seattle area, I highly recommend Olson’s Hi-Fi in Lynnwood.   All the goodies, great ears, and no hype or sales pressure.   Ben Olson and his staff knows their stuff and they a good people with whom to do business.

Full disclosure, I am just a satisfied customer...

Made in USA PS Audio DirectStream DAC Sr., A Sony UBP-X1000ES, and the China only HDMI Video to I2S Audio only Adapters and you will have a world class Digital playback system of SACD's, DSD files, and hi res/red book PCM.
I would warmly recommend you Exogal’s Comet DAC. You can find a used one in your price range (even with the extra power supply) and I have heard it sound better than dacs 4-5 times its price. From the makers of Wadia gear, it is an incredible group of people who are behind it. From Eagan, MN. Good luck, sir.
I've never used/heard Mytek products but you might want to consider the Mytek Liberty DAC at $995.  If it's like some of their other products it is designed in the USA but manufactured in Poland.

https://mytekdigital.com/storeus/catalog/product/view/id/287/s/liberty-dac/category/44/
The requirement "Made in the U.S.A." seems intended to avoid benefiting a country whose policies are disapproved of by the OP. It's a good ethical principle. Now, it should apply not only to the overall unit but to all the parts inside, right?

If so, then the comment above seems like the last bridge to cross for 100% U.S.A.:

Except that the little resistors and transistors, etc, are from off shore.
Checking on that might involve looking here:
https://www.thomasnet.com/articles/top-suppliers/top-resistor-suppliers-manufacturers/#us-based

Or, perhaps, just inquiring with the manufacturer. My guess is that most will say that at least some parts are from objectionable countries, because competing at a price-point requires it.
"I've never used/heard Mytek"

Then why would you recommend it? I had a Mytek Liberty. It didn't stay in my system very long, very digital sounding.

I picked up a Schiit Bifrost 2 recently and have been impressed for its price. Well under budget for the OP.


I think you should consider buying used since a DAC is something that really does not wear out that much.

A used Benchmark DAC2 would be the same as the DAC3. I have owned both and even Benchmark says that are essentially the same conically (I agree).

If you want the best sounding DAC, near your price, get an Ayre Codex. It is the only boy thing they have made in China, but then, it is thousands cheaper than their better gear, and worlds better than Schiit (any flavor)!
The Lynx Hilo is made in the USA. It is reasonably priced for what it offers, which is more than you are looking for.
I personally recommend buying the best Schiit you can afford. Or better yet: loose the USA-made requirement and buy the Denafrips Ares II and be VERY happy with the sound. I like it much more than the Yggdrasil or Benchmark.

But that is just me. 

herb
Neko Audio D100 Mk II. I think it's on sale for $1000 (normally $1500). Has coax and optical. Sounds great with my Belles Aria integrated. A "warmer" sound profile. It may not be the most stylish box, but it's a very nice piece.

And the guy who makes them, Wesley Miaw, is very friendly and helpful.

https://www.nekoaudio.com/specials.php

Hi. Orchard Audio makes a very high performance DAC within your budget. Let me know if you have any questions.

All my products are made in Succasunna, NJ.


Hi Stebut,
I am just getting into digital audio and have a Schiit BiFrost Multibit Automomy DAC with Unison USB in Black that I purchased from Schiit directly on August 31, 2020, for $699.00 + tax & shipping, that I am not using since I purchased a Bel Canto 2.7 DAC/PreAmp to feed my Bel Canto 500S.
The BiFrost sounded fantastic with my Adcom GFP 815 and GFA 5400.  It is also designed, made and sold in Republic of California, currently a part of the USA.  But, since I don't need two systems, if you want to buy the BiFrost for $550 let me know, mmcoupeylaw@verizon.net.  About 40 hours on the Bifrost.
Marc 
Hey, that bel Canto 2.7 DAC looks like a sweet unit, and not exactly cheap, at $2500!
I would heartily recommend the NAD M51, which can be had on EBAY for as low as $800ish.  Stereophile gave it an A+ in their recommended components list, as evidenced in this review:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/nad-m51-direct-digital-da-converter
I’ve had mine since 2014 front-ending Audio Research electronics and Martin Logan panels.  I’ll only consider replacing it when someone builds a DAC that sounds better, has a phono input and room correction.
Can't understand why there isn't more love for Audio Mirror in this thread, as there is plenty in most DAC threads.
@twoleftears I figured there was no reason to continue to push after the first recommendation was posted, especially given the support AM gets in most threads these days. But I will happily support the suggestion. As I've said before, I love my AM-T3SE.
I own the AM. Was hesitant to suggest due to being at budget extreme. A great DAC which made a significant improvement in my system. 
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HerbReichert thanks for posting here,I do own the Ares original it does sound very good.i have not heard the II , For tha Op I like the orchid, black ice dac too, Schiit gungnir I Have is excellent.
Thanks to all for providing your valuable input.I have decided to try either the Schiit Bifrost or Gungnir, made in USA, by far the brand most often mentioned and well within my wallets wheelhouse.Sincere thanks again for your help.
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I haven't heard the dacs under consideration, but I would like to suggest that you consider tvad's suggestion. I've heard enough equipment he's previously commented on to know he has trustworthy ears (at least if you hear like me)...