I think for now if that's your budget you should sit tight and spend your money on more music, or maybe some nice headphones.
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I also think you're better off waiting until you can justify spending a bit more. While the Modi Multibit MAY be a bit better than the internal DAC, I doubt it would be much of an improvement.
There are a number of DACs that retail closer to $1000 that are very nice (I'm a fan of Denafrips and their Aries II is $800 or so, but there are a lot of other options). You might be able to find one of these used in the $500 to $600 range that would be a noticeable improvement over what you have now.
Hey @raysmtb1 —- you keep posting the same thing on DACs everywhere. The fact that YOU were unable to hear any difference between DACs does not mean there is none.
To the OP: I highly doubt a cheap external China DAC will improve upon your built in DAC in your Rotel. Either stay with what you have, or spend quite a bit more to hear any improvements.
++ on recommendations to save coins and spend more on a good DAC. Spend time reviewing DACS and understanding the technology. I remember demoing a cheaper DAC thinking it would improved the sound of my Sonos connect. It didn't , so I waited and spent about $1500 and that made a significant difference.
I’d think you’d need to move up to something like a Gustard A18 ($560) to start hearing significant improvements — and that’s just a semi-educated guess — but as a casual listener I’m not sure it’d be worth it and probably best to just stay put for now.
If you’re mainly listening to your own music, then by far the best upgrade you could make IMO is to try a Qobuz account and open up vast new worlds of hi-res and CD-quality music through streaming. It’s the best 13 bucks I spend each month.
The guy at soundnews.net does nice reviews IMO and has reviewed both as well as the A22 and may have even done some comparisons between them. Again, I do believe you’ll get some improvements, but changing DACs isn’t like changing speakers so whether it’s worth it depends greatly on how casually you listen. If you sit down to listen to music this could be worthwhile, but if you usually listen while doing something else it’s probably not. That’s about the best way I can put it. Hope this helps, and best of luck.
@soix Thanks again for your responses. I would definitely say I am more than a “casual” listener as I like to sit down and will listen to an album start to finish. I don’t, however, find myself critically listening when I am listening to an album.
Regarding one of your other comments, would my personally ripped CDs into lossless FLAC/ALAC sound just as good, if not better, than streaming cd quality tracks from Tidal/Qobuz?
Ok, given you sit and listen I’d have to say I think you’d appreciate a better DAC in large part because your system is revealing enough to clearly show the improvements IMHO. Deciding between the A18 and the D90 is a tough one as they only seem to differ slightly sonically with the Gustard being a touch more detailed up top while the Topping may posses a tad more warmth in the mids, so I’d make my decision based on which slight bias would match better with your system and tastes. Looks like you can return the A18 if you buy from Apos, and if you can also return the Topping I’d try to demo them both if you can do it as then you’ll know for sure. Frankly, they both seem so good I don’t think you can make a wrong choice.
For streaming quality I’ve found the Qobuz 16/44 tracks overall to be comparable to spinning my CDs and their hi-res, not surprisingly, to be better. Put it this way — I haven’t spun a CD in over a year since getting Qobuz, and I’ve had more fun finding worlds of new music than I ever had listening to my CDs. Not sure that answers your question, but that’s my experience FWIW.
On my opinion, Gustard A22 is much better DAC upgrade option for audiophile, vs A18. A22 has much better power supply, solid heavy enclosure, dual AK4499 DAC, and NO OP-AMPS in sound path, using discrete class A driving stage instead. It works well for me, and most of the time it drives amp directly.
1. in terms of sound quality, qobuz hi-res > tidal masters but both are very very good, and the difference is relatively small
2. your rotel and totems produce a clean crisp extended somewhat lean sound with good bass -- do you want a warmer richer fuller sound? if so, there are dacs worth trying, but you should disclose your budget
3. the d-to-a conversion chips used in dacs matter, but only about 25-40% of the overall sq produced... other factors matters a lot, especially power supply, jitter management, output stage and tuning of the sound profile by the maker