Inexpensive USB DAC

Hi all,

I'm thinking about a reasonably priced (say under $500) USB DAC for an office system. The USB DAC will connect to a Win 7 PC as the only source. The rest of the budget system is NAD C325BEE and Epos ES14s. Any suggestions are appreciated.


Schitt BiFrost
I second the BiFrost; i've heard it at several of the shows and it sounded very good, especially considering it cost of admission.
Thanks for the suggestion on the BiFrost. It certainly seems well regarded and it fits by needs.

Any other good ideas?
I have (and like) a Kingrex USB-only DAC. No up-sampling, no voodoo.Very straight-forward. I never use it. If you want it, contact me.
I have not heard this DAC but Light Harmonic does make what is probably the best DAC in the world, The DaVinci, so this piece probably sounds very good:
The Meridian Explorer is also very well reviewed. Have not heard it tho.
Just decided to take a chance on a Parasound ZDAC. Will post my impressions when I have had a chance to listen for a while.
Lindisfarne - I can't figure out how to contact you, maybe you could contact me? I may be interested.


ODAC is almost at the same level of the Bifrost.
Not sure if you bought an inexpensive DAC yet, but the Parasound ZDAC is most defintely worth investigating. I have only had it a week or so, but it is a keeper. I always hate the "good for the money" qualifiers on gear, but this thing is stupidly good for what it sells for (there are definitely deals to be had for new ones). Let me know if you want a more detailed discussion about what I like about it.
I haven't settled on a choice yet. I've been interested in the Bifrost, and debating whether it would be better to use the USB interface or the S/PDIF with a good soundcard. Then the mind wandered to a used Benchmark DAC1.

I would be interesting to hear your impressions of the Parasound.


I use a Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus ($499) in my office system. Variety of connections, inputs, outputs and can be used as a preamp too.

The things that impress me most about the ZDAC are how clean it is, i.e., no digital hash at all that I can hear, how nicely extended it is from top to bottom, and how much more of the recording I'm hearing than before. I hear more of the reverbs on vocals, tremolo and other effects on guitars, and even subtle lines from instruments I had not noticed in the past. I'm also getting more of a sense of the dynamic range on the recording, maybe because (again) it's just very quiet and clean. I have to add, it's not completely broken in yet, nor have I tried anything but the stock power cord and USB cables that came with the unit. Some have said it gets better with better cables. That'd be cool, too. Good luck.

Wyred 4 sound.

I started a new thread on this that will hopefully be approved, but any thoughts on the Geek Pulse?
Topping T30. $100 shipped. worth very penny and more.