USB DAC or CDP for $200?

Hi All,

Looking to upgrade my digital front end, was thinking of getting the new Dragonfly 1.2 or similar, but was curious whether folks who have made the comparison would recommend the dac or a standalone entry level cep like a marantz or similar. I have a relatively small cd collection, in the 200 range, and prolly half is in my harddrives already, and I have a spare laptop to dedicate to music, so neither of those is really an issue, just value for money. Have at it!

Take a look at the lineup from Schiit - for $249 you can get their Modi and Loki- that would give you both PCM and DSD capability

I have their Bifrost and it is very good value for money and a solid performer.

You won't get better sound out of a $249 cd player and it can build on your streaming preferences.
Have you tried the dragonfly or the hrt? Thanks.
Got my AudioAdvisor flyer in the mail yesterday and noticed the Dragonfly is on sale for $149.
On sale by music direct

Sorry is 7004, this network player with DAC is excellent, sounding better than my Hegel HD11.
All those little guys dagronfly etc all of them sounds alike and will take you not where.
Buy the marantz at $399.
Best bergain in audio today.
my 5cents.
Thanks, Ill look into the marantz. Have you actually listened to all the little dacs? Are all the reviewers just shills, in your opinion? Eg Both Michael Lavorgna and Art Dudley really like both the dragonfly and the Halide, do you think theyre just industry shills or dont you read the reviews? Just curious, as unfortunately I have little opportunity to audition before buying and ths rely on reviews and forums for much of my info.
I second the Marantz NA7004.

Emotiva XDA-2.
On sale until tomorrow @ $ 249.
This is a fantastic DAC with loads of inputs and options.
I am loving mine .... wonderful sound of music.
I have no connection to Emotiva .... just a happy customer !
Not too many people around here like Chinese fleabay stuff, but hear you go, this is a hard core value. A name brand anywhere will be $600 plus.
USB input only, Xmos Asynchronous, AKM4399(same as Schiit)... Beware that this board has been updated, ask and make sure that you will get version 1.3

Good luck Tim
I don't want to step on any opinions about the Marantz, it is a fine machine and gorgeous for the money, I want to be clear to say that I haven't sat in front of it, so I may be speaking out of term. If I were after my primary source to be USB, I would not use this machine as in the USB input is not Asynchronous... The ESS chip used in not bad, I actually do have a cheapy headphone DAC using this USB Chip as well as the CS4398 DAC Chip, but it will not provide Asynchronous transfer... Also, The CS4398 DAC chip is on the lower end of the DAC spectrum... Not a deal breaker, The USB Conversion is more important than the DAC itself and The CS4398 Does work fine. Sorry if I'm opening a can of worms, But for USB Asynchronous transfer is a must for top performance.
Again... No, I haven't sat in front of it, that alone is worth slapping me around, but I do my homework and have listened to many components... Just my 2 cents
Good Luck, Tim
I wanted to give you another solution, very inexpensive, several hundred of these sold to the DIY community, overall a good response... This should compete with any name brand @ $300 and its cheap. They offer a $35 upgrade on the clocks, probably worth it. Tim
Just want to add that I love my Emotiva xda2 also. I paid full price when it came out and have no regrets.
Sorry I am late to this thread. To answer your question, go with a DAC. Many goog recs posted. If later you choose to play CDs via disk, you can buy an inexpensive player with SPDIF out and run through your DAC.