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Old 11-27-2020, 07:10 PM   #1
Maggot Maggot is offline
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Oct 2009
United States
Default DAC Upgrade???


I wanted to run this past the forum. I have had the Audio Engine 5+ speakers with their DAC D1 as my computer desk setup for many years, coming optically from my soundcard. When I bought the D1, I immediately noticed a big difference. I'm wondering if the following will make an even bigger improvement, plus I want DSD capability:

Topping DX7 Pro $500/$600 DAC - Headphone Amp combo


Topping D90 DAC + A90 Headphone Amp $1000


Some equivalent offering from Gustard?

I would eventually be replacing the Audio Engine A5+'s with better passive bookshelves......

I'm just wondering what level of improvement will $500 to $1000 bucks get you in a DAC/Heaphone combo or separates compared to a $170 dollar DAC.

Any thoughts would be helpful.
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Old 11-28-2020, 03:03 PM   #2
frogmeat69 frogmeat69 is offline
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Mar 2012
Western New York, U.S.A.

Those speakers only have RCA inputs, right? Are you looking for pre-amp functions, or using the volume on the speakers?

For your current speakers, I wouldn't spend $1000 on the Topping D90-A90 stack, but instead would get the E30-L30 amp and DAC stack from Topping, awesome DAC and headphone amp with a small footprint, buy it from Apos Audio as an ensemble, and they throw in some nice RCA interconnects, all for under $300.

You could also get the Topping DX3 Pro, an all in one DAC/HP amp, which can also be used as a pre-amp for powered speakers, for $220.

All of the Topping stuff mentioned are audibly transparent, I own both stacks and love them for my headphone use.

And, if you are eventually getting new passive speakers, you are going to need an amp for those speakers, none of these have amps to power speakers.

No matter your choice, if you are looking at a DAC with an AKM chip like the above DACs, you better hurry, with the huge fire the AKM factory had, they are running out, and won't be back up until well into next year.

Can't say whether you will hear any difference in sound quality, that's all subjective, but you will have DSD capability from these DACs.

Or, if you are really itching to spend money, the RME ADI-2 DAC FS will do everything you need, plus a lot more, for $1149.00, and is made in Germany, if you're not a fan of the Chi-Fi stuff.

Last edited by frogmeat69; 11-28-2020 at 03:19 PM.
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