Apr 21, 2018

Suggestions for a dedicated desktop DAC

I've just received my CTH and am waiting for the Elex to come next month. I run a 2016 macbook pro TB, which unfortunately the DAC was downgraded to from 96khz in the older models to 44khz in this newer model (very frustrating). Ironically the 2016 MBP still has an output of 96khz for it's built in speakers but only 44khz for the 3.5mm jack. That means I'm in the market for a desktop DAC (I'll never travel with the Elex). Since I already have the CTH, which is wonderful itself, I'm not really interested in an AMP/DAC combo, just the DAC. The Elex and CTH add up to $950 so cost is definitely a consideration when shopping for a DAC. What DAC's would you recommend? As an afterthought, something that matches the look of my setup would be a big bonus; e.g. the pro-ject models, except I don't know much about their performance. I appreciate any input. This is literally the best forum anywhere.
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JDS Labs OL DAC would be my sugesstion. Check out thier website. They are reasonably priced as well. Ive got one with the LCX and it sounds great with various headphones.
Hm, well. My personal suggestion to everyone looking for audio equipment is to start off "cheap" (don't break the bank purchasing something that others _love_ when you may very well have a different opinion on it). Given that you have a nice set of headphones and a relatively nice AMP, I would suggest looking at the $200-$500 price range for a DAC.
My experience, personally, is rather limited, but I can say that the Modi multibit is a pretty nice DAC (at least in comparison to the soundcards I have used in the past). The Modi, however, will not fit the current matte black aesthetic you are going for.
One that I would definitely have my eye on is the Jotunheim. At $600 you can get a pre-amp, with multibit DAC module, a black finish, and (likely) fairly good quality. I haven't had a chance to play with a Jotunheim, but it is definitely one I considered a lot when I was looking for my initial AMP/DAC solution; I just decided to save a bit of money at the time (which was the right decision for me).