Better desktop DAC

Hi, I am looking for a better DAC in my home office system, to replace the Topping e30ii. It must be able to playback pure / direct DSD. The sound must be clearly better. Preferably a portable DAC, not a huge box. I am streaming through an ethernet-connected laptop and experience no problems, but may consider a new streaming solution too. Total budget; low to medium. Buying used is OK, as long as the DAC can handle DSD.

Suggestions welcome!

Ag insider logo xs@2xo_holter

@o_holter -  not really. I’m not a desktop dac person, but I did buy my Topping from them and I thought they were helpful. They seemed to carry a lot of lines, so I figured they could help you out. They really have no incentive to recommend something you’re only going to send back.  Personally, I gave up on hi rez years ago. I found that I got better sound by concentrating on maximizing CD quality sound, but that’s me. 

@chayro - thanks. They are on the other side of the globe (I live in Norway) but I will check them out. Qualified impartial advice is very valuable. And I've actually bought from Oakland before ; - )

I finally got around to disconnect the Teac NT-505 from my main system, carried it to the office system, and connected it there. The difference was larger than I had imagined, compared to my current solution (Thinkpad T14 laptop + Topping e30ii). My small office system sounds much better with the Teac. Both PCM streaming and DSD file playback. Not even a close match, compared to the Topping. In a way, not strange, considering the cost and effort involved.

I have no idea, how much is due to the improved streaming, or the better DAC, but I think it is both. The music both sounds better (I associate to the DAC) and seems more undisturbed (I associate to the streamer).

@o_holter - Norway?  I was there two years ago. You should visit Audio Consult in Denmark. They’ll get you set up. 💸💸💸

Thanks for advice, everyone. I am studying the links.

@mlsstl - yes another Teac NT-505 is an idea, since it matches my 'inquisitive' desktop system quite well, with its akm 'velvet' sound. I hesitate, regarding ess based dacs. However the Teac is not so easy to find around here, and still quite high in price.

We really need to read between the lines, now, in all the dac promotion texts that pose as reviews. I read one of my Topping e30ii. Yes good for its price level, but good, in an objective sense? Not to my ears. I could get a used Topping D90 for a fair price, but fear that it would be money out the window. Good measures dont neccessarily translate to good sound.