Is low cost DAC worth it?

Been learning a lot from you fine folks... thanks!

I am driving Boston Acoustic Lynnfield 975 speakers with a Willsenton R8 amp (recent purchase to try it out) and streaming over wifi through Apple Airport Express. It sounds pretty good but I find myself wondering if adding a low cost DAC would improve the sound any?

Maybe something like the Cambridge DacMagic 100 or 200M?

My hearing is not that great anymore, so I don’t think it makes sense to jump on a DAC costing thousands, but I understand the Airport Express is a decent DAC, so not sure if a low cost one would make any difference?



The 2 DAC’s mentioned by @pmm are an excellent idea. I purchased an early edition Schiit Uber Analog DAC as my first. I used a stripped down laptop with an external power supply and a Cardas Clear usb cable. I upgraded to a Schiit Yiggy, and later added a Project Stream Box Ultra II and ditched the laptop. I also have a Cambridge DAC Magic 200. I gifted my son the latest generation Blue Sound  Node to replace the Bifrost I had given him when I upgraded. He runs a simple system of a vintage Marantz receiver and Klipsh KG speakers. Switching from blue tooth to an entry level streamer like the Blue Sound was an huge improvement for him. Also consider switching to a source that’s not blue tooth. If you don’t want to get an additional streamer, get the Node or something from IfI. Having your system hardwired to the router and the cable that feeds the DAC have a significant influence too. Happy hunting, Mike B. 

A minimum of $750 and up keep in mind a $800dac has under $200 in total 

including the box that’s roughly the average , audio cables much more so still.

Can’t go far wrong with the musical fidelity v90 dac. Stereophile high class B, low class A component. I’ve had mine for Years and I love it.

I have a Bluesound NODE streamer and a Denafrips Are II DAC.

Given your budget, I would suggest that a used NODE (which has a built-in DAC) would give you the most bang for the buck.  Especially if your hearing or system isn't top-notch, you'll find the NODE's DAC quite satisfactory, and you can continue to stream via wi-fi--the NODE is really designed to work well that way, and it does when you give it a strong wi-fi signal.  The smartphone app for the NODE can also tell you the wi-fi signal strength it is receiving, so you can know whether it is strong enough to stream high-resolution files or just CD-quality files.  And I can hear that hi-res files sound better than CD on the NODE, even using its DAC.

$500 DAC - nope.  Better off spending $500 and upgrading your CDP instead.