Another vote for Schiit in the price range you specified. It will definitely outperform the AirPort Express.
- 88 posts total
- 88 posts total
Rather than focusing on the architecture of a dac I just listen to see if sounds good to me or not. I have found some inexpensive dac’s that do sound very good. My ifi Zen Dac Signature (original version) sounds really nice through both balanced and single ended configurations. I purchased it used along with a Zen Can Signature HD6XX headphone amplifier. I paid around $400US for both, which included the X power supplies, the 4.4 mm to 4.4 mm balanced cable and two headphone cables (se and balanced) for my HD6XX. It’s a very nice pairing with the HD6XX headphone.
The Zen Dac Signature also works very nicely with several other headphone amp’s that I have. I have not heard the Zen Dac V2 or Signature V2 but have read positive reviews in regard to them.
I also recommend the original Schiit Modius AKM 4493 which I also own. Another dac that punches well above its weight. I have not heard the later Modius E, but have read some good reviews on it. It’s also priced under $300US.
Schiit is a great solution for this situation. After using Apple products for audio, I always recommend avoiding using a computer or similar device that is not dedicated to audio. The differences are obvious, and seems these devices will generate all kinds of little gaps and noises in the audio as they are trying to be a computer, not primarily an audio source. I own a few DACs including a Schiit Modius, SMAL SU-9, and a few devices with internal DAC including disc players, and my McIntosh MX122. The Schiit is well reviewed and a great value from a US company and sounds great. The SU-9 is also great just a few more features but sounds the same overall.