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.
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Hello tbick! I'm currently using an SMSL M500. I have 8 dacs under $1000. Maybe I should have put all that $ into some expensive DAC. However . . . I hear very little difference between a $1000 Sony DAC/HPA and the SMSL models or the Dragonflies. Have very good amps, cables etc. The input cable you use to connect your DAC to some signal source DOES have a HUGE effect! That was shocking to me. As usual, different DACs reapond differently to a particular input cable. I have many cables and the best overall is Zavfino and comes from Canada. I can't see puttng $5k (even $2k!) into a DAC unless all your music is coming in that way. All this fuss about streaming is just a way to get access to a huge music library. The sound isn't as good as a good CD. If you have a computer, it can feed your Dac. You don't NEED a streamer unless you want the convenience it offers. Enjoy the Music! Happy listening.
@boomerbillone Big +1 there! I recently switched from a decent yet well-regarded budget digital cable to an Acoustic Zen MC2 (used), and WOW!!! Night and day difference — not even in the same ballpark-level performance.
Well, here we’re just gonna differ. First, having access to a virtually unlimited music library, and much of it in high res, is not a small thing. Second, it’s simply not true that CDs sound better. Too many variables to address there, but they both can sound incredibly good when implemented well.
We’re gonna differ here too. In general computers are an awful source for streaming music, and a dedicated streamer is almost always significantly better sound wise because of its lower noise floor and parts that are dedicated solely to maximizing sound quality and nothing else. The prime reason for using a dedicated streamer is for far better sound quality, not convenience.
I have owned the DacMagic 200 that you mention as well a Denafrips Ares II and Schiit Bifrost 2 mentioned by others. The DacMagic is the least expensive of the 3 and can be found for under $500. The Ares and Bifrost will cost a little bit more, over $500 even used. All 3 will beat the pants off what you have. The DacMagic has many more features than the other two, sounds decent, but not as good as the others, imo and in the reviews I’ve read. Quite frankly the market is flooded with inexpensive DAC’s and most will sound very good coming from the Apple. I think you’ll be very happy with any of them again when compared to the Apple. As already mentioned you should add the cost of a streamer to get the full benefit of any of them.
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