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I found some $3000/US DAC units.
I got the cheapest on Amazon, the most people like, and had to
immediately take it apart. Poor construction tolerances for a 1/8"
headphone jack, and had to modify the case accordingly. Actually, an
Ebay item, sold for "new" from someone dealing only in items of that
particular brand, which suspicious case scratches when magnified. The
short of it: approaching half the Amazon cost or its dealers want.
There's a lot to do with tonal shaping in the design engineering,
(chips used and perhaps buffering), between various brand makes.
With a *good speaker* setup, unfortunately, for the above Amazon range
and class of gear, it's also a lot about a dime-a-dozen, crap DAC
This one is nonetheless interesting. Between a couple brands, for
instance, I'm finding one has a much more pronounced sound stage --
stereo separation, as well unique frequency emphasis, bass placement
being most evident between units. Not bad, overall, but with another
unit, an older purchase promoted for its unique chip selections, its
high frequencies -- for me, I like a lot of clarity, shimmering
cymbals and such -- it surpasses this latest unit in accuracy.
I'll next try, see what happens through splitting, mixing and blending
All told, a reasonable expectation of accuracy in sound reproduction,
what I hadn't expected, rather actually heard, is what exists between
many DAC offerings, where the wrong choice can easily be the
Going on reviews, I think I'm lucky with what I have. If the older
unit broke, however, and I needed as accurate a replacement unit, I'm
not so sure of how easily it would to achieve that aim. Short of
$3000/US, that is, or at less than a hundredth markup: Welcome to the
world of uncompromising audio reproduction.