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View Full Version : DAC for Use w/ AudioEngine A5




cubbie5150
Mar 13, 2008, 01:00 PM
I'm gonna retire my 2.1 computer speaker set-up & just ordered the AudioEngine A5 powered speaker set. I'm now looking into whether getting a Digital to Analog Converter to put between my MBP & speakers will make an appreciable difference for me.

I am NOT a musician, and will not be making recordings; this is simply for listening to music through iTunes (& occasional movies w/ VLC). About the only genere of music I won't listen to is Country (but mostly I lsten to blues, jazz & alt rock). Someone suggested an Apogee Duet, & even though I can afford it, it seems a bit pricy given that it seems to be targeted towards musicians rather than a wannabe audiophile like me.

Any opinions out there whether I even "need" a DAC, and if so, any specific suggestions?



Sesshi
Mar 13, 2008, 06:43 PM
Well actually, audiophile stuff tends to be more expensive than the stuff the pro musicians use due to added stuff.

The Duet is looks-matched to the MBP for sure, and it's a decent pro audio interface. If it's purely playback you're looking at, you could consider something like the Headroom MicroDAC (http://www.headphone.com/products/headphone-amps/the-micro-line/2007-headroom-micro-dac.php), which is a hundred dollars cheaper than the Duet and is a small DAC done right.

amik
Mar 13, 2008, 09:03 PM
The new "must have" bargain DAC over on Head-Fi is the Zero 24/192 DAC/Headphone amp. Here's a review: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-zero-24-bit-192khz-dac-headphone-amp-pre-amp-269458/

I picked one up and the transaction was flawless. I've swapped the opamps to OPA627 in the DAC section and LT1369 in the amp section and it sounds fantastic. It has a pre-amp output that would work with the A5 speakers.

cubbie5150
Mar 13, 2008, 10:48 PM
Thanks for the explanation & suggestions... Obviously I thought the Duet would be way too much for me given the single application I would use it for (playback via iTunes). I simply misunderstood... I have a help thread going over at Head-Fi as well, and am getting similar suggestions (incl. the Chinese DAC). I'm gonna try the A5's w/out a DAC (direct to the optical/headphone out of my MBP) for a while to hear what it sounds like. More than likely I'll pony-up for a DAC (& probably a sub & amp) later on...

ejack24
Jun 21, 2008, 08:48 AM
I am planning to pick up a pair of A5s for my iMac too, and I'm interested to hear more about how your setup turned out. Would any of the DACs mentioned here work in such a setup?

cubbie5150
Jun 21, 2008, 06:29 PM
I am planning to pick up a pair of A5s for my iMac too, and I'm interested to hear more about how your setup turned out. Would any of the DACs mentioned here work in such a setup?

I ended up getting an Apogee Duet, and it worked very well. I ended up upgrading, however, & sold my A5's a couple months ago. The Duet (which I still use--running it to an integrated amp & passive bookshelf speakers) really improved the sound--to me, it was a "significant" improvement, YMMV.... There are a ton of DACs out there.....

ejack24
Jun 22, 2008, 08:32 AM
I ended up getting an Apogee Duet, and it worked very well. I ended up upgrading, however, & sold my A5's a couple months ago. The Duet (which I still use--running it to an integrated amp & passive bookshelf speakers) really improved the sound--to me, it was a "significant" improvement, YMMV.... There are a ton of DACs out there.....

I looked at the Duet, but it appears to be oriented toward recording. Since I'm only interested in iTunes playback, I thought I might be able to save some money. I'm now looking at the HeadRoom Micro DAC.