Could use some DAC Advice? :)

I’ve been using Volumio on an old Pi3. I use a $9 Apple USB C dongle for a DAC. Works okay.

I am putting together a tiny ITX PC to try the x86 version on. Might also try a Dell Wyse. I have a few questions about DACs. Keep in mind I am using powered speakers (for now).

I have 2 other DACs somewhere around here… Both are PCM2704 based. The Muse Mini RCA out, and the other smaller one that is 3.5mm out only.

Would either of these perform better in x86 than the Apple DAC I am using?
Would they work in hardware volume mode?
Are there any inexpensive (max 75 CAD) USB input DACs out there that would be dramatically better than the three DACs I currently have? Also having coax/volume control would be a plus, but not a requirement.

Cheers :slight_smile:

EDIT: Found a cheap FX-Audio DAC-X6 MKII … would that work in hardware mode? I’m not even sure I fully understand hardware mode lol :slight_smile:


Nobody? hehe

i think most are using not so cheap DACs…


I think the general advise for DAC are spend a little bit ( at least $100+ ) to get one that doesn’t add noise. Mostly I believe (though its probably controversial) that most DAC are now ‘transparent’ - i.e. different DAC’s don’t really have different sound (though some produce louder output which can fool some people) but DAC’s specifically cheaper ones will add noise (which is sometimes obviously during quiet segments of songs).

The other thing to possible think about with DAC’s is the formats you want to support, some nice DAC’s will support way higher bitrates than CD quality while again cheaper ones might be limited to max CD quality.

As indicated above, if you go to around US$100-110, the quality and selection open up a lot, both for external DACs and add-on boards. has tested a large number of DACs from inexpensive to costly. Also, audiokarma and other forums are worth browsing.

Thanks for the replies, heh.

I stubbled across a Topping e30 for $56 CAD. Hopefully I made an ok choice buying it! haha.

The Topping E30 performed very well in measurements, So share the audio experience upon receiving.

(yellow bar, further left the better)

Topping E30 is terrific for the money, I’ll be surprised if you’re disappointed.