Which DAC with good preamp for Active speakers?

WP61C

Member
I know DAC discussions are all over the place but i cannot find the answer to this question... so...

I have a need for a DAC to drive my new active speakers.

Crucially I need it to have a volume control (not necessarily a remote) – I know many DACs such as the Topping E30 have a setting for Direct , or with the Pre-amp engaged.

The E30 receives much praise but I have seen reports that sound quality when using the volume control (ie preamp) is noticeably down on direct mode.
So a “no” to the E30 for me.

What other similar DACs could I consider where the preamp section does not noticeably degrade the sound quality?

What about the preamp on the iFi ZEN DAC V2 for example?



Thanks
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Are you limited to a dac? For example lots here like the Yamaha wxc-50 that is a preamp with integrated dac and streaming.

I had an arcam irdac 2 that was very good. If you look at some av receivers that have preouts you can end up with super value systems running active speakers.

What exactly do you intend feeding or streaming?Do you have a set budget?
 

WP61C

Member
OK fair question.
I have Chromecast Audio that has optical out. I could use the on board DAC but want a volume control somewhere in the system that's not just software. That can cause unexpected full gain excursions.
But - the Yamaha wxc-50 looks very interesting indeed. Sound quality vs the various Topping offerings?
 

ricof90

Active Member
The iFi Zen DAC gets a lot of love. ASR have a huge amount of measurement info, it's worth having a look on there.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
OK fair question.
I have Chromecast Audio that has optical out. I could use the on board DAC but want a volume control somewhere in the system that's not just software. That can cause unexpected full gain excursions.
But - the Yamaha wxc-50 looks very interesting indeed. Sound quality vs the various Topping offerings?
What you'll find here is that most will tell you they like or dislike ones they've used and owned. You might be lucky and find someone who has owned more than one of the items, but you'll likely not.

I understand your wanting a vol control, I use and like CCA but a physical vol control is beneficial.

Have you considered something like a Mackie Big knob passive. You can use any dac you want then and set the volume in the analogue section
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
An alternative to the Big Knob is the SMPro M-Patch and more”Hifi” is the Tisbury Passive Preamp. I have the v2 of the M-Patch and it is very transparent.

As for dac’s the Soncoz LAQXD1 or the Khadas Toneboard v2 are worth a look or the SMSL Sanskrit 10th mk2 uses the same chip as the Topping E30 and gets good reviews. Worth noting that is the DAC is USB powered and has two input ports it’s worth using one to power and one to feed if you are using a pc.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
What active speakers will you be using?

Plus a big hands up from me for the WXC-50. First class.
 

stevoknevo

Active Member
Yamaha WXC50 here for £220 - [FS] - Yamaha WXC-50 streamer/pre amp

I have a Topping E30 and there is a noticeable sound quality difference between pre-amp mode and DAC mode (and the supplied remote is garbage and used across their entire range (and other brands) IIRC)
 

WP61C

Member
I have a Topping E30 and there is a noticeable sound quality difference between pre-amp mode and DAC mode (and the supplied remote is garbage and used across their entire range
That's really interesting - it does reflect what I have read elsewhere.

I wonder if the Ifi Zen DAC V2 suffers the same way?

Maybe best option as suggested above - use Direct DAC mode (on any DAC) and use external passive volume control.
 

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