Stand-alone Balanced DAC

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Is there a reason it's so difficult to find a balanced DAC that isn't bundled with an amp? I don't want to pay for an amplifier when all I need is the DAC section, but the SMSL SU-8 is about all I can find that isn't ridiculously priced. Does anyone have suggestions at $300 or less?
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Voodue
10
Dec 4, 2018
Geshelli labs
mechcentric
43
Dec 4, 2018
Why not dx7s?
Keth
756
Dec 4, 2018
I just wish they'd separate them, I hate paying for things I don't need.
mechcentric
43
Dec 4, 2018
imo the cleaner output is worth it, especially with the current massdrop prices being more proportional
Honestly, the SU-8 is your best bet. They just updated the model to "V2" and resolved some previous issues and it is measuring a bit better than before. They're also dropping in price as I picked mine up from Amazon for $199 a couple of days ago. So far, paired with the THX 789 and using with the Elex and Elegia, I can definitely tell a difference going balanced over normally using my iFi nano BL. I haven't really played with many of the filters and things yet and the volume control seems a bit odd at times, but for the cost, I am more than pleasantly surprised at how much I like this unit. I don't have a ton of experience with Chinese brands outside of Fiio or DITA but SMSL so far has left a good impression on me.
DenonFanboy
807
Dec 2, 2018
Why does it have to be balanced? Get yourself a good unbalanced dac rather than a crappy balanced one. The really good ones are over the 300 range, I would spring for a modi multibit or the r2r airist sold here first.
Keth
756
Dec 2, 2018
The multibit is a horrid DAC, the Modi measures better in every way, as does the Grace SDAC I'm using currently.
phoenixsong
1225
Dec 2, 2018
SDAC balanced
lpot
2
Dec 5, 2018
To add another alternative, I've been happy with my XLR cable for HD650 from http://ursine.audio/ -- order wait time is currenty kinda long, but the cable is top notch and the price seems good.
Keth
756
Dec 11, 2018
Whelp, I now have the 1990's, t60rp's, and nighthawks on the way. Hard not to abuse the Amazon christmas return policy. Let's hope the Amiron's, t60's, or nighthawks are my favorite...really don't want to spend the $600 on the 1990's.