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Remarkable post on diyAudio 'bout audiophile DACs
(01-26-2021, 07:54 PM)grasshopper Wrote:
(01-26-2021, 02:29 AM)Listener Wrote:
(01-22-2020, 03:12 PM)TheOldPresbyope Wrote: Did anyone else happen to catch Soundcheck's remarkable post on diyAudio, Do we still need "audiophile" USB gadgets and bridges?" 

If you are a longtime reader of diyAudio, you know how critical and skeptical Soundcheck is, which is why I find this post and replies so remarkable.

As it happens, last year I bought the KTB he mentions. I was super impressed at the sound I got for US$100 but candidly I was reticent to say how good I thought it was because I haven't had audiophile ears for decades---age and noise exposure do that to one.[1] I don't hear, for example, evidence of the ESS "hump" that people get so worked up about. I do still have a musical ear, though, and can't make it through the day without listening to an old favorite or a new find.

Not trying to start a flame war here about DACs. I just like the takeaway from Soundcheck's post. It's getting easier and easier to get great sound with a minimal number of components at a reasonable cost. 

I can't wait to see (hear?) what happens next.


[1] I've had to walk back the one negative thing I said about it...that it didn't support hardware volume control for DSD. That's a harder technical problem for USB DACs than I appreciated at the time. I still think it can be solved but I can live without it, if for no other reason than I just can't get excited about buying DSD remasters of everything I've already ripped from my CD collection.

Hi Kent, 

Thanks for the link to soundcheck's post. I have been thinking of getting a usb dac for quite a while and think that I will try the KTB. Are there any others in your opinion that I should consider?



Hi John,

I have the 9038SG3 from e1da at, bought mine from AliExpress.  I only use it for balanced out to IEM's and the sound is superb for the money.  There are many good reviews online for this dac, see YouTube etc, there's the 9038D with unbalanced out too and others I have no experience with.
I only use my USB DAC's for balanced headphone, IEM listening, via MoOde or UAPP so if you want a DAC for headphone listening I can recommend highly.

I went with the Schiit Modi 3+ and am quite happy.


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