Do you have need for a USB DAC?

Do you have need for a USB DAC?
Yes, and I already have one
37% (172 votes)
Yes, and I'm thinking of buying one
32% (146 votes)
No, not right now
12% (53 votes)
No, don't want one.
15% (67 votes)
Not sure
5% (21 votes)
Total votes: 459

USB endowed DACs appeared all over CES last week. Do you have need for one?

Nick's picture

I don't understand all of the interest in USB DACs. Why not build in Ethernet instead? I can stream music from my NAS to my DVD player, my Apple TV, my receiver, or my receiver. Yet, few audiophile DACs support it. I guess USB chip sets are dirt cheap.

tjeerd v oostres's picture

I listen a lot to computer files right now, so better sound quality would be welcome.

DG's picture

I have one and gave the little red $100 unit to uninformed friends for Christmas stocking stuffers. They were amazed that it bettered their PC's DAC so dramatically.

Charlie Wilson's picture

I'm planning to purchase a Musical Fidelity V-DAC

Chris V.'s picture

I'm interested in the Ayre Acoustics model, but would like to go wireless with Apple's Airport Express, which doesn't do USB. At least, I think not.

Nathan's picture

I'd love to move my digital collection from CD to hard disk, but there are too many variables for me right now. I'd have to re-rip my entire collection again, in FLAC, which I can't do on a Mac, I'd need a second computer, as well as a better back-up system for storage, rather than umpteen external hard drives (1TB no longer seems that large).

Nosmo King's picture

Cary Audio Xciter. Sounds amazing!

WC2's picture

Yes, I have one, and I'm looking for an even better one (audiophilia nervosa). Computer-based music is the way to go!

Serpieri's picture

Got my feet wet with an HRT Music Streamer+ right after they were introduced by Classic Records' shop.

Fb's picture

Should it be USB or FireWire? I'm still unsure. One certainly doesn't have a problem in supporting 192/24.

Jim M's picture

I have two music servers, neither of which requires USB. Instead, they have digital and optical outputs.

Dave Saunders's picture

I use iTunes radio running on my MacBook as a replacement for over-the-air FM. Currently using the low cost HRT Musicstreamer to feed my 15-year-old Denon AVR. In that context, the unit seems more than adequate.

Christian's picture

Who needs USB? What about FireWire or BNC? Why use a flawed protocol and low sampling rates?

Matt's picture

Don't need one yet, but will probably make the switch to computer audio in another year or so.

CharlyD's picture

I bought my DAC as a stopgap until a reasonably-priced DLNA/UPnP streamer with hi-res support (>= 192/24) becomes available.

Jules's picture

I got the NuForce Icon uDAC. I haven't tried it out extensively, but so far it sounds good, really good.

Teresa's picture

I put "not sure" as I am currently shopping for a DAC to play Reference Recordings 176.4kHz HRxs and that usually means FireWire. However, I have read there are now some USB DACs that will pass up to 192kHz. So if this is true, I might get USB instead of FireWire.

ch2's picture

I wold like to see a unit with USB, FireWire 800, optical, and, most importantly, HDMI.'s picture

I don't at all understand them unless USB is a superior transfer method to S/PDIF. But most music servers have S/PDIF, not USB connections. Even the upcoming Squeezebox Touch has a USB port not for data transfer to a DAC. So why do these things exist? So people can place laptops on their equipment rack? That's a bit archaic, isn't it? Not at all an ideal way to get into computer audio.

Mike Agee's picture

No, and I genuinely hope I don't feel the need in the future. In the 33 1/3 series book on Led Zeppelin IV, the author makes a convincing connection between our primal fascination with mystery and lore and the stirring nature of acquiring and delving into "magic" discs that contain intangible and temporal sounds. In terms of ownership and the hunt, CDs are the LP's natural heir, but he points out that downloading and home-burned CD-Rs fundamentally break that ancient thread. It sounds like a flaky theory, but I don't think it is. Downloads aren't acquired, they're licensed. To me, computers are energy sucking taskmasters, good for work and research, but give me tangible volumes when it's time to commune with the muses. I don't have a remote and I don't want one.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

One thing I'm not is an early adopter. It's expensive and fraught with pitfalls.

Colin Robertson's picture

I will be keen to compare asynchronous USB DACs to more traditional DACs. Time to make CD players a thing of the past!

Ken's picture

If I win PowerBall though, who knows?

Neil Kirkwood's picture

Even though I can use the Toslink out of my MacBook Pro, the USB adds functionality and flexibility to my system. My friends are amazed when they listen to their computers through my V-DAC-equipped stereo.

Joe S.'s picture

I'm looking into getting a Rotel RCX- 1500, so the only need I could see might be at work.

Neal's picture

I have the budget and will purchase one within weeks.

Robert Ranheim's picture

What we need is what I would call a network-aware DAC. I don't want a computer near/in my listening room. What I want is a device that can accept the digital data from my stored music and get it to my system. The most obvious suspect is to connect via Ethernet but some proprietary connection would be acceptable if it's better.

m's picture

Someday soon perhaps, but not right now.

Chris R's picture

Hmmm, I'm not sure if I want to get on board. I already have a PCI sound card interface, but I heard outboard DACs suffer less from "noise" emitted by the PC. Most of the current DACs I've seen are only USB 1.1 and although people will never use the full bandwidth of USB 2.0 solely for listening to two-channel music, I see 1.1 as something prehistoric at this point (especially with USB 3.0 on the visible horizon). I will only get a USB DAC if it has a higher S/N Ratio than 120dB and has balanced outputs. I'll have to do some shopping.

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA.'s picture

Kindly reword the question in typical audiophile parlance, rather than meaningless alphabet soup.