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?

tzed's picture

I just bought a FireWire DAC/ADC for digitizing vinyl. From everything I've read, it's the better connection scheme but it's rare on non-Apple computers, so less supported in the hi-fi world.

John G in KY's picture

I don't even have a need for an old-fashioned DAC.

hudsucker proxy's picture

I've got FireWire DAC and ADCs that rock, but I'm voting "already have one" as I think computer/HD-based playback is quite a bit better than CD.

KJ's picture

I'd rather have a 24/192-capable USB or FireWire-to-S/PDIF device that I can use with my favorite DAC, at least for my main system. For headphones: Bring on the USB DACs!

Evan's picture

Manufacturers and designers, take note: Stop being stuck in your ways and support USB/PCs. If you're going to support digital with CDs, then why not support real digital with PCs? I want to see more DACs with the ability to decode 24/96-and-up over USB.

Stephan Müller's picture

I choose FireWire.

USB Music Sucks's picture

If you're using a USB connection to listen to music, no wonder you're convinced that vinyl is better. If you have a PC, upgrade your sound card—if you have a Mac, use your optical out.

Alexander Parshakov's picture

Just bought a Benchmark DAC. No experience yet, bit I am looking forward to it.

N's picture

Yes, I have one: Benchmark DAC-1—it works great with my MacBook.

Jon Jungel's picture

I have optical S/PDIF on all my computers, so I don't see the point.

Joe O'Brien's picture

Yes, thinking of buying one as soon as I can figure out component (including PC/storage device) and logistics (how to place) details.

william's picture

Why not? It is good enough to beat any CD transporter.

Ken Anderssen's picture

Nope. Computers make noise, not music.

Jim G.'s picture

FireWire is a better audio interface. In the '60s, sound quality took a back seat to looks and that gave us nice furniture that sounded just okay. Now we have USB DACs because the great unlearned public has heard of USB. There is no sound quality issue that points to using USB. I didn't know Steven Jobs was qualified to spec audio interfaces. I think he should stick to colors and cute little apples that light up.

JT's picture


Joseph's picture

It does not fit into my audio right now. And, to be honest, I don't trust them yet.

FvK's picture

I bought the dCS Puccini U-Clock sight unseen as soon as it was announced. The convenience factor of having ready access to your online music (350GB and counting) combined with the sound quality made it a worthwhile addition to the system, despite the price tag.

ken's picture

The Peachtree Nova or other DAC/amp/preamp-type combos are of more interest than a stand-alone DAC.

Joe Fonebone's picture

Stello DA100 (and HP100 amp) connected to my office computer and X-HiFi speakers. No complaints.

j.  astorga's picture

I want one that's affordable.

Bill Ehring's picture

I don't know why nobody is building it into their disc player for a one-box solution?

Pinkus's picture

Right now, I am only using it for listening to Internet radio. I wish there were high-resolution internet streams available—the 128k streams sound mediocre at best.

Enrico Palazzo - Pittsboro, NC's picture

It's obviously the future.

Roel Haitjema's picture

I am using using iTunes on a Mac Mini to Cambridge Audio DacMagic (the whole thing remote controlled via an iPod Touch) much more than I ever thought I would.

Stefano Lindiri's picture

Judging by Stereophile's own measurements, they are far from being as good as a cheap CD player from the '90s—and my laptop has (as does every Mac) digital output.

Kamal's picture

For a HDD based front-end, it's the way of the future.

Michael's picture

I use Logitech's Transporter, connected to my server. I do not think it is good to add a (noisy) PC to an audio set-up.

fabio's picture

Why? I use the digital audio out of my Mac. Oh, you have a PC?

Akis's picture

I do have one by Native Instruments (Audio Kontrol 1), but I was thinking about the Wadia 151.

Robbert Broersma's picture

I am looking for 192kHz/24-bit USB to S/PDIF or AES/EBU converter, to connect it to another DAC (digital Lyngdorf amplifier).