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"Budget" DAC with XLR Output

I’m currently using a 3.5mm to XLR cable to connect my Yamaha HS8 powered monitors which works OK, but I’m ready to upgrade. I’m looking for a DAC that has these features.

  • Works with macOS and Linux (no special drivers)
  • USB and S/PDIF inputs
  • Left and right channel XLR output on the back
  • 3.5mm output on the front

Ideally, it would also have a remote to change volume and input but that’s not a deal breaker. I don’t have a firm budget, but obviously a DAC that costs more than my monitors is out of the question.

In my search, I found the the Topping DX7S which looked nice and is a good price but it seems they have Windows-only drivers which is a non-starter for me. Does anyone have suggestions?

I’ve had good luck with my Schiit Audio Modi (DAC) and Magni (amp) but they output 1/4 " not XLR. Their products all seem to be high quality, and made in the USA if that matters to you!

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The new modius has XLR I think, but it’s probably out of the budget, and won’t have volume control.

Thank you both! The Modius looks like it will do well and while not cheap, is within budget. The only downside is no 3.5mm jack on the front and I’ll have to add the Magni for that.

@JediAcolyte just to confirm, you have used these successfully under Linux, correct?

I use my modi 3 on Linux, it just works

Perfect DAC, also a pretty good headphone amp. XLR can be switched to line out or pre out. No remote included though.

If it was not for the requirement of SPIDF and a remote, the Motu M2 2x2 would work nicely.

A Sabaj D5 might work for you. (not sure about remote)

If you went with two devices instead of one, consider the SMSL M300 MkII (which ticks all boxes and has a remote) and get a cheap headphone amp like the Monolith Liquid Spark with it. The headphone amp would live on the RCA out, your monitors on the XLR.


Dumb idea:

Do you have a switch that outputs POE?
Because then you could run something like an Audinate AVIO and just shoot audio via the network. Then take those signals and put them through a monitor controller like the ART SCC.

In as single unit, it would be something like the ESI Planet 22x

@ibreakthings,
Sorry, I’ve only run this under Win10.
Their website says Linux compatibility tho…