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Whats a good DAC with balanced outputs?

Hi, I'm looking for a dac with balanced outputs, but I'm having a hard time find anything that isn't extremely expensive.

Looking for something that I can find in the $500 range (new/usd)

I found a Fostex unit just a little while ago that's balanced, let me see if I can find it again...

EDIT: Found two

They both have a headphone amplifier in addition to the DAC, but maybe use the amplifier as a preamp if you don't need the power?

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the fostex is nice, but I'm hoping to find something that is just a dac, not a dac + amp, since I don't want to pay extra for an AMP I'm not going to use.

To be honest, at $500 for just a DAC you're overpaying.

Having said that, the output on the Scarlett 2i2 is balanced according to Focusrite's website. You're still paying for more than just a DAC, but it's quite a bit cheaper. Apparently uses a Cirrus CS4272, which looks like a half decent DAC.

I have a odac rigth now, but I'm looking for a balanced dac to pair with my amp.

and to that end I'm having a hard time finding anything which is why I'm asking.

also the Scalet doesn't have balanced outputs on it from the pictures on amazon.

Yeah, I've looked all over for balanced DACs and it seems like just about all of them are DAC/amps or cost like $2000.

The outputs on the back of the unit are balanced TRS according to the tech specs on Focusrite's website.

Teac UD-301 - Looks to be just a DAC and supports pretty much any sampling and bitrates. Costs similar to the Fostex and Jotunheim.

I like that Teac, will look up some reviews on it! Seems very promising!

edit also cheaper

$500 seems a bit low from the stuff that I am seeing. Usually, Audio-GD or Schiit are good go-to companies for high end equipment.

@Rustbelt if you're on the forums someone needs your guidance in the ways of audio


and I bought a used Audio-GD NFB-1S (2014) dac. payed $410 CAD so I'm happy.

The simple answer would have been: any USB recording audio interface with TRS outputs.

The best for any system including *nix-kernel-based ARM platform operating systems: Steinberg UR series, because of the very high quality Yamaha ADC/DAC capable natively of conversion in excess of 24/192, the full metal enclosure and generally very good shielding, the sound electronics design, and the very good quality analogue audio circuits, but most important feature of all: these units have a hardwired class compliance mode switch, which means that these units are never dependent on this or that software to work with any software past, present or future, they aren't even dependent on software to switch to a class compliance mode.

Balanced connections are not a DAC feature, balanced signal transport is purely an analogue trick that anyone can easily wire themselves on any cheap DAC, including the one built into any computing device, in under 10 minutes. A balanced connection is basically a three wire connection, whereby the hot lead is phase reversed and then also presented as a third lead besides the ground. It's a push/pull connection, it's a simple as that. The only thing you need is a couple of vanilla followers, and you trim unity to +4 dBu instead of -10 dBu because the unity convention on balanced connections is different of that of unbalanced connections. It most certainly is not rocket science.

I think you might be assuming a little too much of anyone here.

OP, the Emotiva Stealth DC-1 has balanced XLR outputs. (I prefer TRS.) It's just about at the limit of your budget and gets marked down sometimes. I have heard it might be too "analytical" for some tastes though and the display is atomic blue. (Better break out the goggles!) The headphone jacks are 3.5 mm, so some have voiced concern about their durability. You can always plug in an adapter and leave that attached though.

There's also the MOTU Audio Express, but this is designed more with recording in mind. (But dammit, it has a much more informative panel and it's not blue). Are you looking to record too or just listen to music?

I have the schiit jot. It's incredible!

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Balanced is going to drive the prices up a little.

In this price range, I can never NOT, think about the Emotiva DC-1 Stealth ($499).

Kind of crappy support/ company (They are throwing audio shops under the bus lately with their much higher price charges to retailers).

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