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DACS with less than 2V output gain?

Discussion in 'audio' started by eastone, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    Can anyone think of desktop DACs that don’t have 2V or more at the RCA outputs?

    I want to use a vintage amp in the home office but it’s really sensitive. I can live with it, but the ideal solution would be a lower output DAC.

    Currently just using the headphone output from Mac Mini.

    Not looking to spend a lot, and don’t want to modify the amplifier, at this stage anyway.
  2. Yomanze

    Yomanze pfm Member

    MUTTY1, Mike P and Sue Pertwee-Tyr like this.
  3. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    I do have a little homemade pot in a box that I can use.

    I thought that a separate DAC would bring a sonic benefit over the headphone out, and would surely be better than sticking two pots (or attenuators) in series...?
  4. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Attenuators are far from being a simple resistor/pot'. They are simple, but not that simple. (They are also directional.)
  5. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    The RME ADI-2-DAC FS is adjustable either to a fixed level or variable via a front volume control
    joe9407 and eastone like this.
  6. Wilson

    Wilson SCTV half wit

  7. badlyread

    badlyread pfm Member

    Chord Qutest can be set to 1V. Fantastic DAC, using it with my Nait 2.
    ALFY, Tim Jones and HiFiman like this.
  8. Dan K

    Dan K pfm Member

    You could build your own attenuators. Nothing more than a pair of 1/2 watt resistors as a voltage divider on the output.

    Takman carbon films are nice
  9. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    Hi Dan. Hoping to avoid attenuating, since the amp has a volume control - I’ll be attenuating twice. Maybe these things don’t make a difference but seems more logical / preferable to have lower gain signal straight from the dac?

    Or is that wrong?
  10. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    Does this make them a good idea or not so much?
  11. eastone

    eastone pfm Member

    Yes, 1V would be ideal but it’s too expensive for this application unfortunately.
  12. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    TEAC UD-503 is a possibility - recently superseded by the UD-505, so probably secondhand at reasonable cost. It has
    a digitally controlled variable analogue output with up to 40dB of reduction available in 0.5dB steps, so 1.0V is easily achievable.

    I'm very happy with mine, which I use to provide my system volume control. It has a line input too, so is usable as a preamp/source selector.
    eastone likes this.
  13. James Evans

    James Evans Bedroom Bodger

    Rasp pi/allo boss allows setting to 1V, certainly via Moode anyway. Probably not applicable to your application though!
    eastone likes this.
  14. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    I wonder what the fixed output of the Dragonfly Black is? I found that worked well as a desktop DAC into a preamp, certainly better than the MacBook headphone Jack, and I usually just used the laptop for volume rather than reaching for the preamp.
  15. Cav

    Cav pfm Member

    Is it not received wisdom to have max output from the source and the use the amp volume to attenuate the signal down?
    eastone likes this.
  16. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    I have not, but lots ofpeople do use them and have no issue at all when doing so.
    eastone likes this.
  17. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Maximum output that doesn't overload amplifier input?

    (and allows a reasonable amount of volume control travel...)
    eastone likes this.
  18. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    The Pro-Ject Pre Dac S2 jobby has variable output and is small, inexpensive and good. Probably more versatile than the OP really needs but can be hidden away if you are not fiddling with the settings. I use one with a Mac Mini and it will happily run from the 5V USB that is the signal too - so do not need the external power supply.
    eastone likes this.
  19. Fergus

    Fergus pfm Member

    eastone likes this.
  20. k90tour

    k90tour pfm Member

    They are directional? Could you explain that to me please, if you don't mind?
    I cannot understand why.
    I ask as I'm building my own passive with a stepped attenuator.

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