The DAC Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by señorhifi, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. señorhifi

    señorhifi Rando

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    16
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Spain
    Hello SBAF, this is my first post here. I wanted to discuss the Modi 3 vs Teac UD301 or UD501. I have very limited experience with DACs and was wondering if the Modi 3 despite being significantly cheaper, might actually be an upgrade? I bought the Teac UD 301 blindly here in Spain as I saw it cheap (less than half the price) so I just went for it. I am currently wanting to upgrade my headphones, but I was wondering if I could make some extra cash by selling the UD301 and getting a Modi 3?

    I was inspired by a post here with a list of DACs and the Modi 2 was rated over the Teac UD 501 (I think it was posted by Purr1n). Thanks for any input!

    PS: I wanted to publish this on reddit, but they are very anti DACs there (99$ is all you need type of anti DAC forum) :/
     
    purr1n likes this.
  2. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    8
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    England
    I can't speak on the UD301, but the UD501 you mentioned, it would depend on the price you can get it for. I have one currently and while I definitely would consider it a worthwhile step up over most "entry level" options. Both in terms of build, and sound, it depends on how much more it would cost than the modi 3.

    The only thing I would mention, the UD501 has quite frankly awful RCA outputs. If you are using XLR this is not an issue, but if you need RCA, look for an alternative.

    See below measurements I took. Green/white is XLR. Pink/Blue is RCA.
    This is something I have confirmed is present on two separate units, so it is not just an issue with one unit.

    As well as just measuring all kinda of weird, yes, RCA sounds worse, notably more congested than XLR

    [​IMG]
     
    Lyander and famish99 like this.
  3. señorhifi

    señorhifi Rando

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    16
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Spain
    Just to update everyone on Spain EU prices, the UD 301 is 450€ new and the UD501 around 600€. The Modi 3 is 150€. Second hand prices vary wildly and getting 50% discounts isn't uncommon.
     
  4. scblock

    scblock Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2019
    Likes Received:
    336
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Location:
    Denver
    Hi, please don't forget to read the rules and introduce yourself on the proper threads, as noted on the banner on the top of the site. Creating new threads for single questions is generally discouraged, and this question probably belongs on the all-purpose advice thread or maybe on the Modi 3 thread. Thanks!
     
    señorhifi, dubharmonic, Dash and 2 others like this.
  5. señorhifi

    señorhifi Rando

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    16
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Spain
    I moved this over to the Modi 3 thread. Thank you all!
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    68,091
    Dislikes Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    The Teac UD-501 is a colossal piece of shit regardless of price. It's one of the worst DACs I have ever heard in my life. IMHO, YMMV, FWIW, and all other disclaimers. @zerodeefex and I became fast friends because he owned one at a meet and we both commiserated that his DIY AMB Gamma 2 was a way better DAC. (I can't totally remember, but I would be pretty sure that I asked him WTF are you using this piece of shit DAC with your balanced Dynahi?). Craig at Eddie Current owned a UD-501 because he read all the type on HF and bought one. He doesn't usually mind in terms of DAC as long as they are competent sounding. I don't ever remember him trying to unload a piece of gear that quickly.

    This is a little bit dated: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...rst-dacs-in-terms-of-value-october-6-2015.81/

    The Modi 3 does have a certain sound, a classic AKM VELVET kind of sound. Whether this suits you or not is a matter of taste and other component synergies. The Modius is quite a bit better, especially from the balanced outputs.

    Finally, it may be possible that Teac has improved on this unit since I last heard it. Teac is generally the last name in HF. Their best stuff is under $200.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
    Jerry, tommytakis and ultrabike like this.
  7. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,234
    Dislikes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I'd probably upgrade to the Modius and call it a day from that dumpster fire.

    I had the TEAC going to my KGSSHV > SR-007 MK1 and it was crap. My gamma 2 > forget what amp > HD800/HD600 rig was way better.
     
  8. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    8
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    England
    I'd like to try the modius. Seems it could maybe be a great option for its price. But schiit stuff is near impossible to get in the EU/UK currently unless you're happy to pay silly shipping+import rates which makes the low cost stuff no longer low cost.

    UD501 is mostly fine as long as you don't put it in the quite frankly stupid "DF=OFF" mode.
    Its a very laid back dac, but hey sometimes that can be nice I guess.

    I got one out of curiosity given some of the hype surrounding it and really wasn't impressed, though Its not necessarily bad either so long as you find one cheap.

    What I found interesting (in a bad way) is how crosstalk can be so poor despite it being dual dac chips and a dual mono PSU.
     
  9. señorhifi

    señorhifi Rando

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    16
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Spain
    Wow, didn't expect this much negativity towards the UD301 (apparently the UD 301 and UD 501 sound the same, except for the 501 having extra filter modes). I bought it blind, went basically from Realtek to the UD301 and it's quite the upgrade.

    Good to hear a Modius is better. You inspired me to get rid of it and get something else. I already put it up for sale lol. Sooooo many options though... What do you thing would be a solid DAC under 500$? Modius? Maybe an Arcam unit? What about the DacMagic Plus or the cheap DacMagic D100?
     
  10. bixby

    bixby Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,800
    Dislikes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    @señorhifi

    I owned the JDS el dac, had extended loan of the MicroMega for review (on my blog), own the Modi 3 right now and the Ifi Zen (standard model)

    Get the Zen, I don't know if spending double will get you any benefit.

    as @purr1n has noted many times, you may have to spend a lot more than entry level $ these days to get noticeably better sound from a good well vetted budget dac. More money does not insure better results. I had a $1500 dac (circa 2009) in here recently that I would not trade the Modi 3 for.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  11. señorhifi

    señorhifi Rando

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    16
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Spain
    But from a pure audio quality point of view, do you think a Modi 3 might beat the Zen DAC? I am not sure if you recommended it because of the ease of getting it in EU or based on sound alone? All I really want is the absolute best sound quality possible for my CDs (I have 300€ and come from a Teac UD 301). I really don't care for extra functions at all. Importing is also no issue. Do you guys think a Modius would be better than a Zen DAC? One guy here is selling it 2nd hand for a good price.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  12. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,351
    Dislikes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Many places.
    Home Page:
    Yup, only USB in.
     
  13. señorhifi

    señorhifi Rando

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    16
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Spain
    Alright I narrowed it down to the Zen DAC and a Modius. Since the iFi unit is easily available in Spain, that's what I am gonna try first. If I'll dislike it for some reason or if it ends up being worse than the UD301 from Teac, I'll return it and get a Modius instead.
     
    rlow likes this.
  14. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2017
    Likes Received:
    5,169
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Canada
    Good stuff. I think we can close this thread.

    You can report your findings in the Zen DAC thread or the Modius thread. And if you want advice of this nature in the future, try the “All Purpose Advice” thread instead of starting a new thread - we generally discourage “one-off” threads that help only you or your specific situation in order to keep the thread noise down.

    Happy DACing.
     
  15. bixby

    bixby Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,800
    Dislikes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    I own both dacs and use in a variety of setups, currently, full reviews to follow.. In my headphone setup with Senn 600s and well vetted computer source playing full res files, the Zen sounds better. The Modi 3 is a good and close second.

    We all know the limitations and benefits of the zen eg. one input but good pre and volume control vs the modi 3, multi inputs.

    BTW the Modi 3 does sound a tiny bit better with improved power eg. Samsung Phone charger adapter > Iphone cube charger adapter > oem cube.

    Zen also sounds a tiny bit better than the unit directly powered via USB, this with $5 source found in my stuff drawer.

    Take it for whatever you think it is worth, these are my findings.

    Tip-To use up a bit more of that $300 budget, I would suggest considering an upgrade from Foobar to JRiver for an increase in clarity. I like you, used Foobar for ages until I demoed JRiver on my main setup. It was rather easy to hear the improvement, HP setup not as easy but still discernable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
    Lyander and FlySweep like this.
  16. Sonofsin

    Sonofsin Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2018
    Likes Received:
    17
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Germany
    I did not mean to insult your intelligence, just wanted to avoid a problem. Apart from that, I have only 2 pieces of advice:

    - if you can, keep your old DAC until you have your new one and do a direct comparison between them for yourself (oh - and please let us know the results)
    - digital source may be more important than anticipated - both Schiit and Ifi have a box full of tricks how to address USB sources - not sure how that is with other vendors - but apart from sheer DAC topics also take a look at USB source topics.

    Good luck!
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    68,091
    Dislikes Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    I will move this thread and rename it an All-Purpose Advice Thread - DAC Edition.

    It would be beneficial to have dedicated advice threads.
     

Share This Page