Quest for Inexpensive Balanced DACs


After testing the Loxjie P20 my interest on balanced DACs skyrocketed.

Let’s post unexpensive balanced DACs here…

  • $100 Behringer UltraMatch Pro (SRC2496). Chip: AKM4393. 90’s Pro equipment, Can be bought new in Europe for 100€. Specially pleasurable sound in Sample Rate Converter mode to 24/96 (upsampling). Look for it on Musician/Pro audio shops… (e.g. 99€ at Thomann)

While your built-in soundcard may have a coax or optical S/PDIF out, I’d get a USB to S/PDIF interface to connect the SRC2496 to a computer, which can be any single ended dac you already have.

Headphones & Amps: Balanced vs Unbalanced
#2 a certain YouTube personality has been pushing this DAC it is balanced and under $200 US. But doesn’t have USB interface.


Massdrop announced and took orders for their compact balanced DAC at $149 last year. I don’t know if it has shipped yet:


SMSL SU-8 goes on sale between $200-250

I had the Topping DX7 previously and it’s between $350-500


Several years ago I nearly went with this DAC in the link to match my LD MKVII+ but went with the Matrix Mini-i instead because it had dual AD1955 DAC chips for L&R channels. This LD DAC_1 had a single Wolfson WD8740 chip at the time (2012?).
I wished I had paired it with the LD MKVII+ (after hearing it at a friends house) as the WD8740 chip sounded just fine pushing both channels and seemed a better pairing with the warmer HD650s.

I think the link is still live and I know the seller was reliable and ships direct from China (which has it’s good and bad points). They might even still sell on/through eBay. Either way, it’s a great, relatively inexpensive DAC.
You might even be able to negotiate a deal, if they still sell them (and you buy direct).