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Ends 4/29. eBay with ShopHDE has the Digital Optical Coax Coaxial Toslink to Analog RCA L/R Audio Converter Adapter for $17 with free shipping. Converts S/PDIF or TOSLINK digital audio to L/R analog audio.
Retail: $24

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    wrong0 Ben's cred: 56
    Posted 4:40 pm PDT 04/20/13

    A $17 DAC? And 'converting' to stereo? Which probably means some scary form of downmixing?

    Praise the heavens! I've always wanted one of those!

    Unless you're starved by paying a high electric bill, investing in a quality receiver seems like a better option.

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    nuggy Ben's cred: 6
    Posted 7:00 pm PDT 04/20/13

    Bought this previously.....Need to seriously amplify the signal after conversion.....very weak.....

    Unless I am doing something wrong.....Does not work very well.....

    Sent it across 100 ft of coax to a second stereo that controls my outdoor system.....

    My opinion.....

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    wrong0 Ben's cred: 56
    Posted 7:38 pm PDT 04/20/13

    That's the problem with cheap DACs. I can see the use for one specifically for what you described, but there's just no way that can reproduce a good analog sound with an AC adapter of that size, and a physical box of that size. You save on costs there, and ultimately have to spend more money to get the results you're looking for. Wish I had a better recommendation for you.

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    mr.ed Ben's cred: 340
    Posted 7:44 pm PDT 04/20/13

    The similar $13 one from ebay my friend got last week works quite well. It saved him from buying a new receiver to amplify his new TV.

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    dave_c Ben's cred: 3429
    Posted 9:39 pm PDT 04/20/13

    Actually, a good DAC circuit design will be very small. It'll have tight feedback loops, minimal components in the signal chain, and then be in a small metal enclosure if that's all it takes to house it.

    There is no reason at all to have a larger AC adapter. Literally, it's using a few dozen mA. All it needs to be is tightly regulated (regulator IC after the transformer) instead of the buck switching supply this comes with. Odds are they went with a switcher to satisfy the EU market.

    Seems like the main issues with this product are whether you like the design decisions they made. You could toss in a "high end" $4 DAC chip in place of whatever they used, let's say a $3 DAC chip instead but you might never hear the difference unless you were directly driving high end headphones with it.

    Ultimately if you want to know how much a DAC box really costs, head over to Digikey and look up your favorite chip. They'll have unit prices, a datasheet with the suggested circuit, and any parts you need can be ordered from Digikey too. DACs are NOT expensive to make at all, a typical $10 PC sound card is often more complex besides it including a power supply and an enclosure.

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    dave_c Ben's cred: 3429
    Posted 9:49 pm PDT 04/20/13

    Quote:
    Bought this previously.....Need to seriously amplify the signal after conversion.....very weak.....


    Pop it open and toss a basic opamp gain stage between the output and the RCA jacks. For examples, head over to www.head-fi.org and search for "Cmoy", although such a basic circuit for audio can be found at several places on the web. If you skip boutique (snake oil) parts and stay with industry standard components it'll cost around $10 to build, OR there's probably something ready made on eBay shipping from China for dirt cheap, though if you search for a "CMOY" there you'll find overpriced stuff, instead search for headamp, headphone amp, headphone amplifier, etc, etc.

    ... although, this product may have an opamp buffer in it, or the DAC datasheet might show a gain option, if so you might be able to just swap a resistor or two to boost the gain.

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    h5678 Ben's cred: 59
    Posted 7:18 am PDT 04/21/13

    I'm confused. I could use this sort of thing to connect a cheap TOSLINK-only TV audio to a stereo, except that the TV audio is 5.1 or 7.1 or something crazy. Are these only stereo in/out or will they convert from multiple channels, too?

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    dave_c Ben's cred: 3429
    Posted 8:38 am PDT 04/21/13

    ^ Yes they are only 2 channel output, so if you want n-channel mixed into 2 channel it'll have to happen on the host side. It is not the right solution for a > 2.1 channel home theater rack.

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    keys Ben's cred: 4
    Posted 7:52 pm PDT 04/21/13

    I have this. I use it with my laptop music rig on gigs when I get a ground loop through the regular analog headphone outputs. It absolutely fixes that issue; the sound is very clean with no buzzes. It does have a lower output than the analog headphone out. The output is slightly hissier, so the analog stage after the D/A is not exactly Apogee-quality. Bottom line is that it's a lifesaver for me in certain situations, well worth the $17 (I paid about $10 more a few years ago).

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    • Digital to Analog Audio Converter $16 at Amazon
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      Retail: $24