I am thinking of pulling the trigger on this dac, the FiiO D3. My current setup is Asus DX/XD > (Optical) > Yamaha DSP A5 > (RCA from Main level output) > Harmon Kardon A500 Integrated valve amp (Tape Mon inputs, or some other line level inputs).
I used to use a soundcard headphone level output to my A500's phono input stage (sacriledge I know) which did work fine and sound good but having just taken the A500 out of storage the preamp stage sounds crummy, and replacement valves aren't cheap.
What I am trying to avoid is having to have the Yamaha on just to listen to stereo music via the PC and the valve amp, as the Yamaha is currently my DAC. The D3 looks like it would take care of this problem handily, and all for around £25.
Now I am not expecting the same kind of performance you would see from a proper £300>£1000 standalone DAC, I'm just looking for something acceptably good that would compare to a high(ish) end home cinema DAC or a top end sound card DAC. My valve amp is pretty old and even the output stage would colour the sound no doubt so perfect replication is not really the issue. Just something nice and "listenable".
Couple of questions
1) Is this DAC a complete waste of money? Something better second hand? Keep using my amp?
2) There are some reports that the level output of this dac is quite high. Would this potentially pose a problem for my valve amp? Any way around this?
3) Alternatives are welcome.
Many thanks you nice folks....