So you have decent headphones and a dedicated headphone amplifier…what’s the next step for improving your computer’s audio sonics? It’s time to get an external Digital-to-Analog Converter or DAC. One good option is the Musical Fidelity V-DAC II. Priced at only $349, the V-DAC II is aimed at folks looking for their first outboard DAC as well as audiophiles looking for a lightweight portable DAC to couple with their portable computer-based audio system. And although the V-DAC II isn’t as fully featured as some DACs, it delivers all the essential features Musical Fidelity thinks you need.
Audio highlights: The Musical Fidelity V-DAC II replaces the original three-year old V-DAC. Improvements include the case, which is now made of satin-finished brushed aluminum with heavier gauge end-pieces than the original. The USB input is an asynchronous connection that is identical to the chipset Musical Fidelity uses in their V-Link, and it supports up to 96/24 via USB 2.0. (The V-DAC II’s S/PDIF inputs, however, do support 192/24 files.). Other improvements over the original V-DAC include halving the distortion from 0.005% to 0.002% and upping the stereo separation to -105 dB. Inside the V-DAC II you’ll find the latest digital chips, a Burr-Brown DSD 1796 DAC and a Burr-Brown SRC 4392. With a fixed output of 2.2 volts the V-DAC II should be compatible with almost all two-channel preamps or active speakers.
Ergonomics: The Musical Fidelity V-DAC II is housed in a small, rectangular satin/silver box approximately 6?” by 3” by 1?.” One end has a single pair of RCA outputs while the other has input connections for S/PDIF, Toslink, and USB. This end also has a small toggle switch to choose between USB to S/PDIF, a blue power LED, and a green signal lock LED. Printing on the top plate identifies each input and shows the signal chain. There’s no remote.