The new Schiit Modius DAC is not only affordable, but also has balanced outputs and some very nice specifications. Oh… yes: and a USB input.
This USB input in particular makes the new Schiit Modius DAC ideally suited to boost the sound of a PC or laptop. And the true audio lover will most likely shrug his shoulders over the purchase price, which is only $199. Many external DACs cost a lot more! The Schiit also has a lot to offer for that money. For example, it has balanced XLR outputs, as well as a set of standard unbalanced RCA line outputs. In terms of inputs, you can choose from the already mentioned USB, SPDIF coax, Toslink SPDIF and AES.
No headphone output
As DAC chip Schiit has chosen for an AKM AK4493. This enables a highest possible quality of 24 bit / 192 kHz. On the analog side an LME49724 is used for the balanced output and an OPA1662 for the line output.
What you will look for in vain on this DAC is a headphone jack. The idea is that you connect this device for example directly to a pair of active speakers. Or make use of one of the Schiit mid-sized power amplifiers. To which you can connect not only headphones but also passive speakers. The Modius is immediately available in a black or silver version.