Best USB DAC Detail Review and Buying Guide
There is a lot of confusion around when it comes to choosing the Best USB DAC.
Buying the perfect DAC is not a child’s stuff because of an incremental audio experience; you are spending a lot more money.
In a market filled with duplicates, and products not worth the price; it is important to choose what is right.
A decent digital-to-analog converter can make your system sing, while an average DAC can prevent you getting the most from your set-up. These are the best DACs around.
No matter if you are after a USB DAC or more substantial fare. These are the best converter money can buy, so you are sure to find something that fits the bill whatever your budget no matter your budget.
For a clear, dynamic sound, and decent detail, you must try the AudioQuest – DragonFly Black USB DAC/Headphone Amplifier.
The AudioQuest comes with USB extender cable that can be used in case the DAC physically blocks the USB ports on your laptop. The 0.77 ounce DAC comes with a carry pouch too, so, you don’t have to worry about losing it.
AudioQuest claims the DAC’s new Microchip microcontroller draws 77 percent less current that the Texas Instruments one in the v1.2
This small device is going to power all sorts of moderate devices, including desktop speakers, regular headphones, and studio monitors, and even high impedance headphone like Sennheiser HD 650. The 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC chip enables the DAC to receive all the future software updates.
When paired with an adapter, it works with Android, Apple phone, and Tablets. The versatile DAC improves the immediacy, transparency and richness associated with your music. Both the highs and lows are quite good with this DAC.
Audioengine D1 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) allows you to bypass your computer’s soundcard or headphone output and send audio through USB or optical. D1 is the perfect digital interface between your computer and music system and will improve the sound of ALL your music.
Design and Build
The D3 DAC is one of the perfect ways to enjoy great music, not just from your computer but also from the headphones. The USB port directly connects to the computer, and then you can play your music with a much better sound. D3 is going to process the digital audio till 24 bits and the sample rate to 96KHz.
Sound and Performance
The high-performance DAC is designed for a range of headphones and is likely to satisfy most of the listeners. It carefully controls the audio from your computer and will improve the overall performance. The music is outstanding, and you are likely to get pretty much enough bass for your daily music dose.
It is perfect for providing a higher quality audio signal to speakers or headphones; the D1 is a high-quality 24-bit DAC and headphone amplifier for your computer, smartphone, TV, and more. The D1 connects to your device’s USB port or Optical output without special software to download, making the D1 quick and easy to set up.
iFi Nano iDSD DAC and Headphone Amp Combo
The iFi Nano iDSD is a USB DAC with a headphone amplifier. It’s not the smallest nowadays, but it’s built with True Native technology from AMR. It natively supports 32bit/384kHz PCM, 11.2MHz DSD256, and 384KHz DXD formats. It’s compatible with any desktop or laptop computers, Android smartphones or tablet with OTG support, and even iPhones or iPads.
At the heart of the iFi Nano iDSD is a Burr-Brown DAC chip that handles both PCM and DSD. Some DACs “supports” DSD format, but they convert it to PCM format in the process. That is not what the Nano iDSD does. PCM formats stay, PCM, and at the same time, DSD remains DSD. Quality is primarily not reduced or converted and is equal to the source. This makes this DAC very interesting because most DAC or DAC with AMP (in the same price range) don’t have this kind of feature.
- Formats Supported: PCM 44.1 tо 384 kHz/16-32 bit, DSD 2.8, 3.1, 5.6 and 6.2 MHz/1 bіt, DXD 352.8, 384 kHz/24 bіt;
- Battery: Lithium -polymer 1000 mAh
- Power (max): 1.5 W
- Dimensions: 106 (l) x67 (w) x28 (h) mm
- Weight : 167g (0.37 lbѕ)
iFi Audio managed to cram a lot of stuff into a relatively small box. Although not as small as the C5D, the feature set is a lot bigger as well.
Apogee Groove is the best portable USB DAC and headphone amp for listening to music on your Mac or PC. Groove takes the same high-quality audio technology found in the world’s most prestigious recording studios and delivers it to your laptop. Connect groove to your computer’s USB port and your headphones or powered speakers to Groove’s audio output. It’s that easy. Groove’s output provides ample power at any impedance and Apogee’s Constant Current Drive technology makes your headphones sound their best. You’ll be amazed by the difference in sound quality- the precise stereo image, punchy bass and stunningly clear high-hats.
Hear Every Detail In Stunning Clarity and Fidelity
Whether you’re building your FLAC file collection or subscribing to a premium music streaming service, you are investing in a higher quality listening experience. Groove unlocks the full potential of that experience, revealing definition, clarity, and details like you have never heard before.
Work on Your Music Anywhere
With professional headphones, your laptop and Groove you can mix or make music anywhere. Groove’s reference quality sound ensures you will hear every detail of your project as it would sound in the studio.
BEST USB DAC UNDER $100
FiiO E10K USB DAC (#1. Best USB DAC UNDER $100)
FiiO E10k is more of a volume potentiometer with a barrier-free design that enables smooth operation.
On the first look, you will find it with that Micro bulky look that is better left with the laptop on your desk. However, take a closer look, and it appears quite adorable in the black metal for with knobs on it.
You don’t have to attach it to your phone as it might look silly.
The E10 takes the dismal audio output of your computer and turns it into useful and listenable stuff. It strangely has not problem in pushing the higher impedance devices.
The sound is more dynamic, and cleaner and even the mids and trebles have improved a lot in comparison to its previous version of E10.
There is a discovery of lesser floor noise, and it looks like a veil has lifted, giving you more natural sound.
About the only major drawback to this amp is that the micro USB cable that comes with it is a little short for plugging into a computer in most cases, but considering the lower price point on this one, it is worth the small extra investment to get a slightly longer cable. That in no way detracts from the quality of the sound you’ll get from the E10K or the options it comes with.
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi(#2. Best USB DAC UNDER $100)
Build and Design
Original Sound is already the pioneer of the audio world, and Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD is one of its best products. It’s a real multitasker, giving access to your headphones, music players, AV receivers, Home Audio speakers, microphone, and much more.
It has a phone preamp with RIAA EQ that allows direct connection of your turntable to convert your vinyl to CD or MP3.
The buttons and knob are not plastic, but milled aluminum alloy and even the connectors feel solid. It also has Toolbox software that works exclusively for Advance Vinyl Recordings. You will receive the package with and RCA to stereo cable, USB cable, installation CD, X-Fi sound card, and user guide.
The DAC is meant for rich, elegant, and pure sound. Built with sensible audio-engineering and high-fidelity elements, it offers great music. The X-Fi HD USB card is compatible with most of the OS like Windows 7 and 10. You care going to receive a clear and detailed sound that also gives excellent imaging. The built-in headphone amplifier in it can also drive the low impedance headphone.
DAC transforms the digital code into waves, which is followed by the process of amplification to create sound. Most of the gadgets these days come with built-in DAC, which means, the phone you are holding in your hand has a DAC fitted inside it too. Without it, your smartphone won’t be able to support music.
Some gadgets supporting music are available in the market, and for all those devices, there comes a perfect DAC. We do hope that this article will help you to figure out what sort of device you need to connect this DAC too. There are Portable USB DACs, Desktop USB DACs, Wireless DACs, Headphone Amp/DACs, and DAC for iPod/iPhone.