- Best DACs Under 500 Dollars In 2022
- 1. Best Overall: AudioQuest DragonFly v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC
- 2. Best Budget: EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit Bluetooth DAC
- 3. Best USB: Signstek HiFi S/PDIF
- 4. Sennheiser GSX 1000 Gaming Audio Amplifier
- 5. Best Value: S.M.S.L M200 HiFi Audio DAC
- 6. Sabaj D5 110V Hi-Res Audio Digital to Analog Converter
- 7. Best for PC: Chord Mojo Black DAC
- Buyers guide for DACs
- Final Verdict
Are you looking for the best DAC under 500? Do you need the digital to analog converter that lies in your budget but has the superior quality? Yes, you can get multiple options in the range of your budget. To keep yourself free of stress, have a look at the top seven picks of the year. You will find the product of choice from these products discussed below.
Don’t think you are short of budget, and you will not get the quality product, there are the products that will not overburden your pocket. Perhaps it will meet your expectations, and you will not be disappointed by the quality of the product.
Best DACs Under 500 Dollars In 2022
EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit Portable High-Resolution Bluetooth Receiver/USB DAC/Headphone Amp with LDAC, aptX HD, aptX, AAC (3.5mm Unbalanced & 2.5mm Balanced Output)
EPOS | Sennheiser GSX 1000 Gaming Audio Amplifier / External Sound Card, with 7.1 Surround Sound, Side Tone, Gaming DAC and EQ, Headphone amp Compatible with Windows, Mac, Laptops and Desktops.
S.M.S.L AO200 Digital Power Amplifier Bluetooth 5.0 MA12070×2 Chip 150W×150W USB/BT/XLR/RCA Input 2 Channel HiFi Desktop Amp with Remote Control for Subwoofer/Passive Speaker
Sabaj D5 110V Hi-Res Audio Digital to Analog Converter Balance HiFi Headphones Amplifier DAC Chip ES9038PRO ES9311 32bit/768kHz DSD512 w Preamplifier Remote Control
1. Best Overall: AudioQuest DragonFly v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC
Native resolution: Upto 24 bit
Dac chip: ESS ES9010 with minimum-phase fast roll-off filter
Product dimensions: 62mm (l) x 19mm (w) x 12mm (h)
Volume control: Analog system
Improve the sound quality and have an excellent music listening experience by purchasing the AudioQuest Dragonfly black model. The high-class device is best to convert analog sound to digital form. Compact size cannot beat the portability, and low power consumption allows you to take with you trips.
For convenient connectivity, the device comes with an adaptor that you can easily connect with your Apple and Android phones. Simply pair it with the cable and enjoy listening to the quality music. It is the choice of the audiophiles as it offers superior quality sounds.
The versatile Dac is the best device as it is compatible with multiple devices and works on MP4 to 24-bit devices. So, buy it and enjoy the music with superior quality. The device comes with a feature that improves the richness, immediacy, detail, and tone of the music.
Give a chance to a dragonfly award-winning DAC device, and you will recommend others as well as have a satisfactory experience.
- Low power consumption
- Available in three colors with a stylish design
- Offers enhanced sound, and higher value
- Versatile compatibility
- It may be expensive
- Low sound quality
2. Best Budget: EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit Bluetooth DAC
Native resolution: 24 bit
Dac chip: ES100 is equipped with two AK4375a,
Product dimensions: 1.00 x 2.00 x 0.50 inches
Volume control: L / R channel volume calibration
If you are looking for a DAC device with wireless connectivity, then ES100 Ear studio is a wonderful option. The lithium-polymer battery has a capacity of 350mAh. On complete charging, it runs continuously for 14 hours. It means it will be an incredible partner in your trips.
The latest Bluetooth version device is compatible with all the latest Android and iOS phones. So, you can connect with your phone or laptop to get the improved sound quality. The device for the Audiophiles is top-rated and maintains its quality for many years. The wireless connectivity helps you to connect your device without any hindrance.
If we see the spec of the DAC, these are ideal too. It offers an output level of 3.2 vopp while the balanced output level is 6.4. moreover, the SNR value is 109dB while the balanced SNR is 10 DB.
The Bluetooth DAC device works efficiently in the range of 10m, so you can easily put it in your car and have a trip full of fun. Enjoy high-quality music by connecting DAC with your mobile or laptop.
- It does what a normal DAC does but does it wirelessly and makes the headphones wireless
- It has a premium build quality that is of metal and a good quality power button
- It is very portable therefore can be easily carried anywhere
- It has an application through which countless functionalities are possible and you can completely customize your listening experience
- It does not have a very long life as it becomes faulty after a few months of usage
- Can be a problem if you need it and it is discharged
- Multiple connections can be a problem
- If you use it with a wire that has a mic on it the adapter won’t work it only works with simple audio cables
3. Best USB: Signstek HiFi S/PDIF
Native resolution: 16 Bit 32k
Dac chip: USB chip PCM2704
Product dimensions: 3.90 x 1.18 x 2.80 inches
Volume control: through a connected device.
SIgnstek Hifi USB is the top pick model of the year because of its specifications that meet the user demand. The analog, headphone, and optical digital output all features are best to get the high-quality sound. You can directly connect the DAC with the USB sound card.
It delivers pure and stable output signals. Moreover, it can transfer data with high speed through coaxial and fiber optic signals. To ensure the sound purity, the designer has added the output signal isolation transformers that make the device complete and reliable.
The portable and compact device comes with the input and output sockets for easy connectivity. Moreover, there is a present USB chip that ensures quality music delivery.
Get ready to enjoy high-quality music. Get rid of the poor music quality and bring a signstek DAC device to change your music life.
- Its chip is very efficient and has good data speed without much lag
- It is easy to carry around because of its compact size
- Provides great improvement in sound clarity and is very good at separating high and low sounds
- The entire build is of plastic which can be a risk to durability
- The DAC works more like a USB soundcard than a DAC
- Not good at when background noise is high and becomes quite unusable
4. Sennheiser GSX 1000 Gaming Audio Amplifier
Native resolution: 7.1 surround sound
Dac chip: Gaming DAC
Product dimensions: 5.63 x 5.47 x 2.76 inches
Volume control: Through the device
Sennheiser GSX 1000 is an excellent option that delivers the unmatched sound quality. Thanks to the binaural engine technology that offers the high definition Audio Sound. The incredible device comes with separate audio and communication settings. The DAC is equipped with an LED touch panel so that you can adjust four different audio settings. The one-touch mode allows you to switch between headphones or speaker settings.
Moreover, there is a large volume ring that allows you to adjust the volume from the DAC. Furthermore, to adjust the sound quality according to your need, you can easily use the equalizer setting option to change the sound according to game, music, character dialog, and music sounds.
One thing that makes the DAC exclusive from others is that it offers excellent control of sound for gaming purposes. It means no irritating sound rather, the music is adjusted in the way that you feel good and does not get annoyed from shrill type music.
The top-rated DAC design includes front and back speakers. Thus, you can change the position of the device as well as adjust each speaker. Tournament mode is another wonderful feature that makes this DAC the choice of gamers. If you don’t want its accidental changes, hold the upper and bottom right corner for 10 seconds to apply.
Enjoy the high-quality sound by connecting DAC to Apple, Windows, or Android systems. Whatever device you have, it will be your best companion. If there was a finest DAC-AMP combo then it’ll be among them.
- The sound quality is really good when the DAC is working
- The onboard screen is really intuitive and provides a great user experience
- It lets you control all sound settings as well as equalizer without leaving the screen you are on with the touch of just a single button on the screen of the module
- Provides Dolby surround 7.1 sound which provides a very immersive experience to the user
- Has separate controls for chatting, gaming audio which is very convenient
- It has a USB C type power pin which is very easily available
- It is very expensive as compared to many other DACs
- It shows connectivity issues when the computer is turned on it does not restart, the cable of the headphones needs to be removed and then plugged again to get it to work
- It does not support some gaming consoles like the Xbox
5. Best Value: S.M.S.L M200 HiFi Audio DAC
Native resolution: 32 bit
Dac chip: High-end decoding chip AK4497,
Product dimensions: 6.6 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
Volume control: Through remote control
The audio decoder with Bluetooth technology is another superb device that you will find in the market. The four-plus rated DAC can play the 32 bits high-resolution digital audio with PCM format. DSD playback is supported up to 512 DSD that needs no conversion.
The decoder comes with a remote control. So, no need to keep the device in your hand rather control it through remote devices and adjust the settings accordingly. The Bluetooth support with the UAT/aptX-HD/AAC/SBC format is another ideal feature that can convert the music up to 24bit/ 192KHz. In short, all the features that you are hunting for in the best Dac under 500 are supported in this device. Perhaps, it is an ideal solution to experience high-quality sound.
Another thing that makes it a preferred device is that there is a performance indicator. It measures the different parameters and analyzes the AP*555 audio precision.
Everyone needs maximum features in the best Dac, so this is the one that comes with all properties that you are looking for. The remote control, analyzer, and one thing more are digital filter modes. It allows the setting of the filter, and you can adjust in three ways. These include slow roll-off, sharp roll-off, super slow, low dispersion, super slow, and short delay. Moreover, there is a present in the sound color mode. You can set from number 1 to 3.
Perhaps it is a complete DAC device that you need to listen to high-quality music
- Six filter modes
- Three sound modes
- Hardware analyzer
- Remote control included
- In the beginning the sound seems harsh but adjust after it continues streaming.
6. Sabaj D5 110V Hi-Res Audio Digital to Analog Converter
Native resolution: 32 bit
Dac chip: D/A chip ES9038PRO from ESS Technology
Product dimensions: 15 x 11.14 x 3.54 inches
Volume control: Analog control
The high performing DAC from the house of Sabaj is another best model that you will find in the market. The ESS technology and ES9311 chip in the construction make it ideal for sound conversion purposes. Thanks to the NDK ultra-low noise oscillator and the CPLD high-speed technology that allows the clock processing to get the clock jitter. The input feature of the device supports optical as well as coaxial features.
For the high damping, the design includes discrete components. Moreover, there is a present built-in high efficiency and low vibration transformers. For the analog circuit, the DAC also includes the linear regulator. There are a lot of the audio grade components that help in improving the audio quality.
- CPLD high-speed technology
- NDK ultra-low noise oscillator
- Multiple audio grade components
- LCD is too small that one can hardly read the values
- USB cable is too small
7. Best for PC: Chord Mojo Black DAC
Native resolution: 32 bit
Dac chip: Quad DSD 256 bit
Product dimensions: 3.23 x 2.36 x 0.87 inches
Volume control: Through the connected device.
Chord Mojo is one of the best companies for creating electronic devices. This DAC mode is superior and the choice of many users. It is an ideal DAC headphone Amplifier that works best with the Android, PC, Mac, iPhone, and provides the crisp, clear sound.
The mojo Dac is equipped with the amplifier for headphones that offer a clear, crisp sound. It efficiently plays the file of any size and any format. It supports the file up to 768 KHzand DSD 256. A lithium-ion battery is efficient enough for continuous ten hours. It takes just 4 hours to charge fully.
Mojo’s best thing is that it plays the file up to 32 kHz, and it even supports DSD 256. The one more thing is that two people can easily manage to listen from one DAC.
One more feature that makes it ideal to use is its smart property. It means it remembers the previous setting. You don’t have to adjust every time instead of once you set it will start accordingly so you enjoy the music accordingly.
- Play large files
- Wireless connectivity having battery backup time of 10 hours
- Support large files like DSD 256
- Sometime required to restart again and again for proper functioning
Buyers guide for DACs
If you want to buy the best DAC under 500, it is good to look at a few features that the good one must-have. It will help you to buy the right thing, and you will be satisfied with spending on your music amplification device that you have purchased. Few factors to consider are
Type of DAC you need
There are multiple categories based on which you can divide the types of DAC. The first one is according to the size that defines the portable or the desktop type. Decide the one you want to purchase. Although both function in the same way but differ only in their portability.
The compact one is easy to carry, comes with Bluetooth technology, and can be connected to the phone as well as your headphone and desktop. In contrast, the large DAC is non-portable, can be connected with your laptop through USB cable and produces high-quality sound. The digital to analog converter is quite reliable and provides the sound that creates a soothing sound.
Choose the one that suits your needs. If you are a music lover and need to enjoy music at home, as well as during a drive, then a portable one is the best solution. Otherwise, prefer the desktop version. It is best for professionals who do music editing and need a DAC to bring purity in the sound.
More things to focus
- Sound quality is important.
It is useless to spend on the DAC that does not provide clear sound and produces poor quality music. Therefore, you must be conscious of buying DAC. Prefer the one that may be somewhat expensive but produces the sound quality that provides a soothing effect as well as gives satisfaction.
Dac works by converting the digital data to analog that may be tricky and need special components to do so. It needs proper timings to do conversions as the minor lag will create poor quality sound. Therefore, the branded DAC comes with parts that maintain the conversion timings and ultimately produce the best quality sound that you need.
Wireless vs. USB connected
In the market, you will find two types of the Dac connectivity system. One that you can connect through a USB cable to your headphones or mobile. Another one is the pairing of devices with Bluetooth. Choosing the right DAC depends on the type of device you have as well as your convenience. If you are easy with the US connectivity, then go for it. Another wise Bluetooth connectivity is the best option as it is portable, has no hassle of wire connections, and is easy to connect. Decide what you need, what you like, and according to your convenience.
Dac with Amplification feature
Some models of DAC are available that do not power the speaker or headset. It is because they lack an amplifier in it that boosts the heard with the help of speakers or earphones. To overcome these issues, the designers now add amps to the DAC devices. You can easily connect it with the headphone jack, and it will amplify the device and maintain the sound quality.
These are a few factors that you should consider before buying the DAC. Moreover, you can also look for the supported file types, bit depth, sample rate, and price of the DAC before purchasing properly read reviews on the product that you want to buy. Always pick the one that has a four-plus rating so that you stay satisfied with your spending.
What type of files does Dac support?
DAC supports multiple types of file formats. These include: ALAC, which is Apple Lossless Audio Codec, FLAC is the Free lossless Audio Codec, MQA that supports high-resolution recording and DSD.
Which type of DAC is better: Bluetooth or wired?
The selection of the DCA device depends on your ease. If you need a DAC for your home, then Wired type is good as well as it also depends on the type of device you have. For wired type headset, you need the DAC with cable connectivity. Otherwise, with Bluetooth devices, you can pick A DAC that comes with the wireless connectivity option.
What is the DSD format?
DAC comes with a variety of features. One of them is supporting the format. Not all support all types of format. DSD is an important type. Only the superior quality DAC devices support it. The DSD format has bit depths and huge sample rates. DSD is of different types, but the one that is commonly used is DSD256.
How is the DAC system useful?
DAC helps to improve the quality of the sound. For Audiophiles and music enthusiasts who need perfection in audio quality, especially for professionals who work on music to create ideal sound, they must have DAC. It vanishes all the lags in the music and brings clarity to it.
HOW DAC works?
DAC is the digital to analog converter. It works by converting the digital signal to the analog type. It maintains the timing to successfully transform the signal, thus maintaining the quality of the sound. If the DAC conversion timings are poor, then it will create a problem, and you may not get the expected quality of sound. Therefore, it is important to buy the device that lies in quality standards and offers the perfect signal conversions.
All the products described above are the best and choice of the users. You can pick anyone from these with confidence. Bring the quality in your sound with these highly-rated products. Buy one now and see the difference in the quality of music.