Most of you won’t even know about a DAC, and yet you must certainly have used it not once, but several times. If you have ever wondered what’s inside your audio equipment, you need to know about a digital-to-analog converter, also known as a DAC. DACs are used for a wide range of purposes such as in televisions, music players, mobile phones, etc. to convert digital streams of data into analog audio signals. If you are looking to know more about a DAC or if you need to get one for yourself, make sure to read this article. Here, we have collected everything that you need to know about DAC and then help you find some of the best ones.
Best DACs Under 150 In 2021
- Best Overall: AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC
- Best USB: XtremPro X1-1 DAC
- Best Budget: PROZOR 192KHz Digital to Analog
- EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit Portable DAC
1. Best Overall: AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC
Rating: 4.4 / 5
With an amazing and enhanced sound, available in three colors, this DAC offers great compatibility that makes it the ideal choice for you. This DAC improves transparency, richness and the tone of the sound so you can enjoy your music.
2. Best USB: XtremPro X1-1 DAC
Rating: 4.4 / 5
Be it an Mp3 file or any other, with this DAC you can play your music with ease. With a 12 month replacement warranty, you can stay sure of the longevity of your product. Excellent design and variety, you can choose the one you like.
3. Best Budget: PROZOR 192KHz Digital to Analog
Rating: 4.4 / 5
With super easy installation and being easy to use, this DAC is compatible with almost every device be it a HD DVD or a home cinema. You can enjoy an easy use and perfect sound quality. If you want something at higher end then have a look at the best DACs under 500 dollars.
4. EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit Portable DAC
Rating: 4.4 / 5
With amazing sound quality, and 14 hours of continuous playback, you can enjoy an interruption free music experience. With a scratch resistant coating and the best finish, you can take advantage of the elegant look. Overall, it’s one of the finest DAC you can get.
What You Need to Consider When Buying a DAC
Types of Outboard DAC
An outboard DAC can be used for a listening setup. You need to get a DAC that fits in with your device type to play the music of your choice.
1. Desktop and computer DAC
Most modern computers are compatible with a DAC. These types of DACs are designed especially for computers. Designed as a USB DAC, you just have to attach the USB cable on your device’s port. For headphones, DACs will often have a headphone amp so you can use that.
2. Tablets and smartphones DAC
If you are going for smaller devices, you should purchase such an adapter that provides a USB connection from your device’s digital output. For smartphones, this will typically be the output that you are using to connect your charger. On the adapter’s USB end, you can connect a DAC that is designed for portables.
3. Home stereo systems DAC
In the case of DAC for home stereo, you will find the most significant choices for connections. You can make use of a USB DAC for connecting your computer or laptop to the stereo system. You can use a DAC to improve the sound of your music streaming player if it supports a digital output. Overall, to get a good sound, you can connect your DAC to an existing sound system that you have at home.
There are a few things that are to be considered when you are looking for a DAC. Before you buy, make sure to read this buyer’s guide for a few things that you should take note of.
You may need DAC with an asynchronous USB port. A DAC that connects your iOS or Android phone device directly will be a good option. Hence, one thing to take note of will be the support of multiple USB ports or a Firewire connectivity.
DAC use as a Preamp
You may need a DAC with remote control and one that has several digital inputs for every device. An input for a TV will definitely be handy. Hence, find a DAC that supports several inputs.
Built-in headphone amplifier
If you are a headphone enthusiast, you might want to get a DAC that supports a built-in headphone amplifier! For that, you need to ensure that you make the right choice when choosing a DAC.
FAQs about DAC
There are some commonly asked questions about DACs that might be helpful for you.
Q1. Will the use of DAC, improve my internal computer speaker sound?
No, not really. DACs that are designed for external devices such as headphones, audio/video systems, Android, and iOS may not work with for improving the computer’s internal sound.
Q2. What kind of audio can I play using my DAC?
With most models of DACs, you can plug into an apple, iOS, and Android mobile device. You can play Vimeo and YouTube videos, use SoundCloud or Bandcamp etc.
Q3. What headphones can be used with the DAC?
The latest DACs are versatile enough to be used with almost any headphones from the market that have 100hm impedances or higher.