Like everything else around us, sound and music have also been treated with the advancements in technology. We have headphones, wireless speakers, and even some peripherals that enhance the sound quality when attached to the headphones or other music playback devices. Another similar technology that has been introduced to improve the sound coming from the headphones is DAC. It is a digital to analog converter. DACs are in a variety of price ranges but these best DACs under 200 are preferred by people as they are under mostly people’s budget.
The input that the speaker or the headset receives is through a digital source. The DAC converts that digital signal into an analog signal which is amplified and the amplified analog sound is traveled to the speaker. It produces a considerable difference in the sound. It boosts the bass and amplifies the sound quality which is not possible without a DAC. DACs come in a variety of price segments and also with different features and designs
Many companies are producing DACs as they gaining more and more popularity due to their convenience. But, not all have great quality, and keeping this in mind following is a list of 7 companies that make DACs that are below the price tag of 200 which might help you choose one.
Best DACs Under 200 In 2020
- Best Overall: Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC
- Best USB: XtremPro X1-1 High-Performance DAC
- Best Budget: PROZOR 192KHz Digital to Analog Converter
- Best Portable: EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit DAC
- SMSL M100 USB DAC AK4452
- EPOS Sennheiser GSX 1000 PRO
- FiiO E10K USB DAC
1. Best Overall: Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC
Rating: 4.4 / 5
Audioengine is a well-known company that has been into headphones and speakers manufacturing since 2005. They are an award-winning company and their products are considered one of the best in the market. Their product Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC is a great converter under the price range of 200$.
The front side of the DAC is pretty plain with a headphone jack and a knob to control music and also a light that lets you know that the device has been powered on. On the back, there are premium gold plated connectors and which is perfect for receiving digital audio from different sources. It is very easy to use once you’ve connected it to the source and the speakers. Additionally, it reviewed very well and is known to enhance the sound to a level normal source can never reach.
2. Best USB: XtremPro X1-1 High-Performance DAC
Rating: 4.4 / 5
This product the XtremPro takes a different take on the DAC technology. It is very different from the other DACs as it is not a proper machine it is just an OTG, which is on the go meaning you can take it anywhere and anytime. Portability is the main thing you are getting here as it is the size of a normal USB that everyone uses.
It boosts the sound quality from a normal size which is extremely convenient looking at its size. On top of that the it has a chip for the conversion of sound signals which is more commonly found in CD players and Blu-ray players which is very remarkable ad they require an external power input whereas the XtremPro does not require any external source. It supports quite a few forms of signals and if the computer’s software detects it, it will provide you with a great sound experience.
3. Best Budget: PROZOR 192KHz Digital to Analog Converter
Rating: 4.4 / 5
This DAC claims to be a professional, high quality, and cost-effective product. It converts the signals from the source and amplifies them to an analog signal which is then sent to the speaker which enhances the sound quality considerably.
This PROZOR DAC is made of aluminum as compared to others in a similar price range which are made of ABS plastic material which lacks durability and can break easily. It has gold plated connectors that are used to reduce distortion while amplifying sound and produce better sampling rates. Also, it can be used in family gatherings, schools, and public places to enjoy Dolby experience as it claims to produce an immersive sound experience
4. Best Portable: EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit DAC
Rating: 4.4 / 5
This is an even more advanced form of DAC technology. Like normal DAC, that uses a wire to transmit signals and convert them into amplified analog signals. This DAC is a wireless solution for that, it transmits the audio through the air with the help of Bluetooth. It not only acts as a DAC, but it also makes normal headphones wireless because of its Bluetooth signal transmission. This property make them one of the best DAC under 200.
This is a revolutionary device because it frees from the hassle of using wires and even then produces a crisp and clear sound like other DACs. It is operated using an application that is available on the mobile app store. There are many controls that you can have access to using the application. Lastly, it is highly portable as well weighing at just 20 grams and can be easily carried around in the pocket and offers a good battery life which is rechargeable.
5. SMSL M100 USB DAC AK4452
Rating: 4.4 / 5
SMSL is a company famous for making these DACs. It is a very successful company that makes good audio products. The SMSL M100 DAC is a very elegant looking audio DAC. It can be hooked up to mobile phones as well as it has an OTG input available to it as well.
It has a high audio input and supports up to 32 Bit/768kHz. And claims to have very low distortion. It is very simple to use and has ample connectivity options and is compatible with all major software including windows 7/8/9/and 10 as well as Mac OS and Linux engine. Lastly, it is still an affordable option under 150.
6. EPOS Sennheiser GSX 1000 PRO
Rating: 4.1 / 5
Sennheiser is considered one of the best if not the best in making audio peripherals. They are a premium brand and offer a premium listening experience. They promise top quality and generally, therefore, their prices are quite high compared to other brands. The Sennheiser GSX 1000 pro is one of the best DACs available in the market and is a very premium offering from Sennheiser and therefore it comes at a cost as well which is not meant for everybody. I is one the best DAC under 200 that availalble to buy
Unlike all other DACs, the Sennheiser delivers a 7.1 surround sound experience thanks to its binaural rendering engine. You get specially tuned sound modes and equalizer on the DAC itself which has a touch-sensitive screen that shows its various modes and the volume. The onboard screen of the DAC also enables the mic controls with a dedicated sound tone mode that lets you control your own volume of speaking and is powered by a USB c cable which commonly powers or charges the mobile phones.
7. FiiO E10K USB DAC
Rating: 4.2 / 5
The FiiO E10K is a DAC that has been specially designed to be used with laptops. It has a PCMS 102 DAC chip that boosts the audio source coming from the laptop into a crystal clear experience. The conversion rate is up to 24 kHz/96 kHz. Also, it claims to have a filter and along with chip, it allows you to customize the sound however you like it to be.
Types Of DACs
There are many types of best DAC under 200 that are commercialy available. Following are the types:
Full sized DACs
These DACs are generally abit bigger in size and have a lot of ports and connectivity and don’t cut much corners
These DACS are very small in size and can be carried around in the pockets, but due to smaller size they have less ports so lesser connectivity
These DACs use the technology of Bluetooth and do all the conversion wirelessly
What is a DAC?
A DAC is a product that converts the digital signals coming from a source into analog signals by amplifying the sound and making it better quality when it is listenend through the speakers or the headphones
Can the DAC be used with mobile phone?
If the DAC comes with the necessary ports and wires then yes, it can connect to mobile phones. Although not all DACs can connect to mobiles
Does the DAC boost audio quality?
Yes, it boosts audio quality as well as the bass. Some DACs can even be used to iprove microphone quality
Does a DAC works just by plugging in or ir requires any software?
Some DACs don’t require any softwares or drivers but some do require you to download them
These were some great options that can be considered when buying a DAC along with the necessary questions . As discussed earlier there are many companies other than these that are making them and this was a guide to 7 different products that may be considered when buying the best DAC under 200.