Top 10 Best DAC For The Money 2020
For quick navigation on this long article, click the links below and jump to your desired section:
Do you need a digital audio converter? Are you worried about finding the best DAC for the Money? Are you confused just because of the varieties available in the market?
You can get the answer to all your questions in this article. We have arranged the best models of DAC available in the market. These models have their own limitations and benefits. Read this article and find out the best possible information.
If you are interested to get fidelity and quality from your favorite tracks, you should consider the marvelous devices known as DAC (Digital Audio Converters). Its reason is quite simple because they have the ability to incredibly improve the quality of sound and take the experience of naat to a new level.
A DAC is basically an exterior box that transforms your digital naat into the analog sound that is purportedly pleasant and smoother sounding. This subject is debatable, but numerous audiophiles favor the use of DACs claiming they may expose some textures and subtle layers from a particular mix and better-defined, as well as a detailed picture of a speech, is shaped. For more information, check my other posts about The 11 Best Smartphone External Microphone and The 10 Best CB Antenna.
DAC may be expensive, but if you don’t want to spend a thousand dollars, you may get cheap devices to give a new life to your naat library with fewer differences as compared to expensive choices. Audiophiles convict me for this declaration, but it is true that if you are not an avid listener or trained professional carefully faultfinding over each sound detail that you can’t easily differentiate from $150 to $500 DAC. Some other factors may play an important role, but it is not the time to get into extra details.
The main object of this article is to offer a casual listener and a passionate listener to the quality audio. You can find the best selection of DACs that really worth your money. These portable appliances fit lower to medium budgets easily. You can get superior sound without any trouble. Nowadays, DAC is becoming more accessible and everyone is interested in hearing naat in HD (Higher definition). They prefer to choose the best and for this purpose, we have some best DAV at an affordable price.
Fiio launched an E10K after ceasing the E10. This potent USB device comes at a reasonable rate. Affordability doesn’t mean to compromise on quality and E10K offers grease audio output.
If you want to purchase a good DAC, you will surely prefer sound quality and this model can be a good choice. This unique model comes with amazing qualities, such as less floor noise as compared to previous models and grease soundstage. For more details, the listeners can hear from the bass – mids – highs.
Overall clean and dynamic sound offers an amazing resolution. A considerable improvement can be noticed in the treble and mids section. Explore the depth of naat with extra coatings of details.
Bass boost is an essential feature of E10K that brings a unique impact to your naat table. It is slightly tight and more nuanced now that offers you a warm atmosphere and fun sound. The quality of sound depends on the drivers of headphones, but the more extended bass offers terrific rumble.
The external sound card is flexible for a personal computer. The Fiio offers promising audio quality in the shape of E10K, but the convenience of use and design are other aspects to consider. The smart design is really convenient. The gadget is lightweight to easily fit in your palm.
The use of E10K is really simple, precise and intuitive. The volume dial is truly analog. Front of the device is equipped with a headphone output and the back offers a convenient micro-USB port, analog line out and digital Coaxial. These ports are really useful to bypass the output amp of your device.
The E10K of Fiio is available at an affordable price and offers an amazing quality of sound. This device is good for intermediate users, but the advanced users should go for an expensive model. You can get a solid gadget for defined sound at a cheap rate. It can be an excellent solution at this price.
List of Specifications:
- 200 mW output
- Standard USB Micro Port for great power
- ≥108 dB ratio
- 24-bit/96 kHz rate
- 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency report
- Stereo PCM format and 1x Coaxial digital output
The first-class cable industry sees the AudioQuest and after the success of their initial model, they took the decision to try signal sources. The Dragonfly black DAC amplifier and USB headphone is the result of their efforts. The 3rd generation is enduring the family of their products to please naat lovers. The capable DAC comes with striking details.
The black Dragonfly is portable than its precursors as per compatibility instead of dimensions that remain the same. The latest micro Microchip controller draws less power as compared to its old version. As per AudioQuest, this must keep the battery from quick-draining as it was on previous devices.
Featuring LEDs and analog control for volume correspond to the playback file size. The Dragonfly comes with a typical design without weak points. The DAC is restricted to 96kHz playback so the files of high sizes may be downsampled.
AudioQuest prepared this special Dragonfly with a leatherette pouch for safety against scratches on casing made of zinc alloy. For the end of USB, you may get a special plastic cap. The casing finish is a soft matte, but it distinguishes black Dragonfly from the old version in white.
The DAC offers excellent audio quality and the black maintains the legacy sound of Dragonfly add rhythmic intelligence and dynamic impetus. The sound is imposing, tighter and clear as compared to previous versions of Dragonfly. This DAC allows you to feel the power of drums while thumping along the agility as envisioned. You can get sufficient space to keep numerous instruments in harmony, chimes, pianos, guitars distinguishing them in the blend. The strings may roar with vibrant finesse and sound may have great depth.
Dragonfly in black is dedicated to bring improved quality of sound in an impressive package and maintain a realistic price. AudioQuest has created a solid DAC that is recommended for the well-defined sonic experience.
List of Specifications:
- Play files of naat
- Compatible with Android, iOS, Windows and Mac devices
- Directly drives headphones
- AV receiver or fixed feeds preamp output
- Medium 1.2 volts output drives a range of different headphones
- Asynchronous transfer
D1 of Audioengine is an amazing headphone amplifier. This amplifier works really well with numerous devices and allows the actual potential of speakers as it improves audio signal quality and delivers sound of superb quality. It may connect easily to numerous devices with optical output and USB port without downloading particular software to easily set up D1.
Improved sound of naat is the best specialty of DAC. It may send audio via optical, virtually bypassing a soundcard computer, USB, and output of headphones. Flexibility is an amazing strength of D1 because it is designed to increase the quality of tunes from CD players, DVD players or TV besides your favorite naat tones from the computer. The DAC is USB powered; therefore, D1 is a portable device. You can couple it with a small build to have an easy solution to listen to your favorite high-definition tracks while traveling.
Audioengine has designed this unique model to consider an audiophile computer. This DAC can process digital audio at a particular bit depth such as 24 bits. The rate of the sample is 192 kHz is fairly decent. It is one of the best devices that comes at this price with excellent high signal-noise ratio and low distortion. This quality of sound is available in expensive DACs, but you can get this quality on your limited budget.
It is quite easy to set up Audioengine. Just plug this device and play. Like I have mentioned at the start, there is no need to have a mess around you with complicated software because PC will automatically identify your device. It is easy to enjoy crystal clear and crisp sound without any trouble. The output allows you to establish connections with a wide range of powered speakers and audio systems.
Other than noticeable improvements in the quality of audio. You will really appreciate the visually artistic appeal of D1. Enfolded in a spherical aluminum anodize case, this special DAC imitates the main commitment of designers of Audioengine to offer exact audio fidelity in a modish package.
Any difference in the quality of audio while using DAC Audioengine D1 is remarkable. If you are not a pretentious audiophile, you will definitely escalate the powerful clarity and delicate texture of tunes with the assistance of a sleek device. This can be the best choice for DAC lovers.
List of Specifications:
- Optical and USB AKM4396
- Dual asynchronous clock
- Depth of input bit is 16 bit and 24 bit
- Analog L/R RCA mini-jack 3.5mm stereo outs
- 0V RMS full-blown output level
- Impendence 2 ohms
Dragonfly of AudioQuest signified the reaction of the organizations to increase the popularity of audio back of the computer in 2012. The unit of red color is the fourth version of actual DAC dragonfly. It is available with numerous advanced features to improve the quality of sound and amplify headphones with an inexpensive price tag.
The red device is great for sophisticated listeners and offers grease performance for its size. With its portable design, it is really convenient to use and looks really beautiful with the silky red finish. The only small issue with this DAC is its proneness to fragmenting. To ensure maximum safety while transporting with red DAC, AudioQuest has one handy pouch.
The quality of Audio is an important aspect of DAC and the Red Dragonfly is worthy of your money. Sonic weight is the noticeable thing about the quality of sound because the bass is overall extended. Every particular note is defined and possesses an excellent texture. These elements have an excellent contribution to your experience of listening naat.
You can hear sound firmly and has an amazing depth like a 3-dimensional vibe to naat notes. If you like expressive and natural sound, this DAC will be a great choice with low-level dynamics.
The DAC’s performance is really impressive because it may make a specific difference to low-res streams similar to the one available at Spotify. The overall and detailed dynamics are expressively boosted. The Dragonfly of red color works really well with your smartphones like Android or iPhones devices.
The actual Dragonfly was a compelling device as it was launched for the first time and have similar qualities that contributed to the popularity of Red color with some great improvements. The sound is detailed and cleared with a compact design. If you want an amazing device, you can choose this device without compromising on the quality of sound. If you want to upgrade audio quality, you can have this DAC.
List of Specifications:
- Digital to Analog converter of the size of USB stick
- Compatible with mobile and desktop systems
- Directly drive headphones
- Fixed output that feeds AV receiver or preamp
- Integrity asynchronous transfer
- 1 volts high output
- Digital control for volume
If you need something special, you can trust on the Chord Electronics. This company has the experience to design portable solution and high-quality DAC with the name of Mojo. This budget-friendly naat device is equipped with amazing programmable processors. This DAC is fascinatingly designed with solid auditory fidelity for this price.
The Mojo is extremely durable with average weight. This specially designed rectangle black box possesses 3 colorful cloudy balls that work with buttons and finish this overall design. A rechargeable battery is used to power this device. When the Mojo charges completely, it will allow you to enjoy naat for almost 10 consistent hours.
Near its USB ports, you can get some special connections to input streams of digital audio, such as one optical and one 3.5 mm coaxial. The headset outputs may be available on the contradictory side of this unit.
The best aspect of Chord Mojo is its flexibility. It can play naat with a huge selection of your personal devices from PCs, Macs to Android or iOS smartphones. For personal computers, it must be recognized automatically for Macs. You have to move in the preferences of sound and choose the Mojo as your default playback device.
Chord Mojo is designed in a way to offer great sound quality. The striking details of the DAC allow you to play naat files with an amazing audio resolution bitrate of almost 768 kHz. This device is great for its price and has numerous selling points.
The Mojo allows you to particularly improve the dynamics sense with its fine details of the great mix of depth and clarity. The soundstage is really wide and nobody feels crammed, the voices and instruments have a vibrant and distinct sound. A full extending bass can redefine your naat listening experience to make your experience really enjoyable.
The mid-range becomes true to its audio source material because the Mojo gleams through virtually any naat genre. The amazing audio quality of Chord Mojo is its main selling point. You can also consider its versatility and connections. This can be an ideal choice for each audiophile. As per its price bracket, this Mojo is recommended as a great DAC instrument.
List of Specifications:
- Separate Micro USB Charging
- Micro USB
- Optical input, coax input through jack
- Headphone 2x outs
- 3v RMS Line Level mode
- Offer support for Headphones 800Ω
- Aluminum Chassis
- DSD 256 (4x)
The Alpen E17K is enchanting the birthright of the Alpen 1 that was an amazing DAC from all aspects. It comes with balanced features and is great for its price. This unique model has qualities of Alpen 1.
The actual Alpen 2 is equipped with stylish plastic and metal casing. It is designed with thin aluminum and its one side has a scroll wheel. The choice of its material is quite strange because the wheel is designed with plastic instead of durable metal. It is a durable device just like metal.
The design of this new model is less bulky as compared to Alpen 1 or give an initial impression because of the thin device. The weight of the device is similar. In the inputs and buttons department, the engineers of Fiio had tried to find a functional combo. The plug 3.5mm is securely fit, but quite simple for use without putting extra force.
The sleek design of Alpen 2 is really appealing and the sound quality is better than others. The overall performance is warm and soundstage. The timber sounds are great in mid-range and the device can make the instrument more defined. The naturalness of the soundstage is a bit unanticipated to Fiio DAC. The distinctly placed vocals allow you to clearly hear the dancing instruments across its stage.
Thinking about the bass, the instrument Alpen 2 can’t go overboard to maintain the accurate level of rigidity. It will be fun to enjoy naat with this device. Without changing EQ settings, the sound of E17K is quite balanced and makes this a flexible choice for Amp/DAC to pair with headphones and IEMs. It is coupled with clear treble and smooth as compared to the old models. It is an upgraded version of Alpen 2.
List of Specifications:
- USB micro input
- Stereo combo in & out 3.5 mm jack
- 10 dB bass
- Digital control for volume
- 20 – 20,000 Hz frequency response
- 1 kHz (75 dB) crosstalk
Schiit Audio proudly offers authentic audio items that are manufactured in the United States of America. Their special DACs range is really broad and has budget-friendly products, such as Modi 2. You will find budget-friendly options to improve the quality of audio for your naat library.
Special Uber version comes in more than the main Modi 2, but as per its digital inputs, this device can manage coaxial or optical besides USB. It may worth extra money. You can pair a great amp like Magni 2 from a similar company, the sound quality is noticeable.
Schiit has elegantly design DAC and the silver case is designed with brushed and eye-catching aluminum. The front plate is similar to austere and offers a classic feel. You will find an LED display and a tin selector button required to show selected inputs. You can’t inactivate LEDs and they are extra bright in the darkroom.
For sound, the audio dimensionality feels more defined and the instruments are idiosyncratically sounding with minimum congestion. The device can handle the decent output of almost 24 bit/192kHz, the Modi 2 can please numerous audio enthusiasts. The smooth sound offers more information and translates speakers into dynamic range.
Modi 2 is intensive in the mid-range and maintains the highs purer allowing for the great definition of sound. Soundstage boosting is an essential aspect because every instrument in a mix is available separately with its unique voice. If you are persuaded to enjoy the natural sound, you will surely like DAC because of its powerful features without extra coloration and warmth.
Schiit Audio offers enjoyable auditory experience via this device. As per its price, it offers great value in a small pack. If you need amazing quality of audio without spending extra money on DACs, you can choose this amazing device.
List of Specifications:
- AKM AK4490, D/A Alteration IC
- RCA out Single ended
- 5V RMS maximum output
- 20Hz to 20KHz and +/-0.1dB frequency response
- 75 ohms output Impedance
- >104dB S/N
- 20 to 20kHz, -80dB Crosstalk
The portable USB Groove DAC is designed by Apogee that looks really promising as per audio quality. With its cutting-edge technology, the products of Apogee are really liked in the recording studio. Industry professionals like the quality of products. These are amazing for casual listeners to enthusiasts.
The design of DAC is not too fancy because Apogee prefers simplicity. Housed in the aluminum black casing, the Groove has a durable design with rubber chunky buttons on its top that is good to control volume. It is a portable device with its lightweight and small size. Rubber pads on its base make it easy for DAC to adhere to a surface.
The Groove has 2 connectivity ports, one 3.5mm outpour for headphones along with a micro-USB B-type link for PC with the help of a cable. If you have Windows, it is essential to install drivers from the website of the manufacturer. If you have Mac, then it is only plugged and play.
Groove’s performance is ensured by Quad DAC Sum design that offers 24-bit audio in 192kHz resolution. For better frequency and lower distortion, Apogee offers a consistent drive output. This allows you to automatically rectify the non-linearity of headphones.
In the department of sound quality, this job is great by Groove that is an important function. It summons up a great representation of naat and uncovers lots of details that are impossible with the use of the headphone output of a laptop.
The amazing aspects are transparency and fuller definition of sound. If you increase volume, you can enjoy smooth naat without hard edges and strain. The technology of Apogee keeps all things in a fun way and delivers sufficient punch to manage the listeners. You can get a strong effect with deep bass, but it can’t overpower different other elements in the blend.
Paired with a great pair of headset, the Groove Apogee is a great option for your favorite tunes. The DAC offers a great set up for great audio quality at an affordable price. This device is great for traveling audiophiles.
List of Specifications
- Constant Current Drive
- USB 2.0, 24 bit/ 192kHz audio
- Quad Sum DAC
- Adjust volume level with buttons
- Asynchronous clocking
Explorer 2 of Meridian is a performant and tiny DAC to enjoy the naat of superior quality. This device is famous in the community of audiophiles. It gets MQA support and quality authentication. You may access MAQ hi-res record with the use of Tidal streaming.
The design of Explorer 2 offers the mature feel and it looks more functional and useful as compared to USB peers stick design. The shape of the cigarette offers a lightweight impression and a shell of aluminum is layered with one rubber strip on its base to avoid slipping of DAC. Meridian comes with 3.5mm output to pair this DAC with your headset and connect it to your PC with a type-B USB port.
Meridian included 3 LED displays that light up as per the type of files it is playing. There are a 44kHz / 48kHz files, and another for 88kHz and 96kHz files. The resolution of the last file can be 176kHz or 192kHz.
The presentation of sonic of the amazing Explorer 2 is agreeable because the sound is balanced and clean with a refinement dash and sufficient smoothness to increase the joy of the listening experience. Despite the ambition of Meridian to provide amazing audio quality than its contestants, there is a way to move before it may reach with Explorer 2 the subtle and detail dynamics of Red Dragonfly.
The DAC outshines at the clear sound and has a powerful momentum, but it lacks the precision of other devices like Red Dragonfly that has improved timing while following every thread in a blend. Finally, it is all about preference and Explorer 2 is similar to Black Dragonfly with its clean output but not interesting rhythmically.
Meridian Explorer 2 is a decent choice, perhaps it may not fulfill the accessibility needs of MQA files. It may look like a great option for a solid performance. The sound quality is excellent with elegant design and lightweight.
List of Specifications:
- USB2 B 1 Input
- 5mm headset jack output, 3.5mm line out
- Double title DSP XMOS
- Headphone output for analogue volume control
- <500mA, USB nominal 5V
Amazing Oppo Digital is making waves with HA-2 Amp/DAC combo as it came out. It is special for its great quality of sound and slim profile. It is highly compatible with numerous devices, such as Android smartphones and it was an ideal match for audio enthusiasts. The stylish design brings unique improvements as per hardware. The SEO version of HA-2 looks really promising.
The HA-2 Oppos SE provides support to PCM files for almost 384 kHz and covers lots of bases as it is all about connectivity. It is equipped with one micro input USB to link Android devices and PCs, type-A USB to play nicely with products of Apple and for other things like 3.5mm input. The Oppo comes with a 3000mAh big battery that will take almost 90 minutes to charge and offers 7 hours of enjoying digital sources and almost 13 hours with analog.
The old model of DAC comes with high gain. A switch is located on the right-hand side to drive extra power of HA-2 SE for headphones. The basic difference between the initial version is the only word SE and high price. Oppo has ESS 9028 Sabre chip and some changes of small components to decrease its noise floor.
These developments are open sound and expressive. The SE constructs on the detailed sound and actual dynamic. The device takes it to an extreme level in terms of tightness and articulation. The lows and highs benefit from the SE HA-2 presentations, the delivery of audio is really precise.
Bonding smooth textures along with active instabilities, the Oppo generates an ideal setting for numerous naat and is great at distinctive vocals to make them sincere and bold as they emanate the moods behind. Considering the tonal neutral balance and crisp timing, this DAC may give a pleasantly natural vibe to your different tracks. The bass offers great depth and the suppleness is accentuated really well by the SE HA-2.
It is difficult to choose the best DAC value in this age, but Oppo is a great device that comes in an affordable budget and offers professional-quality sound. The SE HA-2 adds extra flavor to naat while keeping it to original mastering. It will be a great device at this price.
List of Specifications:
- Range of frequency response 20 Hz to 200 kHz
- Headset impedance range 16 Ohm to 300 Ohm
- 5 mm line-out stereo jacks and 3.5 mm stereo headset
- ES9028-Q2M Chip Reference ESS Sabre32
- DSD Stereo Input (DoP v1.1 or innate), Stereo PCM
- Li-pol battery 3000 mAh
Also Published On: Medium.com