10 Best USB DACs
It’s frequently mentioned in discussions of the best and most portable amplifiers, and the latest version of the AudioQuest Dragonfly , known as the Cobalt, is even more clean and precise than earlier models, and it is still a great value.
- Premium sabre chipset
- Shielded type-c adapter
- Compatible with mqa files
Schiit Fulla 3
Many PC motherboards are overrun with interference, but the Schiit Fulla 3 can get around that without requiring a huge investment. It takes up very little desk space and most of the manufacturing and production is done in the USA.
- Powered via micro usb
- Dedicated microphone input
- Fixed and variable line outputs
RadSone EarStudio ES100
Not only is the RadSone EarStudio ES100 superior to many integrated components in phones and laptops, it also serves as a Bluetooth receiver that can add impressive wireless functionality, and the high-resolution LDAC codec, to any pair of headphones.
- Small and lightweight
- Long-lasting battery
- Highly functional app
A commonly recommended entry-level option, the iFi Zen offers helpful features for when you’re ready to upgrade your audio devices, including a robust 4.4-millimeter unbalanced jack, a toggle switch for fixed or variable mode, and support for the lossless MQA format.
- Bass adjustment knob on the front
- Optional rca inputs
- Burr brown converter chip
The SMSL M500 is reasonably priced for a model that supports the advanced Master-Quality Audio, or MQA, format. It has a full-function remote control and utilizes the powerful Sabre ES9038PRO conversion chip to deliver a studio-quality experience.
- True 32-bit processing
- 2-inch led display
- Low noise floor
Topping DX7 Pro
It takes up a bit more shelf space than many others, but the Topping DX7 Pro also offers plenty of connectivity options and high-end components. It uses Bluetooth version 5.0 technology in addition to the LDAC codec for nearly flawless wireless transmission.
- Suffers from little distortion
- Supports dsd512 playback
- 126-decibel signal-to-noise ratio
Schiit Bifrost 2
It’s hard to do better than the Schiit Bifrost 2 for a long-term addition to your audiophile-grade stack. Its internal chipsets are replaceable to allow for future hardware modifications and its lack of an amplifier means it has less interference than integrated models.
- Optical and coaxial spdif inputs
- Rca and balanced xlr outputs
- Extremely expensive
The surprisingly affordable Fiio K3 is compatible with DSD256 streaming in addition to balanced output, both rarities for a unit at this price. It also offers line-level, optical, and coaxial connectors for use with a wide range of high-fidelity audio gear.
- Robust aluminum body
- Type-c interface
- Gain and bass boost switches
Cambridge Audio DACMagic XS
Due to its relatively small footprint and price, the Cambridge Audio DACMagic XS is perfect for carrying around on a day-to-day basis to improve your listening experience. It’s a quality upgrade to the mediocre sound cards generally found in laptops and phones.
- Comes in red or white gold
- Weighs under 4 ounces
- Few onboard controls
There’s no need to settle for a passive Type-C adapter when you can choose the ClipThat HiFi , which is about as inexpensive as they come. It plugs into the USB-C port of many Android smartphones, resulting in less interference than you get from the internal chipset.
- Draws little power from battery
- Supports direct sound digital 128
- Not for audiophile-level headphones