In the last decade, consumer audio technology has dominated the world of music lovers. With the help of a simple DAC upgrade, your music experience will definitely change in a positive manner. This article will discuss some of the best and exciting converters that you can find on the market. The DAC covered in this article have shown various positive attributes such as value for money, good tech and smart functionality.
Each selection represents the best specs and features in terms of external connectivity, build quality and internal components. The article will also dig deep into the topic of what makes the performance of various converters unique. Below is a brief description on the key factors you should consider when making a buying decision.
Factors to Consider When Buying Your DAC
Choosing the best DAC might be a tricky process for users since they fail to consider some of the most important factors. The quality of sound that a user ultimately enjoys depends on the factors discussed below.
• Quality of your music sources: Nowadays, digital music has various formats and different quality standards. The amount of which a Digital to Analogue Converter can pull from a song or recording may depend on the resolution available.
• Nature of the system that your DAC will connect to: the quality of a system’s audio parts has significant impacts on the improvements that will be made with an outboard DAC. Users are always advised to use quality speakers and headphones so as to get the best out of your system.
• Wattage: it is important to ensure that the wattage of your system and DAC are compatible so as to produce high quality sound.
• Longevity: How long can the DAC last?
• Other minor factors you may consider include the size of your system, appearance, quality of the cables and price.
Here’s our list of the best DACs on the market today in 2017
The TEAC’s NT-503 is one of the few converters that have relevant and smart features. This DAC is known for its unique Bluetooth interface and Ethernet port, a feature that is not common for a DAC. The two features make the DAC an ultra-high-spec digital A/V hub. The NT-503 is capable of tapping into your home WIFI or Bluetooth networks.
This high-end machine has made it easier for users to convert digital audio into a soothing and high quality analog sound. The wireless streaming feature allows you to stream and control your playlists wirelessly. The machine has one coaxial and optical input thus making it ideal for normal sized setups such as laptops, Blu-ray players and HD TV.
Marantz are some of the key experts in DA conversion. In fact, they have proved it once again by coming up with the HD-DAC1. The device is popularly known for its awesome sound, elegant design, plenty of headphone gain and many other incredible features. This smart-looking DAC comes in two variants, brushed aluminium and black.
The only odd issue about the HD-DAC1 is its weight; users have complained that the product is quite heavy for its size. Its heaviness is attributed to the large internal transformer. The device has all the digital inputs present as well as two pairs of RCAs in case the outputs fail to provide balanced connections. As long as you have the rest of your gear set, the air, detail and depth will give your headphones and speakers the best boost. Other than being a strong headphone amplifier, the HD-DAC1 doubles as a high-quality stereo preamp. This feature allows you to connect the DAC to your home stereo system.
Musical Fidelity V90DAC
In case you are looking for a Digital Analog Converter that adheres to the safety of home setups, then the V90DAC is the right model for you. This converter has a couple of digital inputs that are perfectly visible. In addition, it operates using the Brown PCM1795 chipset, which has the ability to manage up to 32-bit/96kHz native conversion.
The V90DAC doesn’t have a volume knob; it lacks an integrated preamp. The V90DAC is used together with a separate preamp to function well with the rest of your setup. When using a preamp, it is important to use the RCA outs so as to utilize the V90DAC’s rich sound. The Musical Fidelity V90DAC works well with analog connections, therefore, users should avoid connecting it to digital devices since it would render the device pointless.
Musou Digital Optical Coax
The Musou Digital Optical Coax is one of the simplest DAC that is designed for professional or audio switching. The device converts Toslink or Coaxial digital audio signals to analog L/R audioSupports sampling rate at 32 to 96KHz. The Musou Digital comes with two standard RCA cables to connect to your amp. The good thing about this DAC is that it is very compact thus does not require too much space.
The Musou Digital Optical Coax is powered by a 5V power supply and comes with an optical cable and an adapter. The only disadvantage about it is that it’s a basic DAC thus it does not support functions such as Dolby Stereo. The Musou Digital Optical Coax DAC is perfect in terms of performance; moreover, it’s quite affordable to everyone.
FiiO D3 (D03K)
The FiiO (DO3K) is one of the most popular DACs with a simple design. The device is small in size to ensure that it occupies less space. This simple machine comes with Micca Optical Toslink Cable – 192kHz/24but Optical and Coaxial DAC. The device is capable of supporting sample rates of 32kHz, 48kHz, 44.1kHz, 96kHz & 192kHz at 24-bit resolution.
The FiiO is capable of converting optical digital and coaxial input to analog stereo output via the RCA. This DAC is recommended for interfacing between digital video and audio devices with self-powered speakers and analog amplifiers. In case you buy the D3, you will definitely love how it works as it is built to support AV receivers, CD, Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital media players, TVs, HDTVs, Apple TV, Satellite/cable receivers and Game Consoles.
Are you looking for a simplified Digital to Analog Audio Converter built to accommodate professional or home audio switching? The good news is that Portta Converter might be the best and most affordable option. The device is efficient in converting Toslink and Coaxial audio signals to analog L/R audio. It is small in size to ensure that it’s portable and uses less space.
In case you are not satisfied with the sound quality of your TV, you should consider purchasing the Portta Digital Analog Converter so that it sits in between your amplifier and TV jack. The simple design of this converter will make it easy for you to connect the cables correctly without any struggles. In addition, all ports are clearly marked with bold lettering making them easily accessible.
The easyday DAC is ideal for basic functions such as converting digital to analog of 48kHz sampled toslink signals. The converter works perfectly converting toslink signals that are emitted by 2nd and 3rd generation apple TVs. Incredibly, it has a reasonable sound quality which makes it more than adequate. In case your TV does not have the headphone jack, you might consider purchasing this Digital Audio Converter since it will solve the problem easily. The DAC comes with a Fiber cable; US power adapter and USB power cable. The benefit of having this DAC is that it has a compact size; it’s easy to install and operate.
This DAC is one of the few converters that have an incredible value for money. This Schiit Fulla 2 has an awesome design and has been upgraded with some new features. Despite the recent upgrade, this product is still small in size to ensure that it’s portable and occupies less space.
The new Schiit Fulla DAC has well matched components to ensure there is a great combination of DA conversion and low noise. This device is a plug n play with Windows and Mac computers as well as android and IOS devices. All features and capabilities of this new device are simply awesome. The only problem with Schiit Fulla 2 is that it needs to be connected to a mains power source.
The Optoma NuForce sports the familiar uDAC output trinity of the RCA, headphone and coaxial. The RCA fires out to powered speakers or external amps while the volume is controlled via the attenuator. The attenuator also doubles up as a power switch. For coaxial connection, it functions a little bit different from the rest as it requires you to first switch off the uDAC5 before it can spit 1s and 0s.
It can handle 24-bits files, which can go up to PCM @384kHz or DSD256. It is pretty powerful and its coaxial and RXA leads are better anchored than most desktop DACs. Its front plate bends a little bit from the body and when the attenuator is playing, it grinds slightly against the case. Apart from that, everything else is perfectly positioned and brilliantly machined.
The Azur 851D is designed to capture the heart of many with incredibly rich sound and feature set. This audiophile setup has a menacing front with a black LED screen and brushed metal enhancing its appearance. This converter has self-explanatory buttons and a large volume knob for ease of use.
The Cambridge Audio Azur 851D features every connection that you could think of as a result, allowing the integration of a plethora of devices. In addition the converter supports wireless Bluetooth audio sources. This machine is fitted with dual converter chips that helps deliver high-resolution audio performance.