Top 10 Portable Dacs
for May 2022

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1
9.8
SCORE
HELM Audio Bolt DAC/AMP, USB-C Portable High-End DAC/Headphone Amplifier with MQA Playback. Mobile Studio Sound for Android, iOS and PC. USB-C to 3.5mm Audio, THX Certified

HELM Audio Bolt DAC/AMP

USB-C Portable High-End DAC/Headphone Amplifier with MQA Playback. Mobile Studio Sound for Android, iOS and PC. USB-C to 3.5mm Audio, THX Certified

by HELM
What We like

THX CERTIFIED AUDIO OUTPUT: Exclusively designed for ultra-low harmonic, crosstalk & crossover distortion. Unlike other mobile MQA-DAC designs, the HELM BOLT physically isolates the DAC from the USB connector for improved EMI isolation, and uses a three oscillator design for superior frequency lock with dramatic improvements over single oscillator DAC designs.

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Product Features

  • AMPLIFIED AUDIO OUTPUT & HEADPHONE OUTPUT LEVEL MATCHING: Provides an average increase of +6 dB in devices with combined USB-audio output (where a dedicated headphone audio output isnt available). Headphone output level automatically detects headphone impedance and sets level accordingly (1V for 150 ohms).
  • SMARTPHONE, TABLET, MAC & PC COMPATIBLE: USB-C input to a 3.5mm Headphone Output supporting playback of PCM files with sampling rates up to 384 kHz, or DSD files with sampling frequencies up to 5.6MHz. The 3.5mm audio jack seamlessly connects to your wired headphones or speaker system. Note: An adapter is required if you do not have a 3.5mm input jack.
  • HIGHEST FIDELITY SOUND: MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) rendering unfolds every detail of the original master recording as the artist and engineers intended it to be heard for better-than-CD audio resolutions. Stream MQA content from TIDAL, nugs.net, and Xiami. MQA Certified.
  • STUDIO GRADE PORTABLE DIGITAL ANALOG CONVERTOR WITH MQA: BOLT delivers studio sound on the go from any mobile device across all listening formats. Supports MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) streaming for unparalleled fidelity in portable audio. Compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, and PCs. May require extra adapters or third party apps for MQA support.

Studio grade portable digital analog convertor with mqa: bolt delivers studio sound on the go from any mobile device across all listening formats. supports mqa (master quality authenticated) streaming for unparalleled fidelity in portable audio. compatible with android, ios, mac, and pcs. may require extra adapters or third party apps for mqa support. Highest fidelity sound: mqa (master quality authenticated) rendering unfolds every detail of the original master recording as the artist and engineers intended it to be heard for better-than-cd audio resolutions. stream mqa content from tidal, nugs.net, and xiami. mqa certified. Amplified audio output & headphone output level matching: provides an average increase of +6 db in devices with combined usb-audio output (where a dedicated headphone audio output isnt available). headphone output level automatically detects headphone impedance and sets level accordingly (1v for 150 ohms). Smartphone, tablet, mac & pc compatible: usb-c input to a 3.5mm headphone output supporting playback of pcm files with sampling rates up to 384 khz, or dsd files with sampling frequencies up to 5.6mhz. the 3.5mm audio jack seamlessly connects to your wired headphones or speaker system. note: an adapter is required if you do not have a 3.5mm input jack.

2
9.8
SCORE
iFi Hip-dac2 - Portable Balanced DAC Headphone Amplifier for Android, iPhone with USB Input Only/Outputs: 3.5mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced – MQA Decoder

iFi Audio iFi Hip-dac2

Portable Balanced DAC Headphone Amplifier for Android, iPhone with USB Input Only/Outputs: 3.5mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced – MQA Decoder

by Abbingdon Music Research
What We like

PORTABLE DESIGN - Your music will never stop with 6-8 hrs of battery life (depending on use) and a slim, lightweight design perfect for carrying in your pocket wherever life takes you.

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Product Features

  • EASY CONNECTIVITY Connects directly to your smartphone with the USB Input, and works with balanced 4.4mm or S-Bal 3.5mm headphone plugs for ultimate convenience and versatility
  • HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO - From Spotify to Tidal MQA to MP3 and beyond, play any high res audio format with native digital to analog conversion so you can listen to any song the way the original recording was intended
  • POWERFUL AMPLIFIER - Suited to your style, listen to in ear monitors or drive over the ear headphones with 400 mW max power output from the on-board amplifier
  • UPGRADED - The hip-dac2 has been upgraded to give you an even more pleasurable portable audio experience, it now is a full MQA decoder and has an upgraded GMT Clock.

Upgraded - the hip-dac2 has been upgraded to give you an even more pleasurable portable audio experience, it now is a full mqa decoder and has an upgraded gmt clock. High resolution audio - from spotify to tidal mqa to mp3 and beyond, play any high res audio format with native digital to analog conversion so you can listen to any song the way the original recording was intended Powerful amplifier - suited to your style, listen to in ear monitors or drive over the ear headphones with 400 mw max power output from the on-board amplifier Easy connectivity connects directly to your smartphone with the usb input, and works with balanced 4.4mm or s-bal 3.5mm headphone plugs for ultimate convenience and versatility

3
9.3
SCORE
Monolith 124460 Portable Headphone Amplifier and Dac - Black with THX AAA Technology, Analog Input, Slim Design, Dirac Sensaround

Monolith 124460 Portable Headphone Amplifier and Dac

Black with THX AAA Technology, Analog Input, Slim Design, Dirac Sensaround

by Monoprice
What We like

Versatile inputs digital or analog - We've got you covered. This amplifier features a USB and a 3.5mm Optical input, as well as an analog 3.5mm stereo input for devices without digital outputs. Tailor your sound: peq and shelf equ - use the powerful digital Tools to tailor the sound to your personal preference. Does your headphone have a little sibilance? Set a peq to tame that frequency peak. Use the shelf EQ to provide an adjustable boost or cut to frequencies above (HF) or below (LF) the

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Product Features

  • Akm 4493 DAC detailed sound. Exceptional musicality. The AKM AK4493 is akm's new flagship 32-bit stereo Premium DAC. It supports PCM inputs up to 768kHz and a direct stream digital (DSD) input of 2.8/5.6/112 (Maximum) MHz, the industry's highest level. An internal circuit employs a newly developed 32-bit digital filter for the ultimate in sound quality and musicality
  • The world's most linear amplifier technology. The THX achromatic audio amplifier (THX aiaa) ensures the ultimate no-compromise Headphone audio experience by delivering the world's highest fidelity audio with infinitesimally low levels of noise, distortion, and power consumption
  • Dirac sensaround expand your headspace. Music is usually mixed with loudspeakers in mind, Not headphones. As a result, Headphone listening is often plagued by a distorted soundstage Instruments and voices may seem incorrectly placed and trapped inside your heard, causing an unnatural listening experience. Dirac sensaround II creates a vast, clear, and realistically immersive soundstage free from the constraints of the space in your ear, much like a multi-speaker home Theater system. Whether you
  • Dynamic range control: Use the DRC functionality to set the shelving Filters. The DRC starts with low-pass and high-pass Filters to split the low and high frequencies (24dB/oct @ 140Hz), followed by two independent stereo compressors and a mixer to combine the low and high bands. A soft knee is not used, I.E. Compression starts exactly above the threshold level with no compression below the threshold. The LF offset simply adjusts the threshold level of the LF compressor relative to the HF

Dirac sensaround expand your headspace. music is usually mixed with loudspeakers in mind, not headphones. as a result, headphone listening is often plagued by a distorted soundstage instruments and voices may seem incorrectly placed and trapped inside your heard, causing an unnatural listening experience. dirac sensaround ii creates a vast, clear, and realistically immersive soundstage free from the constraints of the space in your ear, much like a multi-speaker home theater system. whether you The world's most linear amplifier technology. the thx achromatic audio amplifier (thx aiaa) ensures the ultimate no-compromise headphone audio experience by delivering the world's highest fidelity audio with infinitesimally low levels of noise, distortion, and power consumption Dynamic range control: use the drc functionality to set the shelving filters. the drc starts with low-pass and high-pass filters to split the low and high frequencies (24db/oct @ 140hz), followed by two independent stereo compressors and a mixer to combine the low and high bands. a soft knee is not used, i.e. compression starts exactly above the threshold level with no compression below the threshold. the lf offset simply adjusts the threshold level of the lf compressor relative to the hf Akm 4493 dac detailed sound. exceptional musicality. the akm ak4493 is akm's new flagship 32-bit stereo premium dac. it supports pcm inputs up to 768khz and a direct stream digital (dsd) input of 2.8/5.6/112 (maximum) mhz, the industry's highest level. an internal circuit employs a newly developed 32-bit digital filter for the ultimate in sound quality and musicality

4
9.2
SCORE
THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier: THX AAA - MQA Renderer - Direct Stream Digital (DSD) - ESS ES9281PRO DAC - Cross-Platform Compatibility - Magnetic Cable Management

Razer THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier: THX AAA

MQA Renderer, Direct Stream Digital (DSD), ESS ES9281PRO DAC, Cross-Platform Compatibility, Magnetic Cable Management

by Razer
What We like

ESS ES9281PRO DAC: This digital-to-analog converter provides best-in-class dynamic range and lowest distortion, with direct rendering of MQA files in the DAC - enjoy the studio quality of Tidal Master Quality files on-the-go

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Product Features

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: THX Onyx connects to any USB/USB-C port and works on Android, iOS, Windows 10, and Mac without the need for any drivers or installation (USB-C to Lightning adapter not included)
  • THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA): THX AAA technology enables the worlds highest fidelity audio and maximum dynamic range with the capacity to support power-hungry, audiophile grade headphones. Crank it up and enjoy satisfyingly loud volumes and ultra-clean sound
  • Magnetic Cable Management: A built-in magnetic clasp enables quick and convenient cable management, ensuring there are no messy headphone wires dangling around
  • Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) Renderer: The THX Onyx MQA renderer can reproduce digital Master Quality Audio recordings from services like Tidal or USB Audio Player Pro

Master quality authenticated (mqa) renderer: the thx onyx mqa renderer can reproduce digital master quality audio recordings from services like tidal or usb audio player pro Magnetic cable management: a built-in magnetic clasp enables quick and convenient cable management, ensuring there are no messy headphone wires dangling around Cross-platform compatibility: thx onyx connects to any usb/usb-c port and works on android, ios, windows 10, and mac without the need for any drivers or installation (usb-c to lightning adapter not included) Thx achromatic audio amplifier (thx aaa): thx aaa technology enables the worlds highest fidelity audio and maximum dynamic range with the capacity to support power-hungry, audiophile grade headphones. crank it up and enjoy satisfyingly loud volumes and ultra-clean sound

5
8.9
SCORE
iFi Hip-dac Portable Balanced DAC Headphone Amplifier for Android, iPhone with USB Input Only/Outputs: 3.5mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced (Unit only)

iFi Hip-dac Portable Balanced DAC Headphone Amplifier for Android

iPhone with USB Input Only/Outputs: 3.5mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced (Unit only)

by Abbingdon Music Research
What We like

PORTABLE DESIGN - Your music will never stop with up to 6 hrs of battery life and a slim, lightweight design perfect for carrying in your pocket wherever life takes you

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Product Features

  • HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO - From Spotify to Tidal MQA to MP3 and beyond, play any high res audio format with native digital to analog conversion so you can listen to any song the way the original recording was intended
  • EASY CONNECTIVITY Connects directly to your smartphone with the USB Input, and works with balanced 4.4mm or S-Bal 3.5mm headphone plugs for ultimate convenience and versatility
  • POWERFUL AMPLIFIER - Suited to your style, listen to in ear monitors or drive over the ear headphones with 400 mW max power output from the on-board amplifier
  • HIGH TECH Power Match and XBass offer adjustable analog enhancements to customize your listening experience without compromising the digital conversion

high tech power match and xbass offer adjustable analog enhancements to customize your listening experience without compromising the digital conversion high resolution audio - from spotify to tidal mqa to mp3 and beyond, play any high res audio format with native digital to analog conversion so you can listen to any song the way the original recording was intended powerful amplifier - suited to your style, listen to in ear monitors or drive over the ear headphones with 400 mw max power output from the on-board amplifier easy connectivity connects directly to your smartphone with the usb input, and works with balanced 4.4mm or s-bal 3.5mm headphone plugs for ultimate convenience and versatility

6
8.8
SCORE
EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit Portable High-Resolution Bluetooth Receiver/USB DAC/Headphone Amp with LDAC, aptX HD, aptX, AAC (3.5mm Unbalanced & 2.5mm Balanced Output)

EarStudio ES100 MK2-24bit Portable High-Resolution Bluetooth Receiver/USB DAC/Headphone Amp with LDAC

aptX HD, aptX, AAC (3.5mm Unbalanced & 2.5mm Balanced Output)

by RADSONE
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7
8.8
SCORE
NextDrive Spectra Portable USB DAC - The World’s Smallest 32-bit DAC Headphone Amp for Truly Mastering Your Sound On-The-Go (Spectra X USB C)

NextDrive Spectra Portable USB DAC

The World’s Smallest 32-bit DAC Headphone Amp for Truly Mastering Your Sound On-The-Go (Spectra X USB C)

by NextDrive Inc.
What We like

ULTRA PORTABLE - No batteries and slim design lets you connect to your smartphone or tablet and take it anywhere (adapter may be required, sold separately)

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Product Features

  • HI RES AUDIO - Supports PCM audio files up to 32 bits / 384 kHz and DSD up to Quad-rate 11.2 MHz
  • NOT Compatible with iPhone or iPad; Plug-and-play connection with Windows, Mac, Linux and Android (Android may require USB OTG adapter, sold separately.)
  • RAVE REVIEWS - Professional reviews around the web praise its price, size, soundstage and great sound across bass, mids and treble
  • PREMIUM QUALITY DAC - Enjoy matchless portable Hi-Fi sound from ESS Technology's SABRE 9018Q2C

Not compatible with iphone or ipad; plug-and-play connection with windows, mac, linux and android (android may require usb otg adapter, sold separately.) Hi res audio - supports pcm audio files up to 32 bits / 384 khz and dsd up to quad-rate 11.2 mhz Rave reviews - professional reviews around the web praise its price, size, soundstage and great sound across bass, mids and treble Premium quality dac - enjoy matchless portable hi-fi sound from ess technology's sabre 9018q2c

8
8.8
SCORE
XDUOO XD-05 Plus Headphone Amplifier AK4493EQ 32bit/384kHZ DSD256 DAC Portable Headphone Amplifier Black

Fanmusic XDUOO XD-05 Plus Headphone Amplifier AK4493EQ 32bit/384kHZ DSD256 DAC Portable Headphone Amplifier Black

by XDUOO
What We like

1000mW output power.And built-in 3.8V/5000mAh rechargeable li-polymer battery,long playback time.

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Product Features

  • Support USB/COAXIAL/OPTICAL/AUX IN,connected various multimedia devices, all digital in support DSD signal.
  • XD05 PLUS adopts XMOS XU208 and AK4493EQ chips,work in asynchronous transfer mode, support up to 32Bit/384KHz and DSD256 signal, present more musical details.
  • Connected to the 05bl,become to a Bluetooth DAC amplifier.
  • Dual interchangeable op amp,replaced by yourself.

Support usb/coaxial/optical/aux in,connected various multimedia devices, all digital in support dsd signal. Dual interchangeable op amp,replaced by yourself. Xd05 plus adopts xmos xu208 and ak4493eq chips,work in asynchronous transfer mode, support up to 32bit/384khz and dsd256 signal, present more musical details. Connected to the 05bl,become to a bluetooth dac amplifier.

9
8.5
SCORE
iFi Nano iDSD Black Label Portable USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier - Upgrade Smartphones/Digital Audio Players/Tablets/Laptops

iFi Nano iDSD Black Label Portable USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

Upgrade Smartphones/Digital Audio Players/Tablets/Laptops

by Abbingdon Music Research
What We like

PORTABLE DESIGN - Its a small gadget with a stylish black matte finish. The durable but lightweight aircraft grade aluminium case is unbeatable in Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) handing. A rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours of non stop music enjoyment while streaming from Spotify Tidal or Amazon Music

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Product Features

  • TECH PACKED - For enhanced sound the built in iPurifier technology rebalances the USB signal to reduce jitter and packet errors while the built in iEMatch means it can drive high sensitivity headphones. S-Balanced technology means headphone channel separation is unchanged and the Direct Drive Amp will drive high impedance headphones up to around 600 ohms
  • HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO - Plays all high-res audio formats including DSD 256, DXD 384, PCM 384 kHz and MQA with native digital to analog conversion so you can listen to any file the way the original recording was intended
  • POWERFUL AMPLIFIER - Drive your headphones to their maximum performance with the powerful dual-mono 285 milliwatt headphone amp that's 6 times more powerful than an iPhone. While advanced engineering allows for balanced wiring making this perfect for single-ended and balanced headphones alike
  • EASY CONNECTIVITY - Connect directly to your smartphone, Digital Audio Player or tablet using the USB A male digital input (Apple Lightning Camera Connection Kit or Android On The Go or OTG cable required and sold separately) then connect to your headphones using the 3.5mm jack. For home just connect the included USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 cables to your PC or Mac then use the 3.5mm line out to connect with active speakers or amplifier

Easy connectivity - connect directly to your smartphone, digital audio player or tablet using the usb a male digital input (apple lightning camera connection kit or android on the go or otg cable required and sold separately) then connect to your headphones using the 3.5mm jack. for home just connect the included usb 3.0 or usb 2.0 cables to your pc or mac then use the 3.5mm line out to connect with active speakers or amplifier Powerful amplifier - drive your headphones to their maximum performance with the powerful dual-mono 285 milliwatt headphone amp that's 6 times more powerful than an iphone. while advanced engineering allows for balanced wiring making this perfect for single-ended and balanced headphones alike Tech packed - for enhanced sound the built in ipurifier technology rebalances the usb signal to reduce jitter and packet errors while the built in iematch means it can drive high sensitivity headphones. s-balanced technology means headphone channel separation is unchanged and the direct drive amp will drive high impedance headphones up to around 600 ohms High resolution audio - plays all high-res audio formats including dsd 256, dxd 384, pcm 384 khz and mqa with native digital to analog conversion so you can listen to any file the way the original recording was intended

10
8.3
SCORE
Lavaudio DS400 Headphone Amplifier, Portable Deskstop DAC Headset Amps Support 768K/32Bit and Native DSD512, Hi-Fi Amp for 3.5/4.4 mm/Coaxial/Optical Out,Compatible with Windows/Android/iOS System

1mii Lavaudio DS400 Headphone Amplifier

Portable Deskstop DAC Headset Amps Support 768K/32Bit and Native DSD512, Hi-Fi Amp for 3.5/4.4 mm/Coaxial/Optical Out, Compatible with Windows/Android/iOS System

by Lavaudio
What We like

Easily handles low or high impedance headphone: For a total power output of up to 140.5mW under a 32 load, and up to 140.5mW at 600, DS400 desktop amplifier can easily handles any low or high impedance headphone.With volume adjustment, DS400 portable headphone amplifier allows you to smoothly adjust volume at extremely fine increments without any undesirable noise nor with any channel imbalances.

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Product Features

  • Unbelievably low noise floor: Optimized active low-pass and BASS circuit designs ensure lower noise floor in any situation. Such as power supply module. the DS400 implements overvoltage protection (OVP) and a double-filter circuit to ensure power supply stability, while the digital and analog audio circuits each get their own power supply to greatly reduce crosstalk. this is true high-fidelity sound.
  • High-performance Dac&usb Decoding Chip: Equipped with the powerful and proven ESS ES9038Q2M and XU208 chip, the DS400 headphone amps is capable of decoding Up to 768kHz/32 bit and DSD64-DSD512,Its memory is twice as high as U8, and its computing speed reaches a terrifying 1000MIPS, which is twice as fast as U8's 500MIPS.The DS400 's dual crystal oscillators ensure that any digital audio signals being fed into the DAC are exactly correct for further enhanced sound quality.
  • Type-C OTG input:Only one lineUSB OTG line is required to complete all the inputs, no additional lines are required. The ESS chip in the DS400 directly converts any USB audio input to digital signals output , allowing you to connect to speaker systems, amplifiers, or other external decoders.Note: The input cannot be completed if the USB line does not have OTG function, such as the original data line of ipone
  • Variety of Outputs: Supports 3.5mm single-ended and a 4.4mm balanced headphone out/RCA line-out outputs, ,with optical and coaxial inputs supporting up to PCM44.1-192kHz,DSD64 outputs, so the DS400 portable headphone dac compatible with various OSes like Android/iOS/Windows7/10, you could use it connect with your phone/computer/player.

Type-c otg input:only one lineusb otg line is required to complete all the inputs, no additional lines are required. the ess chip in the ds400 directly converts any usb audio input to digital signals output , allowing you to connect to speaker systems, amplifiers, or other external decoders.note: the input cannot be completed if the usb line does not have otg function, such as the original data line of ipone Unbelievably low noise floor: optimized active low-pass and bass circuit designs ensure lower noise floor in any situation. such as power supply module. the ds400 implements overvoltage protection (ovp) and a double-filter circuit to ensure power supply stability, while the digital and analog audio circuits each get their own power supply to greatly reduce crosstalk. this is true high-fidelity sound. Variety of outputs: supports 3.5mm single-ended and a 4.4mm balanced headphone out/rca line-out outputs, ,with optical and coaxial inputs supporting up to pcm44.1-192khz,dsd64 outputs, so the ds400 portable headphone dac compatible with various oses like android/ios/windows7/10, you could use it connect with your phone/computer/player. High-performance dac&usb decoding chip: equipped with the powerful and proven ess es9038q2m and xu208 chip, the ds400 headphone amps is capable of decoding up to 768khz/32 bit and dsd64-dsd512,its memory is twice as high as u8, and its computing speed reaches a terrifying 1000mips, which is twice as fast as u8's 500mips.the ds400 's dual crystal oscillators ensure that any digital audio signals being fed into the dac are exactly correct for further enhanced sound quality.

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