Best Budget DAC

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Finding a good quality DAC, especially on a budget can be quite the head-scratcher, can’t it?With so many choices and such a wide price range, it can feel an impossible task at times to find the best budget DAC.There are lots of factors to consider when purchasing your DAC, and a lot of terminologies that for a first-time buyer can be overwhelming, and a little confusing.

Thankfully you have come to the right place! We have curated the best budget DACs in one place, alongside a handy buyer’s guide and FAQ’s to help you get exactly what you are after. In a hurry? Check out our top pick below to get your basket filled quickly!

Top 5 Best Budget DAC

OUR TOP  PICK

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier (Black)

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

EDITORS CHOICE

Techole Aluminum DAC Converter

BEST VALUE

AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp

AudioQuest Dragonfly Black 1.5 plugin USB

OUR TOP PICK

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier (Black)

See Customer Owner Feedback >>

At an affordable price, FiiO offers an amplifier and DAC in one sleek package! The converter features a micro USB port (which can be used to charge the converter), a headphone output, and coax digital output. It’s great for use with laptops, boosting and clearing out headphone audio signals, as well as performing well with other devices! A versatile piece of kit that left customers seriously impressed with it! The converter features a PCM102 chip that can support files up to 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution. It also has a built-in linear filter to help improve the quality and reduce distortions. What’s particularly great about this converter is that it has a selectable bass boost and low-pass filter, which allows the user to customize their sound to their preferences. It’s a durable converter made with a brushed aluminum shell and chassis, making it strong and likely to survive life with a serial dropper (no, not me, never). Some customers did find that it could overheat on times, so that is a factor to bear in mind when purchasing. Pros:

  • Portable and durable
  • Multiple connections
  • Affordable
  • Can be customized
  • Easy to use with a laptop

Cons

  • Some customers found it to overheat on occasion

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Techole Aluminum DAC Converter

See Customer Owner Feedback >>

Listed as Amazon’s choice, Techole’s DAC converter is incredibly affordable, bringing good quality to every budget. In an aluminum casing, this lightweight converter is durable and heat resistant, great features that mean this one is designed to last.The converter also comes with a Toslink cable (optical) and a coaxial cable to transmit the signals. A great thing about this converter is its compatibility with so many devices. Some of them include PS3, PS4, Xbox, Blue-ray, DVD, HDTV, and home theaters which have no RCA outputs or 3.5mm jack outputs. The converter also supports uncompressed 2.1 channel PCM and LPCM digital audio. It also boasts a 192kHz sampling function achieved. Thanks to its anti-interference function you get pure and clear sound, exactly what you want from your DAC!Customers were particularly pleased by the quality of the converter, especially given the low price tag!It’s easy to install as well, giving you more time to spend relaxing with excellent sound! Customers did note that there is no volume control with this converter, so something to bear in mind. Pros:

  • Heat resistant
  • Durable
  • Sound is clear and pure
  • Affordable
  • Comes with additional cables

Cons

  • No volume control

BEST VALUE

AudioQuest Dragonfly Black 1.5 plugin USB

AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 Plug-in USB DAC + Preamp + Headphone Amp

See Customer Owner Feedback >>

Costing a little more, but still great for those on a budget, Dragonfly offers a USB style converter. Dragonfly offers enhanced sound, higher value, and lower power consumption than previously award-winning DAC’s by Dragonfly. Thanks to adapters as well, you can use this converter with Apple and Android devices too! The versatile converter improves detail, transparency, immediacy, richness, and tone in music. It plays MP3, 24-bit/96KHz high-resolution files.The plastic converter is in a handy USB design, great for those looking for a more portable DAC within their budget. The converter can be plugged directly into laptops and drives headphones directly as well. DragonFly also provides you with a stylish leatherette travel pouch for the DAC, who doesn’t love a handy travel pouch?The set up is quick and easy, with customers praising this.Some customers found that it did not perform as well for those with high-performance headphones as it made little difference to the sound. Pros

  • Versatile
  • Works with Apple and Android products
  • Additional travel pouch
  • Quick and easy set-up
  • Enhanced sound quality

Cons:

  • Little difference noticed on higher-quality headphones

RUNNER UP

NextDrive Spectra Portable USB Drive

NextDrive Spectra Portable USB DAC - The World’s Smallest 32-bit DAC Headphone Amp for Truly Mastering Your Sound On-The-Go (Spectra USB Type-A)

See Customer Owner Feedback >>

Sitting at the top of the price point for those on a budget is NextDrive’s USB DAC. It is labeled as the world’s smallest 32-bit DAC and is incredibly slimline. Made of strong aluminum to provide great durability and peace of mind while using it. The premium quality DAC is ultra-portable thanks to its size and no battery. It works well with high-resolution audio, supporting PCM files up to 32-bit/314KHz and DSD to Quadrate 11.2MHz. Customers are advised to check the volume level before beginning to avoid any nasty frights, yes the volume on here really is that good! This converter is not suitable and does not support IOS (iPhone or iPad) or Android devices. Some customers found that this DAC worked better with high-quality headphones to notice the difference. Customers were particularly pleased with how easy the converter is to use, a bonus for those wanting to get set up quickly!

Pros:

  • Strong and durable
  • Works well with high resolution files
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