6 Best Budget DACs in 2021

Affordable and high-quality DACs.

best budget dac

Not everyone realizes that he/she uses at least one digital-to-analog converter (or DAC) every day. Whether you use a Blu-ray player, TV, smartphone, video game console, or any other home entertainment devices that produce digital sound, they all require a DAC to turn a digital audio signal into an analog signal before amplification.

Top 6 Best Budget DACs

  1. KGUSS DAC-K3 TPA6120 - Our choice
  2. Fosi Audio Q5 Pro - Bluetooth
  3. InnoMaker Audio Receiver - HiFi
  4. Soundavo HP-DAC1 - Plug & Play
  5. FX-Audio DAC-X6 Mini - Designed
  6. iFi Hip-dac Portable - Popular

Without the digital-to-analog converter, your digital soundtrack library is nothing but an electronic lockbox with codes that is useful only within the digital realm. DACs play a big role in creating value of digital music.

1. KGUSS DAC-K3 TPA6120

Our choice
kguss dac-k3 tpa6120 budget dac

Inputs: Fiber / Coaxial / PC-USB | Outputs: RCA, 6.35MM headphone holder | Bluetooth: No | Max sample rate support: 24Bit 192KHz

  • ✚ Great quality
  • ✚ Easy to use
  • ✚ Includes cables
  • Сompatibility problems

The unique feature of the KGUSS DAC-K3 TPA6120 with audio headphone amplifier is that it uses a special chip to provide all the possible outputs to your computer system. This way, you do not need to use an external device like optical or coaxial cables for sending data to your computer. The advantage is that you can use your standard A/C power adapter to power the device. This high-tech device is a perfect addition for any PC or laptop with a HDMI output port.

KGuss DAC provides a lot of functionality: It can be used as an efficient tool for converting an MP3 voice into compressed data that can be sent out as a wireless signal. Even though there are some problems that might occur in terms of wireless connection and compatibility, most people should be able to get along fine with this new invention.

2. Fosi Audio Q5 Pro

Bluetooth
fosi audio q5 pro budget dac

Inputs: Bluetooth/USB/Aux/Optical/Coaxial | Outputs: RCA, 3.5MM headphone holder | Bluetooth: Yes | Max sample rate support: 24Bit 192KHz

  • ✚ Affordable headphone amplifier with optical input
  • ✚ Multi-volume control to adjust RCA output as well
  • ✚ Professional amp chip
  • No bass boost

When using Fosi Audio Q5 Pro DAC with professional amp chip, you can send audio in and out of your computer using a Firewire interface. That means no MIDI, no connection to another device and no other protocol to play the audio back for other users.

The small size of this DAC also makes it easy to take it on trips. The pros include: multi-volume control to adjust RCA output as well as the headphone output. However, this headphone has an especially large drawback: it has no bass boost

3. InnoMaker Audio Receiver

HiFi
innomaker audio receiver budget dac

Inputs: Fiber / Coaxial / PC-USB/bluetooth | Outputs: RCA, 6.35MM headphone holder | Bluetooth: Yes | Max sample rate support: 32Bit 384KHz

  • ✚ Powerful
  • ✚ Wide range of features
  • ✚ Normal price
  • Pairing problems

For anyone considering a better audio, Innoemaker DAC is worth checking out. It gained a lot of popularity in the past few years. It has good sound quality, high resolution for speakers and a decent amount of power so that all components can operate at their best.

One of the pros that we will look at is that this amplifier has a very wide range of features and is good value for money. The audio technology used is also excellent and the price is quite reasonable.

4. Soundavo HP-DAC1

Plug & Play
soundavo hp-dac1 budget dac

Inputs: Fiber / Coaxial / PC-USB | Outputs: RCA, 6.35MM headphone holder | Bluetooth: No | Max sample rate support: 24Bit 192KHz

  • ✚ A great value for the amount of performance your getting
  • ✚ Convenient all in one factor
  • ✚ A bunch of input output options
  • Front face-plate ridge might not stack well with other brands

Soundavo HP-DAC1 DigitaltoAnalog Converter is the perfect addition for streaming musiconyour computer with clear, crisp, detail-filled sound quality. In fact, you'll be impressed with the sheer number of features this digital to analog converter (DAC) offers. Sound quality of the digital to analog converter is so clear and powerful that it allows the music to flow over your headphones just like they would through a pair of stereo speakers. This is particularly true if the music is compressed or processed in any way, such as via the use of a digital sampler. You'll also appreciate that the sound of your favorite songs will not change when using this headphone over other types of headphones.

In addition to the clear sound delivered by the analog converter, this headphone uses a very small battery, which results in a relatively long charging time.

5. FX-Audio DAC-X6 Mini

Designed
fx-audio dac-x6 mini budget dac

Inputs: Fiber / Coaxial / PC-USB | Outputs: RCA, 6.35MM headphone holder | Bluetooth: No | Max sample rate support: 24Bit 192KHz

  • ✚ Afforable price
  • ✚ High perfomance
  • Sound could be better

The FX-Audio ACD-X6 Mini is a great addition to the range of digital audio cards that is reasonably priced, yet provides you with top of the line sound card performance.With its small form factor, the FX-Audio ACD-X6 Mini is ideal for use in a variety of notebook computers that utilize the standard desktop sound card technology. It has all the features of full-fledged cards but is priced to be more affordable for the small business owner.

This model utilizes a PCI Express slot for expansion, which is standard on this type of small form factor cards. In the process of adding more audio cards to your notebook, you should consider PCI Express based expansion for ease and compatibility with other peripherals you may have purchased for your desktop.

6. iFi Hip-dac Portable

Popular
ifi hip-dac portable budget dac

Inputs: Fiber / Coaxial / PC-USB | Outputs: Balanced 4.4mm, Single-Ended S-Balanced 3.5mm | Bluetooth: No | Max sample rate support: 32Bit 384KHz

  • ✚ Super haptic
  • ✚ Appealing design
  • ✚ Thin/portable
  • Light hiss with very sensitive earphones

For ultimate sound quality the iFi Hip-DAC Pro provides both power and precision, delivering clear and crisp digital sound. With iFi's power and cutting-edge nature it would be easy to label it as the world's first truly portable DAC. It's priced at just under $200 and despite lacking the wow factor of its big brother the iFi Nano headphone amplifier, it delivers just as much power.

If you're going to go to the trouble of purchasing one, then the iFi Hip-DAC portable is probably your best option as it is well designed, offers great value for money, and most of all comes pre-boxed with an iFi Hi-Fi bone conduction audio converter.

IMAGE NAME FEATURES
kguss dac-k3 tpa6120 budget dac
KGUSS DAC-K3 TPA6120
Our Choice
  • Great quality
  • Easy to use
CHECK PRICE
fosi audio q5 pro budget dac
Fosi Audio Q5 Pro
Bluetooth
  • Affordable headphone amplifier with optical input
  • Multi-volume control to adjust RCA output as well
CHECK PRICE
innomaker audio receiver budget dac
InnoMaker Audio Receiver
HiFi
  • Powerful
  • Wide range of features
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Budget DAC ?

how to choose the best budget dac

If you are on the lookout for the best budget DAC to turn any digital audio file into sounds, this article will help you figure out which factors to pay attention to in order to get the most out of your setup.

Quality of Music Files

Currently, audio files come in a variety of formats and sizes such as MP3 or lossless audio file formats like FLAC. Those, who are in search of the best budget DAC, should understand that this tool won’t help you considerably improve the quality of sound. The level of detail a digital-to-analog converter can reproduce from the digital audio signal depends only on the initial audio quality. To take advantage of a DAC, you should make sure your audio file has a high resolution.

24 Bit versus 32 Bit

A discussion continues to swirl around whether 24-bit DAC is better than a 32-bit DAC. In general, a 24-bit signal produces a higher audibility range in dB than the frequency response of the human ear. A 32-bit signal, accordingly, delivers even greater hearing amplitude than a 24-bit signal.

Quality of System Components

Another aspect that affects the performance of your DAC is the quality of the audio components in your system. If you complement your outboard DAC with high-quality cables and headphones, you will enjoy better sound reproduction. For example, if you connect a $2,500 DAC to a mid-range home theater receiver, you will achieve disappointing results. Also, it is a bad idea to pair an entry-level DAC with advanced amplifiers.

Level of Expertise in Computer Operations

While a DAC connected to your computer allows you to start playing music right away, a deeper understanding of software operations will help you take full advantage of your product. If you extend your physics knowledge of sound or music theory, you will definitely level up the performance of your DAC. It is advisable to adjust your computer's audio system in order to enjoy the better sound quality.

Quality of Cables

Another factor that affects the quality of sound a DAC delivers is the cables you use for connection with a playback device. It is recommended to choose better cables than those that come with DACs in the kit. Use only high-quality USB cables for a computer and coaxial and optical cables to connect your DAC to the network audio streamer or CD player. Also, make sure you choose the right cable to pair the digital-to-analog converter to your stereo.

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