Top 17 Best USB DAC Under $100-$1000 : For Audiophiles

best dac for the money

Listening to high-end natural music without best DAC is not a good idea...

D/A Convertor transforms digital records into analog form, which drives audio amplifier. Further, via speakers these air pressure waves travel up to the ears.

A top grade digital-to-analogue converter(DAC) is very crucial to any Audio system configuration.

These convertors loaded with cutting-edge audio technologies, latest circuit, port, jack, conversion chips, resolution and power flow. Such exclusivity is absent with your other media devices.

Adding a quality DAC dramatically boost your entire audio dynamics, amplification and other fine details. And make all the difference while listening to music specially on headphones also, comes with added arsnels of amplifier and pre-amplifiers.

Selection of appropriate device is like a complex maze. Tons of brands, size, compatibility, technical specifications, performance and price range, are always a tough nut to crack.

USB DAC's are available under $100 up to thousand dollars. Here, we tried to simplify your best USB DAC search through this special article.

Our chosen 17 Best USB DAC Under $1000 list includes top rated USB DAC units along with all necessary details. These exclusive product precisely bundled as per your specific requirements.

Are you ready to dive in? Let's move..

Device Name

Type

Weight

Power Supply

Audio Standard

FIIO E10K

DAC/Amp

2.75 ounces

Std.Mini USB

96kHz/24bit

Check Price

Creative Sound Blaster XFi-HD

Sound Card

17.6 ounces

Std.Mini USB

24 bit/96kHz

Check Price

Micca OriGen

DAC/Preamp

6.1 ounces

Std.Mini USB

24 bit/192kHz

Check Price

HRT Micro Streamer

DAC/Headphone Amp

3.5 ounces

USB Mini B

24 bit/ 96kHz

Check Price

Audioengine D1

DAC

8.8 ounces

USB bus

24 bit/192kHz

Check Price

iFi Nani-iDSD

DAC/Headphone Amp

3.5 ounces

Battery & USB power

24 bit/384kHz

Check Price

Apogee GROOVE

DAC/Headphone Amp

0.3 ounces

USB power

24 bit/192kHz

Check Price

Music Fidelity V90

DAC

20.8 ounces

12 V DC wall-wart

32 bit/192kHz

Check Price

DacMagic 100

DAC

17.6 ounces

12 V DC

16-24 bit/ up to 192kHz

Check Price

Denon DA-300

DAC/Amp

3.3 pounds

15V/1A DC

32 bit/ up to 192kHz

Check Price

NAD D 1050

DAC

1.5 pounds

Remote power supply

24 bit/192kHz

Check Price

OPPO HA-2SE

DAC/Headphone Amp

1.1 pounds

USB (A-micro B)

32 bit/384kHz

Check Price

CHORD Mojo

DAC/Headphone Amp

9.4 ounces

Battery  (upto 10hrs)

32bit/768kHz,  Quad DSD 256

Check Price

Sony UDA1/B

DAC/Stereo Amp.

10.2 pounds

AC Power

24bit/96kHz

Check Price

Marantz HD-DAC1

H,Amp/DAC & Pre amp.

11 pounds

AC power

24bit/192kHz, dual DSD

Check Price

Teac UD-503-B

DAC/Headphone Amp

9.3 pounds

Multiple

32bit/384kHz, DSD(upto 11.2 MHz)

Check Price

Yamaha A-S801BL

Integrated Stereo Amp./DAC

26.7 pounds

AC power

32bit/384kHz (PCM), DSD(2.8/5.6MHz)

Check Price

..Further divided into five sub categories-

Cat(A. Best USB DAC under $100

Cat(B. Best USB DAC under$200

Cat(C. Best USB DAC under $300

Cat(D. Best USB DAC under $500

Cat(E. Best USB DAC under $1000

Now it's time for Group-wise play:-

Cat(A - Best USB DAC under $100..

Are you desperately hunting a sleek, transportable advance audio device? If yes, your stress finally ends here. Wondering..how..?

Check it out, The 'Fiio E10K' a Double treat of USB DAC and headphone amplifier. It can accompany you outdoor or on the go, enjoy the high-fidelity digital music stream.

Here are the random details; Small compact built, super sturdy and light-weight only 2.75 ounces. The Front face has solid volume knob with the right amount of resistance. Only 1.5 times bigger than your Zippo lighter.

A long awaited Improvised version of E10, uses micro USB cable. It's USB Interface support your high-resolution audio drift up to 96 KHz / 24 Bit.

The Out path; you can line-out audio to headphones and external amplifier or digital coaxial current to external DAC.

The built-in top grade headphone amplifier provides the luxury to power up your high impedance headphones i.e. Sennheiser HD 600 or Beyerdynamic T-1.

It also has a high/log gain switch with an updated micro USB port.

Fiio E10K's barrier-free design and Volume potentiometer facilitate plain error free operation. Aluminium made shell boost up its boost up its anti-interference capability. Also, make it more reliable and enduring.

Built-in switchable 3dB bass-boosting circuit that is much superior to software EQ effect

You got Maximum signal quality from Fixed-volume major line level output. Also compatible with most of the modern OS.

Another salient feature is the power supply, which is made easy by its standard Mini USB Port.

Now rush to Audio Quality; that is overall warm, yet much crispier.. a life-size entertainment. Make sure to check E10K user point of views.

With Higher portability, power performance and all-around features Fiio E10k is best suited to your finest USB DAC choice. Be a good initiator, Simply buy it!

Positives

  • Double package DAC & Amplifier. Compact lightweight and transportable. Highly compatible with Top-end headphones. Minimal price yet Maximum performer. Bus powered. Latest Coaxial and Line-out features. Gives you an overall sizzling yet crisp audio output.

Downsides

  • Short micro USB cable. Bass-boosting application not much of use.

A revolutionary Audio product from the House of 'Creative'- Pioneer in the worldwide digital entertainment market.

Creative Media Toolbox Software let on you playback, record, cleanup and organize your digital music storage smoothly.

THX TrueStudio Pro audio technology brings you the experience of Professional Studio and on-stage performances..that too from your PC.

This product specifically designed for Audiophiles and real music lovers. Immensely handy Gadget for DJs, Vinyl enthusiasts, and Turntablists

X-Fi HD USB audio card allows carrying high definition audio for your PC or laptop through USB 2.0 port.

Integrated Phono preamp helps you to create digital recordings for Turntable..is that insufficient.? It also has a Toolbox Software; exclusively for Advance Vinyl Recordings.

...So, you can straightforward record from Turntable, A Cool Techie-pal to Audio Professionals.

A True Multitasker; has a broad range I/O connectivity applications...means you have ports for everything, right from the headphone, microphone, music players, AV receivers, home audio speakers and a lot.

Sensible audio-engineering and high-fidelity elements ensure you got a rich, pure and elegant sound.

..Performance such as; everyone dreamt for..Premium Audiophile-class SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) of 114 dB.

This device's X-Fi HD USB sound card compatible with many of your OS like; Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

Product Packaging-box has an X-Fi sound card, RCA to stereo cable, USB cable, installation CD and user guide. Get complete X-Fi HD review here

With these superbly combined Cutting-edge sound technologies and user applications, Creative Soundblaster X-Fi HD settled as the real Audiophile Device.

Positives

  • HighTech Audiophile gadget. Best PC compatible USB DAC system. Excellent Stereo to 5.1 surround sound system. Next-level audio entertainment. Useful recording feature. Integrated Dolby digital live application. Great under $100 DAC.

Downsides

  • Product is non-returnable. Complicated set up procedure.

A Studio Master grade digital audio play has back device with a unique Bypass-feature.

Just configure OriGen with your Music set-up, as soon as done you have a separate pathway from the computer. Now unveil the hidden sonic power of your music treasure.

...Also supports high resolution up to 24 bit/192kHz PCM audio and DSD64 audio.

Solid preamp and headphone amplifier hand out dual accessibility. That means you can use your compact desktop computer audio system in-sync of powered headphone and monitors.

It has the finest digital combo of VIA VT1736 USB 2.0 High Speed 480 Mbps audio controller and Cirrus Logic CS4392 stereo D/A converter.

...This feature enables asynchronous decoding, conversion of PCM audio as well as native DoP audio support.

When we talk about Analog Output; The headphone output with 0.5-ohm impedance has enough power to drive your high-end 16-600 ohm impedance.

Asynchronous USB 2.0 input enables you, to use with Microsoft Windows XP/7/8/8.1, MAC OSX and Linux systems.

The coolest thing ever.. you can work with any audio set up having a mini jack or RCA inputs.

OriGen, a Tiny compact Devil, crafted with black non-reflective anodized aluminum and steel tub chassis. Complete metal-built makes it extremely durable and shield from unnecessary interference.

dBelieve and try it risk-free, if you are unsatisfied with performance..just return it to get your money back. Excellent deal. Isn't it. Catch Origen's user experiences right here.

If you desire to possess a super smart Autobot-type sound gadget, this is the time. Go for Micca OriGen, you will never regret it!

Feel @ YouTube

Positives

  • One of the best USB only powered DAC/amp. The super sturdy industrial class built. A Very convenient volume knob positioning. Amazing LED visualization. Advanced audio stream interface support. Great sound with affordable cost.

Downsides

  • Preamp line is always live, for full line voltage you need to unplug your headphones.


Cat(B. Best USB DAC under $200

It does not happen everyday..but here it is. ‘Insanely good things mark incredible impact within a shorter timespan.’

You are thinking in the right direction; I am mentioning about HRT Micro Streamer..the baby.

A perfect solution for those all desires for an exclusive DAC cum headphone amplifier. In particular for their Desktop, PC, tablet or ios devices.

Will you want to know; what is the best thing about it, you can use it on the go hassle-free.

High-performance DAC cum amplifier, which comfortably fits in your hand palm..are you impressed, you should be.

Micro Streamer is a tiny aluminum enclosed precision gadget, which is super sleek, ultra modern and compact enough to use.

You don’t need to juice it separately; it powers itself directly from the connected computer..The short length USB-to-mini-USB cable does the dual job of transporting signal and current together.

Very convenient to use, just ‘plug, connect and play’. Straight interface with a USB input, headphone jack, and low impedance 2.25-volt line output.

On functionality part; also in top merit, volume directly controlled by digital ‘slide’ control on your computer’s music playback software.

You can playback, high native resolution 24 bit/96 kHz music through it. Also of that, it will process your computers digital sound stream. Ultimately you got an excellent audio output.

For effortless monitoring, it has side LED indication panel displaying you the present sample rate of 32k, 44k1, 48k, 88k2, and 96k.

Brand HRT’s biggest USP (unique selling point) is their extremely easy set-up and super-efficient operation. Micro Streamer is in the same league.

If you want an excellent entertainment session, must use with your home entertainment system.

Note; Never underrate it by ‘tiny body and moderate price tag’. It has the exceptional capability to transform your personal gadget’s sound or streaming audio into a state of art music extravaganza.

HRT Micro Streamer declared a must buy DAC cum amplifier device for all travelers, frequent roamers, and unorthodox music lovers. Find it's complete review here.

Positives

  • Highly recommended USB Dac cum amplifier for the computer. Superior sound quality at extreme convenience. Ideal travel music facilitator. A lot better than inbuilt PC/MAC DAC. Excellent user-interface. Incredible Sound-enhancement capability. Dual power and signal mini USB cable.

Downsides

  • Lack of internal battery. Can’t any better at this price-tag.


Are you searching for High-performance DAC/Headphone Amplifier gadget.? that will transform your PC/MAC to headphone listening ..If yes Audioengine D1 can be an ultimate solution.

..Exclusively designed for computer Audiophiles and high-end headphone enthusiast.

It is capable of streaming high-resolution 24 bit/96 HD audio with minimal jitter. Also, enhance the imaging, soundstage with the expansion of the bass and treble frequencies.

With this, you will connect to your PC in two different ways, through the USB port and an optical connection. An elegant digital interface between your PC/MAC and music system.

Audioengine designs their sound machines with precision; It has both audio quality and the eye appeal. Aesthetically molded in anodized aluminum, reflects rich heritage with superior sound expertise.

The biggest USP (unique selling point) of this device is; an integrated headphone amp/pre-amp and output switching.

Incomplex plug-n-play user platform, don’t need a driver or software. Just connect your computer to USB or optical D/PDIF inputs. The outputs join with your choice of high-end headphone, audio system or speakers, and indulge in premium audio.

For Speakers; if you want to feel it’s real potential.,we recommend using Audioengine A5+ bookshelf speakers.

If we talk about Compatibility; I call it good music platform. You can use it on any system whether it is PC, TV, Apple TV, DVD/Blueray player/CD Player.

Also a top-grade compact computer headphone amplifier. Almost forget to mention that, it is USB powered, means..getting charged while in the action.

The Product package includes; D1 DAC/Amplifier, USB cable (2ft,0.8m), product micro-fibre bag, set-up guide and product voucher.

As D1 bridge the gap between your PC sound and Home hi-fi. With a richer sound at an affordable cost, Audioengine D1 is your best deal. Here, Go for the Outright product review.

Positives

  • Clear, good balanced distinguishable audio. Unique analog-output bypass feature. Gold plated connections. One of the best PC music improviser. Wide range gadget adaptability. Awesome built. Like as a sleek black box. Super easy user functions.

Downsides

  • Did not automatically switch output to headphones. Just lacks sonically a touch of fluidity and precision hints.


It is a Pathbreaker,.The legends of various first’s, not an ordinary one…Yes, you guessed right, I am talking about the iFi Audio’s Nano a top league stuff in DAC_ headphone amp fraternity.

Nano iDSD, most probably the world’s smallest, portable (0.35 pounds/3.5 ounce) gadget. It is Battery powered DAC/Amp that plays all high-resolution audio formats: DSD/PCM/DXD natively.

Now the point is, How they do that.?..Let’s see. I have to take you in those territories.

Cutting-edge design technology makes it highly portable. Latest AMR’s True Native Technology ensures your music-format stay unchanged throughout formats; DSD256(11.2 MHz ), PCM(32bit/384 kHz) and DXD (384 kHz).

iDSD is tiny bodied but incredible with technology and performance. Constructed on palm-sized chassis, contain an SPDIF coax digital output to A/V receivers. It handles computer and smartphone with same ease.

The Burr-brown DAC chipset uses trickle-down technology from AMR, which ensures the audio-format remains unchanged.Thus, it scales the parameter of high-end sound reproduction.

The computer audio playback segment is transforming at lightening speed. Here iFi productively focussing on ‘portable audio pie’ indeed a blessing in the latest sound shift.

…You can marry it, with any iOS and Android gadgets, a high-end audio source in your kitty.

Other impactful features are; the 1400 mAh lithium-polymer battery and superior smartphone compatibility. You can run your playback show for extended 10+ hours, on a single charge.

As it has dual power; USB Bus power & Battery, the amplifier always operates on battery.

Headphone output capacity is 130 mW at very low impedance; that is 1 x 3.5 mm in terms. The Input is compatible with USB 3.0, and 2.0.

iDSD has clock-crystals; AMR supplied military-grade technology restricts the unwanted beat frequencies. For you, audio free from all digital noise and jitter reduced to bottom.

..sonically you can rate it with way costlier DAC’s out in the market.

Product package includes; iFi Nano DAC and Micro USB cable. Read Full product review here.

With visible inbuilt precision analog volume control, iFi Nano-iDSD is worth more than a match you found at even 3x times,.A Genuine gadget on domain..no one ever thinks to miss.

Positives

  • World’s smallest compact DAC / headphone amp.Superior built quality. Battery powered multi-functional device.Unique smartphone compatibility.Impactful headphone output. AMR-style intact multiformat playback.Easy iOS/Android installation. Next-level audio streaming.

Downsides

  • RCA jacks too close to the Volume knob. If you need to watch a video,.you have to pause the player, but the music stops doing processed.


Cat(C. Best USB DAC under $300

Finest pick for listening to music from your MAC or PC. Apogee Groove brings best audio technology from world’s prestigious recording studio’s and streams through your laptop up to ears.

Apogee is the front line innovator and leader in digital audio recording industry since last 30 years.

..World’s most successful sound/music industry professionals, artists relies on it.

Very simple to use,.just connect and play. Premium scoring point is great portability; you can take it anywhere without even slight hassle.

Made of premium aluminum, thumb-sized compact enough to fits in the palm of your hand.

Constant Current Drive technology makes, any headphones sound their best. Whether listening earbud or hi-fi headphones, you will experience next level of fidelity, clarity, and details.

We recommend, using Sennheiser HD600, HD650 and Sennheiser Momentum for excellent ‘Groove’ entertainment.

..The output is maximum 225mW at 30 ohms. A USB powered gadget, contains well-featured hardware buttons for convenient in-line volume controlling.

Here is the major advantage you got; for sound quality enriched in detailed stereo imaging, impactful bass and ultra clear highs.

It has USB 2.0 to MAC or PC and up to 24 bit/192kHz audio. ESS Sabre chip-Technology and 4 DACs per channel give you highest dynamic range with minimal distortion.

Product-packaging; This device comes independently without any accessories. You have to purchase them separately.

For any serious music lover, quality of their sound solely drives through the DAC. Thus, your selection should be very accurate.

Apogee GROOVE designed for discerning audiophiles and music professionals.With the micro size and magnificent performance, this is your Best Deal in Line. Find it's  (user assessments) here.

POSITIVES: Ideal DAC partner for MAC and PC. Enhance your multi-format music listening experience. Multi-color LED system for level and status indication. Incredible advance-detailed audio output. Ultra portable and compact. Top panel button for efficient volume control. USB powered.

Positives

  • Ideal DAC partner for MAC and PC, Enhance your multi-format music listening experience, Multi-color LED system for level and status indication, Incredible advance-detailed audio output, Ultra portable and compact, Top panel button for efficient volume control, USB powered.

Downsides

  • Absence of mobile device compatibility, Lack of LED functionality details in user-manual.

One of the best serious audiophile grade gadget that you can own without denting your bank.

An excellent state of the art product from Antony Michaelson’s Music Fidelity. This device is ‘made in Taiwan and designed in UK.’

As we examine a lot of high-end DAC’s, the most remarkable thing came in the notice is tremendous body case work. In reality, it has nothing to do with the technical or audio features like sonic character.

..Complexity doesn’t guarantee you the best performance.The V90 creators applied the same concept to its development.

This device comes with champagne-toned aluminum casing, measuring compact 6.5″ Width x 1.7″ Height x4″ Depth. Designed on no frill theory.

..Front panel clear off congestion simply has two small toggle switches; one for power On/Off function another three-way input switch for USB, coaxial/optical 1 and optical two functions.

It also has two little LED signs to alert you to power-On and digital signal reception status.

Now come to specifications; V90 facilitates 03 inputs (01 RCA and 02 Optical) for stereo, a USB type-B computer connector with maximum capacity up to 24 bit/96kHz.

…For output, it has 01 RCA phono connector.

Regarding performance, it gives a relaxed, enjoyable listening experience that never tired you. Voices come crystal clear; Treble is silky smooth and detailed. The Bass is tight and beautiful with clear mid-ranges.

Here you got, exceptionally high more than 117 dB signal to noise ratio. The audio has lowest near elimination 12-picosecond jitter, below .00025% distortion at 1 kHz

The chipset is of Burr-Brown 32 bit DAC class.

Product packaging includes; the device and 12 volt A/C power adaptor. You have to buy separate cable as per use.

In a whole, V90 DAC is an unusual rhythm of various measuring parameters; like bandwidth, distortion, noise, phase and linearity. If we go by full-fledged valuation, none other product would have bettered it at any price range.

If we go by full-fledged valuation, none other product would have improved it at all costs.

Thus, Music Fidelity V90 Digital-to-Analog Convertor eligible as one of your's finest investment. Catch Music Fidelity V90 Digital-to-Analog Convertor here.

Positives

  • Solid mechanical build-quality. Easy control feature and controls. Simple user-friendly, just plug and play. Loaded with Two years parts and labor warranty. Very smooth and realistic audio. Best low-resolution performance.

Downsides

  • Absence of USB power, you always need wired supply. Lack of volume controls.


The Number #01 position always brings, loads of why’s, how’s and a barrage of possible queries.

..That is entirely logical..well with all due consideration; I tried to justify best along concern-parameters.

A Transformative versatile device from Cambridge Audio. This is Powered by Wolfson Microelectronics latest 8742 24 bit DAC technology.

DacMagic 100 custom developed through cutting-edge engineering.Sound quality is the prime focus of their product-design team.

..Elegantly constructed on full metal chassis with wraparound casing, the frontal panel made of aluminum. Available in black and silver colors.

Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic 100 best hi fi dac

It gives real hi-fi performance across a range of audio- platform’s; like MACs, PCs, Blue-ray players, iPOD Doc, DVD, TV and Set-top boxes. I am sure this is way better than your expectations.

Sophistically synced Time Filter 2 technology samples incoming digital audio into 24 bit/384kHz. Thus delivers you an errorless finely detailed sound.

You can enjoy full resolution USB sound; that is better than CD-audio quality.And if you are downloading high-resolution HD music files or any different audiophile resources, your listening experience always stays original.

DacMagic 100 gives plenty of connections for your gears, whether it is a home audio system or computer…and you will rock everywhere.

A perfect partner for your computers, music streaming gadgets, set-top boxes and CD players. Also, it upgrades their real performances.

..That includes two coaxial digital inputs, one optical digital input, and Type B USB jack to your computer. Also has RCA analog phono outputs for connection to your amplifier or stereo receiver. Read complete review here.

Positives

  • Balanced XLR audio output for high-end audio gadgets.Real-time versatile connectivity. Broad range gadget compatibility. Sound quality focussed product-built. Meticulously designed front and back panels. Convenient LED incoming digital frequency indication feature. Superior 113 dB signal-to-noise ratio.Two years product warranty.

Downsides

  • Require additional cable for iPhone. The absence of ‘Auto On/Remote’ feature. Unavailability of Dolby Digital 5.0 / DTS signals to function.


Cat(D. Best USB DAC under $500

Enjoying music on your finest studio monitors from a computer is just breathtaking!

For that, You must require a best external DAC & headphone Amp; Denon gadget seems a best viable option.

DA-300 transforms your computer sourced digital audio tunes to much higher audiophile level. With much sophisticated digital technologies, it can decode both PCM(traditional) and DSD (direct stream digital) audio formats in unison.

This USB DAC has three additional audio inputs(two optical, one coaxial) to connect your other digital audio sources like media players, disc player, gaming console and satellite tuners.

The USB port facilitates asynchronous transfer mode for your gentle uninterrupted listening, also fully compatible with both Mac and PCs.

Now presenting you on quickly summarized insight ahead, stay tuned.

-Audiophile Grade design superbly complimented through state-of-the-art OLED display with touch controls. It allows input selection, audio-file format, sampling frequency and headphone volume level with easy access to multiple modes.

Sleek body casing along with superior finish gives a new dimension to Denon's credibility.

-Sound performance excels here, the separate audio output circuits for line level and headphone outputs deliver finest quality sound to your ears.

It is compatible with a broad range of headphone models, low impedance version also included.

-Versatile configuration is another prime feature; that let you mount DA-300 either horizontally or vertically. A custom bottom plate assists in the vertical placement setting.

The best part is the Internal sensor that detects selected orientation and rotates OLED display data accordingly.

Denon DA-300 is the custom made best DAC-Headphone Amp solution for a range of applications. It covers computer driven music streaming, track playback, optimized listening on headphones and internet radio.

Indeed an all-around super DAC for the keenest Audiophile ears.

Suggested Headphones are Shure(SE846, SE535), Grado, Denon and Sennheiser HD800's.

Let's check the Box: It has DA-300 device, AC power adaptor, Stereo audio cable, Stand attachment for vertical mounting, 04 nos. Adhesive feet for horizontal mounting, User's manual(CD-ROM), Warranty card and Getting Started guide.

Check out Denon DA-300's detailed review here.

Positives

  • Great DAC & Headphone Amp. DAC master clock design. Complete poised performance. DSD compatibility. High-grade audio technology. Wider compatibility. Multiple connections. Choice of placement direction. Portable and durable.

Downsides

  • Bass punch is less impact. Bit lacking in Timing.


D 1050 is the best desirable Desktop USB DAC that adds HD digital audio to your Hi-Fi systems. NAD's audio engineering excellence clearly reflects in its classy performance.

NAD's audio engineering excellence precisely deliver through its signature audio technologies along with highly optimized digital and analog circuits.

Being a wireless device, you don't require to go through the cable connecting procedure. Simply download the driver from NAD Electronics website and synchronize your audio source with it.

D-series DAC's flaunts the same signature vertical stance and overly simplified styling. Placed on their sides but appear best when stands in vertical position.

On front-side, the delicate white LED icons light up to indicate the sample rate of supplied digital signals.

Power and Input functions controlled by touch-sensitive buttons on the top. The power button flashes faint orange glow when the unit is in standby mode.

This platform has numerous input & outputs; It consists of Asynchronous 24/192 USB input, 2 x optical and 2 x coaxial SPDIF inputs, also has balanced XLR and single ended outputs.

The resulting sound is neutral, spacious and full of high-resolution sonic details, soundstage is precise and had remarkable depth.

You can playback any musical genre very well, high resolution 24/192 files and compressed MP3 files played without missing a single beat.

For Headphone amplifier's optimum performance, we recommend using Grado S60e, HiFiMan Re600, He-400 and Audeze LCD-X headphones.

If you are on tight budget, must try NAD -D 3020 integrated DAC/Amp cost $100 less.

Due to the Cutting-edge digital audio applications, Bluetooth streaming, State of the art design, and remote power feed NAD D 1050 proves a truly advanced USB computer DAC.

Read complete D 1050 review here.

Positives

  • A great sounding device for the price. Offbeat design. Highly efficient DAC+ headphone amp combo. Attractive compact design. Space saving footprints. Excellent sound delivery. High power headphone amplifier. Remote power supply feature. Digital volume control. Versatile all in one desktop solution.

Downsides

  • Volume adjustment is pretty hard exercise. Bass sounds little dull. No volume indicator.


An ultimate high-performance audio partner for your outdoor entertainment package.

OPPO brings the double delight of top-end headphone DAC/Amp with mobile power bank together infused in a unique portable device.

Whether, you are a casual listener, audiophile or a perfectionist loves to play his favorite music from a computer and other Hi-Fi systems, the HA-2 device performs flawlessly.

This highly portable gadget is slightly bigger than a pack of cards, which happens to your ideal travel accessory banking on its power storage capability.

If your smartphone ran out of juice in mid-journey, don't panic just hook it up with HA-2's USB power port, and you are done.

You can also use it as a standalone audiophile DAC for high-fidelity headphone listening. These goodies doesn't stop here if you are not fond of headphone listening use 3.5mm line out to your  hi-fi systems and feel the magic.

For better-synchronized experience, pair with OPPO PM-3 planer magnetic headphones.

Take a look at these cutting-edge features and specifications, which makes him 'Best valued portable headphone DAC/Amp's-

  • Numerous award-winner(2015-16) highly recommended DAC-Amp in the segment.
  • ESS Sabre32 Reference ES9018-K2M DAC Chip deliver higher performance at extremely low distortion.
  • Inbuilt rechargeable power bank functions as an external battery pack.
  • Double Bass Boost and Gain switches for excellent headphone compatibility.
  • Superior audio; Up to 384 kHz/32-bit PCM audio, 12 Mhz DSD audio support.
  • No camera connection kit required for top quality iOS playback.
  • 30 minutes quick charging with patented VOCC rapid charger.
  • Multiple devices support; USB mode audio conversion with iPhone/iPod/iPad, smartphones, USB OTG feature for MAC and PC's.

Package includes HA-2 DAC/Amp device and a broad array of accessories.Turbocharger, USB A-USB Micro B data and charging cable, USB A-lightening data cable (for iOs devices), USB micro-B to micro-B data cable (for Android & other smartphones).

Also, has 3.5mm - 3.5mm stereo audio cable, two nos. Silicon rubber band, user guide and warranty documents.

With the elegant design, ultra portability sophisticated performance, headphone optimization, and extended devices support OPPO HA-2 undoubtedly the 'Best USB Headphone DAC-Amp' solution in the market.

Find OPPO HA-2 In-depth review here.

Positives

  • Incredibly crafted sleek design. Multiple award-winner devices. Precisely detailed, transparent gentle sound. Awesome specifications. Inbuilt mobile power bank. VOCC rapid charging. Wider MAC/ PC/iOS/Android support. Great value for money.

Downsides

  • No Carrying case. The design might not for everyone's taste. Slightly bulky.


Best USB DAC under $1000

Chord Electronics does it again brilliantly, this time with Mojo DAC/headphone amp. An ultimate audiophile headphone amplifier developed on legendary Hugo platform.

If you are a music crazy smartphone owner, it makes your ideal choice also compatible  with Mac or PC.

This highly portable credit-card sized unit specially designed for smartphones brings  recording studio quality to your pocket. 

It will play almost any audio file up to 32-bit 768kHz, and Quad DSD 256.

Enjoy Mojo's extraordinary potential to drive wide-spectrum headphones ranging from 4 ohms to 800 ohms.

Product design is another signature aspect besides performance. Sheer black curvy  hardware sculpted out of single aluminum block superbly complement by smart back-lit pearls.

These multi-tasking power and volume control buttons change color providing a real-time indication of sample rate and type of file being played.

Chord Mojo is completely automatic and easy to use. Just connect to your music source, plug in your headphones and experience the magic. No matter it is earbud or studio reference can you got the same high-end studio quality audio.

It has USB, Optical, and Coaxial digital inputs along with two 3.5mm headphone jacks. These headphone sockets can also be used as line outputs, bypass the headphone amp and directly hook up  to your HiFi home audio systems.

When using both headphone connections, there is no noticeable audio degradation in listening, a great asset to share with your partner.

During charging, you may notice device heating but here is nothing to worry about it. On a complete charge of four hours, it gives approx eight to ten hours playback time.

Find Mojo's extensive performance analysis here.

You can transform your smartphone into the extraordinary audio station by using the  prowess of CHORD Mojo an exceptionally best all-around headphone amp money can buy.

Positives

  • Mini audio powerhouse in your palm. Best multipurpose portable DAC/H.amp. Great pair-maker to your smartphone. Fantastic design and control display system. Superb studio quality audio. Highly versatile, durable and easy to use.

Downsides

  • Nothing major to mention except pricing, but entirely worth it.


Sony UDA1/B

Sony UDA-1 USB DAC/ Stereo amp system completely focussed on PC segment where you can play a greater variety of audio files.

It includes high-resolution formats like FLAC, WAV, ALAC, DSD and compressed audio  formats MP3, AAC, ATRAC, and WMA, etc.

​Also, this is compatible with almost any music players such as iTunes, Media Go, Windows Media Player and much more.

The UDA-1 is a compact, highly versatile audio processing platform for digital, vinyl and smartphones.

You can set up an efficient sound hub around your gadgets. As it provides secure connections for PC, Laptop, and smartphones(iOS and Android) or you can separately plugin your audio with optical digital(SD/PDIF), coaxial digital and line in inputs.

Sony also gets you impressed with the UDA-1's elegant built and finishes. A compact and dense mini unit carve out of top-grade aluminum chassis which is unexpectedly heavy to its size. 

You have choices of classic black and silver finish variants.

With 2 x 20 watts analog sound output you might found yourself on the lighter side. Here you have the option to connect a set of speakers driven by integrated 23 watts class AB amplifier.

Experience the magic of recording studio like listening with best possible 24-bit/96kHz sound quality. That is far greater than CDs (16-bit/44.1kHz) mark and let you hear more details in every music track.

The Sony UDA-1/B is an ideal music bot allowing direct music playback from your PC in its purest form which illuminates your senses. Also superbly complimented by the finest build and appealing style that reward high value to your investment.

Positives

  • Outstanding audio performance. Broad spectrum sound format support. DAC with built -in amplifier. Studio-grade clarity and precision. DSEE to restore quality on compressed files. Top-notch build quality. Multiple connection options along with USB A and B. headphone ports.

Downsides

  • Lacking a slight punch. Some lower file types fell harshness on the high end. No USB 3.0 and WiFi features.


A design masterpiece with stunning appearance, promising high-end audio solutions to budget conscious audiophile consumers.

Any Prediction? Give it a try.

Yes, I am talking about Marantz HD-DAC1 the Premium HD-USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier for your PC or MAC.

Marantz exclusively developed this product with unique technologies from its top-grade Premium 11 series. It delivers 192kHz/24bit high-resolution audio and double DSD (2.8MHz and 5.6 MHz) playback.

You got high-intensity headphone experience, as it is capable of driving high-impedance (up to 600 ohms) audiophile cans with full MODE ease.

How this made possible?

All praise for its HDAM-SA2 modules, great current CS4398 DAC, three-level gain  controls, and finest quality fixed and variable RCA outputs.

And more perks lies ahead. Besides driving headphones, you can directly link it to your  HiFi integrated amplifier or active speaker pair or power amps.

Precision craft efficiently integrates with sophisticated audio features; another badge in Marantz's reputed portfolio. Solid metallic construction, retro-style side panels, and glittering front-panel gives you undoubtedly excellent package.

It features a large array of inputs, including one front USB-B port, two optical in, one coaxial in(digital), and one analog input for a portable device. Indeed it is a real crazy stuff!

For quality safeguard along your connected computer, you have extended isolation to  eliminate any option of high-frequency noise generation.

For additional fine-tuning, it has additionals like, jitter remover and dual-clock for extreme accuracy.

Provided stylish porthole center display relays information on input, volume, resolution, etc. For next level upgrade try Marantz PM7005.

Finally, it is wise to say; Marantz HD-DAC1 leave deep marks as an amazing headphone  amplifier with high-end DAC and pre-amp. Highly stylish robust hardware, cutting-edge features, and extraordinary audio performance added new colors to profile.

Positives

  • Great high-resolution audio. HD-DAC mode with ground isolator. Bit perfect transmission. Versatile inputs. USB-B DSD audio capability. High-grade built. Excellent headphone driving capacity. Remote control application.

Downsides

  • Limited (30 minutes) standby mode. Get warmed when on. Bit loud relay while it starts or stops playback.


This HiFi desktop DAC from Teac contains multiple power punches with built-in fully  balanced/parallel unbalanced headphone amplifier.

With dual-monoaural USB DAC platform, UD-503 B offers native playback of latest  advanced 384kHz/32bit PCM and 11.2MHz DSD audio formats.

A single junction of analog and digital connections facilitates sublime advantage to make smooth entry into any system.

​The UD-503-B carries dual monaural structure which is the same audiophile design  concept used in its predecessor UD-501 model.

Now decoding the pattern; Here it has two separate left and right channels having their individual AK4490 DAC chips and dedicated power supplies with isolation circuits.

Also, provided four PCM digital filter and two DSD filter type creates plenty room for modding.

Two asynchronous VERITA AK4490 DAC chips enable native playback of the most advanced DSD and PCM formats. The DAC section superbly exceeds  expectations of its class.

​High-resolution audio gains new heights with the VELVET SOUND architecture, by  providing a finest expressive capability to playback.

Using Teac in your Desktop or HiFi systems produce full spectrum sound with desired warmth and smoothness.

Regarding connections, you find symmetrically placed XLR output, RCA input, and output jacks. Besides these, it has various standard connections such as coaxial, optical, line level output and USB type-B input for your computers.

Built-in preamp circuits facilitate setting up systems with power amps and active speakers. The headphone amplifier supports parallel-unbalanced and active ground operation tasks.

UD-503 B made up on an elegant, retro-styled full metallic body that boosts vibration control and stability. Standard A4-size structure, symmetrical design of dial, buttons and switch controls, and three supportive pinpoint feet offer easy placement and installation.

The Teac UD-503 B system can integrate with any system and play any audio files at your will. It takes your desktop audio experience beyond limits and proves a worthy audiophile option within $1000 segment.

Positives

  • Precise retro design. Wide-range natural, smooth sound. Extended file support. Incredible twin individual channel operations. High capacity headphone amplifier. Smart OELD display. Full-fledged next-generation DACs.

Downsides

  • Bass is slightly smooth. Less transparent and rhythmic in comparison of competitors.

smooth

Final Thoughts

I am overwhelmed to see spending your precious time out here to take a walk of this article.

Also, hope it assisted you in the selection of best USB DAC as per your budget and needs.

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One Response

  1. George Melendez

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