Have you just started a music collection and looking for the best DAC?
It is necessary to use the digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) to get the advanced audio output because they have the qualities to provide excellent performance. No need to get an expensive DAC to get all these requirements.
Here is the list of DACs reviews under 500$.
Table of Contents
- The Best DACs under 500$
- 1. Monolith 124459 Desktop – Built-in Headphone Amplifier
- 2. Musical Fidelity: V90-DAC – Best Sellers Rank
- 3. FiiO K5 Pro AK4493EQ – High-Resolution Audio Player
- 4. FX-Audio DAC-X6 – Mini HiFi Digital Audio Decoder
- 5. Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus – Best for Hi-Fi Systems
- 6. Meridian Director USB DAC
- 7. SMSL Sanskrit 6th Analog Audio Decoder
- 8. Sony PHA1A Portable – High-Res DAC
- 9. iFi Nano iDSD – USB DAC
- 10. Soundavo HP-DAC1
- Complete Buyer’s Guide (What to Consider?)
The Best DACs under 500$
Here are our 5 Best DACs under 500$ with complete pros and cons and features details. These are selected based on features and reviews.
|Built-in Headphone Amplifier||Built-in Headphone Amplifier
||Monolith 124459 Desktop||
|Best Sellers Rank||Best Sellers Rank
|High-Resolution Audio Player||High-Resolution Audio Player
||FiiO K5 Pro AK4493EQ||
|Mini HiFi Digital Audio Decoder||Mini HiFi Digital Audio Decoder
|Best for Hi-Fi Systems||Best for Hi-Fi Systems
||Cambridge Audio Azur||
1. Monolith 124459 Desktop – Built-in Headphone Amplifier
The Monolith THX desktop headphone DAC and amplifier are popular among all models for producing cutting edge technology. The cutting edge technology provides the best in the playback device, headphones, and music library. The Monolith 124459 represents the player with the class Integrated Amp that can improve the audio experience dramatically.
The feature of Dual AKM 4493 DACs and True balanced operation and offers a connected configuration to maximise output power for all channels. Hence, it provides the DAC with the ability to operate in mono mode, thereby improving its efficiency.
- Flagship 32-bit stereo premium
- Dual AKM 4493
- PCM inputs up to 768 kHz
- Stream digital input of 2. 8/5. 6/11. 2 MHz
- Playable Frequency Response: 1Hz ~ 40kHz ±0.5dB (96kHz input)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted): > 120dB
- Dynamic Range: > 120dB
- Dimensions are 14.8 x 11.5 x 3.2 inches
- Item weight is 5.1 ounces
2. Musical Fidelity: V90-DAC – Best Sellers Rank
V90-DAC Digital To Analog Converter is a new generation audio system that offers the best audio or music experience. Get this high-end DAC; this is the perfect choice for professionals due to its balance of measurements. But before that, make a speaker louder to enjoy every beat.
It is ideal for producing top-notch technical performance, uses state-of-the-art design components and techniques. These all features make it best in a reasonable price range available for music lovers.
The company offers signal handling and data conversion that helps in easy setup. While better DACs are available, they can cost as much as thirty times as much, but V90-DAC is affordable.
- Dimensions are 6.7 x 4 x 1.9 inches
- Item weight is 2.16 pounds
- 192k upscaling
- 32BIT DAC
- Inputs: Async USB, Coaxial
- 12V DC
3. FiiO K5 Pro AK4493EQ – High-Resolution Audio Player
FiiO K5 Pro AK4493EQ decoding Deskstop DAC and Amplifier is available in the market at an affordable price and appealing black colour. The company represents a music system that shows effective and ultimate decoding performance due to its AK4493 DAC chips.
This music player offers the latest technology, which supports up to 768kHz/32bit and original DSD. The system provides ADC volume control to reduce channel volume imbalances. Adjust the volume smoothly to a specific and more exceptional degree as per the listening needs.
- Op-amps OPA1642
- Flagship TI TPA6120
- Coaxial/Optical/RCA line-in
- +6.34mm (1/4 in.) headphone outputs/RCA line-out
- XMOS XUF208 USB receiver chip
- Audio up to 768 kHz/32
- The output of up to 20Vpp at 300ohm. And 1.5W under a 32ohm load
- DC 15V power supply
- 48 kHz and below: Blue light flashing
- DSD: Greenlight flashing
- 48 kHz and above: Yellow light flashing
- Gain (Low 0db/Medium+6db/High+10db)
- Dimensions are 4.7 x 2 x 5.1 inches
4. FX-Audio DAC-X6 – Mini HiFi Digital Audio Decoder
DAC-X6 Mini HiFi 2.0 Digital Audio Decoder made a great impression among the music library with the introduction of Volume control, variety of input and output modes, mini amplifier chip, efficient protection, Quality Assurance, and long life.
The systems provide the perfect volume control, Unique high and low sound adjustment. The volume can be customised according to choices, Soft sound, and optimise the program.
The system uses NE5532P and OPA2134, two special op-amps for audio.
- Standard Input: PC USB / coaxial, fiber optic
- Standard output: 6.35mm headphone output baseline, standard RCA connectors
- Line level output: RMS 1.8V
- Two years of quality assurance
- The audio decoder uses OPA2134 and NE5532P
- SNR: 94dB
- Adapter Voltage: 100-240ACV
- Frequency response: 20hz-20khz
- adapter output voltage: Dc12V 1A above
- Size: 5.7 x 3.9 x1.4 in
5. Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus – Best for Hi-Fi Systems
The DacMagic Plus comes with unique features in the market to provide an excellent audio experience from the music of all formats. It has stunning audio performance and wireless device connectivity. Not only this, but it also enhances the audio fidelity by using a direct digital audio signal from the computer.
As well as playing and controlling music that is played from smartphones or computers, streaming services like Last FM and Spotify can easily share hi-fi in astounding quality.
- Upsampling To 24-Bit/384khz
- Dual Wolfson Wm8740 24-Bit
- Frequency Response: 20hz To 20khz (±0.1db)*
- Output Impedance: <50 Ohms
- Max. Output Level (Unbalanced): 2.1v RMS
- Max. Output Level (Balanced): 4.2v Rms (2.1v Per Phase)
- Max Power Consumption: 12w
- Dimensions: 52 X 215 X 191mm; (2.0 X 8.6 X 7.6”) (Hxwxd)
- Weight: 1.2kg/2.6lbs
- Frequency Response: 10hz – 100khz
- Recommend Headphone Impedance: 32 Ohm To 600 Ohm
6. Meridian Director USB DAC
Director makes digital music sound great and lets them enjoy Meridian. A DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) by Director is a high-performance converter that performs the conversion of digital signals into analogue signals.
Directly compatible with Meridian’s analogue hi-fi systems, Director brings the clarity, depth, and power of digital audio to analogue systems. With Director, any network player with audio output will be able to enhance its sound quality and performance. Reference 800 Series components were developed to enhance the sound of music. They achieve significant audio quality outperformance than DACs found in computers and network players.
With a sleek, ergonomic design and a good sense of class, this product is convenient and sturdy. It may fit inside your work suitcase, but wearing it in your pants pockets would not make you feel heavier. Its ability to amplify sound and resolve noise seems basic on the outside, but cannot be overlooked in those areas.
Based on the product’s highly effective upsampling and apodizing technology, it can adapt to whatever audio sources are used, regardless of their distortions and irregularities. The product’s ability to alter sound is another reason why it has gained such massive market traction. The Meridian Director may therefore be able to help boost the quality of audio inputs that have poor performance.
7. SMSL Sanskrit 6th Analog Audio Decoder
SK6 is a miniature decoder with multifunctionality. It utilizes advanced technologies to manufacture high-level hi-fi components and incorporates SD-1955+ mini DAC. Exquisite workmanship, an elegant design, simple operation, and incomparable sound quality will provide a feeling of awe, delight, and wonder. The company offers customers reasonable prices, multiple transportation options, a customer-centred after-sales service team that is professional and loyal.
Multiple input connections
There are a good number of features on this DAC that make investing in it worthwhile. 192 kHz sampling rate is the highest found on the device. Because of this, it is a suitable choice for audio conversions that are usually required to use a large amount of bandwidth.
Its ability to connect multiple input devices at once is another reason users may flock to this device. This will allow them to perform and achieve more.
Analogue to digital converter designed specifically for high-quality audio conversion. The fact that it would be suitable for low-scale audio conversion does not mean it cannot also be used for large scale conversions.
A larger external speaker requires more inputs to optimize the sound conversion. This means the company must find an audio converter that can meet its output specifications.
SMSL Sanskrit 6th analogue decoder converts signals from computers, Smartphone’s, televisions, satellite dishes, and other devices via USB, optical, and coaxial cables. As well as synchronous transmission, there is 88.2kHz asynchronous support available.
With its high level of functionality and performance characteristics, the SMSL Sanskrit 6th analogue decoder has still managed to minimize the device’s power consumption. Typical power consumption is estimated at about 3.1 W, which still accompanies the full scope of its activities.
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 3.86 x 1.38 inches
- Weight: 1.76 Pounds
- Input frequency: 2.0Vrms.
- SNR: 115db.
- Machine power: <6W.
- 100% Brand new.
- Dynamic range: 110db.
- Distortion: <1KHZ%0.001.
- Normal output: 1.5VPP.
- Sampling rate:32kHz~192kHz.
- PC-USB INPUT: USB2.0/24Bit/96KHz.
- The standard input interface has PC-USB/Optical/Coaxial.
8. Sony PHA1A Portable – High-Res DAC
Enjoy portable Hi-Res audio performance on the go by connecting to a computer or portable digital music device using USB. It supports both 192kHz/24-bit and 96kHz/24-bit audio file formats. It’s equipped with a Hi-Res DAC and amplifier circuitry, as well as a lithium-ion battery, to listen to music without having to recharge. While aluminium bumpers protect the volume knob from external impacts, a compact aluminium enclosure shields the internal circuitry from outside interference.
Using the USB input to connect digitally and play back hi-res music, the internal battery will provide approximately 6 hours of playback. Its advanced audio decoding technology can decode a wide variety of Hi-Res PCM audio formats up to 192kHz/24bit, which provides a powerful high-resolution audio experience through the headphones.
Multiple Connection Options
The product is compatible with many different digital devices. Besides offering a USB type A connection, the PHA-1A includes a second micro USB connector for digital interconnection to compatible iOs and other devices. The micro USB connector on the device also supports USB charging using a USB adapter, which is compatible with virtually any digital device.
There are two USB ports on the PHA-1A; one is a standard type-A USB connection for interfacing with iOs and other devices, while the other is a micro USB connection for syncing with compatible Walkman and Xperia devices. Using a USB AC adaptor (Sold Separately) charges the device using a third micro USB port. Separately sold (port).
Flexible Headphone Support
This amplifier features a side-mounted gain switch that allows you to adjust the overall output level based on headphone impedance ranging from 8 to 600 Ohm. For the best listening experience, select the Low or High setting.
High-quality Amplification Circuits
The Wolfson WM8740 DAC samples PCM audio down to 192 kHz/24 bits; the LME49860 operation amp features low noise, low distortion, and high slew rates with outstanding signal and performance. With a high-bandwidth headphone amp, such as the TPA6120, the rich details of music can be heard with an outstanding dynamic range of more than 120 dB.
A digital cable for Walkman and a silicone cable for Xperia are included with the PHA-1A, plus one USB cable for Mac and PC, two mounting bands, and one protective sheet. iPhone/iPod/iPad users will need their own cables).
Digital signals can be converted to analogue sound using an internal USB 2.0 clock. When analogue waveforms are derived from digital signals, this clock signal generator reduces timing inaccuracies. Noise and distortion are minimal, resulting in superior audio quality.
- Dimensions: 3.58 x 2.55 x 7.08 inches
- Weight: 14.7 ounces
- 6 hours battery life
- Headphone impedance: from 8 to 600 Ohm
- PCM audio: up to 192 kHz/24 bit
- Frequency: up to 192 kHz/24 bits
9. iFi Nano iDSD – USB DAC
Nano Black Label is a lightweight, portable DAC and amplifier with award-winning specifications. Featuring a versatile design, the DAC can be used with headphone jacks and devices such as smartphones, digital audio players (DAPs), and computers. Plug the USB cable into the audio interface and stream favourite music from services such as iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.
It packs a big sound into a small package. With its versatility, it is perfect for any lifestyle. The MP3 player is much more than a basic device. Listen at home or at work, for pleasure or work, or get swept up in the music anytime. The USB audio over USB feature makes it compatible with any iPhone or Android with a USB port. Listen to music in amazing detail and get the best performance from the headphones. The iFi audio brand is nothing short of extraordinary.
It delivers up to 285 milliwatts, which is six times the power of an iPhone. A balance wiring option that is perfect for both single-ended and balanced headphones is provided by advanced engineering
With native digital to analogue conversion, it allows Audio Player or tablet using the USB A male digital input (Apple Lightning Camera Connection Listen to any audio file in original quality directly with this player, including DSD 256, DXD 384, and PCM 384 kHz.
A USB A male input allows direct connection to personal digital assistants, smartphones, or tablets (using the Apple Lightning Camera Connection Kit, Android On The Go, or OTG cables sold separately). Use the 3.5mm output jack to connect the headphones. Simply connect the included USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 cables to the PC or Mac to connect active speakers or amplifiers.
A stylish black matte finish finishes off the small gadget. Aluminium’s lightweight quality and durability make it perfect for reducing electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). Streaming from Spotify, Tidal, or Amazon Music can provide ten hours of non-stop music enjoyment, thanks to the rechargeable battery.
iPurifier technology can rebalance the USB signal to reduce jitter and packet errors, and iEMatch technology can drive headphones with high sensitivity. The Direct-Drive Amp is capable of driving high impedance headphones up to approximately 600 ohms because of S-Balanced technology.
- Dimensions: 96(l) x 64(w) x 25.5(h)mm
- Weight: 139g (0.31 Ibs)
- Clock: Low-jitter crystal clockAudio
- DXD: Fixed Bit-Perfect Processing
- MQA: Fixed MQA Filter
- Output Voltage(Line): 2.15V (+/-0.05V)
- Output Impedance: < 240Ω
- Dynamic Range(Line): > 109dB(A)
- THD & N(0dBFS Line): < 0.004%
- Channel Separation: > 99dB (@ 1kHz)
- Output (rear): 3.5mm line out
- Digital Filter: 2 positions, 2 filters
- DAC: DSD, DXD, PCM DAC
- Jitter(correlated): Below test set limit
- Amplifier: Dual Mono 2 x 285mW Direct Drive, coupling capacitor free circuit for highest fidelity
- Volume Control: 3.5mm TRRS with Balanced compatible wiring
- Dynamic Range(including DAC): > 109dB(A) @ 3v (Direct); > 107dB(A) @ 0.5V (iEMatch)
- THD &N (@ 125mW/30R): < 0.005%
- Output (<10% THD): > 3.5V @ 600Ω Load (Direct) (20mW/600Ω); > 2.9V @ 30Ω Load (Direct)
- 0 Type A “OTG” Socket (with built-in iPurifier technology), rear input (rear)
- Headphone audio 3.5mm outputs, Direct and iFi iEMatch, and both balanced and single-ended connections are supported (front)
- Formats: DSD 256/128/64/12.4/11.2/6.2/5.6/3.1/2.8; DXD 384/352.8kHz; PCM 384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1kHz; MQA 88.2/96/176.4/192kHz filters
- Listen (maximum phase) with minimal phase filtering for PCM (measure).
- Listen (extended bandwidth transient optimised): Measure (narrowband, low output band noise optimized)
10. Soundavo HP-DAC1
Soundavo HP-DAC1 provides a high-performance USB DAC / Headphone Preamp for high-quality audio output. Better separation of sound from the PC/laptop computer, less muffling, and more clear, detailed sound. Additionally, the playback of MP3 files is enhanced while keeping transparency and soundstage. It will enhance the computer’s sound quality while streaming music clearly with crisp, detailed audio.
Multiple Input Sources Selection
Using the conveniently located push buttons on the front to select input sources like USB, optical Toslink S/PDIF, and USB. An external power amp or powered speakers can be connected via single-ended RCA outputs.
High-Resolution Sound Performance
It enhances the quality of sound as well as providing clarity and separation. Less muffling occurs, with more detailed audio. Furthermore, it enhances the transparency and soundstage of music played back with MP3 files as well.
Easy Plug & Play Operation
It is easy to install on both Mac OS & Windows 10 computers, as well as HDTVs, game consoles and other audio sources. The iPhone/iPad device does not require any additional driver download (supports iOS 12 or lower software version).
Among popular formats supported by S/PDIF are AC3/DTS multichannel digital surrounds. Built-in audio amplifier for high-performance headphones (impedance 32 – 600 Ohm) supports richer sounds and crystal-clear highs.
- Frequency response: 20hz ~ 20khz (+/-0.5 db)
- Sn ratio: -95db (a-wtd) / line output
- Max line output level : 4.2 vrms (thd <1%)
- Line output impedance: 100 ohms
- Total harmonic distortion: line input <0.01% / digital input <0.05%
- Headphone output level: 0.1% thd 1khz 32mw (32 ohm)
- Power supply ac adaptor: dc 15v / 0.4a / 6w
- Headphone impedance: 32 – 600 ohm
- Dimensions: 0.24 x 0.22 x 0.05 inches
- Weight: 1.98 pounds
Have you made up your mind after this review list or not? Are you still confused about getting the correct item, then look at our recommendations to surely give you a clear idea to buy the best DAC.
Monolith 124459 Desktop Headphone Amplifier and DAC for a Maximum Budget
FX-Audio DAC-X6 Mini HiFi 2.0 Digital Audio Decoder DAC Input USB for Low Budget
Now make up your choice and enjoy the best sounding experience these days.
Complete Buyer’s Guide (What to Consider?)
In my opinion, buying a DAC is a little bit tricky because we don’t know much about it. We don’t even know about the aspect that they should consider. So, to resolve all these issues, we decided to provide you with a complete buyer guide. This Buying guide will give a clear picture of what should buy or what shouldn’t?
The following are some key factors that should consider while buying the DAC.
Power Output Usage
The first and foremost thing that needs to look at is power output usage, as all users don’t want to run substantial electricity bills. So try to get those models which use less electric power. The music systems that we have mentioned above uses optimise energy than other models.
Sound Output Abilities
No doubt, we all want to bet sound output while we want to buy a DAC, but all audio players have their own and different sound output tendencies. According to the requirements, you have to look at the rational output abilities; either you want to use it for small places or large like a club.
Size and Portability
Many models come with different structure patterns in the market. You can get anything you want, from a USB flash drive looking DAC to big project sized models. But always keep in mind if you’re a traveller, you have to choose a portable product.
Some models may allow connecting via one connectivity option, or some may provide three or four routes. If you want to use it with multiple music player formats, you should go for those models that provide this. These points should notice while buying a sound system.