Best Portable DAC: Top-End External DAC for High-Quality Music

Best portable DAC can enhance your music experience by producing quality sound. They are mainly used to make a high-quality sound for the music you play on your smartphone and through your headphones. The best portable DAC usually comes with headphone amplifiers that produce vibrant, crisper sound with high-quality bass. Thus, we can say that the best portable DAC make that quality sound which most musicians like to hear. While your mobiles, laptop and tablets all keep their own built-in DAC. But having a distinct and dedicated portable DAC amp increases the audio quality radically. In addition to this, some best portable DAC of this year even lands with contemporary amenities such as Bluetooth. This Bluetooth connectivity allows the portable DAC to connect wirelessly with your headset.

best DAC
Image credit: ifi
Are you in search of an external DAC? We’ve placed the most prevalent versions of the best Portable DAC that you can go for. Though we have got the latest news that THX brand known for cinema has just released a best portable DAC. The company has claimed this portable DAC will land with high-quality headphone amplifiers to enhance headphone output. The THX onyx is the newly released DAC having a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It enables you to connect your headphones with your PC, android phones or Mac.

Best Portable DAC for Finest Audio Quality

We have made up a list of the best portable DAC that you can use to improve your handset’s sound. Though your handsets usually offer built-in DAC for quality sound. But with external DAC, you can enjoy your favourite music with radically high-end audio quality. Further down is the list of our best portable DAC that you can buy for the quality sound of your devices. Have a look!

iFi xDSD: Best Portable DAC

A best portable DAC contender to Mojo’s throne

Price299$ at Amazon
ConnectivityUSB, USB-Type-A
View on Amazon
Reasons to Purchase
  • Silky, unique design
  • Analogue volume regulator
Reasons to Evade
  • More complex than the Chord Mojo
  • Controls are a bit hard

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It’s a tough competition between Chord Mojo and xDSD in terms of sound quality. But it is a fact for sure that the iFi xDSD is the best portable DAC of this year. The iFi xDSD is striking, with a ridged metal covering and glossy design giving a vigorously premium appearance. Out of the packet, you’ll also obtain a velvet bag and even a few strips of Velcro. This Velcoro mainly ties the external DAC with your smartphone’s rear if you’re hooking on that. However, Bluetooth connection is enormously helpful while using an aptX firmness format for wirelessly streaming without influencing the audio quality. The USB-Type-A is also pleasanter than micro USB for connecting external DAC with either Apple or Android devices. While the iFi xCAN presents many similar features and dedicated headphone amplifiers without a micro USB port.

portable DAC
Credit: ifi

Using the external DAC offers a sense of vigilant control, assisted by an analogue volume move and many other settings. These settings and controllers allow you to adjust your music, with distinct settings for adjusted headphone output. Indeed, there are other options to boost up the bass of your music quietly. You can also set upon the ‘3D+ Matrix’ for a live show feeling. Moreover, you can broaden the sound stage for a sense of balance and existence beyond regular stereo. However, some will appreciate the level of rheostat and trialling of this external DAC. At the same time, others might favour a ‘one setting’ portable DAC amp that doesn’t need as much hindrance. Conclusively, iFi xDSD is one of the best portable DAC you can opt for your devices.

Chord Mojo: A High-Quality External DAC

The most extensively famous DAC for a reason

Chord MojoSpecs
price722$ at
ConnectivityMicro USB
View on Amazon
Reasons to Purchase
  • Dominant headphone amplifiers
  • Easy volume wheels
Reasons to Evade
  • Charging required before use
  • Giant and awkward

The Mojo is one of the superior DACs we’ve verified. Consequently, its battery requires charging before you can connect it with your iPhone or Android devices. Of course, you have to charge it before use, but it can last for 10 hours of continuous listening to music. Appreciatively the Mojo sets that control to good use, providing a much plumper sound than the stock Apple headphone jack. Without the Mojo, the shrill and bass frequencies tend to take over. But, offering the external DAC into the blend and the mids are much more existing and bursting.

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Best DAC for music
Source: Chord

Though the device’s magnitude is a bit high, that means it’s a bit awkward and not precisely an unremarkable addition. Well, the volume controls are a bit simple to handle with the micro USB cable. However, it perhaps won’t be your idyllic setup. Plus, that may mean pushing the Mojo behind when you’re moving out of the city. But you may find it user friendly while using it at the workplace. Other specs comprise another headphone output and a decent lighting spec whereby the volume keys alter the colour depending upon the quality of the tune received.

Audiolab M-DAC Nano: Small but Best Portable DAC

Small external DAC with an influential punch

Audio lab M-DACSpecs
ConnectivityBluetooth player, headphones
View on Amazon
Reasons to Purchase
  • Easy to handle
  • Enhances wireless abilities to the wired headphones output
Reasons to Evade
  • 6 hours of battery life
  • Not as multipurpose as some choices

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Don’t be faulty by the M-DAC Nano’s minuscule build. It is a significant, pocketable chunk of audio quality. Being the best portable DAC with headphone amplifiers, it’ll increase the audio quality of any device that conveys sonic through Bluetooth. It’s almost as easy as this type of gadget can be. First, you need to link the M-DAC Nano to a handset or Bluetooth player. Then, join a pair of headphones into the Audiolab device and enjoy the beats.

Best portable DAC
Credit Image: Audio lab

From now, your headphones possess “wireless” connectivity to your headset, with devoted volume control on the M-DAC Nano. The “F” key on the device that allows 32bit / 384kHz upscaling adds clarity and deepness to the headphone output. Moreover, you’ll acquire 8 hours of playback with everyday use and a 6 hours battery life with up-selection mode too. Though, the headphone jack for headphone connection and portable DAC amp work well for improving the sound. But, not to the average. The M-DAC Nano is good upgrading for on-the-spirit music in your life at a meagre $169 / AU340 price points. Generally, it is one of the best portable DAC for music and affordable too.

iFi Hip-DAC: High-Quality Audio DAC

The fire hip-DAC knockouts the spot

iFi-Hip DACSpecs
ConnectivityMicro USB, 3.5 mm headphones jack, no Bluetooth
View on Amazon
Reasons to Purchase
  • Prodigious design
  • Support for heaps of Hi-Resolution Audio codecs
  • Well-adjusted headphone output along with 3.5mm jack
Reasons to Evade
  • Lack wireless connection

The fire hip-DAC is a prodigious choice if you’re in search of the best portable DAC. It seems as good as it will create your music with quality sound. With the excellent connectivity choices and maintained codecs, it’ll make the best headphone output. Moreover, it enhances the audio quality on account of ‘bit faultless’ digital to analogue change and a natty bass-enhancing button.

portable external DAC
Picture credit: iFi

Coming at almost $149 / AU$249/ £149 price points, the iFi hip-DAC isn’t too expensive for the features it provides. It looks fantastic, as well. Its lavish petroleum-blue and copper texture, together with its thermos-like build, are bizarrely sufficient to appeal. Thus, we can say it is an external DAC you genuinely want to boaster. However, it’s trivial enough to get into the pockets with comfort. Though, it’s a disgrace that it doesn’t offer Bluetooth support. Thus, iPhone users need to purchase an extra cable to use it. But concluding, the iFi hip-DAC is a bizarre piece of audio gear.

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RHA Dacamp L1: Beefy and Portable DAC Amp

A large, hefty and potable DAC Amp with systematic controls

RHA dacamp DACspecs
ConnectivityMicro USB
View on Amazon
Reasons to Purchase
  • iOS upkeep through micro USB
  • Battery life of 10-hour
Reasons to Evade
  • Physical controls are dubious
  • Imperfect types of responses
Best portable external DAC
Credit image: RHA

It’s a near-miss among the Chord Mojo and the RHA Dacamp L1. Whereas the Mojo provides a more solid form factor, the Dacamp gratifies iOS consumers with a devoted USB input. It states that the Dacamp is a little lengthier than the Chord Mojo. Though, it is a reasonably bit weightier to carry around anywhere. We sincerely like Dacamp as it makes audio quality very smooth even when playing the melody from few less-than-perfect sources. The tuning knobs on the lateral side permit you to do modest, delicate yanks to the sound. The knobs may not provide the most emotional changes, for example, not more than an EQ software. However, we encourage their presence even so. Conclusively, RHA’s Dacamp L1 is one of the restored and best portable DAC. Due to its powerful specs, it is highly recommended.

General FAQs

Q: Can you recommend us the best portable DAC for music?
A: Yes, iFi xDSD is our best pick of DAC recommended for you.
Q: Is there any tiny DAC out there that can slip into pockets easily?
A: Audio M DAC nano is the tiny DAC that can easily slip into your pockets.
Q: Which is the affordable DAC out there?
A: iFi- hip DAC is the most affordable DAC comes at just 149$.

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