AudioEngine, known for making some amazing powered speakers, amps, DACs, and accessories, have announced their latest product, the DAC3 (MSRP $149.99 USD). This tiny USB-powered DAC fits in your pocket and helps take audio fidelity and performance to another level, all while being incredibly portable.
For people traveling about and missing their full amp stack back at home, the DAC3 helps to fill that void. The DAC3 is only 1.9″ long, and is assembled using a metal injected molded aluminum case for looks and durability. It features a sample rate indicator light on top, physical volume buttons, and 32-bit precision. It also comes with USB-C to USB-C and a USB-C to Lightning cable, ensuring it will work with nearly every modern mobile device.
The DAC3 uses an ESS ES9281A PRO DAC, known for clean and unaltered sound quality. It supports headphones with impedances of 12 ohms or higher (with 2-volt output), meaning you can also enjoy most IEMs on this as well. Power output is extremely clean, thanks to the dual stage power regulation. This ensures that USB bus noise isn’t introduced into the audio chain.
I like the design aesthetic of the DAC3. It’s a clean block of aluminum with a very simple in-line source to output design. Even though it’s incredibly compact, the volume rocker is quite large in comparison. This should make it fairly easy to handle and interact with.
Overall this is a very capable compact DAC. It upsamples all audio sources to 192kHz, and supports PCM, MQA, and DSD. For those in the market for something sleek, compact, and capable, I suggest taking a look at their site to learn more!