Best DACs 2024: highly recommended digital-to-analog converters

A DAC simply converts a digital audio signal into an analog one so that you can play the audio through headphones or speakers.

Music is one of the few things that can take you away and make you feel like you’re in a different place and time. The best DACs, or digital-to-analog converter, is one of the few things that can do that with digital music. It’s hard to overstate how much joy and nostalgia music can bring, but the feeling will be lessened if you use the stock circuitry in a basic laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.

To get the most out of music’s ability to communicate, you have to put money into the parts that make it work. If you already have a good pair of headphones, you need an equally good sound chain, and a DAC is an important part of that. A DAC’s only job is to turn the 1s and 0s from your transport, which is usually a smartphone playing music these days, into a signal that your headphones can play.

Even though that sounds like a simple job, DACs do it in different ways, and their prices, shapes, and features are also different. The best DACs can make your listening experience better, and we’ve put together a list of the best ones so you can improve your listening experience quickly.

Best DACs Comparison Table

ModelPrice RangeDAC ChipsetInputsOutputsHeadphone AmpMQA SupportDSD SupportBluetooth
RME ADI-2 DAC FSHighAK4493Coaxial, Optical, USBRCA, XLR, Headphone, I/OYesYesYesNo
Schiit Modi+LowAK4490USBRCA, HeadphoneNoNoNoNo
Cambridge Audio DacMagic 200MMidDual ESS SabreCoaxial, Optical, USBRCA, XLR, HeadphoneYesYesYesYes
iFi xDSD GryphonMid-HighBurr-BrownCoaxial, Optical, USB, BluetoothRCA, HeadphoneYesYesYesYes
Questyle M15HighAK4497EQUSB2.5mm, 4.4mm, 6.35mmYesNoYesNo


Best DACs
Digital Inputs1 x AES/EBU, 1 x coaxial, 1 x optical, 1 x USB
Analog Outputs1 x stereo XLR, 1 x stereo RCA, 1 x headphone
Supported Sample Ratesup to 768kHz PCM and DSD512
Dynamic Range120dB
Headphone Amplifier0.1 Ohm output impedance, 6.3mm and 4.4mm connectors

RME from Germany solidifies their position as the best DAC maker on the planet with their ADI-2 DAC FS. The ADI-2 is a beautiful machine with a great screen that lets you control every aspect of your sound. The audio sound is complex and full, and RME’s SteadyClock system helps to cut down on noise.

We really don’t think you’ll find a better DAC for this price, and certainly not one that’s as fun to use as this one. The Chord Electronics Qutest, which you can see below, may look better and be easier to use, but the ADI-2 has a lot of charm. Currently, it is one of the best DACs that you can buy.

We didn’t like the ADI-2’s menu system, which is very confusing and uses a lot of controls that don’t make sense. Even so, this is a small problem compared to all the good things about the ADI-2. Even though RME isn’t a well-known name in the audio world yet, they’ve made some great goods that come highly recommended.

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  • Impressive dynamic range and low distortion
  • Multiple digital input options for flexible connectivity


  • Expensive compared to some other DACs on the market
  • Some users may find the interface overwhelming or complex

Schiit Modi+

Best DACs
Digital Inputs1 x USB
Analog Outputs1 x stereo RCA
Supported Sample Ratesup to 24-bit/192kHz
Dynamic Range100dB
Headphone AmplifierN/A

The Schiit Modi has been our top pick for the best cheap DAC for a long time, and the company has kept improving it over time. That led to a lot of different versions, so Schiit made things easier by putting all of them into one: the Modi+. It is better than the first models because it can get sound from a phone or computer and the sound quality is better. Also, there are no longer any USB micro ports, which is a good thing.

Everything is now USB-C. Even though it’s made to be a desktop DAC and can’t be carried around like the AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt, that’s a small complaint. Most people will find that this is by far the cheapest way to improve the sound of a system. It’s great for a simple desktop headphone setup, like putting it on top of the awesome Schiit Magni amp.

The Schiit Modi is, however, a very simple gadget. Other desktop DACs, like the iFi Audio ZEN DAC V2, that cost only a little more but have more features, like this one. With the Modi, all you get is a switch to choose which input to use. If you want to have a little more power over your DACs, you might want to spend a little more. Overall, it is one of the best DACs that you can buy.

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  • Affordable price point for a high-quality DAC
  • Small and compact design for easy placement on a desk or shelf
  • Simple plug-and-play setup with USB connectivity


  • Does not support high-resolution audio beyond 24-bit/192kHz
  • No built-in headphone amplifier, which may be a drawback for some users

Cambridge Audio DacMagic 200M

Best DACs
Digital Inputs2 x coaxial, 2 x optical, 1 x USB
Analog Outputs1 x stereo XLR, 1 x stereo RCA
Supported Sample Ratesup to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512
Dynamic Range119dB
Headphone AmplifierN/A

The DacMagic 200M from Cambridge Audio has been on many “Best Of” lists since it came out in 2021. This is because it has a great balance of sound, features, and connection choices. It’s easy to see why people love it so much: With its dual ESS ES9028Q2M DACs, built-in 300mW headphone amp, wired and wireless connections, and high-quality construction, it’s the kind of device that could keep even a seasoned audiophile happy for years.

While the other DACs on this list only use one chip, the DacMagic 200M uses two high-quality ESS chips to reduce noise and make the two channels sound more distinct. With a maximum bitrate of 32-bit/768kHz and support for the PCM, DSD, and MQA formats, the device sends music with perfect high resolution. Still, it is one of the best DACs that you can buy.

It even supports DoP, which stands for “DSD over PCM.” This means that it can accept DSD files over USB even if your USB port doesn’t know how to handle the data directly. When you combine that with two digital inputs (optical or coaxial for each), and a USB audio-in, you get a device that can take audio from almost anywhere for less than $500.

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  • Multiple digital input options for flexible connectivity
  • Sturdy build quality and attractive design


  • Relatively high price point compared to some other DACs on the market
  • Some users may find the interface overwhelming or complex

iFi xDSD Gryphon

Best DACs
Digital Inputs1 x USB, 1 x S/PDIF
Analog Outputs1 x 3.5mm headphone, 1 x 6.3mm headphone
Supported Sample Ratesup to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512
Dynamic Range114dB
Headphone Amplifier4.4mm Pentaconn balanced and 3.5mm outputs

At first glance, the iFi xDSD Gryphon’s price of around $600 might seem high, but it’s hard to find a compact DAC/amp with as many features as this one that doesn’t cost more. The flask-sized Gryphon has a curved metal case with an OLED display strip on top, outputs, and a control panel at one end, and inputs with plastic caps at the other. It looks unique, but what’s inside is truly amazing.

It has a high-quality 32-bit Burr-Brown chipset (the same one used in a flagship DAC/amp that costs several thousand dollars) and can play all kinds of high-end audio, from normal MP3s in HD to proprietary file types like DSD, DXD, or MQA for streaming hi-fi over TIDAL. The outputs of the Gryphon work with both balanced (4.4mm) and single-ended (3.5mm) headphones and earphones.

This hybrid DAC is ready to give you a great listening experience no matter how you want to listen. Even one of our associate managing editors uses a Gryphon as their go-to component pictured above with the equally small and immersive Sennheiser IE 600 and an ASUS ROG Phone, a nice streaming suite for a personal audio fan. For now, it is one of the best DACs that you can buy.

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  • Supports a wide range of digital audio formats, including MQA.
  • Portable design with up to 10 hours of battery life for on-the-go listening.


  • Some users have reported occasional Bluetooth connectivity issues.
  • May not be as budget-friendly as other portable DACs on the market.

Questyle M15

Best DACs
PCM DecodingUp to 32bit/384kHz
DSD DecodingUp to DSD256
Outputs2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm single-ended headphone outputs, line output
Storage64GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD card up to 2TB
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours of continuous playback
Dimensions130mm x 75mm x 16mm

The Questyle M15 is not the only USB DAC on our list everything on our list has USB connectivity but its see-through glass side panel makes it the most unique pocket DAC on our list. But this is not a case where form is more important than function, even though the machined metal case is beautiful. On the circuit board, two different colored LEDs show the gain level and the current bitrate.

And the sound quality of the M15 is just as good as its looks. The M15 costs $249 and doesn’t usually go on sale for much less than that. However, its power, portability, and high-quality sound make it a favorite among audiophiles and a good buy in general. The M15 is flexible enough to work with IEMs that aren’t too demanding or headphones that aren’t too hard to power. Thus, it is one of the best DACs that you can buy.

The M15 is small but powerful. It has the signature CMA (Current Mode Amplifier) SiP modules of the boutique amp creator. The single-ended output gives 1.895 volts, and the 4.4mm balanced connection gives 2.624 volts. You’ll probably use it with IEMs when you’re on the go because they’re easy to carry. However, there’s a physical gain switch on the side that gives you the extra power you need for more demanding over-ear headphones.

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  • Sleek and stylish design with a slim profile and lightweight construction.
  • Supports a wide range of audio formats, including DSD and high-resolution PCM.


  • The user interface may take some getting used to for new users.


What is a DAC?

A DAC is a piece of equipment that changes digital signals into analog signals. It is used to change digital audio signals into analog audio signals that can be played back through speakers or headphones.

Why do I need a DAC?

A DAC is useful if you have a digital source that sends out digital audio signals, like a computer or smartphone. A DAC will turn these digital signals into analog signals that speakers or headphones can play back. Your songs can also sound better if you have a good DAC.

How do I connect a DAC to my system?

How you add a DAC to your system will depend on what kind of DAC you have and what kind of system you have. In general, you will need to connect the DAC’s output to an amplifier or preamp, which will then be linked to your speakers or headphones. For detailed instructions, look in the manuals for your DAC and amplifier/preamp.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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