DAC’s are some of the most compact and versatile devices that help enhance your overall audio listening experience. A great DAC/AMP combo will surely simplify your whole setup but will deliver fantastic sounding audio.
Earlier we covered DAC’s that are meant for iPhone’s, headphones and other audio devices, today we’re going to talk about the best DAC amp combos available in the market.
Yes, DAC amp combos are much more efficient than regular DAC’s but you can not use any and every DAC amp combo to power your system. Certain things have to be kept in mind while buying one, such as the specifications of the unit, the frequency range it covers, wattage and more.
Today, our team at Audio-Sandwich is going to take you through the top 6 best DAC amp combos you can buy. We’ll also highlight some of the most important features to look for in a DAC/AMP combo.
- Creative Sound BlasterX G6
- Burson Audio Conductor 3x
- Chord Mojo Black
- iFi Pro iDSD
- AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt
- FiiO E10K USB DAC and Amp
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Top 6 Best DAC Amp Combos
Creative Sound BlasterX G6
One of the most affordable and probably the most effective DAC Amp combo is the Sound BlasterX G6 from the house of Creative Audio. This rather compact powerhouse is an external USB DAC, Amp and soundcard that’s equipped with Dolby 7.1 surround sound and can deliver up to 130dB of sound at full volume.
The G6 uses industry leading sound processing technology and the latest immersion technology to deliver perfect sounding audio regardless of whether you’re gaming or simply watching a movie at home.
This custom designed DAC/Amp features discrete bi-amps that are capable of powering individual channels of your headphone or speakers thus delivering better audio with more details on the highs, mids and lows.
It’s affordable and is compatible with a whole range of devices such as a Play Station, Xbox, PC or Mac and all you’d have to do is simply plug it in via the USB jack and you’re good to go.
Burson Audio Conductor 3x
The Audio Conductor 3x is a flagship DAC amp combo from Burson that has been designed to deliver the best audio quality with natural-sounding harmonics. This device is perfect if you’re looking for something that can power high-end IEMs or headphones, but is quite expensive so not everyone can afford it.
It’s built into a sleek looking aluminum casing that has a heatsink to help with heat dissipation. But it has been known to get rather warm if used for a long period of time. The Audio Conductor 3x delivers around 7.5W per channel and is equipped with two ESS9038 DAC chips that are known for their high levels of performance.
This DAC Amp combo is one of the most expensive and advanced units in the market and thanks to a lower signal-to-noise ratio and microdynamics, your music will never sound better.
There are a range of buttons and control knobs on the front of the device along with a nice LED display which shows you what devices have been connected to the input and output ports of the 3x. It supports Bluetooth 5.0 and there’s even a small remote controller that you can use to either increase or decrease the volume or to change the audio source.
Chord Mojo Black
The Chord Mojo is a plug and play DAC/Amp for all kinds of audio devices that lets you experience crystal clear audio, quite similar to how music will sound in a recording studio. It is a powerful device that is compatible with headphones or large speakers depending on how you want to use it.
This DAC/Amp combo is powered by a high-performance Lithium Polymer battery that lets you get around 8-10 hours of playback from a single 4 hour charge. It’s able to decode any audio format and can support 32kHz up to 768kHz / 32-bit and Quad DSD 256.
The Mojo Black might look a little unconventional but it does pack quite a punch. There are 2 x 3.5mm audio analog ports allowing you to connect 2 headphones to the device at once so two people can listen in simultaneously.
What we really liked about the Mojo Black is that it’s built to be smart, yes it actually remembers the last saved settings so even if you power off or relocate the device, your last known settings will be restored and you don’t have to worry about the configuration every time.
iFi Pro iDSD
Another premium device on this list is the iFi Pro iDSD. This DAC/Amp combo delivers high-resolution audio with the help of the Burr Brown DAC chipset. In addition to that, the Pro iDSD can be connected to a wired device or can be paired with Bluetooth.
One of the most notable features of the iDSD is that unlike the others on this list, this DAC/Amp combo permits WiFi streaming from platforms such as Tidal, Spotify or through Apple’s AirPlay.The device features a balanced headphone output of 4.2W of power that’s more than enough to drive even high-end headphones or speakers.
iFi have implemented multiple digital filters that add flavor to the sound output such as GTO filter, Bit Perfect, Apodizing and Transient Aligned. Basically, this DAC/Amp is the one to get if you’re looking for a truly customizable listening experience.
The DAC/Amp supports a range of input/output modes such asUSB, S/PDIF, Toslink, Digital Coaxial, XLR and even supports micro SD for external storage. It’s not ideal for those on a budget simply because it’s priced at a little under $3,000.
AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt
The AudioQuest Dragonfly has been one of the most portable DACs and headphone amps in the market for a while and it’s highly effective in the process of converting digital audio into analog stereo.
The Dragonfly has been designed specifically for those who are looking to have an amped up experience on the go and will easily fit within your pocket.
It’s one of the best DAC Amp combos under $300 and is powered by a 24-bit ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip with a minimum-phase roll-off filter capable of delivering natural sounding music. The Dragonfly can easily be connected to your headphones or other high-end speaker systems and will easily deliver Hi-Fi audio quality.
Though it may seem small, the Dragonfly USB DAC is equipped with an additional PRC32MX microchip that will minimize the sound-degrading effect of high-frequency interference. This ultimately means that you are paying a budget-friendly price for something that has some serious audio handling capabilities.
FiiO E10K USB DAC and Amp
The Fosi Audio Q4 is a mini stereo gaming DAC and Headphone amp that is easy to set-up with no special software or sound driver that is required. It is one of the best rated DACs available online and is extremely affordable making it a must have in every music lovers room.
This DAC Amp combo is equipped with a durable aluminum metal shell that’s heat-resistant and lightweight so you can position it in any room of your choice. The E10K runs on a DC 5v USB cable allowing you to plug it into any USB device such as a computer or Home Theater.
It supports a wide range of input modes such as Coaxial or RCA Line Out and the best part is there’s a toggle switch on the front of the device allowing you to change the source with the flick of a switch.
Apart from this, the E10K has a large control knob on the front that you can use to modify the master volume. The front of the device houses the 3.5mm headphone jack and a bass gain toggle switch to add a little pump to your playback.
Why should you buy a DAC Amp Combo?
A DAC Amp combo combines the best of both devices to deliver impressive sounding audio at a fraction of the price. There are many reasons why you should consider buying a DAC Amp combo rather than each device separately.
- A single DAC Amp combo is cheaper and much more compact since you have one device instead of two or more.
- The setup is straightforward and you wouldn’t need additional connectors or cables running between a DAC and Amp.
- Manufacturers have designed these units to have the best delivery of power so you wouldn’t have to rely on any additional components or devices.
- DAC Amp combos are ideal to use as a pre-amp for stereo speakers or high-performance headphones.