For those of you new to this, here's a pretty good DAC 101 article. In layman's terms, a DAC simply converts digitally stored information (stream of 1s and 0s) from a smartphone, laptop computer into an analog sound that we can hear.
Many devices include built-in DACs. However, an outboard/ external DAC usually offers better sound quality by minimizing jitter problems, background hiss and unwanted noise.
Now, here's a great entry-level desktop USB DAC (budget audiophiles favorite) that's often cited as the best DACS under RM350.
Ideal for pairing with headphones or power amplifiers, the compact Topping D10 DAC is sure to significantly improve the sound quality of your audio system. It features the well-regarded ESS ES9018K2M DAC chip, an XMOS XU208 USB interface, and a Thesycon custom driver. It can play PCM files up to 32 bit/384 kHz, along with DSD64 to DSD256, and features a front display that shows the quality of the file type playing. Because the D10 synchronously powers on and off with your PC, no power button is needed. Finally, there’s good news for those who enjoy tweaking their gear: This DAC has a replaceable opamp socket, which allows you to swap in different opamps to change the sound signature.
- High quality USB interface that provides audiophile sound quality
- Connects to active speakers to provide DSD and higher-specification PCM compatibility
- Easily integrates into existing systems with optical and COAX digital outputs
- Features a replaceable OP amp socket for DIY customization
- Visual indication of the audio format and sampling rate of the audio
- Utilizes XMOS XU208 and Thesycon driver for compatibility with high resolution audio, especially DSD native
- Auto on/off synchronizes with your PCs power
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