5 Best DACs under $1000 for Audiophiles (2021 Reviews)

To all music lovers, here’s something special for you all, the DACs. So, are you one of those dedicated music lovers who love to organize their musical playlist from their computer to the apps like Windows Media player and iTunes to the music or stereo system, and looking for a USB DAC for under $1000? 

Are you completely aware of the DACs or a bit or a complete newbie? Not an issue! I’ll still be explaining everything in detail. And, surely it will be fruitful for the beginners as well as the ones at the intermediate level.

So, if you’re entirely a beginner, and you have literally no idea about the DACs and you just heard from anywhere and now you’re interested to buy yourself too. Let me help you by providing you the full knowledge about the DACs as half knowledge is actually harmful.

We’ll be starting right from the beginning, what actually a DAC is, what are its applications, why it is used, and as per your requirement and budget, what you should go with.

Here’s it- DAC Intro

DAC is an abbreviation used for Digital to Analog Converter. So, this is the device that is there to transform the digital audio signals into analog signals.

As a matter of fact, I would like to mention, all the audio signals are represented into waves in the analog pattern while in the digital pattern, the sound signals are represented with the bits despite waves.

In the digital pattern, these bits are actually in the binary form as in the computer language i.e. 0 and 1. So, the entire bit patterns are in 0 or 1. If you remember we used to play a dot game in our childhood where the more the number of dots will be there, the more the drawing will look realistic. You can refer to the digital pattern as something like this only.

And, what happens with the digital signals, when the signal reaches the speaker, before transmitting to the speaker, there is a point where the digital audio pattern converts into the analog audio pattern as the speaker can’t understand the digital pattern and finally the sound reaches your ear.

We all are aware of technology is doing wonders in each and every field, no matter what and how!

So, yes thanks to the technology in the music industry too. Also, there’s a thing that older music devices are still not compatible with today’s latest devices. But for those situations, we have these DACs, the digital to analog converter.

Not only converting the digital signals to the analog ones but also these devices are quite helpful for transferring the music or other content from digital to analog devices. No doubt, there are thousands of DACs in the market and when there are so many options, it surely creates confusion.

So, there’s a myth too that DACs are quite expensive. I agree, yes, DACs are expensive but not to the extent that people can’t afford them. Well! You can even get a good DAC around $100. And, I think $100 is the least amount that you can spend on the DACs. As I always use to say, for anything in this world, all you need is good googling skills and good research.

Indeed, the most important point to consider while buying the DAC is to get the best output but at the same time, it’s even more important to choose the best one that too in the budget that can produce that expected output and can stand by your expected performance rate.

Let’s have a quick look over how does the DAC works? 

You may have gotten an idea of its working by the name Digital to Analog converter. So, let’s make it clear, the DAC converts the signal of Digital audio from the computer and sends them to stereo and speakers, as an analog signal.

The soundcard present in computers can also convert them into analog signals and give output, but for a superior result, you can use a DAC and can give better quality. 

The DACs are available in the market in different price ranges, from hundreds to thousands of dollars. In the 2010 CES Las Vegas High-End audio exhibition, presented with a USB DAC of $37000, it was hand-crafted.

5 Best DACs Under $1000

When it comes to purchasing a good DAC, $1000 is the best amount that you can invest and yes, surely in this budget you can have the best from the lot. If you think that $1000 is a high amount you cannot afford, no issues at all. We even have a quick guide of the best DACs under $100, $200, and $500, you can even refer to that too.

But yes, I can assure you one thing either you want to have a good in the budget you can go for the ones under $100, $200, and $500, or if you can afford the expensive ones, then here’s the quick guide under $1000.

Our team has invested their precious time in making this list and then we come up with these 5 best picks. Here, we’ll get you the DACs for computers as well as headphones so that as per your preference, you can opt to go with any.

Using the DACs can really turn your listening experience to the next level. All these products are not here on a ranking basis as we have brought up the best possible in this price range. Also, the products are with 3-star and 4-star ratings. All the important factors are taken into proper consideration while preparing the list.

We’ve tested many DACs and finally come up with the best 5 DACs under $1000 herein. So, let’s just dive into the list!

  1. NAD D 3045
  2. Chord Mojo
  3. Sony UDA1/B
  4. PS Audio Sprout100
  5. FiiO E17K

1.NAD D 3045

The NAD D 3045 is available on Amazon at a price value of $750 in black color. This is something that is DAC as well as an amplifier. Basically, the DAC is consisting of Class D amplifiers. The Class D amplifiers are way more efficient than Class A and Class B circuits, hence makes the overall DAC quite efficient and effective.

The appealing feature is it develops 60watts per channel and the DAC has multiple channels. With NAD D 3045, you also get 2 pairs of screw terminals. These screw terminals are here in the DAC to make the connection with the acoustics.

On its front panel, the DAC has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Not only this, the DAC also has a preamp output and subwoofer connector along with the 12-volt trigger input.

Pros-

  • Low impedance
  • HDMI Audio return channel
  • Two trigger inputs- Coax and Optical
  • MM Phono and Line input
  • Supports MQA and DSD
  • Also has a two-way Bluetooth

Cons-

  • Though the laptop comes with a touch sensor sometimes it doesn’t work effectively
  • For increasing and decreasing the volume it has the remote that response quite slow

2.Chord Mojo

Chord Mojo DAC is available on Amazon at a price value of $649 in Black color. It comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack and actually, it has wired connectivity. The DAC weighs only 0.4 pounds and we can say, it’s extremely light in weight.

The DAC is from Great Britain. Chord Mojo offers a warranty of 1 year on all its devices it launches, no matter what! Their headquarter is in the United Kingdom, ‘Chord Electronics Limited’.

This is an ultimate DAC that can even work as an amplifier and performs really well with both your iPhones and Android. Not only the smartphones, but the DAC is also compatible with PCs, Mac, and even your headphones.

Chord Mojo has a built-in amplifier that is responsible to deliver crystal clear sound quality. It uses DSD 256. The DAC takes only 4 hours to get fully charged and one full charge gives you the power play of around 10 hours when you’re using it continuously without any breaks.

Pros-

  • Uses the Li-Po technology to get charged in 4 hours and gives more than double performance i.e for around 10 hours
  • It’s fully automatic
  • Remembers the last used setting for further
  • As you increase or decrease the volume, it changes color based on that volume level
  • Its sturdy aluminum casing is quite attractive

Cons-

  • On charging, it gets hot more than expected but that’s absolutely not an issue

3.Sony UDA1/B

Sony UDA1/B is available on Amazon at a price value of $798 in Black color. The DAC is pretty good in looks and most importantly it’s from the well-known brand Sony.

Sony is the brand ruling in the world of gadgets for a very long time and it’s still on the go. The goodwill and the trust the brand has made in so many years is actually commendable. People don’t even think twice when it comes to Sony.

Sony UDA1/B has 20W x 2 Class AB amplifiers. There’s no doubt that Class D is the best amplifier but when it comes to the overall performance of the Sony UDA1/B using this Class AB amplifier, it’s no less.

The DAC is absolutely compatible with almost all the music players including iTunes from Apple, Windows Media player, Media Go, and many more.

Pros-

  • Supports multiple inputs like Coaxial, Optical, Analog stereo input, and USB input
  • Just like several inputs, the DAC features multiple Inputs- Rear acoustic, jack headphone output, and RCA line-out

Cons-

  • The interface is not up to the mark

4.PS Audio Sprout100

PS Audio Sprout100 is available on Amazon at a price value of $699. This DAC is considered completely a premium Hi-Fi DAC with extraordinary looks. Well! The DAC is available in real walnut color and that’s something that attracts the most.

You won’t believe people say this DAC as if it’s something that can be said NIRVANA in the world of the audio industry. This is one of the most selling DACs and is actually the favorite of many.

The audio output is not just crystal clear but also sweet and magical too. You gonna fall in love with the performance, the quality, it actually has that vibe and feel that can make you lost in the melody of love and music.

People even refer to this PS Audio Sprout100 as the best and the sophisticated digital to analog converter that is different from all others, be it about the portability, the durability, the affordability, the efficiency, the effectiveness, this DAC is just perfect.

Pros-

  • The DAC is capable to decode the audio signals up to 384KHz/24-bit or DSD64/128
  • It can even play your vinyl records at its best
  • You can even stream your phone’s playlist connecting the two

Cons-

  • When you switch off the amp, the subwoofer gives you an annoyingly loud sound

5.FiiO E17K

FiiO E17K is available on Amazon in Black color. The exact dimension of the DAC is 0.83 x 1.93 x 3.11 inches. It can offer you an output wattage of 10W and weighs only 77grams.

There’s a chip inside the DAC i.e. PCM102 and it handles all the files up to 24bit/96KHz. Not only this but also, this chip is responsible for enhancing the audio quality using the linear filters available, reduces delay, the silence on changing tracks, and no phase shifts.

FiiO E17K has a low-pass filter that is actually therein for low noise. Also, the DAC has a variety of connections like a front panel 1/8¡± headphone jack, a rear-panel 1/8¡± line output, and a rear-panel coaxial digital output. All these connections are here for transmitting the digital audio to the destination output.

Pros-

  • You can make the connections using its micro USB connections
  • The portable thin and sleek design
  • Highly durable
  • Versatile design
  • Outstanding performance

Cons-

  • Gets hot sometimes

Summing Up

This is all about the best DACs under $100. I really think this is the best amount that you can invest in a DAC. Although none of them is exactly to $1000. I can surely say all these listed DACs won’t affect your pockets at all when you’re ready to invest around $1000. On a low budget also you can have good DACs with mind-blowing features and we have other DAC guides too, you can go through them also.

 

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