On this page you’ll find the DAC recommendations of this moment. This is an ever evolving list and the units are ranked from cheap to expensive.
Topping E30 II DAC [Added 18/10/2022]
Topping has done an incredible job yet again and we are faced with a pair of products that perform well above their price tags. The sonic performance and technical capabilities of the products are truly impressive. From 8 ohms to 600 ohms, I got excellent results with all the headphones and headphones I tried.
The build quality of the device is also very good and feels solid, as we are used to from Topping. The optical and coaxial inputs and the RCA output support are also nice little details.
If you need a DAC and an amplifier, I definitely recommend that you give the Topping II and Topping L30 II a chance. Moreover, we thought it is only fair to award the E30 and L30 II stack with the HFN recommended award.
Xduoo X10tii – (Digital Transport)
The Xduoo X10TII is a portable source that delivers the best possible digital signal to the external DAC of your choice. It’s a niche product for professionals and for audiophiles who want the very best digital signal/sound. If you have a Mojo or any other portable DAC and you’re not afraid of stacking up your units on the go like in the good old days, then I fully recommend this unit as it will make your portable setup even better. If you have a good DAC desktop system, the X10T can also act as a very good source for it, with a very clean sound and low noise levels.
It’s clear that Xduoo has listened to their customers and they have improved the transport with more connectivity options, BlueTooth, a USB DAC, and more settings. They even made sure you can stream your music, so thumbs up. If they in rev 3 could supply some longer cables for desktop use, integrate a search for the music library, and make quick navigation easier, they will the perfect portable source in their product line-up. The good side is that you’ll get a very detailed, distortion-free sound, and once you get used to the level of clarity, precision, and organicity, it’ll be very hard to go back to that other source you were using. At this price point, it is very easy to recommend the Xduoo X10Tii as the best digital transport. As a result, it replaces the Xduoo X10T on the recommended/best gear list. (https://www.headfonia.com/best-accessories/)
iFi Audio ZEN One Signature [Added 05/05/2022]
To me, the ZEN One Signature proves itself as a very good home audio device from start to finish. Considering the competitive price and the clean output, I think this is one of the best all-in-one solutions from iFi.
It not only provides many possibilities versus the only wireless solution of the ZEN Blue, but it also improves the sound with a darker background and clarity. For the price of 349$, it’s a great feature set and performance with a very clean sound.
Topping E70V [Added 21/03/2023]
Topping has managed to improve the E70, which we liked very much, and to offer AKM’s flagship chip in a convenient package. With LDAC support, very good bluetooth performance, rich I/O options and a relatively small chassis, it is one of the best DACs you can buy in this price band, perhaps the best.
If you need a versatile DAC with an excellent SQ, I definitely recommend that you give the this one a chance. We thought it is only fair to award the E70V with the HFN Recommended Award. So these units are now featured on our best DAC list!
Topping D70s [Added 04/04/2021]
The Topping’s D70s is an amazing DAC. It may be one of the best DACs that sat on my desk in 2021. It offers a rich feature set, it is built like a tank and topped with a scratch-resistant black finish. It looks gorgeous. Topping surely did a lot of R&D for this device to maximize the performance of dual AKM4497EQs. The performance matches the numbers on the paper, it sounds organic, detailed, and effortless.
It has a great tonal balance and it offers precise imaging. Not many DACs can do that, especially in this price bracket. Getting the dynamics, tonality, and technicalities right is hard. I am glad that Topping got these right with the D70s. At 649 USD, I can’t think of another DAC to rival it so I am definitely recommending you to hear it.
Eversolo DMP-A6[Added 01/10/2023]
Eversolo came in with quite a bang. When they introduced their product to me, I was interested but skeptical. If something sounds too good to be true, it most of the times is. But with the DMP-A6 Eversolo has proven me absolutely wrong.
For $859 USD I think the DMP-A6 ticks all the boxes, and then some. It’s feature rich, well thought out and sounds just wonderful. It offers heaps of details, gives you a front-row seat, is easy to use and is Roon Ready. What more could you possibly want?
Is that a recommendation? Heck yeah. 100%. Eversolo, keep it up. Congratulations1
Musician Pegasus [Added 17/01/2022]
The Musician Audio Pegasus DAC is a very complete, versatile and easy to use unit. Not only does it sound excellent with its R2R technology, but it also looks great and doesn’t break the bank.
The fact that I have been using it non-stop in my office desktop setup and for testing, shows that’s it’s an incredible piece of engineering. As such it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I am awarding the Pegasus with our Recommended Buy award, my first of the year ’22
Chord Electronics Qutest [Added 10/07/2018]
Tiny in size the Qutest sports a very big sound with incredible resolution, sound stage and neutrality. I am going to repeat myself, but like Hugo2, the Qutest’s sound is perfect. It is impossible for me to find a flaw in it. To me it is a perfect solution to a miniature problem – taking the Hugo2 to work and back home each day made it impossible to go into a desktop mode for me. That meant stressing the battery each day with cycles. Qutest offers the same wonderful sound as Hugo2 but in a desktop package.
The missing power button on Qutest is surprising, but I am sure Rob Watts knew what he did. For ease of use I would have wished for one thing actually: a secondary RCA output so I can have my integrated amplifier and my headphone amplifier connected at the same time, and not having to switch cables each time. I suppose the size of Qutest didn’t allow for that, but in my opinion, it would be great to have a parallel output to use. The Qutest is highly recommended to everyone who wants the Hugo2‘s performance but doesn’t need it in a transportable package. For everyone who wants to enjoy a highly addictive and impressive sound at home, who wants to play around with external amplifiers, and who wants class-leading design and wants to save space. One day I would love to experience the Qutest is a real high-end two-channel system. Something with big floor standing speakers with the likes of Triangle or Tannoy, just to hear what it can achieve with other top-notch components of the HiFi world. The Qutest will be heavily missed, that’s for sure.
Musician Aquarius [Added 10/10/2022]
The Musician Audio Pegasus is a high end DAC with a high-end typical R2R performance. Its technical level is impressive, and it mixes it with an effortless rendering, sublime dynamics and a very musical delivery.
Another reason to recommend the Aquarius is that it is incredibly easy to pair with all type of amplifiers. It doesn’t matter if it is a solid state or tube amp, or if it is warm or neutral. The Musician Aquarius grows on you quickly and you quickly get addicted to its typical sound. Next to that the design and build quality also is nice and the unit really stands out on your desk. It’s true that the package and accessories are a little too limited for the price it is going for, but that’s about the only remark I can give.
If you have the budget, like R2R DACs and if you’re looking for a new high end DAC, then I can fully recommend the Musician Audio Aquarius.
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, do take a look at the category overview:
Best DAC/AMP: https://www.headfonia.com/best-dac-amp-combos/