DACS

A DIG­I­TAL-TO-ANA­LOGUE CON­VERTER IS A MOD­ERN HI-FI MUST

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Amplifiers Continued -

Ar­cam minib­link £100

Awards 2015 This re­ceiver has serious dy­namic clout, with a zingy and fluid rhythm. The 3.5mm ana­logue out­put means an adap­tor is needed for trad hi-fi. In­puts Blue­tooth Size 2.5 x 3 x 4cm

Au­dio­quest Drag­on­fly Black £90

Best USB DAC un­der £100, Awards 2016 Cheaper, with im­proved sound and com­pat­i­bil­ity, this is ar­guably the best Drag­on­fly yet. The 96khz play­back limit is a dis­ap­point­ment though. In­puts USB Size 6 x 2 x 1cm Res­o­lu­tion Up to 24-bit/96khz

Au­dio­quest Drag­on­fly Red £170

Best USB DAC £100+, Awards 2016 A more ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tive to the Drag­on­fly Black, this is a marked im­prove­ment over the orig­i­nal, sound­ing more so­phis­ti­cated and sub­tler. In­puts USB Size 6 x 2 x 1cm Res­o­lu­tion Up to 24-bit/96khz

Chord Mojo £400

Best DAC un­der £500, Awards 2016 The ma­jor­ity of the £1400 Hugo’s per­for­mance for a frac­tion of the price. An en­thu­si­as­tic per­former that stays re­fined and su­perbly bal­anced. In­puts USB, opt, coax Size 2 x 6 x 8cm Res 32-768KHZ/DSD 512

Oppo HA-2 SE £290

Awards 2016 A mi­nor up­grade but a good one. The SE costs more than the Drag­on­fly, but of­fers more fea­tures to go with its clear, ag­ile and de­tailed sound. In­puts USB, 3.5mm Size 140 x 70 x 120mm Res to 384khz, 16/24/32-bit

Au­di­o­lab M-DAC £600

June 2015 A good desk­top al­ter­na­tive to the Chord Mojo, with plenty more sock­ets and fea­tures. Smooth bal­ance, fluid dy­nam­ics and sub­tle de­tail. In­puts USB, opt, coax Size 6 x 25 x 25cm Res Up to 24-bit/192khz

Au­di­o­lab M-DAC+ £800

Au­gust 2016 Au­di­o­lab’s fol­low up to the M-DAC gets a great deal right with a sound that’s neat, tidy and ex­pan­sive. The M-DAC+ de­mands your at­ten­tion. In­puts Coax x2, opt x2 Size 11 x 25 x 29cm Res Up to 32-bit/384khz

Chord 2Qute £995

Best DAC £500-£1000, Awards 2016 The 2Qute’s in­sight, ac­cu­racy and dy­namic punch out­shine ri­vals with aplomb. The colour­ful dis­play and the shiny chas­sis con­tinue to wow us. In­puts USB, opt, coax Size 7 x 16 x 4cm Res­o­lu­tion Up to 32-bit/384khz

Bench­mark DAC3 HGC £2350

May 2017 It may not make a great first im­pres­sion but give it time and you’ll find this well equipped DAC is one of the finest-sound­ing at this price. In­puts 2x coax, 2x opt, 2x RCA Size 5 x 25 x 24cm Res Up to 24-bit/192khz

Chord Hugo 2 £1800

September 2017 The price is a not-in­con­sid­er­able one but, at this level, there isn’t an­other DAC near that can com­mu­ni­cate so un­am­bi­giously or so ef­fort­lessly. In­puts Opt, coax, USB, B’tooth Size 2 x 10 x 13cm Res 32-bit/768khz

Chord Hugo TT £2995

September 2015 This ‘ta­ble-top’ ver­sion is the ba­sic Hugo de­sign, but su­per­charged. The fin­ish is gor­geous, and it sounds bet­ter than its cheaper sib­lings. In­puts USB, opt, coax Size 5 x 24 x 23cm Res Up to 32-bit/384khz

Co­p­land DAC 215 £2000

Jan­uary 2017 A ver­sa­tile DAC that can be used as a preamp. This understated ef­fort is hugely tal­ented and has an open, clean and pre­cise pre­sen­ta­tion. In­puts RCA, USB, opt, coax Size 12 x 20 x 28cm Res Up to 32-bit/384khz

Naim DAC-V1 £1419

Fe­bru­ary 2016 Naim’s en­try DAC is typ­i­cal of the com­pany’s sonic sig­na­ture, com­bin­ing a bal­anced tone with strong dy­nam­ics and fine or­gan­i­sa­tion. In­puts USB, opt x2, coax x3 Size 9 x 21 x 32cm Res 24-bit/384khz

Chord DAVE £8000

Best Temp­ta­tion, Awards 2016 The uniquely-named DAVE costs a lot but we’d ar­gue it’s the best DAC money can buy. Build qual­ity is ex­cel­lent and the sound is very spe­cial. In­puts Coax x2, opt x2, XLR Size 6 x 34 x 15cm Res Up to 768khz

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