What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Buyer's Guide Best Buys -

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 Red £170

Best USB DAC £150+, Awards 2017 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

Cyrus sound­key£100

Best USB DAC un­der £150, Awards 2017 An af­ford­able, com­pact DAC that turns mo­bile lis­ten­ing into an au­then­tic high-fi­delity ex­pe­ri­ence. IOS users may find con­nec­tiv­ity a lit­tle in­el­e­gant. In­puts mi­cro-usb Size 2 x 5 x 1mm Res­o­lu­tion Up to 24-bit/96khz

Chord Mojo £400

Best DAC un­der £500, Awards 2017 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 2x coax, opt x2 Size 11 x 25 x 29cm Res Up to 32-bit/384khz

Chord Hugo 2 £1800

Best DAC £1000+, Awards 2017 The Hugo 2 has a he y price tag 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 Qutest £1195

May 2018 As with the 2Qute, the Qutest is a su­pe­rior DAC which sets a new bench­mark at this price with its clear and pre­cise per­for­mance. In­puts 2x coax, opt, USB Size 4 x 16 x 7cm Res 32-bit/768khz PCM/DSD512

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