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Top 6 Best DACs 2020: USB, portable and desktop DACs

best dac under 200You may think that there are only a few choices in audio component devices, but the truth is that you can find plenty of USB DACs under 200 dollars. This article will help you choose the right DACs Under $200 for your needs.

The USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a popular technology used in computers and in cell phones. It is used to transfer data from one device to another. It has become popular because it is easy to use and requires very little processing power.

The technology is also used to transfer data over radio waves. Radio waves have a much longer range than other methods of transmitting data. A microphone, which is basically a device that captures sound, converts the sound back into radio waves.

This conversion is called an analog-to-digital conversion. The radio waves are sent through a computer that is attached to the USB DAC. There is no processor, but the computer does the work.

The computer transfers the data between the radio waves and the USB DAC. As a result, computer software is also the same as the audio software. The two programs operate on the same set of data, but they do it differently.

For example, the radio waves contain information about the pitch and the volume of the sound. In contrast, the USB DAC software contains information about the volume of the sound. In other words, the computer can differentiate between different types of sounds.

The software can also differentiate between two tones that are sent through radio waves. That is why many people think that a USB DAC is not useful if it does not support analog-to-digital conversion. That is also why many people think that digital-only requires an analog interface.

When these two types of interfaces were first introduced, most people thought that they were being developed to increase the speed of data transfer over radio waves. But this is not the case. As time passed, people realized that it is possible to combine the two interfaces.

That is why many of today’s USB DACs have both analog and digital interfaces. In fact, most of them have both interfaces. If you buy a product that is not compatible with your device, you will not be able to use it.

Some of the more expensive products also have USB audio interfaces that allow the radio waves to be converted to analog sound waves. The radio waves are also converted from analog to digital sound waves.

So, if you want to convert the sound from radio waves to digital, the device you want to use must be capable of converting both types of signals. It must be able to handle both analog and digital signals. That means that it must have an analog to digital converter (ADC).

A USB Audio Interface has an analog to digital converter (ADC) inside. Because of this, you can use a USB DAC to connect two computers that have different interfaces.

Top 10 Best DACs Under 200-500 in 2020 Reviews

There’s a lot of misunderstandings around when it comes to deciding on the best DAC.

Buying the perfect DAC is not a child’s stuff.

. because for an incremental audio knowledge; you’re spending much more money.

In market filled up with duplicates, and items not worth the purchase price; it’s vital that you choose what’s best.

Banking upon this problem.

. I’ve created a summary of our favorite budget USB DAC for the money just for you.

Top 5 Best DAC under $200 for High-Resolution Audiophile Grade Music

#7: Audioquest Dragonfly v1.5

An updated version to an already popular Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 ; we have the much popular Audioquest Dragonfly v1.5

If intense portability is definitely your watchword, guys this is it!

  • 32-bit ESS 9010 Sabre DAC
  • Giving tremendously enhanced sound, higher value, and significantly lower power usage than the original award-winning DragonFly
  • Works with Apple and Android cell phones and tablets when paired with a straightforward adapter
  • This versatile DAC increases everything details, transparency, immediacy, richness, tone connected with your music
  • Plays from MP3s to 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution data files

Just how much better did it get? Whenever a top quality Digital to Analogue converter costs under $200 and may be the size that of your regular pen get.

With a ranking of 4.5/5 superstars on Amazon; this little wonder can switch on anything from your own regular headsets, Desktop audio speakers, studio monitors and will even switch on high impedance headsets just like the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro or the Sennheiser HD 650.

For an USB DAC that weighs just 0.77 ounces ; the deal can be big and comes incorporated with a carry pouch.

Well! I don’t wish to go in to the specialized mumbo jumbo.

Nevertheless Audioquest DragonFly v1.5 brings lifestyle to FLAC and Apple Lossless data files; you will surely notice difference when you’re hearing a 16little bit/44.1kHz sound document and a 24little bit/96kHz audio tracks document.

Likely to listen 128kbps MP3 files on this ?

Audioquest Dragonfly v1.5 plays music as per the format; hence you will notice major issues with the sound quality when it comes to lossy MP3 documents compared to lossless FLAC documents.

Audioquest DragonFly v1.5 can be also be connected to your iPhone and Android smartphone

This DAC does justice to your audio, so if your audio is of low quality – it will be noticed when using DragonFly v1.5.

Learn more about bitrates by clicking here and all about FLAC file format by clicking here .

Assisting Asynchronous transfer; it makes sure your audio isn’t lost while conversion. To know more about it, check out its full review on WhatHifi.

“If you want your music to sound real, the way it’s meant to be heard, and may become carried anywhere; Audioquest DragonFly v1.5 is your best bet.”
​Also Read: Top 5 Best Headphone Amp for Excellent Sound under $100


Once along a time; there comes a product in every market that appears magically and requires the market by storm.

JDSLab ODAC is one of them.

Among various products, DACs have become very popular and many consumers want to get the best DAC under 200 for themselves. However, there are still questions from not tech-savvy fans of music whether these devices can make the difference in listening to music or not.

DAC means Digital to Analog converter. Nowadays most of the music or other audio files are saved in digital formats as it allows us to store an unlimited amount of files without occupying physical free space. However, human ears can perceive only analog sound waves. Therefore, DACs have become an essential part of every modern device that you have.

Check out our list of the best DACs.
Most of the electronics like Television sets, cell phones, computers and additional devices that may produce audio, have inner DACs. It really is where customers wonder why they have to buy yet another external converter? Despite having a good inner DAC, it cannot eliminate other sounds. Jitter, vibrations, hissing, fan work, and many other sounds are produced by computers inside of them. They influence the quality of the music you hear from the device. In case, you want to enjoy the high-quality sound you may be interested in getting the best DAC under 200 for yourself.

  • output 24bit 96000Hz System condition: Windows XP VISTA 7 MAC OS10 OR LINUX
  • Frequency Response: +/- 0.1 dB (10 hz 19 Khz 24/44) THD+N 100 hz 0 dBFS: 0.0029% THD+N 20 hz 1 dBFS: 0.003% IMD CCIF 19/20 Khz 3 dBFS: 0.0011% IMD SMPTE
  • Noise A-Weighted dBu 24/44: –102.8 dBu Dynamic Range: > 110 dB A-Weighted Linearity Error -90 dBFS 24/44: 0.0 dB Crosstalk 0 dBFS Line Out 100K: –93.5 dB
  • USB Jitter 11025 hz J-test 24/44: Excellent Maximum Output Line Out 100K: 2.0 Vrms Distortion: $149.00

Though not as popular as other DAC’s featured on our list; however when it comes to hard blooded audiophiles , they swear by it.

Well JDSLabs aren’t the original creator of ODAC (stands for Objective Digital Analog Converter). It uses an open-source design developed by a person called as NwAvGuy ; who claimed that you don’t need a $1000 DAC to get great sound.

However NwAvGuy disappeared suddenly in 2012; you can read the whole story right here .

Anyways, returning to the JDSLabs ODAC .

. it’s little and easily transportable .

Though much less easily transportable as the Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 ; nonetheless it can comfortably sit down in your pocket with out a bulge.

Weighing only at 2 ounces; it links using micro-USB slot and has just an individual headphone-out slot.

It outputs 24little bit/96KHz sound and is backed by Home windows, Mac Operating system and LINUX.

Your personal computer recognizes JDSLabs ODAC as an USB Sound Device as soon as detected it’s all set. Usually do not miss out to check on it’s user views .

The business also provides exterior rubber feets with the ODAC; to ensure that the DAC doesn’t slips nor its surface area gets scratched and will not put scrapes on these devices you place over it.

“If you would like excellent sound quality at the purchase price and don’t value the look, looks and strength: choose the JDSLabs ODAC.”​

#5: Micca Origen+

Micca isn’t children name with regards to audio equipments and accessories. However we know about the brand due to its immensely popular budget bookshelf speaker the Micca MB42.

  • Studio master grade digital audio playback with supports high-resolution PCM audio up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD64 audio
  • Stereo analog line level and combination optical S/PDIF digital output, powerful built-in headphone amp facilitates 16-600 ? headsets
  • Selectable USB or Optical S/PDIF digital insight for flexible supply connection.
  • VIA VT1736 USB 2.0 High Swiftness 480Mbps sound controller and Cirrus Logic CS4392 stereo system D/A converter
  • Advanced sound stream user interface support contains both ASIO and WASAPI Press/Event output settings

The brand; exactly like Monoprice is well known for placing out excellent sound products at an extremely affordable price. and its own DAC that we’re discussing is definitely no exception possibly.

The Micca Origen+ DAC is certainly priced very near to $100, funnily appears similar if you ask me as a bomb detonator that we’re used to seeing in movies. This is because of the big bulky volume knob that sites on top.

It is one of the very few DAC that has both 3.5mm audio jack and 6.3mm audio jack as well.

The design on Micca Origen+ is very simple consisting of a steel chassis and aluminium plate on top that definitely signifies a superior build quality.

At the front you have two headphone jacks: 3.5mm and 6.3mm respectively, while it also has couple of oldie toggle switches to switch from Headphone to SPDIF and another one for gain; from 0db gain to -10db gain.

On the back you have micro-USB port to connect it to your PC and an SPDIF IN port, there’s a toggle switch too; to change from USB to SPDIF connection, and lastly a power input port.

At the very top you have a reasonably large and heavy quantity knob cum on / off switch; in addition to indicator lights to point the kind of audio tracks transmission that passes through the DAC.

The maker shows that Micca Origen+ provides support for headsets upto 600 Ohms, however headsets like Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium audio tinny and incredibly shut when plugged via this DAC.

“Meant for a budget sound set up Micca Origen+ is certainly a great set of sound equipment that adds just a little sparkle to your music; nevertheless, you may not want to add it in a higher expire setup, as it can turn into a bottleneck of sorts.”

#4: Meridian Explorer

If you would like an ultra laptop USB DAC under $200 that quickly fits best in your pocket and facilitates high resolution sound , then there’s nothing at all better than Meridian Explorer.

Meridian is a premium British audio brand known for its excellent digital to analogue converters .

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