Today I’m deep diving into the Best DAC AMP Combo. And, we’ll also take a look at simple upgrades you can do for your audio setup with a DAC AMP combo unit!
In this guide, you can expect to see our top DAC AMP picks along with a mini review of each unit. We’ll also include what features you get, how it performs and how it stacks up against the rest of the bunch.
You can read our Guide to the Best DAC AMP for Gaming if you plan on doing some more gaming with your setup!
- [High-performance DAC&USB decoding chip]: The K5Pro ESS headphone amps achieves new heights in sound quality and comes with a high level of resolution sound. ES9038PRO with 32-bit processing, along with the XUF208 USB decoding chip with 768kHz and DSD256 inputs, and it also upportes mobile phone connectivity.
- [Variety of inputs]: Supports coaxial/optical/RCA line-in inputs, with optical and coaxial inputs supporting up to 192kHz inputs, K5Pro ESS amplifier is convenient for connecting various music players and digital interfaces.
- [Variety of outputs]: Supports 6.35mm (1/4 in.) headphone out/RCA line-out outputs, the RCA line-out line signal is adjustable up to a maximum of 2Vrms, so the K5Pro ESS portable DAC can be used with a variety of active speakers and external amplifiers.
- [Easily handles low or high impedance headphone]: For a total power output of up to 1.5 W under a 32Ω load, and up to 20Vpp at 300Ω, K5Pro ESS desktop amplifier can easily handles any low or high impedance headphone.
- [Various headphones with all kinds of sensitivities]: With ADC volume adjustment, K5Pro ESS portable headphone amplifier allows you to smoothly adjust volume at extremely fine increments without any undesirable noise nor with any channel imbalances. It means you could comfortably use various headphones with all kinds of sensitivities with it.
- HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER AND USB DAC AMP: Play high-resolution 32 bit music from Apple Music, Amazon Music and Tidal with stunning clarity you’ll notice immediately. An external desktop headphone amp and digital audio converter allows you to hear the detail in music the way the artist intended.
- PROFESSIONAL FEATURES: USB and optical audio inputs for computers/phones/tablets, RCA line-output, precise front panel volume control, and audiophile-quality components inside and out. The D1 can be powered by a phone or tablet yet still drives high-performance headphones.
- HI-RES AUDIO: Our headphone amp has a 32 Bit ESS ES9018 DAC, ES9601C SABRE driver, and CT7601CR USB streamer or (Audio Bridge).
- WHAT’S INCLUDED: D1 headphone amplifier and DAC, USB cable, setup guide, microfiber product bag.
- 3 YEAR WARRANTY: Stellar US based customer support and 3 year product warranty is included. Based in TX, Audioengine has been changing the way people listen to music since 2005.
- ✅【High Resolution Sound Performance】Support HD audio and provides clarity, separation, less muffling and more detail sound and an apparent volume boost from what was output straight from your laptop. Also improves the transparency and soundstage of the music even with MP3 files playback.
- ✅【Multiple Input Sources Selection】Select different inputs from USB, Optical Toslink S/PDIF and USB by using the push buttons conveniently located on the front with single-ended RCA outputs for connection to an outboard power amp or powered speakers.
- ✅【S/PDIF Output】S/PDIF output supports digital surround multichannel formats such as AC3 / DTS
- ✅【Make Your Headphones Sing】Built-in high-performace headphone amplifier (32 – 600 Ohm headphone impedance recommended), delivers clearer high, deeper bass and richer sound.
- ✅【Easy Plug & Play Operation】Easy to install between both Mac OS & PC Windows 10, just plug it into any USB port on your computer, HDTVs, game console, or any audio source player. NO additional driver downloads needed (currently only support IOS 12 version software or below for the iPhone/iPad device)
What is a DAC AMP Combo?
A DAC AMP is a combination of a digital-to-analog converter and audio amplifier in one unit (read more). It basically allows you to independently control your audio, clean up electro-static interference, and help power headphones appropriately.
In short, a DAC AMP is a mega-upgrade to your audio setup, even if you’re just going for one of the most basic models. Applying an amplifier to pretty much any decent quality headphones can drastically affect their performance.
5 Best DAC AMP Combo Units
FiiO K5 Pro (AK4493EQ)
Starting off the Best DAC AMP Combo list strong with the FiiO K5 Pro AK4493EQ Dac and Amplifier. The AK4493 supports up to 768kHz/32bit and native DSD decoding. This means that it has the power to support pretty much anything you throw at it. Additionally, it is equipped with the flagship TI TPA6120 chip to allow for the maximum performance.
The amplification power of the FiiO K5 Pro is up to 1.5 watts with a 32Ω load, and up to 20Vpp at 300Ω. There are multiple inputs so you can connect through either a 6.35mm headphone jack, RCA outputs, USB, coaxial, optical, and line-in inputs. Additionally, you get an ADC volume control knob, gain and bass switches.
The FiiO K5 Pro combines a lot of modern audio technology in a small form factor to provide you with one of the best experiences for a DAC AMP combo on the market. If you’re looking for a mid-tier high-performing unit, you won’t be disappointed.
Fosi Audio Q4
We have explored the Fosi Audio DAC Q4 before. It is easily one of the highest value DAC AMP combo’s on the market due to it’s extremely high price to performance ratio. It has an extremely simple setup with a true plug-and-play design.
The DAC Q4 features USB, optical, and coaxial inputs that should hook up to pretty much anything you want. Additionally, there is RCA outputs to connect to an external amp or powered desktop speakers. The built-in amplifier supports up to 32 ohm headphones with a 192kHz stream. There are separate bass and treble knobs to independently control frequencies.
Finally, you can connect the Fosi Audio Q4 directly to your PC or any USB device. This makes it extremely easy to plug-and-play and extremely portable as well!
iFi Hip-dac Portable DAC AMP
Next up is the iFi Hip-Dac Portable DAC AMP. This DAC AMP is mainly designed to be a portable on-the-go device for your phone. It features a 6-hour battery charge with a slim and lightweight form factor. You can easily carry this unit pretty much wherever you go.
The iFi Hip-Dac also allows for high-quality audio playback. It supports anything from Spotify to Tidal MQA and beyond with high-res audio support. The iFi Hip-Dac seamlessly converts digital to analog audio and gives you the full intended experience of the song.
It also features a fairly powerful amplifier with a 400mW max power output. This means that you should be able to drive pretty much any of your headphones. It connects easily to your smartphone with a USB input and works with either a 4.4mm or 3.5mm headphone jack. Finally, power match and XBass allow for analog adjustments to customize your listening experience.
Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC AMP
Next is one of the most highly regarded audio brands out there, the Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC AMP. The D1 is a premium DAC and headphone amplifier. It allows you to empower your headphones, speakers or any other output device that you’re using.
In addition, Audioengine gives you the option of optical or USB input, and a headphone or RCA output. Additionally, it supports any TOSLINK optical connection, plug-and-play with Windows or Mac and no drivers necessary. Included is a 2-foot USB cable, setup guide, microfiber carrying bag, and the D1 unit.
Finally, Audioengine stands behind their equipment with a 3-year warranty. And, they give you US-based customer support and 3-year product coverage from their home base in Austin, Texas.
Last but not least is the Soundavo HP-DAC1. This DAC AMP supports clear, separate audio with more detail and less muffling. It also helps provide a volume boost compared to standard laptop or PC audio. Soundavo also gives you several inputs; USB, optical, USB and RCA outputs for connections to an outboard amp or powered speakers.
Additionally, the HP-DAC1 has simple plug-and-play performance with just a simple USB plug. You don’t need any drivers to get it to work and it even supports iPhone and iPad devices. The built-in amplifier supports headphones from 32-600 ohms, and delivers a clear powerful sound.
The Soundavo HP-DAC1 is great for all-white setups or someone who wants a clean stainless steel look on their desktop!
In conclusion, what is the Best DAC AMP Combo? In our opinion, we would go with either the Audioengine D1 or FiiO K5 Pro. Both are awesome choices for many reasons. They look awesome, have a simplistic design, perform extraordinarily well, and won’t dissapoint you.
With the Audioengine D1, you get a super clean modern aesthetic combined with awesome performance. The FiiO K5 Pro has a bit more of a eye-grabbing design, but still fits in well with a lot of PC setups.
Either way you go, you won’t be disappointed with any of the choices on this list. If you’re looking for a more budget option, then the Fosi Audio Q4 is 100% the way to go!