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The Best Portable DACs for Audiophiles in 2024

In this guide, we will dive into the world of the best portable DACs, unraveling the devices that deserve a spot in your audio gear collection in 2024.
best portable dac

In today’s digital era, the quest for impeccable sound quality has led us to explore the potential of Digital to Analog Converters (DACs). Among the myriad of devices available, the best portable DACs have grown in popularity, especially among audiophiles who want to elevate their listening experience. These portable devices have revolutionized how we consume audio by enhancing the sonic output of our laptops, Android smartphones, and iPhones.

In the following guide, we will dive into the world of portable DACs, unraveling the top-notch devices that deserve a spot in your audio gear collection in 2024.

Understanding Portable DACs

Before we delve into our top picks, let’s define what a portable DAC is. A DAC, or Digital to Analog Converter, is a device that translates digital audio signals into analog audio signals. These devices are essential for audio playback because our ears can only perceive analog audio signals.

When we talk about portable DACs, we refer to a DAC that can be used on the go with mobile devices. These DACs can bypass the built-in DAC in your device, which is generally of lower quality, to provide superior audio quality. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to our top picks for the best portable DACs in 2024.

Best Portable DACs in 2024

FiiO BTR15: Best Overall

FiiO BTR15

The FiiO BTR15 is a compact Bluetooth receiver that enables wireless audio streaming from your devices to your wired headphones or speakers. It features a high-performance DAC chip, Qualcomm’s flagship Bluetooth chip, and support for a wide range of audio formats. The device also boasts a long battery life, intuitive controls, and a durable metal body. With its compact design and high-quality audio output, the FiiO BTR15 is a convenient solution for upgrading your existing wired audio setup to a wireless one.

Key Features

  • Full MQA decoding
  • LDAC Bluetooth support for wireless use
  • Balanced output with high-resolution lossless audio support
  • Built-in battery for handling high-impedance headphones

iFi hip-dac 3: Premium Choice

ifi hip-dac 3

The iFi hip-dac 3 features a sleek and compact design, making it convenient for travel and daily use. The hip-dac 3 supports high-resolution audio formats and provides various connectivity options, including USB-C, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm balanced. Overall, the iFi hip-dac 3 is a versatile and high-performance audio accessory for audiophiles and music enthusiasts. Check out our full review on the hip-dac 3.

Key Features

  • High-Resolution Audio Support
  • Balanced and Unbalanced Outputs
  • MQA Decoding
  • XBass

iFi GO link

The iFi GO bluLink is a portable DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) dongle that allows you to enjoy high-quality audio on your favorite headphones. It’s simply a plug-and-play device. 

Key Features

  • Single-ended 3.5mm output
  • MQA Support
  • Supports hi-res audio up to 32-bit/385kHz
  • Compatible with any USB-C device

FiiO BTR7: For Dedicated Audiophiles

FiiO BTR7

The FiiO BTR7 is a more advanced version of the versatile and affordable BTR5, offering a larger 4.4mm balance jack, more battery capacity, and a larger screen. It’s a pricier package but well worth it for dedicated audiophiles.

Key Features

  • Bluetooth support
  • 4.4mm balanced output
  • Larger battery to support high-impedance headphones

Chord Mojo 2: Portable Powerhouse

chord mojo 2

The Chord Mojo 2 is a portable DAC/Amp designed to give you desktop power and audio quality in a portable package. It is the successor to the popular Chord Mojo and offers several improvements in terms of performance and features. The device is known for its high-quality sound output and compatibility with various audio sources, making it a popular choice among audiophiles and music enthusiasts.

Key Features

  • Support for a wide range of audio formats
  • High-resolution audio support
  • Portable design
  • Will power the majority of high-end headphones

Helm Audio Bolt: Ultra-portable

Helm Audio Bolt

If portability is your priority, then the Helm Audio Bolt might be the perfect fit. This ultra-portable Android DAC is ideal for audiophiles on the go, allowing you to enhance your audio experience wherever you are.

Key Features

  • Ultra-portable design
  • High-resolution audio support
  • Robust build quality

Qudelix 5K: Best Value

Qudelix 5K

The Qudelix 5K is a versatile, feature-rich Bluetooth DAC and headphone amplifier with exceptional sound quality, customization options, and portability. It is an excellent choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts who want to elevate their audio experience on the go. Check out our review of the Qudelix 5K here.

Key features

  • Bluetooth connectivity supporting LDAC
  • Multiple connection options
  • Fantastic app with lots of control and customization

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best portable DAC can significantly enhance your audio experience. Whether you’re a dedicated audiophile or a music enthusiast looking to improve your listening experience, investing in a quality DAC can make a world of difference. Consider your specific needs and budget when choosing your DAC, and don’t be afraid to invest in a high-quality device – your ears will thank you.

Don’t forget to take a look at our other buying guides to help you make the best buying choice!

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