Music is something that I am very passionate about, but in this digital age where downloadable music is favoured over physical editions, it has become increasingly difficult to enjoy genuine high quality music. (That’s a niche that streaming services like Tidal are trying to fill.)
Also read: Goodbye Spotify, Hello Tidal?
However, there is a simple solution to this. Buy a DAC like AudioEngine’s D3!
Before I get into the quality of the product I will explain how it works:
- You plug it into a spare USB port on your PC or Mac.
- Select the DAC as the output device through Control Panel or System Preferences on your PC or Mac.
- Plug a pair of headphones or speakers into the 3.5mm jack socket (or use the 1/4″ adapter for those headphones/speakers).
- Enjoy the music!
The DAC is a Digital to Analogue Converter which means it takes the digital audio from your computer via USB and converts it to an analogue signal through a pair of headphones or a speaker. This means you get a fuller, cleaner tone of sound overall with higher quality music to your ears.
It’s a very simple device but it works fantastically and has excellent craftsmanship and portability. It’s around the size of a standard USB flash drive, but is made from very high quality aluminium and feels virtually indestructible; I accidentally dropped it a few times as I do with most products I keep around my desk, and it has come out without a single dent or scratch. The D3 is also very portable, coming with a nice carrying pouch made of a grey felt-like material which fits around the DAC tightly, and another upside of this is that it is easy to put in and remove the DAC from the pouch.
Based on my usage of the DAC with both my PC and a Macbook Pro — along with a pair of Sennheiser HD419’s and Atomic Floyd SuperDarts — I felt that the D3 works well, is easy to use and would be a good purchase for anyone looking for a portable solution (within the £115/$150 range) to boost their music and audio quality.