Astell & Kern – the manufacturer of high-end portable digital audio players – makes a USB-C DAC (digital to analog converter) designed to help get better sound from smart phones And modern computers that may lack a 3.5 mm headphone port.
And if you want to use any digital device with a 3.5mm headphone jack, you need a DAC.
Older devices that have a 3.5mm headphone jack feature a built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC). (Some are better than others, like the popular LG Quad DAC system across its previous flagships).
But the end of the 3.5mm headphone port via modern smartphones in favor of USB-C exclusively (or Lightning ports in Apple’s case) left a gap for audio enthusiasts.
And if you want to use old headphones, you now need a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone port dongle, which, by default, is technically a DAC.
But the new digital-to-analog converter (DAC) promises a high-fidelity experience, offering two CS43198 DACs paired with an analog amplifier to deliver a better audio experience, with support for 32-bit resolution playback and sampling rates up to 384kHz.
Given its $ 150 price tag, it should provide a better experience than an Apple device or Google dongle under $ 10.
Astell & Kern says it is building on its experience building portable media players to build the new USB-C DAC.
And while the DAC itself doesn’t have an external power supply (it draws power from a phone or computer), the company says: It can still power a pair of high-impedance headphones with a 2Vrms output level (no-load condition).
The new digital-to-analog converter (DAC) should be compatible with most Android smartphones, tablets, and Windows and Mac computers.
But Astell & Kern says iOS devices – even those with a USB-C port like Apple’s recent iPad Pro lineup – will not be compatible.
The new USB-C Dual DAC is available For the initial request Now from the company’s website ahead of its planned release date in May.