best budget dac

Top 10 Best Budget Dacs 2021: Guideline & Reviews

Are you a home-recording artist looking for your next secret tool? Perfect, you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll find our top 10 best Budget DAC (or Digital-to-Analog Converters) updated for 2021.

Unfortunately, with more than 3000 DACs all over the web, from those with a decent headphone amp to those with bass boost qualities, the best budget DAC for you can be hard to find. How do you know that you are getting the best audio quality for the cheapest price?

Thankfully, we’ll make this easy for you by showing you the portable best budget DAC on the web. Whether you need a high resolution portable best budget dac or a digital to analog converter with a headphone amplifier, all of our models are easier to use and even easier to buy.

We know there’s lots of versions out there, so it can be hard to filter out the high quality brands of best budget dac and their capabilities from those that pop up in advertising, but we assure you that we’ve taken attention to give you the best result possible. Therefore, the best budget DAC on offer here offer elements of:

  • Durability
  • Richness of Sound
  • Low Prices for High Quality Brand Name
  • Impressive Specs Suited to Preferences of Musicians

Why are DACs worth it?

Well, first of all, a digital to analog converter is important because the job of a DAC is to improve sound quality in your headphones. Best budget DAC generally come in either 24 bit or 32 bit capability. If you want to see whether 32 bit takes the advantage over 24 bit, scroll down to our final thoughts.

The better the DAC, the better the sound quality 0 so therefore the best budget DAC will give you crystal clear digital audio. When chosen correctly, the best DACs don’t cost a lot either… whether you’re in the market for portable USB DACs or desktop based DACs to go with your headphone amp, any digital audio device like these is a worthy addition and the first step to making your sound quality much better.

To help you find the right USB DAC for you, we’ve found you the best DACs on the market in one place – to help you avoid the portable DAC models that aren’t even worth a look. To aid your search for the best budget DAC with the greatest audio resolution, we’ve rounded up the best cheap dacs on the market all in one place, to help you avoid the duds. Now, let’s dive right in with our #1-rated best budget DACs.

Top 10 Best Budget DACs For 2021

In this article we have listed down top 10 best budget dacs updated for 2021 for you, these are mentioned below:

  1. Focusrite Scarlett: best budget DAC

2. Audioengine D1 Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)


4. FX Audio DAC-X6 24 bit/192 Optical/Coaxial/

5. Topping D30 DAC

6. Audio Quest-Beetle Optical DAC

7. FX-Audio DAC-X6 Mini DAC 

8. Topping D30 DSD DAC

9. SMSL M100 DAC

10. iFi Audio Nano USB iDSD Black Label

Best Budget DACs

  1.  Focusrite Scarlett: best budget DAC

The Focusrite Scarlett is dream for heavy-music enthusiasts, especially guitarists, as it is designed to handle high powered guitar pickups. It also has stereo line that outputs on RCA phono to connect to home speakers and a headphone output equipped with gain control – meaning the sound quality is truly in your hands.

This product comes with a range of Pro Tools such as First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, and Softube Time and Tone Bundle. As far as compatibility goes, it works on Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS X 10.10 and higher. It also has a healthy frequency response of 20 Hz – 20kHz 0.25db and provides sample rates up to 192kHz/24 with super low latency, so you can comfortably use your plug-ins in real time without the need for a Digital Signal Processor (DSP).

2. Audioengine D1 Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)

Option number two is an entry-level product with simple plug-n-play features either on your Mac or on your PC. This Audioengine D1 represents one of the best budget DACs that are available in the market today. The D1 shows marked versatility in accepting inputs as it does so from both USB and optical sources.

Premium sound and music-playing has never come at such an agreeable price – it’s therefore perfect for your headphones or device.

Whether you’re using a PC or a TV or even DVD/Blu-ray player, the D1 is always ready to give you the best. Another enticing feature of the D-1 is that it also acts as a high-quality portable computer headphone amplifier. It is capable of processing digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any sample rate up to 192 kHz. You need a DAC- and you need this DAC.As a portable DAC, it’s easy to carry around and use wherever you need to. Giving you high quality sound and music straight to your earphones, and making this as easy as possible, are the two priorities of this DAC.


The SMSL SD793-II is one of the best budget DACs in the market today. It may be larger than others, as not ideal as a portable USB DAC, but it offers great features and high-quality sound for you to listen to all of your favorite music on your headphones.

One of the best things about SMSL SD793-II is that the design is very intuitive. The reason behind this is because you can see everything that you need at the front panel. There’s no need for you to check your computer’s back because everything is at the front. This is easily, therefore, one of the best USB DAC models for ease of use.

This best budget DAC is a fantastic value for the money. If you’re looking for a cheap way to get every ounce of juice out from your sound system, the SMSL SD793-II is a great choice. With a great sound from audio resolution, and easy use, these USB DACs are 

4.  FX Audio DAC-X6 24 bit/192 Optical/Coaxial/

The X6 USB DACs from FX Audio has a very impressive build and a sturdy frame that inspires confidence in users. It also comes with a 12V power adapter 1A and 3 separate DAC chipsets as well as headphone amplifier chipsets. Standard input interface includes computer USB/ coaxial as well as an optical fiber with a toggle switch.

The X6 boasts of an impressive frequency response: 20 Hz-20 kHz and distortion of equal to OR less than 0.001%. As far as budget DACs go, this model is right up there with the best, owing to its sturdy frame and value-for-money features. Better than the average 24 bit/ 96khz model, this offers 24 bit/ 192khz – for premium sound quality/ audio resolution.

5. Topping D30 DAC

The Topping D30 DAC is known to have a lot of connections, while also having support high resolution formats, such as DSD. This DAC comes with good package, which will make sure that the item inside is well protected. Therefore one of the best USB DAC models got here. It’s ideal for laptop or PC use, with an easy to insert DAC chip that connects up to your USB port.

When using Topping D30 DAC, it is recommended to use together with the Topping D30 headphones, though you can also use different devices for both output and input. The Topping D30 DAC supports high resolution contents for up to DSD128.

6. Audio Quest-Beetle Optical DAC

The Audio Quest-Beetle Optical DAC is known for having a great level of audio quality. The sound quality of this best USB DAC therefore makes it one of the overall best DACs around.

One of the best things about DAC is that it can use 3.5mm earphones, giving you a degree of flexibility in its use as a headphone amp – yet another reason this is one of the best DAC models.

Another good thing about Audio Quest-Beetle Optical DAC is that you have the option to adjust the volume of the audio, meaning that you can manipulate volume and aspects – such as bass boost – without having to compromise on overall sound quality. This is a great feature of the best DACs, so as the best USB DAC goes, this is a serious contender.

Lastly, worry not because Audio Quest-Beetle Optical DAC comes with different accessories so you don’t have to purchase other things.

7. FX-Audio DAC-X6 Mini DAC 

The FX-Audio DAC-X6 Mini is known to have amazing features, including coax S/PDIF inputs, optical, and it also has a USB. The consumption of power from the USB is at 50 milliamps. It’s amazing to get features like that for the price range that this DAC has.

One of the best thing about FX-Audio DAC-X6 Mini is that you don’t need to install anything. That is how easy it is to operate and use, which make it reliable enough to be used in different formats available today. The easily used volume knob and brilliant sample rate gives this DAC an edge – it’s definitely one of the best on this list, and you need it to give your headphones the amazing sound and audio quality they deserve!

8. Topping D30 DSD DAC

One of the best things about Topping D30 DSD Audio Decoder is that it has an output protection, which means that it will automatically turned the output off once you lose input signal. This will surely help protect your ears when things like that happens.

Another good thing about Topping D30 is that it will never sound too analytical or too bright. You surely won’t hear any POP or the like so there’s nothing to worry about.

9. SMSL M100 DAC

The SMSL M100 is generation number two of these USB port-operated DAC models. It supports native DSD and PCM signal for up to 32bit or 768 kHz. One of the best things about DAC chip is that it has a built in high power module and LDOs that are low noise, which are both sufficient for the analog circuit.

The back panel of this DAC shows the decoder, which is powered purely by USB. This handy USB DAC supports OTG, Coaxial, and optical USB input. Lastly, it has a two ultra-low noise so you don’t have to worry about anything. From laptop to PC, this USB DAC is one of the best DACs we have for you.

10. iFi Audio Nano USB iDSD Black Label

This iFi Audio Nano iDSD is designed to be efficient and performance-oriented with a small and lightweight body. The model comes with rechargeable Lithium polymer battery that allows its users nonstop music and premium sound for up to 10 hours. For this price, you’d be treating your headphones to this brilliant audio device. Any laptop would have serious enhanced sound if this USB DAC chip was used. It is capable of playing all high-resolution audio formats including

DSD256, DXD384, PCM 3384 kHz. In addition to this, the device can be connected directly to your smartphone or PC. Its powerful dual mono 285 mill watt headphone amp is 6 times more powerful than an iPhone empowering users to drive the headphones to maximum performance. Any sound or piece of music you want to listen to through your headphones needs this DAC.A combination of extensive features coupled with a desirable price makes this product one of the best budget USB DACs you can get your hands on.


In this article, our aim was to comprehensively cover all information regarding what a DAC is and how you should go about purchasing it and getting the most out of it. Essentially the DAC works as a plug and play device i.e. the operating system of the computer or any other device connected to it, immediately recognizes its presence as well as the functions it’s supposed to perform.

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