AUDIOENGINE has long been known for its active compact speakers; now here’s something different and perhaps a complement to those boxers – the DAC3, a portable digital-to-analogue-converter/headphone amp. Yes, something that will fit into your pocket.
Equipped with a 32-bit Sabre ESS ES9281A PRO Ultra converter, the DAC3 offers a wide range of support for standard high-resolution audio formats like PCM, DSD and MQA for enhanced playback via your streaming apps (Tidal, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Qobuz, etc).
The onboard high-performance amplifier is designed to drive headphones with impedances of 12 ohms and higher. You can also hook up the DAC3 via its variable line-level output to any system that has an analogue input, like one of Audioengine’s own powered speakers.
The unit is built into an injection-moulded aluminium case to insulate it from the rigours of regular use; on it, are the volume control, USD socket and headphone output, along with an LED indicator for sample rate.
No batteries or charging required here, the DAC3 draws its power via USB-C from your phone, tablet or computer; the cable is provided in the box so the unit is good to go right away. Its power draw is minimal, Audioengine assures us.
Didn’t we mention something about fitting into your pocket earlier? Well, the DAC3 is quite wallet-friendly as well, at just US$149.