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Recommended USB DACs and USB Audio Interfaces

Recommended USB DACs and HD Audio Interfaces for HighEnd Audio PCs

Both within the context of HiFi / high-end audio as well as for recording studios there is now a wide range of high quality DACs for HD Audio available. As long as you reduce the requirements for a USB audio interface to those that are really essential (high quality conversion of the USB signal up to 192 kHz / 24 bit or more, very good analogue output stage, a high quality converter chip, such as ESS Sabre, Burr Brown, XMOS, Wolfson or the like, and maybe playback of DSD / DXD audio files), you can get a very cheap high-end DAC with a top sound.

When choosing the right device, let your ears decide and not the technical specifications: You don’t need an asynchronous mode. Adaptive converters provide great sound-neutral results for little money. Up-sampling can be expensive as well, and is worth it only when consistently implemented. Since HD audio files with more than 192 kHz / 24 bit are still quite rare and the improvement in sound negligible, a 24/96 converter will do just fine

Below you can find a selection of devices for high-end and studio technology, all of which can be easily purchased at Amazon.

You can buy the matching Hifi Music Server here.

HD Audio USB-DAC recommendations

NuPrime DAC 9

  • DAC and preamp
  • Five digital inputs with adjusment of volume for each input
  • Up to 32 Bit / 384 kHz
  • Balanced (XLR, recommended!) and unbalanced (chinch) outputs


  • AKM AK4497EQ x2 decoding chip
  • DSD (DSD64,DSD128,DSD256,DSD512) and IIS support
  • Chinch and XLR outputs
  • AES/ABU, USB, IIS, Optical and Coax input

Micca OriGen G2

  • Small headphone (16-600 Ω) DAC with streaming
  • up to 24 Bit / 192 kHz
  • Wolfson WM8740 stereo D/A converter
  • USB or Optical S/PDIF inputs

Aune S16

  • XMOS Chip for USB
  • 32 Bit / 384 Khz DSD/DXD
  • AKM Decoder Chip
  • superb sound via XLR-outputs

Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic 100

  • Good value for money
  • Shows up sample-rate
  • Native USB up to 24 Bit/192
  • Wolfson WM8742 24-Bit-Digital-Analog-Converter


  • Professional studio equipemnt
  • 32bit Upsampling with AKM 32bit DAC AK4390
  • Powerd via USB input
  • USB only up to 24/96

Korg DS-DAC-100

  • Realtime DSD conversion
  • CS4398 Chip from Cirrus Logic
  • Nativ DSD-Playback (2,8224 MHz or 5,6448 MHz)
  • PCM in 24 Bit / 192 kHz
  • XLR Output

NuForce DAC-80

  • Reduced to reproduce absolte analytic audio
  • USB and S/PIDF
  • Asynchronous USB without Upsampling
  • Supports USB up to 24bit/192 kHz


  • Small but powerful
  • Plays PCM-Audio-Files with 32 Bit / 384 kHz
  • XMOS's USB receiver chip
  • Sabre Reference 32bit ES9018 DAC Chip

Teac UD-501-B, Dual Monaural D/A Converter

  • Audiophile Classic
  • DSD-Dateien in 2,8 and 5,6 MHz
  • Burr-Brown and MUSE inside
  • includes symetric XLR outputs

Firestone Audio ILTW DAC with external Power-Supply

Adaptive USB DAC Firestone Audio ILTW DAC with external Power-Supplymore pictures

One of the best DACs ever is for sale: The ILTW DAC by Firestone Audio is a real insider tip among audiophile music lovers as it floats against the (asynchronous) stream and can play music up to 24bit / 192kHz purely adaptive.
In the hi-fi / high-end scene, unfortunately, the asynchronous mode has prevailed even with very cheap DACs although it is technically extremely complex and sounds good only in really expensive devices. It is not for nothing that recording studios often use the adaptive mode, because this type of play does not push the asynchronous stamp on the signal and is clearly "more neutral".

Internally, the ILTW can also be switched to "asynchronous", but the settings are perfect as they are and allow 24bit / 192kHz PCM playback.

In combination with the external PowerSupply results in a very lively, sound, the bass goes down far, is extremely punchy but not thickened - the highs never pushy, voices wonderfully authentic. Anyone who has ever heard of an Antelope Zodiac or a RME-Fireface knows what I mean.

The only downer: Analog is only possible by RCA and not by XLR out.
DAC & PowerSupply are delivered in the original packaging including cables, I provide an excellent audio USB cable from "Analysis Plus" so you can get started right away.

Unfortunately, the ILTW DAC has not been built for a long time, is very sought after and is traded in Japan / USA partly with over 1200 USD.

Private Sale for 585 EUR incl. power supply and all cables.

If interested, just write an email

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