A digital audio converter, or DAC for short, is a piece of hardware that converts digital audio signals into analog ones in order to improve the quality of audio output. Noise is introduced into the audio output by the soundcards in our phones and computers. Furthermore, internal sound cards are frequently only capable of generating a portion of the maximum bitrate in an audio file. External DACs reduce internal device noise and increase the audio output bitrate. As a result, the sound quality has been substantially enhanced and is crystal clear.
DACs appeal to gamers for the same reason they appeal to everyone else: they boost audio quality directly. While the improvement in audio quality may not be visible on lower-end headphones, those who use high-grade gaming headsets or gaming headphones will notice an immediate difference in audio clarity,audio performance and noise level.
Some gaming dacs can be used as headphone amplifiers as well. Headphone amps boost the audio output signal’s power for audio experience. DAC/amp combos can boost your audio even more by providing extra gain on the output of the freshly converted analog signal when used together. In fact, some headphones require an amplifier to work at full volume.
Table of Contents
Creative Sound Blaster X3 Digital Audio Converter
- SUPER X-FI TECHNOLOGY CINEMATIC AUDIO HOLOGRAPHY | Sound Blaster X3 is the world’s first multi-channel USB DAC with Super X-Fi technology. For movie...
- 7.1 DISCRETE, VIRTUAL SURROUND, AND DOLBY DIGITAL LIVE ENCODING | Surround immersion makes up a big part of the movie experience; X3 supports up to...
- VARIOUS CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS | The X3 is highly versatile and is compatible with many devices. It features a myriad of connectivity options – from...
For the price point, the Creative SoundBlaster X3 has a lot of capabilities and manages to be an all-in-one solution. It may not be the greatest sounding or most capable DAC/amplifier for high-impedance headphones, but it is the most practical solution for those just starting out in the world of audiophiles. The Creative Sound Blaster X3 takes the top spot for the finest budget gaming DAC amp combo. This DAC amp combo was built from the ground up for gaming and is jam-packed with features and sophisticated software to improve the overall gaming experience. It will also follow a distinct review pattern due to the fact that it is a different version of the DAC amp combo, as you will soon discover.
The Sound Blaster X3 differs from earlier Sound Blaster designs in terms of format. Instead, use a minimalist DAC/amp design with a huge volume knob, such as the JDS Labs Element. Also, below the volume dial, put some buttons that we will discuss later with micro usb. However, when compared to other products on this list, the build quality immediately reflects its price range. The volume wheel, in particular, wobbles and lacks the smoothness of the other options. In comparison to comparable DAC/amps, the button presses likewise feel hollow and missing.
There is an optical output for headphone amp, a 3.5mm line-in, and a 3.5mm line-out on the X3’s output area. The line output is divided to create a discrete 5.1 surround sound system similar to what you’d find on a motherboard. This is uncommon for DACs / amps at this price point, so if you plan to use the Sound Blaster X3 for more than just gaming headsets / earbuds like a gaming sound card, it’s a plus. The 3.5mm headphone jack and 3.5mm mic input are located on the front of the device. Because this is a gaming device, the microphone input option is limited to 3.5mm, which is generally seen on gaming headsets.
All of your semi-amplified headphone audio needs may be met with the Creative Sound Blaster X3. This DAC amp combo could be the only device you’ll ever need for all of your audio devices, and it’s jam-packed with capabilities. Given that it lacks the power reserves to handle even the most demanding headphones, you should be alright using entry-level headphones with this DAC amp combo. This should be the one for you if you’re seeking for the greatest gaming DAC amp combo on a budget for gaming consoles. This is the Best DAC for Gaming in 2023.
Schiit Hel High Power Gaming DAC/Amp
- Use it as a great music DAC/amp. Use the front-panel gain switch to cover virtually every headphone need, from sensitive IEMs to low-efficiency...
- Use it as a DAC/preamp. Connect to powered monitors or speaker amps using the variable outputs on the back.
- Use it as an amp. Connect your phone (or any other analog source) to the convenient rear jack, and switch with a front-panel control.
Schiit is noted for its low-cost, high-quality digital audio converters and amplifiers. While the majority of their goods are aimed at the audiophile community, the Schiit Hel was designed exclusively for gamers. The Hel is a microphone-input audiophile-quality DAC and amplifier combo. This setup is ideal for gamers who want to rapidly increase their game audio as well as their microphone quality.
On the amp front, the Schiit Hel puts out 32 ohms of power, which is around 40 times that of a conventional headphone output. This is sufficient to power any gaming headset even on xbox one. The well-crafted knob on the very top of the device allows you to manage the volume of your audio. This device includes a top-of-the-line AKM Ak4490 D/A converter for the DAC. This highly rated converter, when combined with the Alps RK09 potentiometer filters and Texas Instrument amplifiers, produces excellent audio quality, especially considering the budget for audio system.
The microphone input on the Schiit Hel is the most gaming-centric feature. A 24-bit AKM ADC stereo-compatible electret mic input is included with this device. While you won’t be able to use any heavy-duty USB or XLR mics with the Schiit Hel, you should be able to use any conventional electret microphones, which are ubiquitous in high-end gaming headsets. You can also increase the microphone gain using the front-panel gain control for added convenience. This is the best gaming dac in 2023.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
- Bundled Software - Mac/Win/iPad Pro
- with 2 Mic/Line/Instrument Inputs
- USB 2.0 Audio Interface
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface is a third-generation USB audio interface with a high-quality DAC and interface for headphones and microphones. Podcasters, twitch streamers, and artists who use XLR input, analog microphones with their PCs will benefit from this device.
This is an excellent option for streamers and gamers that want to get away from USB mics and invest in an analog broadcast microphone with an XLR output. The Focusrite has high-performance inputs that can simultaneously power two microphones or two line instruments. Each one has its own gain control, and you can use this USB bus-powered interface to supply phantom power to your microphone.
This device offers superb, noise-free audio when it comes to giving a listening experience. It comes with built-in headphone preamps that improve the power of your headset, as well as a handy headphone volume knob adjacent to the headphone output. You’ll need headphones with a 6.35-millimeter headphone port, but if yours only have a 3.5-millimeter socket, you can get a 3.5-millimeter to 6.35-millimeter converter online for almost nothing.
Low latency monitoring is another benefit of the Focusrite Scarlett. You can hear everything that comes through your input channels in real time with the Focusrite. This function allows you to quickly check and modify your mic or instrument levels. This thing is extremely nicely constructed. It has a red metal housing and high-quality components all over. Focusrite is a well-known name in the audio industry, so you can count on them to deliver high-quality items. This device comes with a 3-year warranty in case something goes wrong.
This is one of the best solutions available if you need a USB audio interface that can serve as both a DAC and a microphone interface. In addition, given all of its capabilities, this product is very cheaply priced. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a good option if you want to save some money. The Solo has only one input, but it is less expensive. This is one of the best gaming headphone amps.
FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier
- Easy to Operate Design: The refined E10K-TC is tiny enough to carry with you wherever you go but is also right at home on your desk to make your music...
- Impeccable XMOS Decoding: The E10K-TC comes with the flagship XMOS XUF208 for better USB decoding. Compared to the original E10K, the USB Audio class...
- Quality Chips to Delight your Ears: The DAC is the PCM5102, with improvements to the flatness and delays of the internal digital filter meaning better...
The FiiO E10K is the greatest DAC amp combo you can purchase for under $100. If you’re serious about gaming audio and don’t want to settle for cheap DAC amps, this is the device for you. In every regard, this is superior to the entire inexpensive DAC amp combo, including performance, sound, and build quality. It’s a win-win situation because you also get a product from a respected company.
Looking for a powerful amplifier and DAC in a stylish package? The FiiO E10K is a USB-powered speaker with exceptional sound quality and little noise. It has a variety of connections for your favorite headphones or digital audio source. Furthermore, the brushed metal design is both robust and fashionable.
DAC amplifier’s superior sound quality has put it above the competition, and sound continues to be the reason this product remains at the top of the cheap DAC amplifiers. The FiiO E10K has a pleasant, clear sound. There isn’t much processing, and the music sounds natural, but the clarity and detail have significantly improved. This DAC amplifier also has no background noise, which is a concern with many low-cost devices.
FiiO’s build quality is generally good in all areas, and each of their products undergoes the same high-quality processing, and the FiiO E10K is no exception. The chassis of this DAC amplifier is built of aluminum, despite the fact that it is in the cheap price category. The E10K has a stiff and robust feel to it as a result of this. The finish is also superior to that of other budget DAC amplifiers. We can’t help but comment on the brushed matte black color, which is subjective and personal. Due to the delicately rounded corners and FiiO’s attention to detail, the design has also kept up nicely over time.
Schiit Fulla 3 Gaming DAC/Amp
- Use it as a great music DAC/amp. You don't need to be a gamer to appreciate the quality of Fulla 3.
- Use it as a DAC/preamp. Connect to powered monitors or speaker amps using the variable outputs on the back.
- Use it as an amp. Connect your phone (or any other analog source) to the convenient front jack.
Professional equipment of equivalent quality can be had for a few dollars more. It contains an optical output port for connecting your headphones to your PC or stereo system, an eight-channel sound card, a USB port, a FireWire port, and an audio cable for connecting your computer to your audio interface when it comes to connectivity.
In comparison to other full-range sound cards for laptops, the Schiit Fulla 3 has significant advantages. It has two premium audio inputs with separate frequency response and bass response, two channels of digital surround sound with two separate frequency ranges, and front panel controls with knobs for volume, bass, treble, and any other controls, compared to a card like the Realtec PCI Express card that plugs into your laptop USB port. These features provide you with exceptional audio quality.
AudioQuest – DragonFly Red USB DAC/Headphone Amplifier
- 32-Bit SABRE DAC
- 2.1v Output Drives Almost Any Headphones
- Works With Apple and Android devices when paired with a simple adapter
The majority of gaming DAC/Amps are small and light like micca origen g2. It’s just that some of them aren’t quite portable enough for you to use on the road. You can take them with you, but if you want to listen to high-quality audio, you’ll need to sit down most of the time. Either that, or you’ll have to be more flexible with your audio quality preferences. The DragonFly Red 2.1 is one of those few cases where paying more is the only compromise.
You receive a lot of value for your money with this digital to analog converter. In terms of performance, at least. Because the DragonFly is the same size as most flash drives. Despite its diminutive size, it is jam-packed with features. This includes the capacity to decode resolutions up to 24-bit/96-kHz, play high-resolution audio files, and directly charge even the most power-hungry headphones.
To top it off, the DragonFly is a plug-and-play gadget that works with Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac PCs. However, you’ll need to purchase additional adapters if you wish to use it with a smartphone or tablet. The DragonFly can be used with speakers as well, however it works best with headphones.
You’ll want to put your sound quality expectations in check once more. It isn’t quite audiophile-grade just yet. But, for the price, it’s fantastic, and the fact that you can use it on your gaming PC or console just as easily as you can on your smartphone means you’ll never be without a proficient and powerful DAC.
Micca OriGen G2 High Resolution USB DAC and Preamplifier
- The Micca OriGen USB audio DAC and preamplifier is a studio master grade digital audio playback and control center that supports high-resolution PCM...
- TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MUSIC - The OriGen lets you quickly and easily configure where your music comes from, and where it goes, at the flip of a switch....
- DIGITAL FINESSE - The digital circuitry of the OriGen consists of a USB 2.0 High-Speed 480Mbps audio controller and a Cirrus Logic CS4398 MasterHIFI...
A high-end digital audio amplifier is the Micca OriGen G2 High-Resolution USB DAC. This product can be a fantastic option if you’re seeking for a high-quality DAC for your music collection. The DAC is ideal for boosting the musical experience because of its excellent audio quality. It’s important to note that it’s portable and compact first and foremost. This DAC has a handy big volume knob and is about the size of a stick of butter.
It’s also fantastic for those who have a small desk or simply wish to enhance the sound of their laptop. Despite its high price, the Micca OriGen G2 delivers respectable performance. It supports audio at 24-bit/192kHz. Moreover, it offers stereo RCA outputs, making it suitable for both speakers and headphones.
There are numerous output modes available with the Micca OriGen G2 High-Resolution DAC. This model may be used to convert PCM audio to 24bit/192kHz, guaranteeing that your music will sound great on all audio devices. Also, it is made to maximize sound quality by working independently of your computer’s sound hardware. A potent digital audio amplifier for your computer is the Micca OriGen G2.
The Micca OriGen G2 DAC connects to a computer through USB, and an additional plug is needed to supply extra voltage. This device features a volume control, a headphone output, and no top. You will undoubtedly adore the sound quality, whichever model you choose. You may be sure that this gadget will improve your listening experience with a power supply.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should gamers invest in a Gaming DAC?
Gamers should consider investing in a Gaming DAC for several reasons. Firstly, it can significantly improve audio quality, allowing players to hear subtle in-game details, footsteps, and other audio cues more clearly. This can enhance situational awareness and overall gaming performance. Additionally, a Gaming DAC can offer better soundstage and separation, creating a more immersive gaming environment.
What Are Gaming DAC?
A Gaming DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) is a device designed to improve the audio quality of gaming setups by converting digital audio signals into high-quality analog signals. This enhancement results in clearer, more detailed sound, providing a more immersive gaming experience.
What are the key features to look for in a Gaming DAC?
When choosing a Gaming DAC, consider features such as high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), low Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), support for virtual surround sound, and compatibility with various gaming platforms. Look for customizable EQ settings, low latency, and connectivity options that suit your gaming setup.
Do Gaming DACs improve microphone audio quality?
Some Gaming DACs come with built-in microphone enhancements or support for high-quality microphones. This can result in clearer communication during multiplayer gaming sessions. Check for microphone-related features if clear voice communication is important to you.