It’s getting cheaper and cheaper to hi-fi your computer. Audioengine join the super-portable DAC race with their new D3 – a thumb-sized USB DAC that direct connects to your PC or Mac, no USB cable required. Just like the Audioquest Dragonfly (US$249). The Audioengine D3 measures 19mm x 12mm x 6mm (including USB connector).
However, $50 is everything in the budget sector and Audioengine have set the RRP of the D3 at US$189, well below its Audioquest rival, which plants it firmly in HRT microStreamer territory.
Highlights of the Audioengine D3 include an injection-moulded metal chassis (that toes the line with Macbook aesthetics), asynchronous USB data handling from a TI1020B chip and up to 24bit/96kHz bitperfect decoding from the AKM4369 DAC chip. The 1/8″ output jack is fed by an LME49726 op-amp: 2.0 V and 10 Ohms. Audioengine recommends using the D3 with headphones rated between 12 Ohms and 10 kOhms.
The D3 doesn’t require the installation of custom drivers. Volume attenuation is exacted using software controls on the host computer. (No word yet on whether it behaves like the aforementioned Audioquest or the Resonessence Labs Herus: each digital marker in the operating system’s volume control corresponds to an analogue level inside the DAC itself.)
Current draw is rated at 200mA which is probably too high for successful mating with an iPad + CCK.
Here’s what you get in the box…
Further information: Audioengine USA