If you are interested in these models, keep reading our 5 Best Dac Under 500 review for more information below.

Our Top Pick: Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital Preamplifier

Description: When it comes to the Pre Box S2 Digital’s features, it’s safe to say Pro-Ject has checked every important box.

Features: The Pre Box can play PCM files up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD512 at its highest resolution, thus file compatibility isn’t an issue. If you have it, chances are the Pre Box will play it. Even MQA decoding is provided, which is still uncommon regardless of pricing level.

If you are looking for the 5 Best Dac Under 500, you should give this one a chance. This is probably one of the best 5 Best Dac Under 500 you can find.

The S2 houses the highly respected ESS Sabre ES9038 dual DAC chip, which is linked to a custom clock circuit and carefully selected components to optimize performance. The main board is a four-layered gold-plated design with reduced jitter at the top of the priority list.

You get the idea that Pro-developers Ject’s worked hard on this one, which is especially impressive given the Pre Box’s low pricing.

There are three digital inputs: USB (type B), optical (24bit/192kHz), and coax (also compatible with files up to 24bit/192kHz), as well as a single pair of variable analogue outs. Power is taken through a 5V micro USB connector, albeit this is not required if you connect via the Type B USB input. 


  • Outstanding feature set
  • Compact and well-made Delivery that is balanced and tidy


  • Outstanding competition

Runner Up: Schiit Modi 3E D/A Converter - Delta-Sigma DAC

Description: The Modi 3+ doesn’t come with many attachments and prefers to keep things as simple as the gadget itself.

Features: Aside from the primary unit, the only extras are a single USB-A to micro USB connection and a small power brick. We would have wanted to see at least one RCA cable included because that’s likely where the majority of your connections would go, but everything outside of the DAC will need to be purchased separately. 

A compact 5 x 3.5 x 1.25 chassis with a silver covering is included. The screws that hold everything together are exposed, allowing you to open up the gadget and tweak it if you’re interested. 

If you are looking for the 5 Best Dac Under 500, you should give this one a chance. This is probably one of the best 5 Best Dac Under 500 you can find. Opening open the MODI will most likely expose how easy the construction of this device is.  

We like how the rubber tips on the four corners of the gadget make it easy to lay on your desk or atop your separate amplifier. Overall, the construction is strong and well-made for the price. 

If you need a basic DAC but don’t have the money for anything more expensive, the MODI 3+ is a must-have. When combined with a variety of headphones, this DAC can provide an extremely clean and natural sound. There are no better choices for the $99 price point than we can think of. It’s unusual to stumble across a product like this. 


  • Natural output
  • Price
  • Simple


  • None

Best for Budget: Fosi Audio Q4 Headphone Amplifier Mini Stereo DAC

Description: Fosi Audio has been in business since 2017. (brand story). They mostly sell audio equipment and have impressed us with their products (specifically pricing).

Features: We’ve never had a problem with quality. The DAC AMP is well-built and made of high-quality materials, but we’ll get to it later. To begin with the features, the Fosi Audio Q4 DAC AMP is intended to provide an amplified audio experience. So you have a few alternatives for connecting each of your audio sources.

Once a source is connected, just flick the switch to the one you want to use. It’s a really straightforward setup. If you are looking for the 5 Best Dac Under 500, you should give this one a chance. This is probably one of the best 5 Best Dac Under 500 you can find.

Furthermore, the front panel has not just a volume dial but also separate treble and bass controls. This is much welcomed, as many other DAC AMPs do not have it. It’s especially useful if you’re not playing audio from a source with equalization (EQ).

The power comes next. Fosi’s DAC AMP is powered by USB. This has certain advantages and disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that this is not a particularly strong amplifier.

The advantage of this is that it is incredibly versatile. It is simple to use with a mobile device such as a laptop.


  • Designed with PC-USB/optical inputs
  • Easy to set up
  • Mini Compact D/A converter


  • None

SMSL Sanskrit

Description: SMSL, like many other firms from the country of the red dragon, focuses on developing cheap audio products for young audiophiles and those looking for the most bang for their buck.

Features: It came in a compact box, similar to the Topping E30, with plenty of black foam for protection. The inside space was cleverly utilized, making the most of every square inch available.

When you open the box, you’ll find the device, 8 transparent silicone feet, two Hi-Res Audio stickers, an after-sales service card, and a user manual. A single USB type A to micro-USB cable is also included, which will carry the USB signal as well as the power to the gadget.

If you are looking for the 5 Best Dac Under 500, you should give this one a chance. This is probably one of the best 5 Best Dac Under 500 you can find.

In comparison to, for instance, an E30 from Topping, it just requires a single connection to function, hence SMSL did not offer a separate cable. If you wish to charge it with an external battery bank, you’ll need your own micro-USB cable. SMSL also supplied a basic remote control, which should function well in the living room.

We strongly advise reading the user manual first, only to learn how to enable the remote; there are a few more techniques in there as well. In terms of build quality, we have nothing to complain about. SMSL chose a thick metal sheet for the front panel, which matches the rest of the metal casing flawlessly.


  • A faster transient response to counterbalance
  • A fairly neutral frequency response
  • Spread-out stage


  • Rolled-off a bit in the treble

Gustard DAC-X16

Description: Gustard has often demonstrated that superb digital audio flows through their veins. X26 PRO was a tremendous surprise that we didn’t see coming, surpassing almost every oversampling delta/sigma DAC.

Features: The more we listened to their earlier equipment, such as the A22 and A18 DACs, the clearer it seemed that Gustard had everything they need to thrive.

They’re still fantastic when it comes to digital audio, and their X16 DAC, which we’ll be evaluating today, is a game-changer in many respects. It’s the first converter to utilize the newest ESS 9068AS DAC chips, which include a full MQA decoder.

If you are looking for the 5 Best Dac Under 500, you should give this one a chance. This is probably one of the best 5 Best Dac Under 500 you can find.

On paper, the X16 appears to be a high-performance contemporary DAC housed in a tiny aluminum housing with a mid-fi price tag. Is this the Holy Grail of digital audio or just another flavor of the month?

The X16 was double boxed, which is now standard procedure for all Asian units. The product packaging is relatively small but rather substantial, indicating that we would be dealing with a higher-quality DAC.

For added security, X16 was covered in a large blanket, while the rest of the accessories are kept in their own foam pouches. All Gustard devices come with the best USB cords, and the X16 is no exception.


  • Minimalist design, high build quality
  • In terms of features and I/O, it is impressive.
  • The sound is really detailed and clear.
  • There is no background noise to be found.


  • Not the most powerful DAC.
  • Not the most vivid or emotive unit.

Buyer’s Guide for 5 Best Dac Under 500

The DAC is most renowned for its incredible ability in converting digital signals to analog signals. And, while some DACs have exceptional performance, keep in mind that some of them are of poorer quality and may not provide the best output. So, before you buy a DAC, consider the following characteristics to help you determine which one is ideal for you.

What exactly is a DAC AMP (DAC AMP Combo)?

A digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is exactly what it sounds like. This allows you to transform your audio data from 0s and 1s to an analog signal. This is done so that the signal may be sent to a headphone amplifier and subsequently into your headphones.

However, in most circumstances, you cannot connect an amplifier directly to headphones, thus an intermediary is required (DAC).

What exactly are DSD and PCM?

DSD is a high-resolution audio encoding technique used in digital audio. It is an abbreviation for Direct Stream Digital, which was developed by Sony and Philips. DSD files have the.dsf file extension. PCM, or Pulse Code Modulation, is a digital representation method for sampled analog signals. The PCM file extension is.wav.

What Should You Look For When Purchasing a DAC?

When seeking to purchase a DAC, there are a few variables to consider. The first consideration is your budget. DACs are available at a variety of pricing points, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs. Second, you must pick which form of input and output is ideal for you.

Should I go with wireless and USB connectivity?

On the market, there are two types of Dac connection systems. One utilizes a USB wire to connect to your headphones or phone, while the other uses Bluetooth to connect gadgets. The best DAC for you will be determined by the type of device you have and your preferences.

If you’re comfortable with USB connections, go ahead and use them. A wireless Bluetooth connection is the best solution since it is portable, eliminates the need for cable connections, and is quick to set up. Determine what you need, what you want, and how handy it is for you.

Do you require the Dac with Amplification?

There are certain DACs that do not power the speaker or headset. It’s because they lack an amplifier, which makes the music louder when listened to through speakers or headphones according to this 5 Best Dac Under 500 review.

To remedy these issues, designers began adding amps to the amplifiers of DAC devices. Simply attach it to the device’s headphone jack to enhance the volume while keeping the music quality.

Examine its electrical power output consumption

You’ll want to use your DAC as often as possible, but you don’t want to rack up enormous electrical costs in the process. Before purchasing any DAC, research its power consumption habits in relation to its total functions.

Some DAC products are designed to be more energy-efficient than others, and it is up to you to determine which product best meets your energy consumption strategy according to this 5 Best Dac Under 500 review.

Examine the product's audio output capabilities

Every product has a sound output threshold, and while one device’s sound output capability may be adequate for a first user, it may not be sufficient for another user. As a result, before purchasing a DAC, inquire about the product’s sound output characteristics from your dealer.

Find strategies to use descriptions and analogies that you can readily grasp in order to better understand the talents.

For example, one DAC may be able to amplify sounds by up to ten times the capacity of smartphone inbuilt DACs, whilst another DAC’s ability may not be greater than five times that of smartphones.

The DAC's size and mobility

In the market, there are several models and structure patterns for various DACs. From USB flash drive-like devices to massive projector-sized ones, you’ll find almost everything. However, this is a crucial characteristic to consider when purchasing a DAC.

If you want to use your device in many locations or if you are a frequent traveler, you will most certainly require a very portable DAC. On the other hand, for the user who merely wishes to connect his DAC to his television set, this may not be essential.

For such a consumer, other considerations and features would be more important than the DAC’s mobility according to this 5 Best Dac Under 500 review.

Options for connectivity

This refers to the DAC’s built-in architecture for connecting to sound-display devices. While some DACs allow users to connect through three or four routes, others may only supply one. If you intend to use the device with several music player formats, you should select the one that supports this.

Bluetooth connection on some DACs is an important feature that you may be interested in, but it is not widely available. Find the items that best fit you in this regard, and make this an essential consideration.

Is it true that a DAC improves sound?

Greater sound quality is generally provided via an external DAC according to this 5 Best Dac Under 500 review.

Bluetooth connection on some DACs is an important feature that you may be interested in, but it is not widely available. Find the items that best fit you in this regard, and make this an essential consideration.

Is DAC worthwhile?

A DAC is definitely worthwhile. Because your files are lossy, a DAC or better digital audio system is still worthwhile.

Is a DAC superior to a sound card?

Your best bet is a dedicated sound card according to this 5 Best Dac Under 500 review.

Conclusion: 5 Best Dac Under 500 [2022 Review]

When looking for a product to buy, there will be times when you must sacrifice one feature for another according to this 5 Best Dac Under 500 review.

Typically, this would occur if the items you’re considering purchasing have more significant qualities that fit you, with the lack of a few. Every product has advantages and disadvantages, so be sure your product of choice suits your specific requirements.

Have trouble deciding on your next DAC? Not to worry, we’ve done the homework and prepared a list of some of our top DACs under $500. Check out these six items if you want to improve your home listening experience or purchase one as a present! We hope you liked our 5 Best Dac Under 500 review and it was helpful.

Categories: Uncategorized