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Unleashing Audiophile-Grade Sound On-The-Go: The Best High-Resolution Portable USB DACs of 2023

by Array 26 May 2023


In the digital music era, achieving exceptional audio quality on-the-go is a top priority for music enthusiasts and audiophiles. Portable USB DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters) have become the go-to solution for elevating sound quality on portable devices. In this guide, we will explore the world of portable USB DACs and present you with the best options available in 2023. From enhanced bit depth to superior signal-to-noise ratios, these devices will help you unlock audiophile-grade sound quality wherever you are. So what are the best high resolution portable DACs on the Market today?


First lets dive in to what portable DACs are and what the can do for you musical journey.


Portable USB DACs are compact devices that convert digital audio signals from your computer, Games Console or mobile device into high-quality analog signals. By bypassing the built-in sound card, they improve audio reproduction, resulting in superior clarity, detail, and overall sound quality. These devices are designed for portability, allowing you to enjoy high-resolution audio through your headphones or speakers while on-the-go.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Portable USB DAC

To ensure you select the ideal portable USB DAC for your needs, consider the following factors:

  • Audio Quality: Look for devices with high bit depth, sample rates, and impressive signal-to-noise ratios to ensure faithful audio reproduction.
  • Compatibility: Check for compatibility with your device's operating system and the connectivity options you require (USB-C, Lightning, etc.).
  • Portability: Consider the device's size, weight, and durability to ensure it fits your on-the-go lifestyle.
  • Connectivity Options: Assess the available outputs (headphone, line-out, digital) to ensure compatibility with your preferred audio setup.
  • Power Source: Decide between battery-powered or USB bus-powered devices based on your usage preferences and convenience.
  • Additional Features: Consider features like gain control, EQ settings, and compatibility with high-resolution audio formats to personalise your listening experience.


So what are the Top High-Resolution Portable USB DACs of 2023? Here are our top recommendations of all DACs available at OTIC.



Astell&Kern HC3 Dual DAC - FLAGSHIP AUDIO WITHOUT THE PRICE!!


The Astell&Kern HC3 Dual DAC is a groundbreaking audio device that will elevate your music listening experience to new heights. With its cutting-edge technology and exceptional features, this DAC is designed to deliver unparalleled sound quality and immerse you in a world of sonic perfection.


Featuring a sleek and stylish design, the Astell&Kern HC3 DAC is a true embodiment of elegance and craftsmanship. Its compact size makes it incredibly portable, allowing you to enjoy hi-fidelity audio wherever you go. Whether you're at home, in the office, or on the move, this DAC will be your ultimate audio companion.


One of the standout features of the HC3 DAC is its state-of-the-art digital-to-analog conversion capabilities. Equipped with the latest AK4493EQ dual DAC chipset, this device translates digital audio signals into rich, detailed analog sound with astonishing precision. The result is an expansive soundstage, crystal-clear instrument separation, and an immersive listening experience that will captivate your senses.


Not only does the HC3 DAC excel in sound reproduction, but it also offers versatile connectivity options. It supports a wide range of input interfaces, including USB, optical, and coaxial, allowing you to connect it to various devices such as your computer, smartphone, or gaming console. This versatility ensures that you can enjoy your music in high-resolution from any source.


Another remarkable feature of the Astell&Kern HC3 DAC is its extensive format support. It effortlessly handles a multitude of audio formats, including PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD up to 11.2MHz. Whether you're a fan of high-resolution FLAC files or enjoy the pure analog warmth of DSD, this DAC will faithfully reproduce your favorite tracks with stunning fidelity.


To enhance your listening experience further, the HC3 DAC incorporates an advanced user interface. Its intuitive controls and vibrant OLED display provide easy navigation and quick access to your music library. You can effortlessly adjust settings, select input sources, and customize sound preferences, ensuring that the device adapts perfectly to your preferences.


Designed with audiophiles in mind, the Astell&Kern HC3 DAC offers exceptional performance and versatility. Its high-quality components, meticulous engineering, and attention to detail guarantee a pristine audio reproduction that brings your music to life. Immerse yourself in the world of uncompromising sound quality with the Astell&Kern HC3 DAC, and rediscover the joy of listening to your favorite music like never before.

  • RRP £199




Shanling UA5 Hi Res Portable DAC - BEST IN CLASS!


In today's fast-paced world, we often find solace in our favourite music, seeking an escape from the noise of everyday life. If you're a true audio aficionado, the Shanling UA5 Hi Res Portable DAC is a portable companion that promises to elevate your listening experience to new heights.


Design and Build Quality:


The Shanling UA5 DAC impresses from the moment you lay eyes on it. With its sleek and sturdy aluminum alloy construction, it exudes a sense of sophistication and durability. The compact and portable design makes it a perfect travel companion, effortlessly slipping into your pocket or bag, ready to deliver an immersive audio experience wherever you go.

Audio Performance:


At the heart of the UA5 DAC lies a dual ES9038Q2M DAC chipset, representing the pinnacle of audio engineering. This cutting-edge technology ensures that you experience music in its purest form, with an expansive dynamic range, minimal distortion, and an incredibly low noise floor. The result? A listening experience that unveils the tiniest nuances, revealing hidden layers in your favorite tracks and allowing you to rediscover your music collection with a newfound appreciation.

Versatility and Connectivity:


What sets the Shanling UA5 DAC apart is its versatility in connectivity options. Whether you're using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other device, the UA5 DAC offers a range of input options including USB, coaxial, and optical, ensuring seamless integration with your preferred source. This flexibility empowers you to enjoy high-fidelity audio from a variety of devices, providing an exceptional sonic experience tailored to your needs.

High-Resolution Audio Support:


With support for PCM up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD up to 512, the Shanling UA5 DAC is a true powerhouse when it comes to handling demanding audio formats. Whether you're an audiophile who revels in the rich details of lossless FLAC files or a fan of the pure analog warmth of DSD recordings, this DAC faithfully reproduces your music with impeccable accuracy, delivering a listening experience that is nothing short of breathtaking.

Intuitive User Interface:


Navigating the UA5 DAC is a easy, thanks to its intuitive OLED display and user-friendly interface. It allows for seamless control and quick access to a range of settings, enabling you to fine-tune your audio experience to suit your preferences. Whether you want to adjust filters, gain levels, or explore other customisation options, the UA5 DAC puts you in the driver's seat, allowing you to shape your sound journey.


In a world where quality audio experiences are highly sought after, the Shanling UA5 DAC shines as a portable powerhouse that truly delivers. With its impeccable design, exceptional audio performance, versatile connectivity options, and support for high-resolution audio formats, it proves to be a worthy companion for those who demand nothing but the best. Immerse yourself in the world of unrivaled audio quality with the Shanling UA5 DAC and let your music come alive like never before.

  • RRP £269





FiiO KA5 USB DAC Headphone Amp - Unleash Audiophile-Grade Sound on the Go


The FiiO KA5 DAC is a compact yet powerful audio device that aims to redefine the portable listening experience. Join us as we explore the features and capabilities of this exceptional DAC, designed to deliver audiophile-grade sound quality wherever your musical journey takes you.


The FiiO KA5 DAC boasts an elegant and sturdy design that catches the eye from the first glance. With its sleek aluminum alloy chassis and thoughtful button placement, it exudes a sense of sophistication and durability. The compact form factor ensures that it effortlessly fits into your pocket or bag, making it a perfect companion for music enthusiasts on the move.


When it comes to sound reproduction, the FiiO KA5 DAC doesn't disappoint. Equipped with the highly regarded AK4490EN DAC chip, this device demonstrates its commitment to exceptional audio performance. The AK4490EN ensures a wide dynamic range, low distortion, and a refined level of detail, allowing you to immerse yourself in your favourite music with astonishing clarity and precision.


The KA5 DAC offers versatile connectivity options, making it compatible with a wide range of devices. Whether you're connecting it to your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or gaming console, the KA5 DAC provides multiple input interfaces, including USB, coaxial, and optical, ensuring seamless integration with your preferred audio source. This flexibility guarantees that you can enjoy high-quality sound from any device, without compromising on fidelity.


True audiophiles seek the highest level of audio quality, and the FiiO KA5 DAC rises to the occasion. With support for PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD up to 128, it handles high-resolution audio formats with ease. Whether you're delving into the intricate details of lossless FLAC files or reveling in the organic warmth of DSD recordings, the KA5 DAC faithfully reproduces your music, preserving every nuance and subtlety.


Navigating the KA5 DAC is a breeze, thanks to its user-friendly interface and intuitive controls. The clear LED display provides essential information at a glance, while the well-placed buttons and volume knob offer effortless control over your audio settings. Adjusting filters, selecting input sources, and customising your sound preferences becomes a seamless and enjoyable experience with the KA5 DAC.


The FiiO KA5 DAC stands as a remarkable audio companion for those who demand the best sound quality on the go. With its elegant design, exceptional audio performance, versatile connectivity options, and support for high-resolution audio formats, it establishes itself as a powerful tool for audio enthusiasts. Experience your music like never before and elevate your listening experience with the FiiO KA5 DAC, unlocking the true potential of your favourite tracks wherever you are.

  • RRP £124.99




Cayin RU6 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier - AUDIO PRECISION AT ITS BEST!


The RU6 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier is a hidden gem in the world of audio devices. Its unassuming design might make it easy to overlook, but don't be fooled—this little powerhouse has the ability to transform your music listening experience. Join us as we embark on a sonic journey and explore the exceptional features of the RU6 DAC Headphone Amplifier.


With its sleek and compact design, the RU6 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier is a stylish addition to any audio setup. Its unibody aluminum construction not only looks sophisticated but also ensures durability. The compact size makes it perfect for on-the-go music enthusiasts, as it easily slips into your bag or pocket, ready to accompany you wherever you roam.


When it comes to audio performance, the RU6 DAC Headphone Amplifier punches above its weight class. Equipped with a powerful DAC and headphone amplifier, it elevates your music to new heights. The sound reproduction is rich, detailed, and engaging, allowing you to pick up on subtle nuances and experience your favorite songs in a whole new way. From soaring vocals to thunderous bass, the RU6 delivers an audio experience that will make you fall in love with your music all over again.


Versatility is the name of the game with the RU6 DAC Headphone Amplifier. It offers a range of connectivity options to suit your needs. With its USB input, you can easily connect it to your computer, laptop, or other USB-enabled devices. It also features a line output, allowing you to connect it to external speakers or amplifiers for an even more immersive audio experience. Whether you're a music lover, gamer, or movie enthusiast, the RU6 adapts to your audio setup seamlessly.


Navigating the RU6 DAC Headphone Amplifier is simple, thanks to its user-friendly interface and intuitive controls. The dedicated volume knob allows precise control over your audio levels, while the switchable gain settings cater to different headphone sensitivities. Additionally, the built-in bass boost feature adds an extra punch to your music when you need that extra oomph. The RU6 puts the control in your hands, allowing you to fine-tune your audio experience to match your preferences.


The RU6 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier may be compact, but it packs a serious punch when it comes to sound quality. Its stylish design, powerful audio performance, versatile connectivity, and user-friendly interface make it a standout choice for audio enthusiasts seeking to unlock the true potential of their headphones. Prepare to be amazed as the RU6 DAC Headphone Amplifier takes your music to new heights, allowing you to rediscover your favorite songs with a newfound clarity and depth. Say goodbye to ordinary audio and let the RU6 elevate your music to extraordinary levels.

  • RRP £189.99




iBasso DC06 Hi-Res Portable DAC - BUDGET ENTRY WITH UNCOMPROMISING SOUND!


In today's fast-paced world, we demand technology that keeps up with our dynamic lifestyles. When it comes to portable audio devices, the iBasso DC06 DAC emerges as a clear frontrunner. With its sleek and minimalist design, this pocket-sized powerhouse not only catches the eye but also delivers a stunning audio experience that will leave audiophiles in awe.


At first glance, the iBasso DC06 DAC impresses with its sleek and minimalist design. The slim and lightweight construction ensures it effortlessly slips into your pocket or bag, making it an ideal companion for audiophiles on the move. But this device is not just a pretty face; it's built to withstand the rigours of everyday use. With attention to detail and premium build quality, the DC06 exudes both durability and style, promising a device that will last.


The true beauty of the iBasso DC06 lies in its ability to deliver an extraordinary audio experience. Equipped with the acclaimed Dual ESS ES9219C QUAD DAC+™ DAC Chips, this device ensures your music is reproduced with exceptional clarity, accuracy, and dynamics. From the delicate nuances of instrumentals to the raw power of vocals, every note is presented with astonishing precision. Prepare to rediscover your favourite tracks in a whole new light, as the DC06 breathes life into your music collection.


The iBasso DC06 DAC offers a wide range of connectivity options, catering to various audio sources. With its USB-C input, you can effortlessly connect it to your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other compatible devices. This versatility ensures that high-quality audio is at your fingertips, no matter the source. Whether you're streaming from your favourite music app or enjoying a high-resolution audio file, the DC06 guarantees a seamless and convenient listening experience.


The iBasso DC06 is a true advocate for high-resolution audio formats. With support for PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz and native DSD up to DSD256, this device handles even the most demanding audio files with ease. Lose yourself in the world of lossless FLAC files or revel in the natural warmth of DSD recordings; the DC06 ensures a truly immersive and lifelike audio experience. Immerse yourself in the subtle details and captivating nuances that were previously hidden, and let the DC06 transport you to a whole new level of audio enjoyment.


Navigating the iBasso DC06 DAC is easy, thanks to its user-friendly interface. With simple plug-and-play functionality, you can connect your device and start enjoying high-quality sound in no time. The DC06 also features an LED indicator that provides clear status information, allowing you to stay in control of your audio settings. With this level of user-friendliness, the DC06 ensures that technology never gets in the way of your listening experience.


The iBasso DC06 DAC is the epitome of audio excellence. With its sleek design, audiophile-grade sound quality, versatile connectivity options, and user-friendly interface, it ticks all the boxes for discerning music lovers. Embrace a world of sonic brilliance and allow the iBasso DC06 DAC to transport you to new heights of audio enjoyment. Elevate your music

  • RRP £109.00






Wrap Up -


Portable USB DACs have revolutionized the way we experience audio on the go. With their compact design and ability to convert digital audio signals into high-quality analog signals, these devices elevate our listening experience to new heights. By bypassing the limitations of built-in sound cards, portable USB DACs unlock a world of superior clarity, detail, and overall sound quality that traditional devices cannot match. Whether you're using your computer, game console, or mobile device, these pocket-sized powerhouses ensure that you can enjoy high-resolution audio through your headphones or speakers, no matter where you are. Say goodbye to compromised audio and embrace the true potential of your music with a portable USB DAC. It's time to take your audio experience to the next level.

These are just some of the HiRes USB DACs available at OTIC - for a full selection head over to our dedicated page and have a look for yourself. We offer 10% off your 1st order and FREE Shipping on all orders over £249.


Listen Better

OTIC Team







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