Pros: Extremely small, nice clean sound and fantastic price-to-performance ratio
Cons: None that come to mind.
I've had the pleasure of listening to many NuForce products through the years and I've always found them to offer outstanding price-to-performance ratios. Their products perform quite well and punch higher than their weight class. This time around I'm reviewing the really small uDAC-3 and all I can say is that trend certainly continues with this outstanding little product. Don't let the small size fool you, the sound that you get from the uDAC-3 is B-I-G!
My setup was simply from my Toshiba notebook (using Audirvana w/ iTunes) and my various portable headphones (mostly NAD HP50s, B&O H6s, and beyer T51p's). Right off the bat, the more open and spacious sound hit me when compared to going right out of my iMac directly. For only $125, this little unit is certainly a great pick up if you're looking for a small unit that you can couple with your notebook for when you're on the go. The presentation is fairly neutral with no area (bass/mids/treble) that really has more precedence than the other. Just a natural presentation that doesn't get in the way of the music...just how I like it!
When listening to k.d. Lang's Recollection, the music just flows effortlessly through the uDAC-3 and my NAD HP-50s have never sounded better while at work. The openness of the sound stage and great clarity is a welcome change to what I'm used to at my desk (normally I just plug my headphones into my computer while in the office). And the small size really helps me keep it out of the way among the clutter.
The construction of this little beauty (as you can see) is very clean and solid. With solid metal casework and simple setup, it's a real joy to have by one's side. Just plug in your headphones and hear what you've been missing. Deep taught bass that goes down deep, but doesn't bleed into the mids. Mids that are fully flushed out and clear and treble that extends, but never strident. Throw in the improved soundstaging and decreased noise floor when compared to a headphone out of a laptop/desktop...I would say at this price, the uDAC-3 is a no brainer.
If you are like I was, just plugging in your headphones into your computer, you really should look seriously into the uDAC-3 as a great little option to kick things up a notch (or several)!