USB-C to 3.5mm adapters (DAC) - Let's find the best
Oct 20, 2021 at 10:33 AM Post #3,107 of 3,222

Matias

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Oct 20, 2021 at 1:51 PM Post #3,109 of 3,222

Bacchinif

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Hey everyone, considering that the first threa
Now that 3.5mm headphone output is nearing extinction in smartphones, it's time to start compiling the list for the best USB-C to 3.5mm adapter DACs. Many phones don't even offer analog output anymore on their USB-C output , so the only option is to have a dongle/adapter with a built-in DAC.

Unfortunately, the output power and sound quality of these DACs is mostly mediocre or downright poor (here's looking at you Google with your useless Pixel adapters).

So, what are the highest quality and best bang for your buck USB-C to 3.5mm Digital output DAC adapters (small size)?

The short list so far (6/2019):

Apple USB-C to 3.5mm adapter ~ $10 USD
https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MU7E2ZM/A/usb-c-35-mm-kuulokeliitäntäsovitin
Output power: 31mW @33 Ohm (tested)
Sound quality: good (for a dongle/adapter)
Volume control: digital
Line-in mic support (in Android): ?

Hidizs Sonata HD Dac Cable II aka TempoTec Sonata HD ~ $35 USD
https://www.hidizs.net/blogs/news/h...with-hi-res-sound-with-sonata-hd-dac-cable-ii
Output power: 60mW @32 Ohm (mfg rating, not tested by 3rd party)
Sound quality: apparently good (for a dongle/adapter)
Volume control: digital
Line-in mic support (in Android): has multiple different firmware and with firmware D it has in-line mic support

Musiland MU1 $ ~ $33 USD
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Musiland-MU1-TYPE-C-portable-sound-card-Earphone-cable-3-5mm-Headset-Adapter-decodes-for-mobile/32869987030.html
Output power: 28mW @33 Ohm (tested)
Sound quality: good (for a dongle/adapter)
Volume control: digital
Line-in mic support (in Android):?

Musiland MU2 Plus
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Newest-version-Musiland-MU2PLUS-digital-decoding-headphone-amplifier-cable-mobile-phone-digital-decoder-computer-USB-sound/32992391339.html
Output power: 45mW @33 Ohm (tested)
Sound quality: excellent (for a dongle/adapter)
Volume control: digital (in-line control buttons)
Line-in mic support (in Android):?

NextDrive Spectra X DAC ~ $200 USD
https://www.nextdrive-spectra.io/
Output power: 49mW @33 Ohm (tested)
Sound quality: excellent (for a dongle/adapter)
Volume control: digital
Line-in mic support (in Android):?
Sound quality: excellent (for any DAC)

E1DA 9038S balanced DAC ~ $70 USD
https://e1dashz.wixsite.com/index/9038s
Review: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ents-of-e1da-9038s-bal-portable-dac-amp.8424/
Output Power: 37mW @300 Ohm balanced output (tested), 340mW into 32Ohm (tested)
Output Impedance: 0.3 Ohm (tested)
Volume control: none
Line-in mic support: none
S/N (SINAD) ratio: 110 dB (83 dB at 50mV SNR)

Potentially good adapters - but no proper information on them yet (will fill in later, when / if new information arrives on them):

iBasso DC01 (balanced DAC) ~ $51 USD
http://www.ibasso.com
https://carvelink.com.hk/item/iBasso-DC01平衡解碼耳放線/4899690461265920
Output power: 113 mW @32 Ohm (mfg claim) (balanced amp, 2.5mm balalanced out), 1.9V (32Ω) (preliminary data from mfg)
Sound quality: 32bit/384kHz max, DSD256, THD+N: <0.001% (32Ω, 1.2Vrms),
Volume control: hardware 64-levels with provided iBasso software appp (via UAC 2.0)
Line-in mic support (in Android):?
Other: AK4493 DAC chip, only balanced 2.5mm output (not standard stereo single-ended 3.5mm)
Weight: 119g

Hifime Tiny Type-C Dac ~ $30
https://hifimediy.com/DACs/ready-made-dacs/tiny-type-c-dac

Plussound USB-C 3.5mm mini adapter (preorder)
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/plussound-audio-thread.701384/page-74#post-14992442
Output power: ?? (power consumption is 15mA)
Standby power (current): 1.5 mA (mfg data)
Sound quality: S/N 104 dB, THD 90 dB, 24bit/96kHz (all mfg data, not 3rd party verified)
Volume control: digital ?
Line-in mic support (in Android):?

Venture Electronics Odyssey HD (several terminations available) $10-30 USD
https://www.veclan.com/engappliance_sel_one?eng_ApplianceVo.eac_id=32

Iconic High Res USB-C DAC (performance unknown)
https://iconic-music.net/product/triangle-high-resolution-usb-c-audio-dac-amplifier-to-3-5-mm/

Meizu Hifi-Dac (CS43131) ~ $34 USD
https://www.giztop.com/official-meizu-hi-fi-dac-headphone-adapter.html
Output Power: 30mW (@ 32Ohm), mfg data)
PCM decoding capability: 32bit / 384kHz
DSD: DSD64/DSD128
SNR: >120dB
DNR: >120dB
THD+N: <0.0003%
Output load: 16Ω ~ 600Ω
Chip: Cirrus Logic CS43131

All of the above have also considerable power draw budgets, so take that into account if you use a phone with a smaller battery capacity.

I'm not personally interested in large AMP-DACs (Fiio, Hifime) or dangling USB-A type DACs (Dragonfly), but perhaps somebody else can make a list of those, if they are interested.

If you know of any other good USB-C 3.5mm DAC dongles, please chime in. Especially if you've found out competent test for their output impedance, output power and audio performance.

Updates:
16.6.2019 - Added more data on iBasso DC01
18.6.2019 - Mfg claimed data for Plussound adapter
20.6.2019 - More info on iBasso DC01 (first batch)
25.6.2019 - Added Meizu Hi-Fi DAC (CS43131)
14.8.2019 - Added E1DA 9038S portable Balanced DAC
15.8.2019 - Fixed E1DA 9038S output power data and added link

Hey everyone, considering that the first thread might be a bit outdated... is there anything specific you could suggest in the price range 50€-70€? At the moment I'm using a Creative Sound Blaster G3 paired with the Moondrop Arias, but I was wondering if there was something a little better in terms of quality and/or more portable than the G3. I can only purchase the product on Amazon.it, but I'll figure that out on my own.
 
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Oct 20, 2021 at 2:18 PM Post #3,110 of 3,222

Matias

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Hey everyone, considering that the first threa


Hey everyone, considering that the first thread might be a bit outdated... is there anything specific you could suggest in the price range 50€-70€? At the moment I'm using a Creative Sound Blaster G3 paired with the Moondrop Arias, but I was wondering if there was something a little better in terms of quality and/or more portable than the G3. I can only purchase the product on Amazon.it, but I'll figure that out on my own.
Start here and shop on Aliexpress.
https://andyaudiovault.com/donglemadness/
 
Oct 21, 2021 at 5:54 AM Post #3,111 of 3,222

Bacchinif

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I'm sorry but this confuses me even more.

1. I can't shop on Aliexpress due to the lack of warranty.

2. It's not indicated a price range for each DAC which makes things more difficult for me as I can't spend more than 70€.

3. It's fine to skip a bit on portability for a better quality.

4. I'd prefer having something with a native USB C connector.
 
Oct 21, 2021 at 7:08 AM Post #3,112 of 3,222

ActuallySparky

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I'm sorry but this confuses me even more.

1. I can't shop on Aliexpress due to the lack of warranty.

2. It's not indicated a price range for each DAC which makes things more difficult for me as I can't spend more than 70€.

3. It's fine to skip a bit on portability for a better quality.

4. I'd prefer having something with a native USB C connector.
Check out https://andyaudiovault.com/donglemadness/tempotec-sonata-hd-pro/ or https://andyaudiovault.com/donglemadness/shanling-ua2-2/ - both are in the 4* area near the top of his list and meets all your requirements. I personally have never heard either, so I can't recommend personally - just pointing you at a couple of options to research.
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 7:03 AM Post #3,113 of 3,222

ActuallySparky

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https://fiio.com/ka3 <-- is this newly announced, or just something new I'm finding. No on-device controls (but looks like the Fiio app can tweak some stuff).
 
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Oct 24, 2021 at 9:14 AM Post #3,114 of 3,222

Arjey

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Can someone please recommend me the best (or a list of good options) USB-C dongle (DAC)? My budget is $15, I can go up to $20, but that's really a stretch, $25 is the absolute limit (I know, not much, but that's how it is). I'll be using it with my phone and low impedance, power hungry iEMs, such as Blon 03, Blon 01 and HZSound Heart Mirror.
P.s. don't recommend saving and getting TempoTec Sonata E44, that's not an option, unfortunately :')
P.p.s. I'm fine with it being no-name. As long as it's durable, will last, and sounds good - I'll be happy
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 9:50 AM Post #3,115 of 3,222

PhonoPhi

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Can someone please recommend me the best (or a list of good options) USB-C dongle (DAC)? My budget is $15, I can go up to $20, but that's really a stretch, $25 is the absolute limit (I know, not much, but that's how it is). I'll be using it with my phone and low impedance, power hungry iEMs, such as Blon 03, Blon 01 and HZSound Heart Mirror.
P.s. don't recommend saving and getting TempoTec Sonata E44, that's not an option, unfortunately :')
P.p.s. I'm fine with it being no-name. As long as it's durable, will last, and sounds good - I'll be happy
You should have seen this great list and resource:
https://andyaudiovault.com/donglemadness/
All your answers are there.
CX31993 one is quite nice.

Still, my advice would be to try to get something like Sonata HD pro (non-mac used to be as low as $30-ies) or E44.
https://fiio.com/ka3 <-- is this newly announced, or just something new I'm finding. No on-device controls (but looks like the Fiio app can tweak some stuff).
Very new, about a week on the market:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/fii...io-adapter-ka3-is-officially-released.960238/
How competitive KA3 against Shanling UA2 and Hidizs S9 pro (all have the same chip) is to be seen.
Since Fiio got me hooked onto 2.5 balanced - 4.4 from them is a blasphemy to me and arguably just clumsy in this form-factor together with 3.5.
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 1:51 PM Post #3,117 of 3,222

FatihEnes

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Did anyone try the lightning version of CX31993? Does it support high res out of iPhone?
Should be. ddhifi has a nice otg adapter, TC28i, if you want to use usb c dongles and cables.
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 3:06 AM Post #3,120 of 3,222

OspreyAndy

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whats a good usb-c to 3.5mm jack dac at $35 with taxes on amazon.com?

gonna be using vmoda m-100 masters.
For $10 get Xumee. Unfortunately nothing between $10-35 that can sound as nearly great as Xumee

Push it a bit more to $58 and get TempoTec Sonata HD Pro. All these on Amazon US
 

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