What Are the Best DACs of 2017?


2017 has been quite a year. As an audiophile I watched the development and release of pleasurable planar magnetics, amiable amplifiers, and other extravagant ear-goggles all with the goal of producing the highest resolution audio. But all of these innovations and improvements are inadequate if your source audio is compressed through your on-board digital to audio converter. And you already know this, you audacious audiophile. So today, I shall focus on conversion and express my opinion of the best DACs of 2017.

What Are the Best DACs of 2017?

Chord Hugo 2 – $2379.00


To date the Chord Hugo 2 is one of the best DACs I’ve ever heard–and the price tag supports that statement. It can playback audio up to 798kHz PCM and DSD512 (Octa-DSD). Its sound signature is versatile because of its filter options. Two are meant to replicate the super clean and clear Chord Dave and the other two are meant to copy the Chord Mojo. Regardless of its tech specs which are all available on the Chord website, the Chord Hugo 2 sounds amazing!

For a full review: https://majorhifi.com/the-most-anticipated-dac-headphone-amp-of-the-year-chord-hugo-2-review/

The Chord Hugo 2 is available for the best price here: 

Chord Hugo 2 at Audio 46 

Chord Hugo 2 on Amazon

iFi Micro iDSD Black Label – $549.00

iFi Micro iDSD Black Label 2

Just like a fine scotch, the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label is iFi’s benchmark for high quality. It is also their flagship product. Its playback is oriented around 2 Burr-Brown DAC chips producing, 798kHz PCM and DSD512. It’s sound signature includes a tight low-end and a musical midrange and high-end. Additionally, it has a subtle but super fun bass boost. The amplifier section is great for folks with a wide variety of headphones and earphones (with a wide range of impedances) because it has a plethora of settings for adjusting the power.

To read the full review: https://majorhifi.com/ifi-micro-idsd-black-label-dac-review/

The iFi Micro iDsd Black Label is available for the best price here:

iFi Micro iDSD Black Label at Audio 46

iFi Micro iDSD Black Label on Amazon

Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amplifier – $499.00

Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amplifier

While the Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amplifier has a looser bass than the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label, it has some of the most versatile input and output sections of any amp I’ve seen this year. It can take USB, optical, coaxial, or line (to skip the DAC). Additionally it can output balanced 4-pin XLR, unbalanced 6.5mm, and RCA. It has a low impedance and high impedance switch which attenuates or boosts the signal 10dB. Lastly, it has a beautiful look and good sound!

To read the full review: https://majorhifi.com/klipsch-heritage-headphone-amplifier-review/

The Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amplifier is available for the best price here:

Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amplifier at Audio 46

Klipsch Heritage Headphone Amplifier on Amazon

iFi Nano iDSD Black Label – $199.00

iFi Nano iDSD Black Label

The iFi Nano iDSD Black Label, like its older sibling, is a great sounding little DAC/amp combo. It is shorter in stature, and thus more portable. While it has less switchable features than the Micro iDSD Black Label, it also supports MQA, the high quality music format so small it is streamable (think Tidal). This DAC is the best bang-for-your-buck, and helps the audiophiles on more of a budget achieve high-quality sound portably.

To read the full review: https://majorhifi.com/ifi-nano-black-label-dac-amplifier-review/

The iFi Nano iDSD Black Label is available for the best price here:

iFi Nano iDSD Black Label at Audio 46

iFi Nano iDSD Black Label on Amazon

FiiO i1 – $39.99

FiiO i1

The FiiO i1 is an awesome option for those who simply want better sound from their iPhone on a budget. While the i1 doesn’t boost level at all, it replaces the DAC off the phone and gives you a cleaner, more musical sound. Additionally, it is more convenient than other ultra small DACs because it doesn’t drain your battery.

The FiiO i1 is available for the best price here:

FiiO i1 at Audio 46

FiiO i1 on Amazon

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Steph is a musician, recordist, mixer, and producer. In addition to longform written reviews, he also handles the MajorHiFi Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/majorhifi Contact: steph@majorhifi.com