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Best DACs for Hi-Res & Lossless Audio on your iPhone and iPad

Hi-Res audio is all the rage in the audiophile community. DACs, or Digital to Analog Converters, are often an integral part of a hi-res setup and DACs can cost a lot! Fortunately for you, there are DACs that work with your iPhone or iPad that won’t break the bank. In this article, I’m going to share my six favorite DACs for playing hi-res and lossless audio on your iPhone or iPad using Apple Music.

Preview
Best Choice
FiiO Q1 Mark II Hi-Res MFi Certified Portable Amplifier with DAC (Black)
Value for Money
HIDIZS 2nd Portable Headphone USB DAC Amplifier for Android Smartphone/Laptop (Black)
Apogee GROOVE - Portable USB Headphone Amp and DAC, Bus Powered for Mac and PC, Made in USA
FiiO Q3 DSD512 | 768K/32Bit AK4462 DAC with THX AAA Amp Technology for Smartphones & Computers with...
AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt Plug-in USB Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) + Pre-Amplifier +...
Title
FiiO Q1 Mark II Hi-Res MFi Certified Portable Amplifier with DAC (Black)
HIDIZS 2nd Portable Headphone USB DAC Amplifier for Android Smartphone/Laptop (Black)
Apogee GROOVE - Portable USB Headphone Amp and DAC, Bus Powered for Mac and PC, Made in USA
FiiO Q3 DSD512 | 768K/32Bit AK4462 DAC with THX AAA Amp Technology for Smartphones & Computers with...
AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt Plug-in USB Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) + Pre-Amplifier +...
Rating
-
Price
₹ 34,488
₹ 4,299
₹ 18,525
₹ 35,879
₹ 30,000
Best Choice
Preview
FiiO Q1 Mark II Hi-Res MFi Certified Portable Amplifier with DAC (Black)
Title
FiiO Q1 Mark II Hi-Res MFi Certified Portable Amplifier with DAC (Black)
Rating
Price
₹ 34,488
Details
Value for Money
Preview
HIDIZS 2nd Portable Headphone USB DAC Amplifier for Android Smartphone/Laptop (Black)
Title
HIDIZS 2nd Portable Headphone USB DAC Amplifier for Android Smartphone/Laptop (Black)
Rating
Price
₹ 4,299
Details
Preview
Apogee GROOVE - Portable USB Headphone Amp and DAC, Bus Powered for Mac and PC, Made in USA
Title
Apogee GROOVE - Portable USB Headphone Amp and DAC, Bus Powered for Mac and PC, Made in USA
Rating
-
Price
₹ 18,525
Details
Preview
FiiO Q3 DSD512 | 768K/32Bit AK4462 DAC with THX AAA Amp Technology for Smartphones & Computers with...
Title
FiiO Q3 DSD512 | 768K/32Bit AK4462 DAC with THX AAA Amp Technology for Smartphones & Computers with...
Rating
Price
₹ 35,879
Details
Preview
AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt Plug-in USB Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) + Pre-Amplifier +...
Title
AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt Plug-in USB Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) + Pre-Amplifier +...
Rating
Price
₹ 30,000
Details

What is Apple Digital Master?

Apple Digital Master is Apple’s term for their lossless, uncompressed format. It gives a chance to artists and record labels to offer their music in the highest quality through Apple Music. Even if the album has “Apple Digital Master” label, you need additional hardware to take advantage of the high-resolution masters. Apple is offering lossless audio without charging anything extra over the current subscription plans.

Can I use a Bluetooth headset for listening to lossless audio?

No, there is no wireless Bluetooth headset available in the market which can take advantage of the lossless audio. However, you can listen to spatial audio in Dolby Atmos using any wireless headset featuring Apple W1 or H1 chip. For the lossless audio, you have to have opted for a wired headset along with a dedicated DAC. Even Apple’s own AirPods Pro and AirPods Max won’t support hi-res playback via Bluetooth. With the latest iOS 14.6 update, Apple has added support for playing songs on Apple Music from iPhone to HomePod in lossless (not hi-res lossless) using AirPlay.

What is a DAC and what does it do for my audio experience on iPhone?

DAC (Digital to Analog Converters) are the components that make your audio sound more natural. DACs convert digital signals into analog signals which is significantly better for the listening experience. When using with your iPhone or iPad, the DAC converts an uncompressed or lossless file from Apple Music (a digital file) to a high-quality analog output we can hear.

Why should I care about having a good DAC for my iPhone?

Many people think that listening to music on their iPhones through Apple Music means there’s no way they can hear lossless and uncompressed files, but now it’s possible! Apple recently announced the HiFi tier featuring “Apple Digital Master” tracks which allow listeners to enjoy higher resolution masters. The DAC is the last link in a hi-res audio chain. For those who are serious about quality sound, DACs make all the difference for more clarity and accuracy.

How to find lossless music files on Apple Music?

First, you need to turn on the lossless audio option in the Apple Music app. Go to settings and open the Music section. Now, tap on Audio Quality and turn on the Lossless option. Once it is enabled, you can find the albums with Lossless and Apple Digital Master labels. While lossless offers a maximum resolution of 24-bit/48 kHz, the hi-res lossless offers for a maximum resolution of 24-bit/192 kHz. While there are very limited albums available in hi-res lossless, they are worth the hunt.

How to connect your iPhone to a DAC?

Connecting your DAC to an iPhone is easy. All you need is a DAC and the appropriate cables or adapters (depending on what device you are using). Here’s how:

– Connect your DAC to power with the USB cable it came with (or powered USB hub if needed)

– Plugin any additional audio equipment, such as speakers or headphones into the DAC input ports

– If you have a wired DAC, pair it with your iPhone or iPad with the lightning to 3.5mm audio cable.

Are there any disadvantages to using a DAC to listen to hi-res and lossless audio on iPhone?

The DAC can be a bit costly and is not pocket-friendly. It requires an investment in the DACs themselves as well as the cables or adapters needed for your device. However, it’s worth that cost to get crisper sounds with less distortion than what Apple Music offers without DACs. Also, the data used for streaming lossless tracks will be substantially higher.

We hope you find the best DAC for your iPhone. However, don’t let that stop you from checking out some of our other audio equipment recommendations. Happy listening and buying!

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