Are you not tired of having some of your favorite Hi-Fi equipment at home and not being able to stream music to them? Well, that was me too until I found about these little gadgets. They changed forever the way I listen to music. We made a rundown for you with the best Bluetooth wireless streaming DACs in the market.
In my opinion, the best-sounding, most comfortable option is the Audioengine B1. This DAC offers state of the art technology in a tiny package that, according to my ears, sounds better than any other option in the list. It is also very affordable (under $200) and plug-and-play; you can´t go wrong with it.
I changed the way I listen to music after the B1, shouldn´t you do the same? Welcome to a new sonic realm, the DAC realm.
Bluetooth DACs We Recommend
Outputs: RCA and Optical
Max Sampling Rate: 24-bit – 192KHz
What we like: Sound quality is superb, easy to use, just plug and play, superior build quality.
Not so much: Bluetooth only, Doesn´t support DSD.
To begin with, the sound quality of this DAC is way superior to many others I´ve tried. I plugged it straight to the AUX of the amplifier as an easy way to stream straight into my state of the art Hi-Fi stereo system. Let me tell you that Spotify never sounded so good; this DAC is very high quality – as explained in full B1 review. The Bluetooth has a reach of 100ft and can handle walls as if they were not there. There is no interference that can bother this little unit and its killer sound.
With the B1, Audioengine managed to create a very small device that does what it was designed to. No frills, no hassles, no complications, just a great Bluetooth DAC that will help you breathe some new life to that old Hi-Fi analog equipment sitting at home. If you want a Bluetooth DAC that works and sounds great, my personal pick would be this one.
Inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm, and 2.5mm
Outputs: 3.5mm and 2.5mm
Max Sampling Rate: 32-bit – 384KHz
What we like: You can use it with headphones up to 600 ohms. Portable, battery-operated (USB-charged). Small size metal enclosure.
Not so much: Dedicated exclusively to headphones. No RCA, optical or SPDIF capability. The volume knob is at a difficult place for pocket operation.
This is more of a pocket-size DAC that works great with nice headphones. I love the fact that you can just charge it and then take it with you everywhere you go. It is possible to plug to it the best of the best of your headphones and enjoy all nuances of music. It is a loud amp too and works wonders on long trips and commutes with a good-quality pair of headphones.
The metal enclosure feels utterly sturdy, I just didn´t like the volume control position; I kept changing it with my fingers in my pocket by mistake. The modes you can choose from (3D Holographic and XBassII) really add to the frequency loss of Bluetooth. You get tighter lows and more present mids when engaged. I don´t see it as a home DAC, but for taking with you on the road is comfortable and sounds amazing.
iFi Nano Ione Bluetooth DAC for Streaming Hi-Res Audio
Inputs: USB, SPDIF and Bluetooth
Outputs: RCA and SPDIF
Max Sampling Rate: 24-bit – 192Khz
What we like: It can render MQA without additional conversion. USB-Powered. Aluminum block enclosure.
Not so much: The Bluetooth connection is hard to achieve and not stable. Walls can interfere with the Bluetooth connection. No ON/OFF switch available.
There is something about aluminum in audio devices that just feels and looks right. Straight out of the box, this DAC is impressively good-looking. The connections available are not so varied but do the job perfectly well. The use most of us give these gadgets is connecting older equipment and being able to stream Spotify (or any other streaming platform) on them with good music quality.
I don´t like the fact that there is no ON/OFF switch in this unit. On the other hand, frontal controls are very self-explanatory and easy to use. The filter works very well to remove undesired hiss or hum. The fact that you can use it with DSD, to my ears the most perfect way of listening to audio available today, is just great. The only thing I noticed that didn´t like so much is that the Bluetooth signal is a tad weak.
Outputs: Optical, 3.5mm, Coaxial, and RCA
Max Sampling Rate: 32-bits – 384Khz
What we like: Very stylish design. Multiple outputs including Coaxial and Optical. Very affordable price (around $100) for the features and the sound quality.
Not so much: Noises when you touch the antenna or the body of the apparatus. Sounds too compressed losing warmth. No power ON/OFF switch.
This small and handsome unit is capable of some serious 32-bit conversions and has enough outputs to accommodate any device in your house. The stylish design to me has a big flaw that is not having an ON/OFF button to power the unit off. You have to disconnect it from the power, which is a very handy USB input but located on the back of it.
The small size is great to install it anywhere you like it and the frontal antenna makes it more comfortable for shelves and small places. Although it is great for that, anything touching the antenna (especially yourself) will translate into noise coming from the speakers.
The sound quality is good, but compared to other brands, it is a little too compressed. When you compress so much a signal coming from a Bluetooth device you usually get very invasive and harsh highs. Those highs will take the entire spectrum and you will no longer hear some instruments. That being said, it is a good-sounding, well-built unit that will improve connections and sound in your home appliances.
P1 Bluetooth 5.0 Vacuum Tube Preamp USB DAC
Inputs: Bluetooth, RCA and USB.
Outputs: RCA and 3.5mm
Max Sampling Rate: 24-bits – 192Khz
What we like: Supports headphones up to 300 ohms. Vacuum tube warmth. Front EQ with big knobs.
Not so much: The Bluetooth input has low sensitivity. Stock tubes are not of good quality. Hum sound at high volumes.
Unboxing the P1 Bluetooth DAC was quite an experience; I just love the design. The mix of colors and the dual tubes on top make this a very handsome artifact to have around. The tubes look amazing but aren´t good quality and a replacement drastically improves the sound quality. I used JAN5654W and they worked amazingly.
I loved the fact that I could plug in my Hi-Fi headphones to it and enjoy the whole spectrum of my favorite albums. Also, the frontal EQ and headset jack are very handy to make quick changes on-the-fly. On the low side is the Bluetooth sensitivity: it is almost 9db lower than the line in. This is quite annoying because streaming from Spotify to my old Power Amp is very handy. This preamp with power amp will drastically improve the sound of your music. Change the stock tubes and make it sound even better.
Outputs: 3.5mm, RCA, Coaxial and Optical
Max Sampling Rate: 24bits – 192K
What we like: Multiple digital and analog outputs. Streams in CD-Quality to any device. Made of aluminum.
Not so much: You have to hit the front button every time you want to connect. No ON/OFF switch and bright LEDs all the time. It can only receive information via Bluetooth.
Besides being a very good-sounding unit, this device has many digital and analog outputs to accommodate any scenario. On the other hand, it can only receive information through Bluetooth. Right off the bat, I loved the fact that instead of using plastic in the construction, iFi built the ZEN using aluminum.
Connecting it was quite easy I must say. It looks very good seating on top of my power amp and my 30-band EQ. There are a couple of facts that were a little annoying to me, though. First, there is no power switch, you have to unplug it if you don´t want to see the bright LEDs all the time. Second, you have to push the front button to pair it every time you want to use it. It doesn´t reconnect on its own to the same source. Besides these minor flaws, if you are looking for a good home Bluetooth DAC, this might fit the bill perfectly.
FiiO BTR3 HiFi Bluetooth Receiver & USB DAC
Inputs: Bluetooth, NFC
Outputs: 3.5mm, USB (Type C)
Max Sampling Rate: 24-bits – 192Khz
What we like: It supports virtually all audio formats. The battery lasts for eleven hours with a simple charge. FiiO Music App can control the device from your phone.
Not so much: No RCA connectivity to use with a power amp. The USB and the headphones get connected on the same side. Elevated noise level of hiss and hum even when off.
The FiiO is a revolutionary kind of Bluetooth receiver and DAC due to its very small size. I´m being 100% real with this, it is a very small unit that can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. On the one hand, the size is very comfortable to take anywhere with you. On the other hand, it is not as complete in terms of connections as other models in the market.
I would suggest this small DAC can have its best performance in the car or on the go. It sounds much better than built-in DACs and the Bluetooth quality is superb. It can even use NFC technology if it´s available on your cellphone. For home use, it is a tad small and reduced in connections but for car/cellphone use works great.
Inputs: USB, Bluetooth 5.0
Outputs: RCA, 3.5mm
Max Sampling Rate: 32-bits/384Khz
What we like: Super durable casing made of metal. Small, perfect size to fit most houses. Great sound quality at moderate volume.
Not so much: Harsh highs; a little strident on the upper part of the sound spectrum. Picks up a lot of interference. Depending on the gear it might take a while to connect.
The first thing that comes to one´s mind when you open the box for this DAC is: did I order a toy? The size is super convenient and small (really small). Once you pick it up, though, you can feel just how sturdy it is with a case completely made of metal. In the same vein, the knobs and connections feel really sturdy and durable. I set it up next to my power amp and my speakers and used my cellphone adapter to plug in the USB line to the wall.
The Bluetooth works really well at low and moderate volumes but it can get a little strident on the highs as you increase the volume. The only other drawback I can find for this device is that it picks up a lot of interference and that it can take a while to connect. All in all, it is a great Bluetooth DAC if you want simplicity and ease of use.
Wireless Streaming DAC – How does it Work?
What is a Wireless Streaming DAC?
Well, these devices can turn your digital signal into analog audio forms that Hi-Fi equipment can reproduce. To say it in other words, a wireless streaming DAC is capable of receiving digital sound information, turn it into analog and then feed it to analog equipment.
Why is it important?
All digital devices that reproduce sound have a DAC because speakers need one (inside headphones and enclosures). The difference between these devices and regular DACs coming as a built-in feature is the sound quality. Usually, DACs are where most companies save big money. For example, you don´t see the DAC model promoted in a cellphone advertisement but it plays a key role in how your music sounds. If the sound quality of your music matters to you, you need an external DAC.
The benefits of having a DAC do not end in cellphones and other portable devices; they can be used with all kinds of Hi-Fi equipment. For example, you can stream Spotify from your phone to your DAC and connect it to the power amp you use to play your vinyl records or for better PC or console gaming experience. The result is listening to new music in amazing quality without having to invest in any physical music format (CD, vinyl, etc.).
Last update on 2020-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API