Apple makes a great little USB-C DAC that’s powerful enough to drive most reasonable headphones and IEMs. It’s clean, dynamic, and very convenient. It also measures extremely well even compared to full size units. I’ve been using a handful of these in multiple applications around the house, and they have come in handy more than a couple of times while on the go.
- Apple USB-C 3.5mm DAC
- [Optional] Breakout cable for separate headphone/mic
- [Optional] USB-A to USB-C adapter (original recommendation)
- [Optional] USB-A to USB-C adapter (added 12/18/19 - 4 pack for $7)
- Driving low-medium impedance headphones (a good maximum is 200 ohm / 100 dB sensitivity)
- Driving IEMs, earbuds, and other similar high sensitivity devices
- Gaming headsets with microphone
- Office headsets with microphone
- Primary DAC for external headphone or speaker amplifier
- Pirmary DAC for powered studio monitors (such as JBL LSR305)
Requirements & Limitations
- Host needs USB-C (can use USB-A to USB-C adapters)
- Works driverlessly on Windows, Linux, and MacOS
- Works on iOS
- Works on Android, except at reduced power (about 40% of maximum. I wouldn’t recommend it)
- 12/18/2019 - potential Android fix here
- The device does not enumerate until something is plugged into it. Your host will not see the device until something is plugged in!
- The DAC will enumerate as one of two different kinds of devices depending on what’s plugged in.
- 3.5mm 3-pole TRS (normal headphones or 3.5mm aux) - “USB-C headphones” - only ouput
- 3.5mm 4-pole TRRS (gaming/office/mobile headset) - “USB-C headset” - both output and input
These are just some examples, most anything that accepts a 3.5mm TRS, RCA, or 1/4" TS will work just fine!
Headphones, IEMs, earbuds, etc.
- Cooler Master MH751/MH752
- HyperX Cloud Core, Cloud, Cloud II
- Venture Electronics Monk Plus
- BLON BL-03 IEM
- Koss KSC75, KPH30i, Porta Pro
- Philips SHP9500(S)
- Philips Fidelio X2/X2HR
- Status Audio CB-1
- AudioTechnica M40/M40X
- Sennheiser HD58X
- Tin Audio T2, T2 Pro, T3, P1
- V-MODA BoomPro (for headphones with 3.5mm jack such as SHP9500)
- MillSO W11 Lav Microphone (works with any headphone or IEM)
Headphone amps (using 3.5mm to RCA cable)
Speaker amps (using 3.5mm to RCA cable)
- Loxjie A10 - 60 Wpc
- Micca Origain - 50 Wpc
- SMSL SA50 - 50 Wpc
- Crown XLS1000/2000 series - 350-775 Wpc (yes I’ve tried it, it works and sounds fantastic)
- Your AVR (use RCA line-in)
Powered Speakers (using 3.5mm to RCA cable or 3.5mm to 1/4" TS cable)
- Edifier powered speakers
- iLoud Micro
- JBL Professional LSR series
- Micca PB42X
- Swan M10
- Vanatoo T Zero
I sent a few of these to ZeosPantera (Z_reviews) and DMS.
Hopefully they’ll review them soon! Picture below courtesy of Zeos.