DAC Market Adds New USB Models

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NEW YORK — USB Audio DACs, some incorporating headphone amps, represent a small but growing portion of the audio market, driven by the growth of laptops and PCs as audio sources.

New DACs hitting the market include portable and home models, some including headphone amps.

Here’s what’s new:

Chinon: The company launched the portable CH-DA260U DAC/headphone amp and CH-PH244 on-ear headphones as a bundle for $179 at ChinonShop.com.

The DAC features a USB audio input to connect to any USB audio source, including Windows and Mac OS laptops, Android 4.0 and later devices, and Apple mobile devices (when a Lighning-to-30-pin adapter is used).

Exogal: High-end audio start-up Exogal is bringing its Comet DAC to the U.S. market through Gardena, Calif.-based distributor/marketer Axiss Audio following a launch in Europe and Asia.

Exogal was formed by three former Wadia employees.

Exogal’s $2,500 Comet for the home features asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, SPDIF, Toslink, and line-level analog inputs and conversion of digital signals up to 192kHz and 32 bits. A software and firmware upgrade is available to add 384kHz conversion and DSD decoding.

HiFiMan: The compact $499-suggested EF100 headphone amp/USB DAC for the home combines tube and solid-state technology to deliver the warm sound of a vacuum-tube input stage/preamp and the efficiency of a digital amp, the company said. It can deliver up to 9 watts total to passive speakers, and it drives high-performance headphones with up to 2-watt output into a 32-ohm load.

It supports 24-bit/48kHz USB audio.

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