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Denon DA-300USB

Stereo digital-to-analog converter/headphone amplifier

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  • Denon DA-300USB

    Front

  • Denon DA-300USB

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  • Denon DA-300USB

    Back

  • Denon DA-300USB

    Front view

  • Denon DA-300USB

    Mounted vertically in the desktop stand

  • Denon DA-300USB

    Pictured with headphones (Not included)

 

Our take on the Denon DA-300USB

by Dave Bar
Denon

Turn 1s and 0s into sweet sounding music

Why buy a separate DAC? These devices are all about getting true high-fidelity sound from digital sources like computers, streaming music players, smartphones, and more. While these kinds of sources usually have their own digital-to-analog converters built in, you can expect a separate DAC to give you much better accuracy and finer detail.

Raise your standard of listening

Denon's DA-300USB digital-to-analog converter allows your computer and your hi-fi system or headphones to make beautiful music together. This desktop friendly DAC accepts digital audio files stored on or streamed over the Internet from your PC via USB, bypassing your computer's built-in sound card to create an eye-opening listening experience. You'll hear layers of musical detail previously obscured by the noisy environment inside your PC — the warm, natural decay of a guitar chord, or reverberations echoing in a concert hall. On your best recordings, each instrument and vocal will stand out clearly and distinctly in its own separate space, allowing you to follow each one note-for-note.

The DA-300USB can also breathe new life into CD/DVD disc players, set-top boxes, HDTVs, or game consoles. Simply connect it to your player's optical or coaxial digital output to experience added depth, clarity, and focus on your favorite soundtracks.


High-res audio

Denon D300USB headphone amp/dac

The compact DA-300USB can be placed vertically or horizontally, so it fits just about anywhere.

High-res should be its middle name

If you're into downloading high-resolution audio from websites like HDtracks, 2L, or Blue Coast Records, you'll love the DA-300USB. Not only can it make your MP3 and CD-quality music sound fantastic, it also decodes high-res audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, so you can enjoy better-than-CD audio quality (Free USB driver download required for Windows® PC playback.). And this DAC is one of the most affordable DSD-capable models available, supporting both 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz DSD digital audio signals for bit-transparent playback of those high-res digital music files. The DA-300USB uses Denon's Advanced AL32 Processing to upsample incoming digital audio to a 32-bit, 192kHz datastream to resolve finer detail, even from compressed music sources.

High performance that's easy to use

Denon packed a lot of premium parts inside the DA-300USB then meticulously tuned them for optimum sound quality. The USB connection employs asynchronous re-clocking technology. This advanced design precisely controls the timing of your computer's USB output for vanishingly low levels of jitter — errors in the timing of the data stream that can make music sound harsh and edgy, and smear subtle details. Independent crystal oscillators for 44.1- and 48kHz-based sample rates further reduce jitter to improve performance. A noise-isolating circuit design prevents distortion via the USB connection from computer generated digital noise. And Denon included a premium quality headphone amplifier with an independent volume control to provide clear, dynamic sound for private listening.

You won't find a lot of unnecessary buttons cluttering the streamlined DA-300USB. There's a large knob for headphone volume and a soft-touch button for selecting your music source. A high-resolution OLED display shows the selected input source, the incoming sample rate of your music, and headphone volume. The DAC's compact enclosure can stand vertically on your desktop or a bookshelf to save space, or be placed horizontally in a component rack or cabinet. Plus, the display even rotates automatically with horizontal or vertical positioning of the DAC, so it's always easy to read.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • plays PCM digital audio sources up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • decodes Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files at 2.8MHz or 5.6MHz resolution natively or via DoP (DSD over PCM).
  • TI PCM1795 32-bit/192kHz DAC for precise playback of digital music files
  • asynchronous USB technology for reduced timing jitter and better sound on USB input
  • exclusive Denon Advanced AL32 processor upconverts and upsamples all input signals to 32-bit/192kHz for improved detail and clarity with softer, low-level sounds
  • built-in high-performance headphone amplifier with front-panel volume control
  • Touch Control OLED display indicates selected input, audio file type (PCM, DSD), sampling frequency, and headphone volume
  • independent master clock crystals (44.1kHz and 48kHz) accurately clock incoming signals at any sampling frequency
  • noise isolating circuit design prevents distortion via USB connection from computer
Inputs:
  • USB (Type B) input for connection to a computer
  • two optical digital audio
  • one RCA coaxial digital audio
Outputs:
  • fixed, line-level stereo RCA audio output
  • full-size 1/4" (6.3mm) headphone jack
Other info & specs:
  • supported sample rates for USB input: 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192kHz Linear PCM; 2.8MHz (DSD64) and 5.6MHz (DSD128)
  • supported sample rates for coaxial and optical inputs: 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192kHz Linear PCM
  • operating system requirements: Windows® XP (Service Pack 3), Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac® OS X® 10.6.3 (Snow Leopard) or later
  • USB 2.0 driver required for playback on Windows computers (free USB driver download available from Denon's website)
  • Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later supports plug-and-play operation, so no dedicated driver is required
  • frequency response:
    • 24-bit/192kHz input signal: 2-20,000 Hz (±0.5 dB)
    • DSD64 input signal: 2-50,000 Hz (-3 dB)
  • THD: 0.0018%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 112 dB
  • external AC power supply included
  • vertical and horizontal mounting capability with 4 self-adhesive rubber feet and vertical-mount stand included
  • 6-3/4"W x 2-3/16"H x 8-1/16"D (horizontal orientation)
  • weight: 3.3 lbs.
  • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in your TV's audio menu. This DAC cannot decode multi-channel Dolby® Digital signals.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • DAC/headphone amp
  • AC power adapter (w/ attached 58" DC cord)
  • 39" Stereo RCA cable
  • Vertical stand
  • 4 Self-adhesive pads
  • Owner's Manual on CD-ROM
  • Safety Instructions
  • Warranty Information
  • Extended Protection Plan

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

DAC + Headphone Amp: Denon's DA-300USB combination D/A converter and headphone amplifier elevates your computer-sourced digital audio tracks and other digital music sources to purist audiophile levels, delivering superb sound quality without compromise. Equipped with a range of advanced digital technologies, the DA-300USB connects via asynchronous USB to the computer and features the ability to decode both PCM (traditional digital audio format) and DSD (Direct Stream Digital; the advanced digital audio format of SACD). It also has SPDIF (coaxial/optical) inputs for upgrading the sound of your HDTV, disc player, or game console. The DA-300USB is fitted with an analog line-level output and headphone amplifier for connection to your home entertainment system or high-quality headphones.

32-Bit/192kHz DAC: At the heart of the Denon DA-300USB is the high resolution PCM1795 D/A converter, which features advanced segment 32-bit architecture along with the ability to handle up to 192kHz PCM sample rates as well as the ability to decode both 2.8Mhz and 5.6Mhz high resolution DSD files (either natively decoded or via DoP - DSD over PCM).

Advanced AL32 Processing: For the widest dynamic range and lowest distortion, the DA-300USB features sophisticated digital signal processing, including Denon's exclusive Advanced AL32 processor that delivers vastly improved detail especially through the critical midrange band, providing noticeable improvements in clarity with low level softer sounds.

Asynchronous USB Port: Via its USB (type-B) port, the DA-300USB communicates with your Windows or Mac computer via asynchronous data transfer mode, which ensures smooth, jitter-free digital communication, which is especially vital with very high bandwidth digital audio data-streams. The asynchronous USB (type-B) port connects to your computer's USB (type-A) port. Once connected, the computer recognizes the DA-300USB and routes the digital audio data to it, bypassing the source device's internal audio circuitry. For optimum compatibility with the broadest range of sampling frequencies, the DA-300USB is equipped with two master clock crystals (44.1/48kHz), instead of the usual one.

  • Windows PC: Compatible with Windows XP (SP3), Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Your Windows PC will require a separate USB Audio Driver which can be installed from Denon's website.
  • Mac Computer: Compatible with Mac OS 10.6.3 or later. No additional driver required.
Note: To prevent audio quality from degrading due to noise from external devices when this unit is connected to external devices such as computers, the ground circuit for the USB input interface device is isolated from the audio circuit.

Compatible Music Formats: Practically any digital audio format that can be played from your computer's own media player can be processed by the DA-300USB; including MP3 (up to 48kHz), AAC (up to 48kHz), ALAC (up to 96kHz), WAV (up to 192kHz), FLAC (up to 192kHz), and DSD (2.8224/5.6448 MHz).

Optical & Coaxial Digital Inputs: For connection to other digital audio sources other than your computer, the DA-300USB also features three digital audio inputs; two optical (toslink) and one coaxial (RCA). Now you can enjoy greatly improved sound quality from your HDTV, satellite or cable box, game console, or disc player. The optical and coaxial digital inputs will support digital audio up to 24-bit/192kHz (2ch PCM only).

Analog Outputs: For the purest audiophile grade sound quality, the DA-300USB is equipped with separate audio output circuits for the analog line-level outputs and the headphone output.

  • Headphone Amp: The headphone amplifier block features dedicated buffer and gain stages, and is compatible with the widest range of headphone types, including low-impedance models. The front-panel headphone jack features a standard-sized 1/4" connector, along with a convenient volume control.
  • Line-Level Outputs: The line-level outputs are high quality RCA-type connectors, with full 2Vrms output for compatibility with integrated amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, and other analog audio components.

Audiophile-Grade Construction: The Denon DA-300USB features audiophile grade construction with the high-quality component parts and circuit design. Housed in a sleek casing, the DA-300USB features seven separate printed circuit boards, to ensure the highest isolation between circuit blocks. To ensure the most stable and accurate digital audio and timing data at the critical D/A converter stage, the DA-300USB also features advanced isolator chips that combine high speed CMOS technology with unique on-chip micro air-core transformers. A total of 9 isolator chips are employed, with 18 channels of isolation, delivering superior common mode noise rejection and maximum protection against digital noise transfer between critical stages, compared to conventional optoisolators.

Front-Panel Display: The elegant front-panel of the Denon DA-300USB features an advanced OLED display that provides clear indication of the input selected, along with the audio file type (PCM, DSD), the sampling frequency and the headphone volume level. The touch-sensitive controls lets you easily cycle through the various modes. The display does not indicate track or song/artist/album information of your music source.

External Power Supply: Powered by a 15V/1A AC adapter, the DA-300USB features sophisticated DC power conversion technology with a power block that delivers separate DC voltage sources to power the various stages.

Note: You can set the DA-300USB to automatically switch to "Standby Mode" if the unit is not operated for 30 minutes when there is no audio input.

Mounting Options: You can choose to mount the DA-300USB either vertically or horizontally, depending upon your equipment configuration. An internal sensor detects the chosen orientation, and rotates the OLED display data accordingly. A custom bottom plate is provided for vertical orientation.

Note: When mounted horizontally, the DA-300USB measures 6.75" (w) x 2.1875" (h) x 8.0625" (d). When mounted vertically, the unit measures 4.5" (w) x 6.9375" (h) x 8.0625" (d)
 
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Denon DA-300USB Reviews

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5 out of 5

I've never heard DSD sound so good

Written By Allan W., Texas on Thursday, June 19, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is my first DAC so I can't compare it to anything else, but I am very happy with it. The main reasons I purchased this model are because it had 2xDSD capability and it was made by Denon. I bought the Denon 100th Anniversary AVR and Universal Blu-ray player from Crutchfield a few years ago and have been happy with that setup, which plays DSD over the Denon Link. I liked the sound of my SACDs on that system, but I usually crank up the subwoofer because they sound "thin" compared to PCM sources. I was surprised to hear how full the sound of my DSD files are when played through this DAC. No bass adjustment needed. In fact, to my ears, the difference between DSD and PCM is even more clear now. As I understand it, this DAC has the same technology that the 100th Anniversay SACD player had, which was better than the Universal Blu-ray player that I purchased. The construction is very impressive. It is heavy which is normally a good thing, but I bought it for when I travel, so it adds weight to my bag but it is worth it. I've only listened to it using headphones so far but I am planning on using it with my Denon AVR also.
Pros:
Everything sounds better using this DAC, especially DSD. Sturdy contruction. Headphone volume control is handy.
Cons:
None so far.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 

1 question already asked

Can the Denon DA-300USB decode DSD music and convert it to an Analog signal? [ jojoskidancer  Apr 17, 2014 ]
1 answer
  • I forwarded your question to an Advisor and they responded with the following: It can indeed! From the website - "And this DAC is one of the most affordable DSD-capable models available, supporting both 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz DSD digital audio signals for bit-transparent playback of those high-res digital music files. The DA-300USB uses Denon's Advanced AL32 Processing to upsample incoming digital audio to a 32-bit, 192kHz datastream to resolve finer detail, even from compressed music sources." If you would like to discuss further you can contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Krissy Staff  Apr 20, 2014 ]

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Denon DA-300USB, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_033D300USB/Denon-DA-300USB.html ).

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