If you're still listening to music files on your computer the old fashioned way — by plugging into its headphone jack — you should know about the Audioengine D3. This tiny, outboard digital-to-analog converter simply connects to one of your PC's USB ports like a thumb drive, bypassing your computer's built-in audio circuitry. By processing your digital music files outside the noisy environment of your computer, you'll hear more dynamic and detailed sound that you can really savor on your headphones, powered speakers, or stereo system. The D3's small size makes it an unobtrusive addition to your desktop, as well as a welcome traveling companion for high-quality listening on the go.
Make your headphones sing
A pair of good headphones can give you a real taste of high-end audio without breaking the bank. But you're unlikely to find high-end sound coming out of your headphones if you plug them straight into your laptop. That's because most computer manufacturers use low-cost, low-performance circuitry to power their headphone jacks. The headphone amp inside the D3 will quickly spoil you. It delivers richer, deeper bass and clearer highs while revealing layers of musical detail that ordinary headphone jacks obscure.
Easy plug-and-play operation
Adding the D3 to a system is simple — just plug it into any USB port on your PC or Mac®, where it will install itself and be ready for use in a matter of seconds. From there, just plug in your 'phones and you're done. Or, connect the D3 to your powered speakers or stereo using an optional stereo mini-to-mini cable or mini-to-RCA adapter for room-filling sound. The DAC's analog volume control is digitally operated right from your computer screen.
Praise for the Audioengine D3 from Sound & Vision
"Audioengine's D3 is the best stick-type USB DAC and headphone amp I've heard yet. It sports a nearly nothing form factor and blissful independence from cumbersome USB-driver installation and wall warts. Its five-star performance rating—relative to similarly priced products—is well earned. If you're looking for the easiest, cheapest way to make computer audio sound great through headphones, this is it."
— From Mark Fleishcmann's review in Sound & Vision, July/August, 2014
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"Seriously, what did we do before these tiny USB DACs came around?"
" I'm saying that for $189, you'll have something with the power to inspire that fits in your pocket. Maybe Audioengine should employ that as a campaign: Go around to coffee shops where lots of college students and young people hang out and let them plug in the D3 for a quick test drive. I guarantee their rinky-dink MP3s will come to life with the D3 plugged in, not to mention if you let them play some real hi-res music through it."
— From Spencer Holbert's review in The Absolute Sound, February, 2014
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