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Audioengine D3

Plug-in USB DAC/headphone amplifier

13 Reviews | 6 questions - 18 answers

Item # 772D3DAC

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Our take on the Audioengine D3

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.

Audioengine D3 USB DAC

The tiny plug-and-play D3 delivers sparkling clear sound from your computer to your headphones, stereo system, or powered speakers.

Get fantastic sound from your computer

High-res audio

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.

Sound and Vision top pick logo

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
Read the full review

"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

Read the full review

Product Highlights:

  • AKM AK4396 digital-to-analog converter for low-noise, high-fidelity stereo sound
  • ultra-compact "USB flash drive" type design plugs directly into a computer's USB port
  • powered by USB connection — no need for external power supply
  • built-in driver for USB connection, no downloads required
  • asynchronous USB for reduced timing jitter and better sound
  • 3.5mm stereo minijack provides:
    • headphone output (minimum 12 ohm headphone impedance recommended)
    • variable line-level output for driving powered speakers or audio system
  • analog volume control (digitally controlled using your computer)
  • incoming sample rate LED indicator for sampling rates above 48kHz
  • supported sample rates: up to 96kHz native (sample rates above 96kHz are supported but down-converted)
  • input bit depth: 16 bits, 24 bits
  • frequency response: 10 to 25kHz (±0.5 dB)
  • THD: less than 0.002%
  • signal-to-noise ratio (DC to 20kHz): 110 dB
  • dual master clocks used to minimize jitter
  • low-noise, low-ripple power supply with two-stage power regulation and thermal management to prevent USB bus power variations from affecting audio quality
  • durable injection-molded aluminum construction
  • 10" mini-to-full-size headphone adapter cable and soft carry case included
  • compatible with Mac® and PC
  • 13/16"W x 7/16"H x 2-5/8"D
  • warranty: 3 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • USB DAC/Headphone Amp
  • 10" Minijack-to-1/4" adapter
  • Cloth pouch
  • Quick Start Guide

I use this with a set of Audiotechnica m30x and they sound great. It gives u awesome sound with your laptop that can't be achieved any way else.

DA, Pleasureville, KY


Audioengine D3 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(13 Reviews)

A DAC for all Reasons

Joe from Camp Hill, PA on 12/6/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Full disclosure;I do not consider myself an audiophile. Just someone who likes good music. I prefer listening as opposed to discussing the fine differences between 24 bit and 32 bit samples. As a hobby I 'rescue and restore' vintage audio. Also, I like the convenience of streaming audio. At times these two don't converge when it comes to music reproduction. I looked a several DACs. My main system is late 1970's high end obtained from yard sales and thrift stores. Also I wanted portability between the various vintage systems (4 so far) in my home and office. I read reviews, compared specs and decided on the Audioengine D3 as the most cost effective DAC to fit my needs. With the DAC attached to the MacBook I use for streaming on the main system, the audio quality approaches that of the Arcam CD deck. I also got the Apple camera adapter, and can now hook it to any system in moments. Very pleased with my decision. I always look to Crutchfield for their honest professional appraisals of any AV gear. In the several purchases I've made from them all have been a positive experience. Unlike the competition, that 'A' company, I prefer Crutchfield's more personal touch.

Pros: Price/performance Portability across platforms Improves streaming audio

Cons: Needs adapter to work on Apple phones and tablets. But most DACs do.

Audioengine D3

Johnny from Hales Corners, WI on 10/12/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I already own the D1 that I use on a HT setup so I thought I'd give this a try for portability, it did not disappoint! I am very pleased with the sound. The other day I almost panicked because I thought I left it at the office but I was mistaken and my listening experience did not have to suffer! Like the other reviews it does get hot at first but give it some time and that will change.

Pros: Compact, portable

Cons: Gets very hot on initial use

Audioengine D3

DA from Pleasureville, KY on 1/17/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I use this with a set of Audiotechnica m30x and they sound great. It gives u awesome sound with your laptop that can't be achieved any way else.

Pros: Makes music from laptop sound awesome.

Cons: None yer

Audioengine D3

Crutchfield customer from Montrose, CO on 11/18/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The unit has managed to make some rather muddy/bloated noise canceling phones a bit more resolving, with an overall very enjoyable sound. The sample rate indicator seems to remain lit (blue) regardless of sampling rate, making it a signal indicator - no more, no less.



Give it time

L. CURTIS from Richmond, VA on 6/2/2017

This thing sneaks up on you - sort of like the frog who sits in water on the stove and boils because he doesn't notice the temperature slowly getting hotter. I bought this to use with my work PC and a pair of cheap headphones. I wasn't really bothered by the sound I had before, but figured I would try out the D3 and see what the fuss was about. When I first starting using it I noticed some improvement in sound, but could probably live without it. Did a little research and found that Audioengine suggests 40 -50 hours burn in time. 60 day return policy, no problem. I just started listening to my music using the D3. About two weeks later, I decided I would take the D3 home to use with my home PC to run computer audio through a new receiver. About an hour before leaving work, I took it out and figured I would just listen to music from my PC directly until it was time to leave. Holy cow, the sound without it now sounded so much worse. I immediately plugged it back in. I guess I got boiled. I will be buying another for my home set up!

Pros: Noticeable improvement in PC sound

Cons: Not really a con, but be aware manufacturer recommends 40-50 hour burn in time

Audioengine D3

Bill from Bothell, WA on 4/30/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Made a definite improvement in the sound quality when connected to either my desktop or laptop. Just plug it in and it works! No drivers to download. I use it with several pairs of headphones and desktop speakers and it improved the sound for all.



Audioengine D3

Crutchfield customer from Sewell, NJ on 2/5/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Made listening to iTunes on my MacBook very enjoyable. Find myself spending a lot more time using my computer and iTunes hooked up to a nice two channel system.

Pros: Easy to use

Cons: None

very good

shiloh from Springfield, OR on 5/5/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

At first i was hesitant to by a DAC that was more expensive then the Grado sr80e headphones themself's that i have, But i just wanted more so i decided to give it a try and boy i am glad i did, I started playing a song with out the DAC then after that song was over plugged in the DAC played the same song at the same volume to test it out, And right when i started playing the song with the DAC plugged in i had to turn down the volume right away thats how much louder they got from the DAC at the same volume, And i am hearing background noise i have never heard before, After owning the D3 now i will not listen to my headphones with out them it makes such a amazing difference, I couldn't be more happy with my setup now after adding the D3,

Pros: Makes your headphones so much better to listen to,

Cons: none

Audioengine D3

Patrick from California on 12/12/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The item seems to work pretty good with noticeable good sound difference. The item seems to run a bit hot in the beginning with noticeable cooling as time wears on with use. The item is a bit pricey and I wish Crutchfield could have offered a better sale price.

Pros: Improved sound quality.

Cons: Overpriced

AudioEngine D3

Steve from Buffalo on 11/21/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Love the product. However, when i first got it it ran HOT. I mean burn your fingers hot when you touch it. But then, it just stopped being too hot one day, and now it's running warm. No problems, and a noticeable improvement in sound quality on my desktop and laptop computers.

Pros: improved sound quality

Cons: unit was too hot to touch when i first ran it. But after a week, it just stopped being hot and now the unit is warm to the touch after a day or two of consistently being on.

Huge sound improvement in unbelievably tiny package

SethR from Charlottesville, VA on 7/22/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is an amazing product! The quality improvement in digital music is awesome, and is evident on both computer speakers and headphones. My Bose Quietcomfort 15 headphones made a huge leap in clarity and depth when plugged into the D3. The best part is the size/price. Small enough to slip into any pocket, I routinely carry this between home and work in my bag to plug in when I feel like listening to hugely improved sound. Compared to other DACs I tried out like the Dragon fly and even the much more expensive NAD D1050, this DAC is a gem. While it can't beat the D1050, when you take into account its size and cost there really is no contest. Great solid build quality and heft for its size.

Pros: TINY, affordable, amazing improvement in sound quality.

Cons: Gets moderately hot after extended usage. Not enough to burn, but pretty hot.


MarkS from PacNW on 2/7/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

High hopes, I could immediately tell the sound was richer and a stronger bass. However I had a hum and a loud crackling sound. I sent it back, and received a new on in a few days, no hum but still a crackling and popping sound. I am using a 3 week old iMac and it isn't the computer. I have ordered the AudioQuest Dragonfly to replace this one, it has not arrived yet.

Pros: Great sound.

Cons: Doesn't work, cracking and popping sounds. I have tried 2 of them.

All I Want for Christmas

TubaMan from Laurel, MD on 12/25/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This little unit was easily installed on my MacBook Pro (running 10.6.8). The MacBook already had pretty good sound when coupled with my Bose Companion II speakers, but the AudioEngine D3 added clarity and depth to my system. The Bose speakers never sounded better. The folks at Crutchfield were courteous and able to share their knowledge...the D3 was delivered the next day and shipping was FREE. Merry Christmas and Thanks, Crutchfield.

Pros: Clarity throughout the range of my speakers. Better dynamics. Installation could not have been easier.

Cons: No complaints


Hands-on research

Product Research


USB DAC/Headphone Amp: The Audioengine D3 combines a USB DAC and headphone amplifier for incredible audio performance in a portable design. Simply connect the D3 to a free USB port on your Windows PC or Mac computer and send high-quality music to your headphones or audio system. Setup is easy and no special software is needed, making the D3 a true plug-and-play solution for great audio sound from your laptop or computer.

24-Bit DAC: The Audioengine D3's premium AK4396 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) allows you to bypass your computer's soundcard/headphone output and send music directly through a USB digital connection for noticeably improved fidelity and a higher output. The AK4396 DAC is well regarded for its low noise and high fidelity. With it's high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion, the D3 delivers sound quality generally heard only in more expensive DACs.

Asynchronous USB Port: The D3 features a integrated male USB (type-A) connector which plugs directly into a free USB port on you computer or laptop. The D3's asynchronous data transfer carefully controls USB streaming audio from any computer which greatly improves audio performance. The D3 is powered directly from the USB port and power is passed through two stages of regulation to ensure no USB power variations affect the audio quality. This low-noise, low-ripple power supply is located on a separate circuit board for extra isolation and thermal management.

Compatible Computers: The Audioengine D3 USB DAC/Headphone Amp is compatible with Windows PC and Mac computers.

Supported Sampling Rates: D3 will process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any native sample rate to 96KHz. The D3 also has a sample rate indicator that shows sample rates above 48kHz so you'll know you're getting the most out of your HD music.

Headphone Amp: The D3's high-performance headphone amplifier (LME49726) was designed for a wide range of headphones (10Ω-10,000Ω) and will satisfy even the most demanding headphone enthusiast with its high output and revealing sound. The 3.5mm output of the D3 connects to headphones, Audioengine powered speakers, or most audio systems. The D3 also includes a 3.5mm-to-1/4" adapter for headphones which only have a standard headphone jack.

Volume Control: Volume is controlled from your computer's OS and is implemented in the D3 as a digitally-controlled analog volume control.

Compact Aluminum Design: The aluminum case of the D3 provides a rigid chassis that prevents any unwanted interference. Thanks to its compact design, the D3 can easily be taken where ever you go with your laptop.


  • Frequency Response: 10 to 25,000 Hz (+/-0.5dB)
  • SNR: 110 dB (DC to 20kHz)
  • THD+N: <0.002% (1kHz FS 96 kS/s)
  • Crosstalk: -110 dB
  • Output Voltage: 2.0V RMS

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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

What are the Labs?
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Reviews [ Jeffrey  Jan 04, 2019 ]
I own Audioengine products. [ Herman  Jun 05, 2018 ]
Discussions with friends and reviews. also 1 chat with Crutchfield rep who said another person there got good results using it with android phone as well as laptop. [ mark  Feb 09, 2018 ]
The online reviews [ Dustin  Jan 03, 2018 ]
Wanted a DAC with the AudioEngine speakers and the speakers I chose did not include builtin DAC. [ Jami  Aug 01, 2016 ]
Manufacturer has excellent reputation for quality products. Good reviews on this site and others. [ Mark  Jan 31, 2016 ]

6 questions already asked

Not sure sir I never did it and now I have misplaced it but am sure u should be able to [ JASWINDER  Aug 24, 2018 ]
No [ James  Aug 22, 2018 ]
No [ James  Aug 22, 2018 ]
2.0 v rms [ James  Aug 22, 2018 ]
I would check the specs on the Audioengine website, they might have more details. [ James  Aug 14, 2017 ]
It should - it does not need to recognize amp in a pc sense -it will just play -the output level of d3 should be high enough I plug mine into a/v input on home theater receiver and works well [ Thomas  Sep 07, 2016 ]
Alexx, Don't know. But my guess is not because the way this thing works is by taking over, if you will, the sound card in the pc. So my guess is that you would have to connect it to a pc because it is an amp/DAC not a sound processor like a card. BUT you can keep your files on the NAS and play them through your pc, into the DAC and then into what ever speaker set up you want as long as it uses the headphone plug. [ James  Sep 07, 2016 ]
No, the DAC is output only. [ Jacob  Jul 11, 2016 ]
No, this is a listen only type device. It doesn't even show as an option to send input to the computer. I am a Mac user. [ Eddie  Jul 08, 2016 ]
The device is really for makes the music much more enhances the bass and also the highs..Once you listen to the device you will never want to listen without it...but I guess it can also be used for a microphone as well..never tried it..but it is like an equalizer. .great product if you are a sound geek..but if you really don't care much for may not be worth your investment [ ROBERT  Jul 08, 2016 ]
Can't answer that for you. I'm using it strictly for audio playback through some desk top speakers. Audio quality is superb! [ Mark  Jul 08, 2016 ]
yes but via a cable which defeats purpose of using bluetooth - this is a device requiring a cable connection. --it works well you can hear the difference [ Thomas  Mar 08, 2016 ]
To do that you have to bypass Bluetooth. Plug the USB on the D3 into your Macbook. Use a cable with a mini plug at each end to go from the D3 to the auxiliary input on the HK 3770. Select Aux input on the amplifier. That means you will have to have the Macbook within the cable length of the amplifier. [ Scott  Mar 05, 2016 ]
The Audioengine D 3 is not Bluetooth compliant my dear.. BUT.. I WOULD SUGGEST..that you we dramatically improve your listening experiences by using the D3 in a USB port on your mac and via the 1/8th inch jack on the D3. Output to an Auxiliary or tape monitor input on you HK 3770 receiver. .. [ Thomas  Mar 05, 2016 ]
Dear Susan C. According to what you had mentioned that your music source is from your MacBook, and you listen to it via bluetooth from your receiver! so you don't need the AudioEngine D3, this device is designed to be inserted into your USB connection coming from your macbook, and you will have that option to use the audio output jack coming from D3 Device for your headphones or powered speakers, The point for the AudioEngine D3 which is a DAC or a Digital to Analog converter so by using this device your actually bypassing your built in factory stock low grade audio converter inside your macbook, this way you can achieve a fuller more detailed and higher quality sound from using the D3, anymore questions you may reply back with me, Thanks! [ VINCE  Mar 05, 2016 ]
The DAC in the receiver may be as good as this, I'm pretty sure there isn't a headphone input to the receiver, so you could not use it. But you could just use USB or Bluetooth between the two. Or, you could connect through a home network [ David  Mar 05, 2016 ]
Hi there James, To start off this device is designed to be plugged into the USB port of your mac or pc so if thats what you call it as a hub than yes it will work. Although I'm not sure if that is what you meant by a hub? if not could you further more clarify your question please. Thanks. :-) [ VINCE  Jul 26, 2014 ]
Sorry, I don't know. I have only been using it on a laptop dock usb port. It works fine that way. [ Scott  Jul 25, 2014 ]