Hifitrends Awards: The Best Affordable Music Streamers And Dacs Of 2023

Hifitrends Awards: The Best Affordable Music Streamers And Dacs Of 2023

This article first appeared in HIFI Trends,”the journal of accessible hi-fi!”.

Prices listed in US$.

Discover the best affordable music streamers and DACs of 2023, as recognized by Hifitrends. Explore the top choices for superior audio quality and performance.

The world of audiophile gear is an ever-evolving landscape, with new technologies and devices constantly emerging. But navigating the vast ocean of options can be daunting for those just starting out or on a budget. Fear not, music lovers! Hifitrends is here to guide you with our annual awards for the best affordable streamers and DACs of 2023.

Best Affordable Streamer: Wiim Pro Plus ($219)

The Wiim Pro Plus is a little powerhouse of a streamer that came out of nowhere this year, punching above its weight class with impressive features and performance. It supports hi-res audio from local files and streaming services in addition to app protocols like Tidal Connect, AirPlay 2, and Chromecast, making it remarkably versatile. The sound is surprisingly crisp and dynamic for the price, providing equal parts musicality and technical prowess. In addition, it has a tremendous app-based interface that’s easy to use. This little wonder is perfect for those who want a fuss-free, high-quality streaming experience. It’s a game-changer in the Under $500 streamer category. By the way, if you’re looking for a streamer that’s almost as musical for a little less cash, check out the Pro Plus’ little brother, the Wiim Pro.

Best Value DAC: SMSL DO300 ($549)

The SMSL DO300 stand-alone DAC delivers championship-level sound at a price that’ll make you do a double-take. This sleek desktop DAC is a bit of a sleeper that boasts the latest high-end ESS Sabre chip, translating to sparkling clarity and excellent resolution. It breathes life into your budget headphones and speakers, revealing the hidden depths of your digital music collection. Critical listeners and casual upgraders alike will be singing its praises. Read our in-depth review for the full scoop!

Best Portable DAC/Amp: iFi Hip Dac 3 ($199)

Audiophile adventurers, rejoice! The iFi Hip Dac 3 is your pocket-sized sound savior. This mini marvel combines a top-notch Burr-Brown-based DAC with a surprisingly powerful headphone amp, transforming your phone or laptop into a mobile audiophile paradise. The newest version of iFi’s highly decorated Hip Dac now has a USB-C input for better data transfer and improved circuitry for less digital noise and even cleaner sound. Balanced and unbalanced outputs, gain control, and iFi’s X-Bass technology lets you adjust the sound to your needs. Whether commuting, exploring, or enjoying tunes at home, the Hip Dac 3 ensures sonic satisfaction wherever you roam.

These are just a few of the best music streamers and DACs that caught our ears in 2023. Remember, your “best” option depends on your specific needs and budget. Consider factors like streaming services, audio formats, features, and sound signatures when making your decision. With the guidance of Hifitrends and a little research, you’re sure to find the perfect affordable streamer or DAC to unlock the full potential of your music collection and embark on a thrilling auditory adventure.

Happy listening!

Check out the rest of Hifitrends’ website for more in-depth reviews and comparisons of these and other affordable streamers and DACs. You can find helpful articles on audiophile topics and discover new music recommendations.

2024 PMA Magazine. All rights reserved.

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