The Best DAC for Gaming in 2020 | Top Picks + Buyers Guide

best dac for gaming

With gaming becoming a more popular and diverse hobby, technology has followed along with it. Gamers have a huge array of different bits of tech that they can get their hands on. Whether that’s the newest PC gaming peripherals or the newest consoles on the market. But it isn’t just gaming that benefits from this kind of stuff. The way that we listen to music, watch TV and stream our favorite films is becoming the most enjoyable way to do all three. Tech is constantly getting better and adding a lot to the industry as a whole. Great tech is also getting a little cheaper and much easier to get your hands on. But what a lot of people tend to forget about is actually something that’s really important. Let’s dive into our guide on the Best DAC for Gaming.

The Best DAC for Gaming

Good, high-quality sound is something that every gamer needs to get the most out of their gaming sessions. This is why it’s a really good idea to look into getting your hands on a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). Sometimes the audio on your console or your pc just won’t be high enough quality for you. Or perhaps you just want to ensure that you have the best possible sound for whatever it is you do. The question is, which DAC should you buy? Well, we’ve put together a bunch of really great options and created this list to help you out! Let’s jump right into our list for The Best DAC for Gaming.

PROZOR 192KHz Digital to Analog Audio Converter

Starting this list we have a very affordable and easy piece of tech to use for good quality audio. We’ve gone for this PROZOR DAC for its ease of use, simple functionality, and incredible affordability. This is a rather simple looking and unassuming black box that is also extremely light. You aren’t getting any fancy bells and whistles here, it simply does what you’d expect it to. You can connect a wide range of devices to the DAC where you can then output to either some speakers or your headphones. It’s small size and lightweight means that you can put it pretty much anywhere. Giving it a lot of functionality in that regard. It’s really easy to use and to set up but it also does come with some negatives.

We’ve already covered that you aren’t gonna get any fancy stuff with this DAC. You won’t get bass or treble control or anything like that. This DAC is purely a means to reroute audio to whatever device you want to be using. This means that functionally this option doesn’t offer much. It also doesn’t come with the USB 5.5mm power cable you’ll need to power it so you’ll need to source that from elsewhere. Pretty annoying stuff but if you can deal with it this is a really good DAC to go for. One big positive is that along with being very light, this is also the smallest DAC on the list at 1.13” x 0.34” x 0.85” This is the best option for those who purely just want to reroute sound and get a slightly better amount of quality from whatever they’re doing. But for those who want some serious improvements to the audio, you should check the rest of this list.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to Use

Cons:

  • Basic Functionality
  • Cables Come Separately

Check Availability on Amazon!

Fosi Audio Q4

Our next option on this list is definitely a step up in terms of both performance and quality. We’ve gone for this DAC from Fosi Audio for its extra functions and ease of use. In comparison to our last option, this DAC offers a whole lot more. Giving you control over the treble and bass as well as the volume of the sound being outputted. These are really useful changes to be able to make and go a long way to making things sound a lot better. This is fantastic for people who really care about their sound and spend ages fiddling around to achieve perfection. It also means that you can adapt the sound to whatever you’re playing at the time. This DAC offers the exact same kind of experience as the last option and has the same ease of use. It just offers a lot more in terms of letting you control the experience.

Now the size of this DAC isn’t huge or anything but it is a little bit bigger than the last option. Coming in at 7.7” x 6.1” x 2.9”, which again isn’t huge but you should still think about how much space you’ll need to clear for it. The design here is a little bit weird since the knobs to control the aspects of the sound are huge in comparison to the size of the unit. They could have been a lot smaller and taken up a lot less space but that’s mainly down to personal preference. Overall this is a fantastic DAC and well worth the money. It’s fantastic for those who want to be able to control the full sound of their audio.

Pros:

  • Great Quality
  • Good Audio Control
  • Compact

Cons:

  • Annoying design

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KGUSS DAC-K3 TPA6120

For those who want a simpler and more straightforward DAC that still offers great sound, this might be the choice for you. We’ve gone for this DAC from KGUSS for its ease of use and high quality. Functionally this is another quite simple DAC and only has one job. To reroute your audio and make your sound setup better. If you’re looking for full bass and treble control you’ll want to look elsewhere. While this is a rather simple device it does still do its job really well. It allows you to use almost any kind of device as an input which is great for most situations. Whether you plan to use it for gaming or for your TV, you should be good.

Fortunately, this is also a really good all-round package to get. It comes with all the cables you need as well as a converter for the 6.5mm headphone port to allow the use of 3.5mm connections. So as far DACs for beginners go, this is not a bad deal at all. It’s a little bigger than the previous option at 10.98” x 9.53” x 3.03”, so make sure you’ve got the room for it. Again this is a really simple unit to use so the setup won’t take long at all. Though the design is a little weird here again, with a massive dial for the volume control. Design-wise it’s just a weird little quirk and annoying for those who don’t like gaudy things like this. Along with that, you get an on/off switch and a switch to select USB functionality or OPT. This is a great, but basic DAC for those that need what it offers.

Pros:

  • Great Quality
  • Easy to Use
  • Includes Cables

Cons:

  • Basic functionality

Check Availability on Amazon!

iFi Zen DAC

This next option should appeal to those who want a mix between a simple DAC system with that little bit of extra control to fine-tune your sound. We’ve gone for this DAC from IFI for its great quality sound output and its really good functionality. At first glance, this is a very different looking module in comparison to some of the others on this list. Foregoing the box-like shape for a more rounded one. The casing is made out of a really strong aluminum with the front and back panels having a brushed aluminum effect. The rounded shape doesn’t mean that it’s a lot smaller than the others we’ve included though since it’s around 10.78” x 6.18” x 2.32”. The design is really nice though its unconventional look may throw some people off. If you want a DAC that looks a little bit more standard, you might want to look elsewhere.

Functionally this DAC is really simple yet powerful, offering quite a bit of control over the sound. Again we’ve got a pretty large volume dial but that’s what we’ve come to expect at this point. The neat thing here is that this volume dial is backlit and gives off a really nice ambient glow. To the left of it we’ve got two buttons, one for power match and the other for truebass. Turning these on will cause the outputting sound to take on different effects. You don’t have full control over how strong they are which is a shame but if you don’t like what they do, you can turn them off. This is yet another great DAC, suited to those who want control over their sound while wanting an easy or streamlined process.

Pros:

  • Great Sound
  • Fantastic Build Quality
  • Unconventional Design

Cons:

  • Lack of Control over Effects
  • Expensive

Check Availability on Amazon!

Sound BlasterX G6 Hi-Res

Our last option on this list is aimed towards complete audiophiles who want the absolute best from their sound. We’ve gone for this DAC from Creative for its fantastic amount of functionality and its great quality. This unit looks pretty different in comparison to some of the other choices on this list. Interestingly it’s the second smallest DAC we have on the list at 4.37” x 0.94” x 2.76”. Making this a fantastic option for those who want great sound output but don’t have that much space. The overall style on this DAC is really cool looking while still being pretty understated. Even though we have the massive volume dial again, it actually makes sense here and fits well with the design.

In terms of what you can do with this DAC, there are actually quite a few things. You have tons of control over how exactly you want your sound to, well, sound like. Using Dolby Digital’s surround sound technology, it makes this DAC perfect for gaming. Especially games like first-person shooters where you need to be able to hear all around you. It also has various modes on the side of the unit that activate different sound modes. Allowing you to find the perfect kind of sound just for you. This entire process might be a little more complicated for those who have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to finding the right sound. So it isn’t really designed for newcomers to DACs, though if you want to learn this is still a great choice. This is the best choice for those who want to truly enhance their sound. Whether that’s while you’re gaming or while you’re watching the newest films.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Sound
  • Fantastic Build Quality
  • Great functionality

Cons:

  • Expensive

Check Availability on Amazon!

See Also: The Best White Gaming Mouse Buyers Guide

Buying Guide

If you’ve come this far in the list and you still have no idea which DAC you want to get, don’t worry! In this section, we’ll be going over some extra advice and will be giving you some tips to help you out with your purchase.

What does a DAC actually do?

A DAC is a pretty simple bit of tech, but it goes a long way towards making your sound much better. Essentially it acts as a way to reroute your sound to different outputs and cleans up that sound along the way. You simply plug your PC, game console, or whatever device that is emitting sound into the input of the DAC. You then plug your speakers or your headphones into the output and you’re all set. Doing this can prevent muddy sounds that are being output by poor tv speakers or the bad audio from a game console. It goes a long way to making the overall experience better and depending on the DAC you get, it could make a massive difference. Though be aware that if you have poor speakers or headphones, a DAC won’t be much help there.

You still need good equipment

Now if there’s anything to understand it’s this, a DAC won’t make your bad audio equipment sound amazing. Think of a DAC as something that makes your good existing sound tech much better. So if you own cheap headphones, have bad speakers, or anything that affects your sound in that way, a DAC simply won’t help. Since it’s only really designed to clean up the sound, or enhance the sound with extra bass or treble in some cases. If you do have speakers or headphones that are on the cheaper side a DAC isn’t a totally bad idea. It’ll still do its job of clearing up the sound and will aid with clarity. But if you want to make the most out of a DAC you should have good, high-quality equipment.

Get the right DAC for what you do

This might sound pretty obvious but it’s a good point that you should think about. If you simply want clearer sound or an easy way to reroute audio, you probably don’t need an expensive DAC. You should aim to get one that simply reroutes your audio and cleans it up along the way. If you’re someone who is serious about their sound setup then you should aim to look a little higher in the range. Aim to get a DAC that gives you some control over the way the outputted audio sounds. This could be in the form of different switches that control bass or treble. If you’re a serious audiophile, then you should take a look at some of the higher range DACs that give you a lot of control over the sound. Pay close attention to the technologies used in the DAC to see if they can give you the best sound possible.

Tips:

  • If you’re short on space, pay attention to how big the DAC you want to get is. Make sure you have the desk/cabinet space for it to sit comfortably.
  • Remember that to get the most out of a DAC you need to have good, decent audio equipment.
  • You don’t need to get the most expensive DAC available to get a good result. Just take a look at your setup and think about what you need to make your sound better. More expensive DACs will give you more control over your sound but if clarity and rerouting is all you want, go for a cheaper one.

Verdict – The Best DAC for Gaming

That’s been our list for The Best DAC for Gaming. If it’s helped you out and got you interested in looking for some DACs be sure to let us know! Thanks for reading.

Sam Robins
About Sam Robins 15 Articles
When not spending his time playing Video Games, Sam is busy planning out the next D&D campaign or wondering which tech upgrade is coming next. After all of that is when he decides to write about them.

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