The uDAC3 Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) and combined headphone amplifier significantly upgrades any computer’s sound output. It simply connects to the computers USB port and extracts every last nuance and detail from your digital music collection
Small enough to fit in your pocket, but packing the serious earphone power required to produce the extra bass and volume in the noisiest of environments - with the uDAC3 you can enjoy perfect sound from your laptop, anywhere.
The uDAC3 uses USB for the audio connection bypassing your laptop's low quality soundcard and earphone output. It then processes your digital music directly – giving you much better sound than is possible from your laptops earphone output.
If you’re a gamer you will experience a more accurate and realistic sound track, you’ll hear subtle audio cues that others won’t, increasing your performance and enjoyment.
Musicians, producers and DJ’s use the uDAC3 as an ultra-portable monitoring solution enabling them to work anywhere with ultimate precision.
If you use Skype, YouTube, watch movies or use online music services like Spotify or Pandora on your laptop and want better sound quality then the uDAC3 is for you!
The uDAC3 is perfect for use at home as well as when one is out and about. Unusually for an ultra-portable DAC, it has both analogue and digital output connections, in addition to the earphone amplifier, so you can connect it to your amplifier and speakers at home or in the studio.
The uDAC3 offers a convenient connection to high resolution files stored on your PC or MAC. Audio enthusiasts playing DSD files can use a ASIO driver to convert their content to PCM stream for seamless replay at the uDAC3’s highest available resolution. As you would expect, only the purest analogue circuit topology has been employed in the uDAC3, which among other features includes the elimination of all capacitors from the signal path. The uDAC3 derives its operating power directly from the USB port of your computer and then engages a special "boost" circuit that ensures ample voltage is always available for explosive reproduction of high-speed musical dynamics.
At the heart of the uDAC3 is a 24bit/96kHz DAC that employs the latest asynchronous USB communication. A double jitter-reduction mechanism at data level and at the over-sampling filter stage ensures that you'll always hear a harmonically accurate presentation.
The earphone amplifier is suitable for driving earphones with impedances ranging from 16 – 300 Ohms and has 80mW x 2 (16 Ohms) power available.
It certainly looks like Optoma NuForce have done it again. They have managed to produce something that is available at an extremely reasonable price that performs as well, if not better, than other devices at a much higher price-point.
The uDAC-3 is light and small, which makes it extremely portable. Even more-so as it is powered by USB – no need to charge it or find a power socket.
Its friendly plug-and-play nature makes it very simple to set-up. This is a blessing if you intend on taking it with you and use it on different machines.
If you are considering taking the plunge and adding a DAC to your digital audio system, or simply looking to add one to your computer-based set-up, the NuForce uDAC-3 is certainly worth checking out for the money.
“All of my headphones sounded better with the uDAC-3 than just using the headphone out with my MacBook Pro.
“The uDAC3 provided a fuller sound with better clarity and a deeper and more powerful bass, more detail and separation. It is amazing the difference this made with streaming services and YouTube. The other aspects that is good about the uDAC-3 is its small compact size and that it gains all its power from the USB port of your computer.”
“For such a small compact device, this is an ideal addition to anyone who likes there music and wants their headphones to sound significantly better than the built in computer headphone audio.”
“A good DAC makes an enormous difference no matter what kind of headphones you’re using. The uDAC3 is a good one…”
"Once you’ve committed to high-end headphones, you need to get a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) if you’re listening from a laptop. They plug into your USB port and highjack your computer’s terrible sound card and improves the audio conversion. No matter what kind of laptop you own, you need one of these if you listen to music from your computer. NuForce makes the uDAC3, which retails for around $100."
“The NuForce uDAC3 is high quality and because of its small size and weight it can easily be used on the move. It is primarily designed for use with a notebook and it clearly improves the sound quality of a notebook. Furthermore, it completely eliminates any annoying background noise.”
+ High quality processed
+ Small size and low weight
+ Supports windows and OS X
+ No installation required
+ It clearly improves sound quality
"Technically, the NuForce uDAC3 operates at the highest level and ensures good sound. The product has a 24bit USB Digital Audio Converter. This enables a high-performance with a clear sound quality."
"This product is suitable for anyone that demands higher sound quality. This product is especially suitable for musicians that mix their music on a computer. But also for gamers, as the amplifier is beneficial and provides a rich gaming experience. It is also suitable for normal home usage - to intensify the sound quality if watching a movie on PC."
The uDAC3 works extremely reliably in all sorts of applications, from simple plug and play with my lap top and PC to using it along side my FIO X3. It never caused me any technical problems. It just works. Such a rare thing in Computer audio I find.
Will I be selling the Hugo, buying a uDAC and enjoying the £1200 difference in another way? Maybe.. it’s certainly a thought I’ve entertained more than once during this review. It’s more portable, less fiddly, and the differences is SQ are small.. the law of diminishing returns has been highlighted well by the uDAC3.
If you do and you hate it, I’ll buy you a beer at Scalford! That’s how confident I am in this bargain.
uDAC3 was awarded 4.5 stars and a HiFi Choice Recommended award.
“Despite its affordable price and dinky proportions the uDAC3 has an eyebrow-raising spec that includes a variable gain headphone amplifier and a 32-bit DAC with support for 96kHz hi-res files of most common types including DSD.”
“Using the uDAC3 principally as an asynchronous USB source with an iMac I find it really enjoyable to operate and to listen to. The cellos in Brandenburg’s Concerto No. 3 are finely textured and there’s plenty of sparkle and detail to the midrange and upper registers of the violin. Overall, it confidently serves up a lively, well imaged soundstage.”
“Performance-wise it’s a close run thing with Cambridge Audio’s DACMagic XS. The latter is smaller, but the uDAC3’s volume control makes it nicer to use and the additional outputs make it much more versatile.”
“The uDAC-3 could not have been simpler to set up. Once the USB cable was plugged in, my installation of Windows whirred away and installed everything.”
“In general the audio from the uDAC-3 was pleasant. When switching between some closed back headphones or a set of speakers connected via the phono jacks the sound was impressive with a very nice clarity and no distortion even when the volume was cranked up. It was especially nice to have the physical volume control available, because it can be annoying in game to pause to make an alteration to the audio levels.”
“The simple plug and play nature of the uDAC-3 with no additional power requirements is a nice plus.”
“The uDAC-3 is a nice product - one that I can happily award the DavePlays Silver Award.”
“The dwarf that sounds good”
“Nuforce uDAC3 is a device with a simple design without any complications.”
“Starting up the NuForce uDAC3 was by far the easiest compared to other devices of this type. It’s plug and play.”
“The sound is pleasant and well balanced for such a small device, natural with a very slight accent on bass (but not much). Regardless the types of music that I listened to, the uDAC3 never changed the sound signature and allowed the FLAC sites and high bitrate MP3s to shine at their true value. I would say that NuForce uDAC3 is the perfect companion for on-the-go audiophile people. It requires high audio fidelity files for you to appreciate the true value 'magic' in this metal box.”
“NuForce uDAC3 is the first micro amp / DAC on the Romanian market which had enough courage to come to TechView.ro for a true testing.”
“The uDAC3 surprised us with its qualities, all in a very small package, easy to carry and use. It is the perfect companion for those who want a good source of audio coming from their laptop but don’t want to bother with settings, drivers and possible incompatibilities. NuForce uDAC3 just works and it does it very well."
“The uDAC3 weighs little more than a matchbox, but has a solid appearance.”
“…the clear improvement of the sound, both streaming MP3 Spotify and gaming sound, indicates that the uDAC3 also performs up sampling in this case”
“But for this price (139 euros), it is rare, if not a unique case of DSD compatibility.”
The uDAC3 was awarded an overall grade of “Sehr Gut” = very good (uDAC3=85,5%):
“It’s a really tiny device, you could not even imagine, but inside there is a real big headphone amplifier”
“Easiest installation with Windows 7/8 and MAC”
“It considerably improves the sound of a notebook and it could be recommended for journeys”
Czech magazine - Stereo & Video
Overall rating: Outstanding
Verdict (English translation):
“Final sound frequency is well balanced, gaining transparency and feeling for the space and small details are much richer in comparison to the sound quality of mid-class notebooks of top brands. uDAC3 can be also recommended as a quality interface between PC and amplifier which miss digital inputs.”
At work or on the go, if you own a computer and love music, you need the NuForce uDAC3. There’s no need to put up with tinny or sound that is too quiet any longer as the uDAC3 enhances the performance to new levels.
The uDAC3 is perfect for enhancing sound on conference or video calls through your laptop. Alternatively, simply use it to enjoy better audio through your headphones in the comfort of your home.
To read the full April issue of Talk Business visit http://talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk/latest-magazine
“This tiny little device makes a world of difference to my audio. Whether listening to music, podcasts, or even films and games, audio always sounded much clearer and more enjoyable. I wouldn't describe the DAC as clinical or neutral, but it does give a warm natural sound. This is a warm blanket on a crisp winter day.”
“Whilst increasing detail I could here on tracks, they also sounded transparent, a little closer, more energetic. Bass had a bit more oomph, without getting carried away, and whilst the midrange and high ends had a bit more snap. It was never tiring, just the opposite, it made everything more enjoyable, lush and invigorating.”
“I admit that some people may not like this colouring of audio, but I think the vast majority of people will appreciate the huge difference it makes compared to the standard audio from your computer, no matter how high a quality recording it is.”
“Do you want to improve your audio experience when listening to anything from your computer? Yes? Buy it! £100 seems like a small price to pay for a small, portable piece of HiFi which potentially makes a big difference to your everyday life.”