Audiolab cuts the cord with Hi-Res Bluetooth DAC
British maker of award-winning Digital-to-Analog Converters Audiolab has added a new mobile DAC/headphone amp to its range. The M-DAC Nano cuts down on a little cable clutter by leveraging the wireless streaming power of Bluetooth.
The teeny DAC doesn't do away with cables altogether, as wired earphones still need to be plugged into the unit's 3.5 mm jack. But Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX and AAC codec support means that mobile music lovers can stream tunes from a smartphone through the device to those earphones, and enjoy CD-like audio quality while doing it.
The 44 x 44 x 14 mm (1.7 x 1.7 x 0.5 in), 28 g (0.9 oz) Nano certainly lives up to its name and won't take up too much room in your pocket. Its 64-step rotary volume dial has a press function that pauses/skips playback, and there's an integrated MEMS microphone which allows for hands-free calling when paired with a smartphone, and can also be used to communicate with Siri or Google Assistant.
The Nano has another neat wireless trick up its diminutive sleeve too – Qi charging of its built-in battery when placed on the supplied charging pad, for up to 8 hours of playing time per charge.
So why would you opt for a Nano instead of, say, a pair of dedicated Bluetooth earphones? The audio technology at the heart of this M-DAC rocks right up to 32-bit/384 kHz resolution, with the device able to upsample the streaming data to enhance sound quality. The Nano also features a Class H analog amp with auto sensing that adapts the output to suit the load.
Listeners can choose to get the best from the battery in standard mode, or engage the enhanced mode to boost audio quality, where "all forms of digital audio benefit from elevated definition, delivering a more dynamic and engaging performance through your preferred headphones or earphones. Bluetooth has rarely sounded so good."
The M-DAC Nano is priced at £149 (about US$190).
Product page: M-DAC Nano