"A Solid Addition to Your Audio Arsenal"
he quality of most computer headphone outputs isn't generally very inspiring. The Audioengine D3 24-bit DAC allows you to bypass your computer's headphone output and send music directly through a USB port for noticeably improved fidelity and a higher output. The D3 is a powerful yet portable converter with performance and features usually found in more expensive DACs. It's the perfect interface between your computer and headphones or any music system via its mini-plug output.
"If you've got a headphone pair you love and want to get more out of your computer time with them, the Audioengine D3 can be a solid addition to your audio arsenal," reports Tim Gideon in his December 20, 2013 review for PCMag.com.
"It's That Good"
"Audioengine has hit their mark with the D3. A good price, great delivery and well kempt sound quality round out the tiny package for the computer desktop junkie and budget audiophile alike," notes Brian, ComputerAudiophile.com, December 19, 2013.
"If you want the best quality from your digital files, the Audioengine D3 is worth serious consideration," says Mel Martin at TUAW.com, The Unoffical Apple Weblog, December 4, 2013. "I'll have to return my review sample, but certainly will buy one to use for my laptop and desktop Mac. It's that good."
Setup is easy and no special software is needed, making D3 a true plug-and-play solution. The D3 plugs directly into a USB port on your computer so no external power supply or cables are needed. The output of the D3 connects to headphones, Audioengine powered speakers, or any audio system. The D3 also has a sample rate indicator that shows sample rates above 48K so you'll know you’re getting the most out of your HD music.
Designed for the Headphone Enthusiast
The D3 will process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any native sample rate to 96 kHz. With its high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion, the D3 delivers sound quality generally heard only in more expensive DACs. The high-performance headphone amplifier was designed for a wide range of headphones and will satisfy even the most demanding headphone enthusiast with its high output and revealing sound.
The D3's asynchronous data transfer carefully controls USB streaming audio from any computer, which greatly improves audio performance.
The aluminum case of the D3 reflects traditional Audioengine design and the high-quality components and audio fidelity are typical of Audioengine's commitment to great sound at affordable prices.
D3 Internal Converter
The heart of the D3 is the AK4396 DAC, well regarded for its low noise and high fidelity. Due to the high signal-to-noise specs of the AK4396 and the added benefit of double redundancy power source conversion and filtering, the D3 presents impressive low noise and low distortion characteristics. The D3 will process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any native sample rate to 96KHz. 192KHz files will be resampled to 96KHz. D3 pads (upsamples) all bit depths internally to 24 bits, thus achieving a higher signal-to-noise ratio.
Headphone Amplifier Technology
The D3 contains a high-performance headphone amplifier based on the LME49726 low-noise opamp. This amp is able to provide low-impedance, high-fidelity audio and a two-volt output which easily drives a wide range of headphones, including headphones with impedances as low as 12 ohms. The D3’s relay-controlled stereo outputs can also be connected to any system with an analog audio input, such as Audioengine powered speakers.
USB Bus Power
The D3 is powered directly from the USB bus and power is passed through two stages of regulation to ensure no USB bus 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.
Volume Control via OS
Volume is controlled from the computer’s OS and is implemented in the D3 as a digitally-controlled analog volume control.
"Audioengine has hit their mark with the D3. A good price, great delivery and well kempt sound quality round out the tiny package for the computer desktop junkie and budget audiophile alike. It’s DAC is highly resolving for a compact component and the headphone amplifier should fit the bill for a very wide range of headphone usage, should you choose to go that route."
- Brian, ComputerAudiophile.com, December 19, 2013
"The D3 pads any bit depth it encounters up to 24 bits—this creates, for most instances, a higher bit-rate and thus a better signal-to-noise ratio and a more dynamic audio experience with snappier transients and quieter passages that compete less with background noise."
"If you've got a headphone pair you love and want to get more out of your computer time with them, the Audioengine D3 can be a solid addition to your audio arsenal."
- Tim Gideon, PCMag.com, December 20, 2013
"If you want the best quality from your digital files, the Audioengine D3 is worth serious consideration. Unlike some DACs, the headphone amp is built-in, and under some very challenging musical files, I never heard distortion or breakup."
"I'll have to return my review sample, but certainly will buy one to use for my laptop and desktop Mac. It's that good."
- Mel Martin, TUAW.com, December 4, 2013