If you’re looking to improve the sounds coming from your laptop or mobile device, but don’t have the money to commit to high-res audio, British iFi audio experts may have the solution with their super affordable new Uno portable DAC and power amplifier. Earphone.
Touted as a “first-rate audio upgrade” for those taking their first steps into the realm of getting serious about sound quality, the Uno is priced at a budget of £79/$79 (about AU$129 – AU$139).
For those unfamiliar with the term “portable DAC”, you’re not alone, but don’t worry: a digital-to-analog converter basically translates a digital audio signal into analog, so your headphones or speakers can provide a sound. Every smartphone, tablet, and (almost all) computer will have one, but it’s probably not the best, with poor filtering and shielding making its output noisy and distorted, while also being unable to provide high bitrate listening, which is where a dedicated unit as the Uno comes.
iFi claims the small 8.8 x 2.6 x 8.1 cm unit offers a more “exciting” listening experience, with the device packed in its Quad DAC+ technology and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, both present in the models. the company’s most expensive, such as the excellent hip-dac.
This no-fuss drive features a USB-C input that lets you connect to Windows PCs and Apple Macs, as well as smartphones and tablets, with the connection doubling as the device’s power supply, meaning no extra cables.
There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack that includes a switchable 6dB gain stage to match your headphones too, plus stereo RCA outputs that let you connect the Uno to an amplifier or powered speakers.
There’s also pretty comprehensive high-resolution audio support, with the Uno capable of playing files up to 32-bit/384kHz, plus out-of-the-box compatibility with Tidal’s PCM, DSD256, and MQA files. Meanwhile, an illuminated ring around the volume dial changes color according to the input format and sample rate.
There’s also built-in EQ adjustment, with three preset modes for music, movies and games.
The One is set to be available directly from Uno (opens in new tab) until the first week of December.
Review: Uno might be the number one choice for increasing your audio budget
With so many of us now using our computers and mobile devices as our primary source for listening to music, it’s not a big surprise to find dedicated DACs growing in popularity.
A decent DAC, however, usually comes at a premium price (and often in a beefy frame), and while there are certainly plenty of examples of budget-friendly headphone amps and DACs in a compact form factor, up until this point the increase in performance has rarely been seen. significant enough to justify having them as an outbox on top of what’s built into your source device.
While its small size and form factor may, unfortunately, still not be compact enough to make it conducive to listening on the go, the iFi’s track record nevertheless means that we have high hopes that the Uno will be a perfect companion for a PC. desktop, Mac or fixed tablet and one we can’t wait to blow our speakers and cans.