Best Portable DAC/Amp Combos to Elevate Your On-the-Go Audio (2024)

Upgrade your listening on the go! Discover the best portable DAC/Amp combos for audiophile-grade sound anywhere.

If you’re an audiophile who refuses to compromise on sound quality even on the move, a portable DAC/amp combo is your secret weapon. These pocket-sized wonders bypass your phone or laptop’s mediocre sound processing, delivering a cleaner, more powerful audio signal to your headphones for a transformative listening experience.

Here Are The Best Portable DAC/Amp Combos (2024):

Best Overall Portable DAC/Amp Combo: iFi Audio hip-dac 3 ($199)

Best Portable DAC/Amp

Best for: Audio enthusiasts seeking a superb all-around performer with great features.

This updated classic balances sound quality, thoughtful features like IEMatch and PowerMatch gain controls, and a user-friendly design. This unit may have the best all-around tuning (warmth, openness, and balance) under $500. Plays nice with any genre. (Full Review)

Pros: Engaging sound, IEMatch, and PowerMatch functionality, updated design with separate USB-C inputs for power and signal, SE and BAL outputs

Cons: Can be slightly bulky compared to dongle-style options

Best Budget Portable DAC/Amp Combo: FiiO JadeAudio KA1 ($49.99)

Best Portable DAC/Amp

Best for: Value-conscious listeners who want a noticeable audio upgrade from their portable device.

This tiny dongle-style DAC/amp offers surprisingly clean, detailed sound for the price and supports MQA and DSD, along with PCM from the 3.5mm output. Comes in both USB-C and Lighting flavors.

Pros: Clean sound, compact design

Cons: May not drive the most power-hungry headphones

Best Premium Portable DAC/Amp Combo: Chord Mojo 2 ($650)

Best Portable DAC/Amp

Best for: Detail-oriented listeners who crave sonic precision and unique features.

Featuring Chord’s trademark custom FPGA processor and advanced DSP, the Mojo 2 delivers exceptional detail and richness, though its unusual design might take some getting used to. This DAC’s sound is the cream of the crop in terms of detail and focus.

Pros: Exceptional resolution, advanced DSP, long battery life, Coax and Optical Inputs

Cons: High price point, unusual design may not be for everyone, old Micro USB input

Best Wireless Portable DAC/Amp Combo: iFi Go Blu ($199)

Best Portable DAC/Amp

Best for: Those who want wireless convenience without sacrificing audio fidelity.

With Bluetooth connectivity, intuitive controls, and impressive warm, organic sound quality, the Go Blu brings both convenience and audiophile-grade performance to wireless listening.

Pros: Superb Bluetooth sound quality, compact & stylish, fun XBass/XSpace modes to play with the sound, Balanced and SE Output.

Cons: Slightly higher price compared to wired-only options

Best Design-Focused Portable DAC/Amp Combo: EarMen Colibri ($199)

Best for: Style-conscious audiophiles who value a beautiful and capable device.

Strikingly beautiful and remarkably compact, the Colibri packs impressive natural timbre, depth, and detail into its tiny form factor and even supports MQA for high-res streaming.

Pros: Striking looks, excellent sound in a tiny package, MQA support, Balanced and SE output

Cons: May lack the feature set of some competitors

Important Considerations

  • Sound Signature: Do you prefer a warm, bass-heavy sound or a brighter, more analytical presentation? DAC/amp combos can subtly shape the sound.
  • Compatibility: Ensure the combo works with your phone or computer’s connector type (USB-C, Lightning, etc.).
  • Output Power: For power-hungry headphones, check the amp’s output to ensure it offers enough juice.
  • Features: Consider extras like balanced outputs, volume controls, battery indicators, hardware EQ, or Bluetooth connectivity if they are essential to you.


A portable DAC/amp combo can make the difference between “good enough” sound and a truly immersive audio experience wherever you go. Don’t let your love for high-quality audio be restricted to your home setup – find the perfect portable combo to upgrade your mobile listening!

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