Over the years, advancements in technology have revolutionized the art of listening to music.
Today, unlike years ago, audiophiles have the luxury to listen to high-quality music thanks to
DAC technology. Getting your hand on the best DAC is a game-changer to the way you listen to
music. Basically, DAC is a Digital-to-analog converter that converts digital signals to analog
signals. For example, all music playing devices have built-in DAC technology that converts
stored digital music to analog signals conceivable by the ears.
Besides internal DAC, there are external DAC specifically designed to enhance the listening
experience to a whole new level. For Tidal fans, an external DAC would come in handy,
especially if you are using the Tidal HiFi Plus service, which offers MQA – typically lossy 24-
bit/96 kHz songs. In that case, we have done research to find some of the best DAC for Tidal,
and here is a run-down of the best options, their features, and ultimately how to get Tidal music
for offline playback via DAC. Let’s check them out!
Part 1: Top Recommended DAC for Tidal
1. Dragonfly Cobalt USB DAC
The Dragonfly Cobalt USB DAC is possibly the best portable Tidal DAC device available in the
market. The device has a standard dimension of 57mm (l) x 19mm (w) x 12mm (h) and is,
therefore, nothing more than an ordinary USB stick with 3.5mm headphone output on the other
Considering its size, the device is nothing less than extraordinary. It delivers lively, fantastic,
crystal clear music sound and can handle all music file formats, including MP3, MQA, and Hi-
Res. It comes with a type-A USB connector and is compatible with both Android and iOS
devices, but you will require a USB adaptor and an Apple Lightning-to-USB adaptor to connect
the DAC device, respectively. At around $300, you can get yourself a top-class portable DAC for
your Tidal MQA playlist.
2. SMSL M500
Going for around $400, the SMSL M500 could seem quite expensive for a typical DAC
converter. However, the device is a DAC/ Amp Combo which is a bargain considering it offers
DAC and Amps service for audiophiles.
SMSL M500 comes with a top-performance ES9038PRO D/A chip from ESS Technology that
processes high-end music sound. Also, it offers genuine 32bit audio processing, supports DoP,
and reaches sample rates of 32 bit/768kHz and DSD512.
For tidal users, the tool has a full MQA decoder. However, this feature is only limited to USB
input support. That means that you have to get your Tidal MQA music to a USB to play it on
SMSL M500. Besides, the SMSL M500 also features a 3 high-end dual op-amps LME49720 that
offer low noise density sound and high output drive capability.
3. Mytek Brooklyn DAC+
The Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ is a fully-featured and all-rounded DAC converter with a
preamplifier, headphone, and phone preamplifier. It has a low and high-end latency studio
Designed in New York and manufactured in Poland, the Brooklyn DAC + is one of the best and
possibly one of the most expensive piece of DAC converter. It has a unique design and build
quality- the casing is made of metal sheet and high-end aluminum on the front panel that
efficiently dissipates heat while using it.
As far as performance is concerned, the Brooklyn DAC + is a unique upgrade from the previous
Brooklyn DAC converter version. This smart DAC converter can decode PCM material up to 32
bit/384 kHz and DSD material up to DSD256. On top of that, it has a built-in MQA Hi-Res
decoder that allows you to stream high-quality music from Tidal.
Brooklyn DAC+ also has an excellent headphone amplifier, dedicated relay-controlled analog
Preamp, and a powerful audio interface. Weighing around 2Kgs, the converter can be used in an
office or at home.
4. FiiO K3
FiiO K3 is a budget-friendly Tidal external DAC converter that goes for around $100. Besides, it
is a lightweight and therefore portable. Unlike most DAC converters, the FiiO K3 has a built-in
battery that is rechargeable via a USB, making it convenient for use when you do not have a
This pocket-friendly converter features a duo headphone output, an ADC digital volume control,
2 USB audio modes, and DSD256 support. It is powered by high-performance ES9038Q2M
DAC Chips that handle 384 kHz-32bit PCM, DSD256 via DoP. Typically, you will find the
same chipset on many audiophile-grade power systems such as gaming consoles and DAWs.
Generally, the K3 is a simple, portable, convenient DAC converter that offers a high-quality
music listening experience.
5. Topping D90 MQA Dedicated DAC
The Topping D90 MQA falls under the category of some of the pricey DAC converters. The
device cost around $800. It is, in fact, a direct successor of the D70 Topping. It has a much more
refined performance thanks to the AK4499 AKM version model. Even though it has an
exceptional performance than its older brother, the physical design is similar to the D70 Topping
The new AK4499 AKM flagship version allows for precise and fast conversion of high-
resolution audio files. Combined with Thesycon drivers, users have a chance to enjoy rich sound
reproduction. Also, the version handles PCM files up to 32bit 768 kHz and DSD up to DSD512
This new DAC converter also features a wide range of connectivity options, including Toslink
Optics, USB-B, I2S LVDS via HDMI, AES, and others. On the other hand, the outputs include
balanced XLR and a single-ended RCA. The device comes with an aluminum casing, and hence
you do not have to worry when it accidentally drops off.
6. iFi ZEN DAC Desktop Headphone DAC
The iFi ZEN DAC is a cute, compact, and stylish DAC converter with a headphone amp that
delivers a performance way above its affordable price. The device is compact and relatively
small-sized, which makes it very portable. You can either use it at home or in your office.
The converter runs on a True Native Burr Brown chip that handles high-resolution audio and
supports PCM and DXD to 32-bit/384kHz, Tidal MQA, and DSD256. It also provides easy
connectivity via USB3.0 (USB2.0 compatible) input from a computer or Digital Audio Player.
Courtesy of its advanced technology, users can control music volume, adjust PowerMatch, and
TrueBass for a smooth and clear music experience. Most importantly, iFi DAC convert only goes
for around $130, which is quite affordable for many people.
Part 2: How to Get Tidal Music for Offline Playback Forever
Tidal is a fully subscription-based online music platform that offers two levels of service- Tidal
HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus. Considering that songs from Tidal HiFi are lossy, an external DAC
converter would come in handy to help enhance music quality and listening experience.
However, in case you have noticed, most DAC converters only support USB MQA decoding.
This means that you have to download the Tidal to play them via your DAC converter.
However, downloading Tidal songs is not easy. You need a powerful downloader application,
and here we recommend the Ondesoft Audio Recorder. It is a top sound grabber software
designed to capture from various sources, including input devices and online streaming platforms
such as Amazon Music and Tidal. The software record all audio file formats, including MP3,
WAV, AAC, AC3, etc. It is also possible to record a wide range of sample rate- from anywhere
between 8,000 to 96,000 Hz.
The app provides high-quality music output and quick processing speed thanks to lossless
technology. It also comes with a built-in audio editor and is available for both Mac and Windows
Download and removes DRM-protection from Tidal songs
Records all audio formats
Converts Tidal music to MP3, WAV, AAC, etc
Retains 100% audio quality and ID3 tags
Supports multiple simultaneous recording
Guide: How to Download Tidal Music for Your DAC Converter
Step 1: Download and install Ondesoft Audio Recorder
First, download the Ondesoft Audio Recorder application from the official Ondesoft website.
Then, run the application file to install the app on your computer.
Step 2: Launch and define output format
Next, launch the application, and on the main interface, you will see some default applications.
Drag and drop the Tidal app to add it. Then, click on the “Edit” icon, and here, choose your
preferred audio output format and click “Ok” to confirm the changes.
Step 3: Record Tidal Music
Head back to the main interface and log in to your Tidal account via the Tidal app. Browse and
play the songs you want to download for your DAC converter. Then hit the red “Record” button
to begin the recording process. You can use the “Pause” button or the red “Stop” button to end
the recording process.
Step 4: Save Tidal songs
Once the recording is complete, the Tidal song will automatically save on the selected
destination file. Click on the folder icon to locate the downloaded Tidal songs. Now, you can
play the songs via the DAC converter of your choice and experience quality music sound.
From pricey to pocket-friendly converters, this article has listed some of the best DAC
converters for Tidal. All you have to do is evaluate the features and find one that suits your needs
and preferences. We have also featured a money hack tip to download Tidal music for offline
music playback using the Ondesoft Audio Recorder application. Download the software today
and grab yourself a chance to listen to your Tidal playlist forever!