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!
Below is a list of the best 10 DAC for Tidal MQA you should consider purchasing in 2023.
The Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ is a high-quality digital-to-analog converter that delivers exceptional audio performance. It features MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology, which allows for the streaming of high-resolution audio, and can fully unlock the potential of your Tidal subscription.
One of the standout features of the Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ is its versatility. It can be used as a standalone DAC or connected to a computer or other device as an external sound card.
The Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ has a compact and stylish design with a sleek black finish that would look great in any setup. It has a range of connectivity options, including USB, optical, and coaxial inputs and RCA and XLR outputs. It also has a built-in phono preamp, allowing you to connect a turntable and listen to vinyl records easily.
Overall, the Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ is a top-performing Tidal MQA DAC that offers a wide range of features and excellent audio quality.
Sample rate: 32-bit/384kHz, DSDx256
The SMSL M500 MQA DAC is a top-performing digital-to-analog converter well-suited for Tidal use. One of its standout features is its SB input, which supports MQA decoding, allowing you to fully unlock the potential of your Tidal subscription and enjoy high-resolution audio.
Regarding audio performance, the SMSL M500 MQA DAC boasts some impressive specs. It uses the top-performing ES9038PRO D/A chip from ESS Technology, which delivers exceptional sound quality. It also has a powerful XMOS XU-216 processor, which supports true 32-bit audio processing, as well as DoP and Native DSD, and can reach 32-bit/768kHz and DSD512.
To ensure ultra-low clock jitter, the SMSL M500 MQA DAC features ultra-low phase noise and an optimized clock processing circuit. It also uses three high-end dual op-amps (LME49720) to enhance its audio performance further.
Sample rate: up to 32-bit / 768 kHz
The Bluesound Node 2i is a high-quality, somewhat the best DAC for Tidal Hi-Fi that offers digital-to-analog conversion features and impressive audio performance. It boasts a 32-bit/384kHz premium DAC design, which allows it to deliver exceptional sound quality.
In terms of connectivity, the Bluesound Node 2i has a variety of options. It features HDMI eARC, optical, and analog inputs, as well as optical, coaxial, and USB audio outputs. This makes connecting to a wide range of devices and systems easy.
To ensure smooth and reliable performance, the Bluesound Node 2i is powered by a quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex A53 processor. This powerful processor allows for seamless music playback and makes it easy to navigate through the device’s menus and settings. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0 and AirPlay 2, allowing you to stream music from your devices easily.
Sample rate: 32 – 192 kHz
The FiiO K3 Tidal DAC is a top Tidal MQA digital-to-analog converter for high-quality audio playback. It supports audio resolution up to 384kHz/32bit, which means it can handle very high-resolution audio files with a wide dynamic range and excellent detail. The DAC has a lineout single-ended output, which means it can be connected to an external amplifier or other audio equipment using a standard 3.5mm single-ended cable. It also has a 2.5mm output for connecting to headphones or other portable audio devices.
The DAC is powered by an OPA1612 op-amp, known for its low noise and high performance. It is capable of playing back audio at a maximum resolution of 192kHz and DSD64 over DoP (DSD over PCM), which allows it to support high-resolution audio formats such as FLAC and WAV. The DAC has a USB Type-C input interface, which makes it effortless to connect to a computer or other device for digital audio playback.
Sample Rate: 384kHz/32bit
The Zorloo Ztella MQA DAC is a compact digital audio dongle designed to improve the sound quality of music played through a computer or other device. It is one of the smallest USB DACs (digital-to-analog converters) available, making it easy to carry with you wherever you go. The DAC can play hi-res music files up to PCM 384kHz, which means it can handle very high-resolution audio with a wide dynamic range and excellent detail.
It has a USB Type-C connection for easy plug-and-play setup and a 3.5mm audio output for connecting to headphones or other audio equipment. The DAC is compatible with USB 2.0 and USB connections and supports a range of audio formats, including PCM (up to 384kHz), DSD (up to 5.6MHz), and MQA.
It has an impedance of 150 ohms, which means it is well-suited for use with a wide range of headphones and other audio equipment. Overall, the Zorloo Ztella MQA DAC is a convenient and high-quality audio device for anyone looking to enhance the sound quality of their digital music collection.
Sample rate: 44.1 kHz up to 384 kHz
The Dragonfly Cobalt USB DAC is a compact device that is 57mm long, 19mm wide, and 12mm tall. It is compatible with iOS mobile devices and has an ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip. It can decode MP3 to MQA and Hi-Res audio and supports a sampling rate of 24-bit / 96kHz. The DAC has a USB Type-A port for connecting to a computer or other device. It is designed to improve the sound quality of digital audio by converting it to a higher resolution format that can be more easily played by high-quality audio equipment.
Sample rate: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, MQA
The iFi Zen is one of the best DAC for Tidal masters converter that utilizes Qualcomm 5100 series Bluetooth technology to transmit high-quality audio wirelessly. It supports CD quality aptX HD AAC, LDAC, and HWA Codecs for a wide range of audio formats. The DAC has a 4.4mm balanced output and can be connected to various audio equipment using the balanced output, optical and coaxial, or SPDIF connectors.
It can deliver over 20dB of performance, making it suitable for a range of listening environments. The Zen DAC also supports popular streaming services such as Tidal, Apple Music, and Spotify, making it easy to access a wide range of music on demand.
Sample rate: 24 bits / 192 kbps
The iFi Hip DAC is a portable headphone amplifier with a lightweight design that allows for easy transport. It has a battery life of 6 hrs and can play a variety of music formats, including Spotify, Tidal MQA, and MP3. The device has a maximum power output of 400 mW and features a USB input for connecting to a computer or other device.
It is equipped with balanced 4.4mm and S-Bal 3.5mm output options and includes the Power Match and XBass features for enhanced audio performance. Essentially, the iFi Hip DAC is a versatile and portable device that offers high-quality audio playback and a range of features for optimizing sound.
Sample rate: 384 kHz / 24-Bit (PCM)
The SMSL SU-9 is a high-quality digital audio converter (DAC) designed by SMSL. It has some features that make it a versatile and capable device.
One of its standout features is its connectivity options. It has both RCA and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect it to a wide range of audio sources. It also has USB connectivity, which enables you to connect it to a computer or other device to play high-resolution digital audio files.
The SU-9 also supports many high-quality audio codecs, including LDAC, APTX/HD, and the exquisite 24bit/192kHz UAT format. This means that it can handle a wide range of audio formats and deliver high-quality sound reproduction.
In addition, the SU-9 is equipped with an ES9311 power chip, which is designed to provide a clean, stable power supply for the DAC. This helps ensure the audio signal is free from noise and distortion.
The SU-9 also has DSD decoding support, allowing it to play back high-resolution DSD audio files. It has DoP64 coaxial and optic connectivity, which enables it to connect to a wide range of digital audio devices.
Sample rate: 24bit/192kHz (1200kbps), aptX-HD: 24bit/48 kHz
The Gustard X16 is a digital audio converter (DAC) equipped with many advanced features and technologies.
One of its key features is its DA chip, the ES9068AS, which is designed to deliver high-quality audio performance. The X16 can process both SPDIF and I2S input, giving you a wide range of connectivity options. It also has a USB audio dedicated chip, the XMOS XU216, which allows it to connect to a computer or other device and play high-resolution digital audio files.
The X16 also has Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, allowing you to stream audio from a compatible device wirelessly. It comes with a remote control for convenient operation and a CPLD programmable logic chip, which helps to ensure stable and reliable performance.
In terms of output, the X16 has RCA single-ended output and balanced XLR input, giving you flexibility in how you connect it to your audio system.
Sample rate: 32bit 768 kHz
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.
Ondesoft Tidal Music Converter is a software tool that allows users to download and convert Tidal music to MP3, M4A, or AAC formats. It has a built-in Tidal web player, which allows users to browse and play Tidal tracks within the program. The converter can process downloads in batch at a maximum speed of 10 times faster than in real-time.
The interface is multilingual, making it accessible to users around the world. Additionally, the software preserves ID3 tags and metadata when converting Tidal tracks, ensuring that the resulting files are properly organized and labeled.
Ondesoft Tidal Music Converter Features:
How to use Ondesoft Tidal Music Converter:
Step 1: Download and install Ondesoft Tidal Music Converter on your computer.
Step 2: Launch the program and log in to your Tidal account.
Step 3: Once you are logged in, the program will display a list of all your Tidal tracks, albums, and playlists. You can browse through the list.
Step 4: Next, go to settings and select your preferred audio output from the available options (e.g. MP3, M4A, FLAC).
Step 5: Use the Add Songs button to import the selected songs for download on your computer.
Step 6: Hit the Download button to begin the download and conversion process.
Price: $9.95 per month
The free version is limited.
Tunepat Tidal Music Converter is a tool that allows you to download music from Tidal and play it offline directly. It supports all Tidal plans and can keep the tracks’ Hi-Fi audio quality.
It has a high conversion speed of up to 10 times faster than the average converter app, making it efficient for downloading and converting large amounts of music. This tool is helpful for those who want offline access to their Tidal music or to use the tracks on devices that do not support the Tidal app.
Tunepat Tidal Music Converter Features:
How to use Tunepat Tidal Music Converter:
Step 1: Download and install the Tunepat Tidal app on your computer.
Step 2: Click the Register button and enter the app license code and email address on the pop-up window. Hit Confirm to complete the registration process.
Step 3: Launch the app, open the Tidal web player, and log in to your Tidal account.
Step 4: Hit the settings button and choose the output format for your Tidal songs.
Step 5: Click Convert Now to start the download process.
Sidify Tidal Music Converter is a professional tool that allows users to convert high-quality music from Tidal into various formats, including MP3, AAC, and WAV. It can produce lossless CD-quality output and is suitable for both Tidal Free and Tidal Hi-Fi subscribers. This converter is known for its fast conversion speed and ability to process files at 10 times the standard app.
Sidify Tidal Music Converter Features:
How to use Sidify Tidal Music Converter:
Step 1: Download and install the Tidal downloader on your computer.
Step 2: Launch the app, select Menu >> Register and enter your email address and license code to activate the app.
Step 3: Next, log in to your Tidal account.
Step 4: Go to Settings and choose the output format for your Tidal songs. You can also tweak a few music parameters.
Step 5: Hit Add to List and import the songs you want to download.
Step 6: Finally, click the Download button to start the download and conversion.
Ondesoft Audio Recorder for Mac is a leading converter that allows users to record audio from various sources, including popular web browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. It can record audio from up to four different applications simultaneously and supports a wide range of sample rates, from 8,000 to 96,000 Hz.
This audio recorder produces true lossless audio quality, ensuring the output is of the highest possible quality. It also includes a built-in recording scheduler, allowing users to schedule recordings in advance.
Ondesoft Audio Recorder for Mac Features:
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 the 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.
What DACs can decode MQA?
MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is a digital audio format that is designed to deliver high-quality, studio-grade audio to listeners. To decode MQA audio, you will need a DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that supports MQA decoding.
What is the highest quality DAC?
Many high-quality digital-to-analog converters (DACs) are available on the market, and it is difficult to determine a single “highest quality” DAC as the best DAC for one person may not be the same for another. The quality of a DAC can be evaluated based on several factors, including its signal-to-noise ratio, total harmonic distortion, and frequency response.
Do audiophiles use Tidal?
Yes, many audiophiles use Tidal, a music streaming service that offers high-quality audio streams. Tidal offers multiple levels of audio quality, including lossless “HiFi” streams encoded at a high bitrate and intended to provide a higher-quality listening experience.
Is Tidal really master quality?
Tidal refers to its streams as “Master Quality Authenticated” (MQA), which refers to a proprietary audio codec that Tidal uses to deliver high-resolution audio streams over the internet. According to Tidal, MQA streams are “authenticated” and “verified in the mastering process” and are intended to provide a listening experience that is “indistinguishable from the original master recording.”
Does Tidal master sound better than HiFi?
Tidal and HiFi are high-quality music streaming services offering lossless audio playback. Tidal offers a “Master” tier that streams music at a high bitrate and uses MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology to deliver the highest quality audio possible. HiFi, on the other hand, streams music at a bitrate of up to 1,411 kbps, slightly lower than Tidal’s Master tier.
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!