Astell & Kern’s new USB-C DAC promises hi-fi audio for phones without headphone jacks
Astell & Kern — the company best known for its high-end portable digital audio players — is making a USB-C DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that’s designed to help get better-sounding audio from modern smartphones and computers that may lack a 3.5mm headphone jack.
If you want to use any digital device with a 3.5mm headphone jack, you need a DAC. Older devices that had 3.5mm headphone jacks featured integrated DACs (some better than others, like LG’s famous Quad DAC system on its former flagships).
But the death of the 3.5mm headphone jack on modern smartphones in favor of exclusively USB-C (or in Apple’s case, Lightning ports) has left a gap for audiophiles. Now if you want to use older headphones or sound setups, you’ll need a USB-C…