Real Hi-Fi from the PC
- The sound is extremely energetic and rhythmic, and the resolution is fine – in this price range, there are few competitors to Henry Audio.
- Double expensive DACs make even more fine-grained. Only USB input.
Are you among those who prefer your PC to listen to music? If this is connected to the stereo system with the built-in audio output, the sound quality improvement potential is high. What you need is a USB DAC that rejects the courageous internal sound card and translates digital zeros and one to analog audio with greater accuracy.
Henry Audio has worked to spell out the sound at the lowest possible price, now the latest with its latest USB DAC. USB DAC 128 Mk 3, as it’s called, has USB-B as the only digital input. This is upgraded from the precursors micro USB , now the PC is connected to a standard USB cable. Which also gives the converter power. The analogue output is the standard stereo RCA, which connects to an amplifier or headphone amplifier.
The USB input is asynchronous, which means that it is the DAC’s clock and not the PC that is in use. It is the result of an open source project that spans the continents, in collaboration with radio engineers in Canada, Singapore, England and Russia. The DAC itself is now manufactured in Germany, where previous editions were made in China.
Asynchronous USB-B is the only digital input, the DAC also receives power.
The digital converter supports digital PCM signals up to 192 kHz. DSD files must be converted to PCM in the playback application.
Henry Audio USB DAC 128 Mk 3 Sound quality
We were thrilled with both the first and second versions of the DAC. The price has gone up for each upgrade, and is now $299. There is still not much money for a proper hi-fi product, but with a price increase you still have to expect improvement.
And there is little doubt that the DAC 128 Mk 3 has become even better. Where the predecessor is already very good and well-balanced in the sound, Mk 3 sounds even better. Especially when speaking rhythm. Played through Hegel H190 and Audiovector SR3 Arreté Raw Surface, the music has outstanding rhythm, it smells hard in the pennies of Stravinsky’s Firefighter, and the atmospheric post Wrap Your Arms Around Me’s industrial song The Knife is so physical that it’s almost the nifest.
The built-in digital input of the Hegel H190 has even higher resolution, and the distorted synthesis cabinet is more transparent. My pleasure. But in Henry Audio’s price range, it’s good to find something better. It has more fun and speed than Hegel’s now out-of-date HD2, and you’ll have better sound than this, you’ll probably have to Chord Mojo for $ 5,000.
If you are using PC or Mac and want the best sound at a reasonable price, Henry Audio USB DAC 128 Mk 3. The sound is extremely rhythmic, with good resolution, and infinitely better than the computer’s built-in audio output.
Should you have even better sound than this you may need to double the price. We certainly do not like any better on this page of $600.
- Resolution: 24-bit / 192 kHz
- Digital input: asynchronous mini USB
- Analogue out: RCA
Henry Audio USB DAC 128 Mk 3 Price: $299, –