$30 dac? Good luck

looking for a dac around $30 that beats onboard motherboard audio from an msi gaming plus b550 mobo. minor-upgrading my current system until I can replace everything.

This may be a golden option:

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Tempotec Sonata HD pro.

I’d argue to save the money.


Scope used market if available.

I’d save up for an open box Liquid Spark dac instead

I agree that you should just wait until you can spend a bit more. I’ve seen used Topping D10s for $45.


If you really can’t spend more an option is the behringer UCA202

Are you sure riku ? Hd sonata performs 5db worse at signal to noise ratio and puts out 3.5mw power compared to msi 150mw.

The msi has full size condensators and a better dac chip. Getting the sonata is deep down a big fat downgrade

The sonata is a good dac for most beginners and motherboard dacs are shit from what I know…with lots of interference from the other components.

Amp wise I dont know though. if the motherboard amp can output 150mw then thats definitely more powerful.

I bought the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro today to drive my Sennheiser HD 560s (120 ohm impedance, 110 db sensitivity), and I must admit I’m underwhelmed so far.

I know this is a dongle and not a nuclear substation for power, but it seems like the Sonata HD Pro only gives me about two more clicks of volume than driving the 560s straight from my iPhone 12 and the Apple Lightning DAC dongle. The sound isn’t really cleaned up THAT much, either. I expected more considering the praise here and other audiophile lairs online.

Am I doing anything wrong? Or were my expectations too high? Or does this prove again that the Apple Lightning DAC dongle is the best $9 bargain in hi-fi?


Weird, you should have more power than that from the hd pro than the apple dongle…

(Hidizs S8 = Sonata HD pro)

A dude at Audio Science Review just gave me a tip that transformed this thing.

The Tempotec Sonata HD Pro recognizes the HD 560s as low impedance cans and switches automatically to its low gain mode. You need to follow these steps to fool the Sonata HD Pro into thinking the HD 560s need max power:

  1. Connect the 3.5-mm adapter that comes with the HD 560s into the Sonata unit. (The HD 560s come stock with a 6.35-mm plug)
  2. Connect the Sonata with the 3.5-mm adapter to your source (phone or laptop) with the provided cable so the source recognizes the connected HD Sonata.
  3. Connect your headphone cable into the 3.5 mm adapter connected to the Sonata and your source.

Wonky as hell, part of the charm and frustration of Chi-fi devices. But damn if it didn’t work. I’m listening comfortably to my 560s from my iPhone 12 at half-volume, with better fidelity because of the additional power.

One of the reasons I like the Tempotec is that it comes with a MiFi (Apple)-certified adapter. No need for the Apple USB Camera Connector. I wish the Tempotec cable was sturdier, but that’s the price of a $58 Chi-fi device, I guess.

…damn, thats basically the same as the LG dacs function. I really hate that you have to “trick” it into believing something is high-impedance…

Yeah, a bit annoying. But I only have to do it with my 560s. My Meze 99 Classics and Moondrop Starfields have low enough impedance and high enough sensitivity that low-gain mode provides ample amplification.

Now I like this little doo-dad!

I’m still very keen on getting a Qudelix 5K if it ever gets back in stock at Amazon. That thing looks like a monster – 33 percent more power than the Tempotec, Bluetooth, balanced and unbalanced inputs and a built-in parametric EQ for $110. Just take my damn money.

Are you thinking about its SE port?
Because the balanced port has 240mw, which is like 4 times more than the hd pro.

Yes, single-ended. Apples-to-apples comparison to the Tempotec.

The amount of balanced power is even more attractive.