Tbh I just wanna see the best options that are sub $50 since there seems to be a lot of fluff on Amazon.
Curious about this specifically for new MacBook Pros
I don’t have first-hand experience, but I have come across a few that seemed well received by reddit and/or AudioScienceReview. I can’t speak on the subjective sound experience of these products myself. But I did some research on which ones I would buy once I eventually make the switch to a phone without a 3.5mm jack.
My first choice (and planned choice) would be the Meizu HiFi PRO USB-C to 3.5mm. The DAC portion measures quite well and provides a decent amount of power for its size. Make sure it is the pro version though as the regular version does not perform quite as highly in the measurements. Looks like $38.39 on ali express right now.
As a budget option, the US version of the Apple USB-C Dongle is decent as well. The DAC measures great, but doesn’t provide the amount of power the Meizu does. However at $9.00, it performs much better than many more expensive offerings and is an unbelievable value. If you have easy to drive headphones or IEMs, this might be a good choice as well.
There are also some portable DAC/Amp options with USB-C, but they are a bit too bulky for my personal tastes for portability. I am sure others could comment more on those.
I got the hidizs sonata a while back. Sounds good but I never use it. Problem k have with it, and I’m not sure whether this goes for all of these dongles where there is a DAC in the dongle, is that it drains a lot of power. A lot more than a Bluetooth connection, so I switched to a Bluetooth DAC (Shanling UP2).
I’ve also got a Hidizs Sonata. The sound is fine, but if you have low power IEMs, the volume is too high. If I use it with my KZ AS10s, I have the volume on the lowest setting.
Ah yeah forgot to mention I used it with an iFi Ear Buddy. That kinda fixes the volume and takes away hissing.
Update on this, picked up the apple USB-C to 3.5 dongle from the river for $9, crystal clear audio coming from MBP running Mojave, big upgrade from this machine’s embedded 3.5 port. Just have to go to sound prefs and select this device like you would any other USB dac. I think this one is pretty much the goto for newer Macs, esp. at this price point.
Meizu HiFi Pro at $44.99
iBasso DC02 at $49.99