Cheapish DAC recommendations for MacBook Pro listening


Novice Member
I will be ordering a new MBP in the near future for work, although I currently have a mid 2014 model. Would a DAC improve the listening experience for a decent set of wired vintage headphones on these machines?
if so,I would appreciate recommendations for a DAC, new or used; ideally under £150. I would even consider a smallish hifi amp based dac with usb.


Distinguished Member
Last edited:


Senior Moderator
It may help to say what headphones they are. If they are easy to power the MBP headphone out may sound "good enough"


Prominent Member
I would try the headphones with the Macbook first, as @Steven the Mac might sound fine without the need for a DAC
I use my Dragonfly Cobalt when listening to certain headphones via the Mac but its not always necessary


Standard Member
I use a, Audiolab m-dac nano with my phone. had to return the first 2 I got but am convinced it was just a bad batch as have had nothing but joy from the final replacement. For a more static option I use my old AK Junior but that doesn't fall into cheapish category!


Established Member
I have a MacBook and use a Dragonfly Cobalt , very happy with it , I did try the Red version but thought the Cobalt was worth the extra cost . Plus you get the dongle with the Cobalt .

iFi audio

Prominent Member
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Honestly, the MBP is okay without a DAC but when I started working for iFi I (obviously) started playing with their kit and I did notice a difference. Mine is a 2012 MMP so this could be the reason. I'm not going into the hype about why an external DAC is better but if you are still undecided, check us out at The ZEN DAC is a good, entry-level desktop DAC and the hip-dac is a great small, portable one if you are out and about with your Macbook,

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