Good MQA capable DAC under $300 (preferable at/under $200)?

Sayeduzzaman Rayan

Novice Member

I've been looking for a dual-purpose DAC/amp/preamp for my systems.
One of them being an IEM, a Campfire Audio IO;
and a stereo system: A sony str-dh190 connected to a pair of Fyne Audio F302's
Right now, I'm just using the 3.5mm port of my phone and laptop, occasionally using Bluetooth (on the sony amp) but I want to upgrade my sound. I first heard about the Audioquest Dragonfly series and was considering getting their Cobalt USB DAC, but after hearing about its disappointing performance:
AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt Review (Portable Headphone Adapter) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum,
I think I'd like to go on a different route. I also saw the E1DA 9038D review which I'm pretty impressed by:
E1DA 9038D Review (portable DAC & Amp) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Another one I heard of THX Onyx Review (headphone adapter) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
I need a recommendation for something like this. I know MQA isn't the best place to listen to music, but I happen to like the sound it gives and I've been using Tidal for a while now and its student discount plan serves me pretty well. Also, I'll be using this (with the IEMs) at the library sometimes so I can't get one that requires mains power but if there are any that very good, I might consider getting that.

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by a moderator:


Senior Moderator
Why not purchase one of those two options as that may help narrow down recommendations

If your definition of "good" is sine wave measurements then you are limited to Topping, Gustard etc MQA compatible DACs anyway

iFi audio also offer budget MQA DACs but they will not achieve the same measurements as those brands
Upvote 0


Active Member
I have the FiiO BTR5 - works very nicely using BT to your phone, and can also be plugged in via USB-C to phones or PC.

Worth checking out some reviews.

[Edit] Sorry - it doesn't support MQA in the DAC itself.
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Upvote 0


Well-known Member
Cd quality done well is superb, streaming in cd quality with good hifi will be so enjoyable to listen to. I tried MQA and couldn't tell a difference, I'm not saying it's not better, but it's so small an amount of content in, one place, (7% or something on tidal)why bother limiting your choices

Dragonfly red is a super bit of kit imo at less than 200, it is also mqa able
Upvote 0


Senior Moderator
I tried MQA and couldn't tell a difference

Because MQA is just lossy music files with noise shaping applied

Upvote 0


Distinguished Member
I’d try to find a Meridian Explorer 2, used if you can.

First class dac quality and made by the inventor of MQA.
Upvote 0

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