Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – – Impressive, Most Impressive. But At A Cost.

Yes i can hear the difference. Yes i can hear the difference.

Impressive, most impressive. If you’re in the market for a dac then i can highly recommend the udac-3, it comes at a price but delivers fantastic sound quality. The unit itself is relatively small but well made, it connects to a mac or pc via the included usb cable and has several outputs that should cater for most people. When i first received the unit i had no idea what to do with it, the instructions are seemingly poor and assume that you know what you’re doing. I connected to a mac and anything such as speakers, headphones, microphones, etc. Can be dealt with in system preferences under the sound section. It’s simply a case of selecting the udac-3 as the output and sound should then be played through it rather than the built in speakers. I generally use a set of in-ear headphones and haven’t generally had any complaints about sound, my daily ones cost around the £80 mark so are pretty good anyway. Plugging them into the udac-3 drastically improves the sound, i was expecting there to be a slight increase in the sound quality but didn’t expect the boost that it gave me.

A cracking udac digital audio converter-fabulous sound and volume enhancement. This optoma nuforce udac-3 is the business if you want to enhance your listening experience with headphonesfor a computer with digital music, games, or by linking it up with your speaker to a hi fi system. Firstly though, the instructions with the product are sparse. Not that its difficult to work out, by utilising your settings,(my computer is a mac,) and your a ready to go. I have a wide taste in music from rock to classical, and there is no doubtthat there is a greater clarity with the sound and a significant boost to the volume. It is the same process if you wish to build up your sound experience with games. For me this was a standout feature. Using headphonesthe result was a definite level above the normal experience. The other option is to link it, to your speakers, on your hi-fi system. Again, this was achieved successfully without fuss. Here are the specifications for the Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter –:

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  • Stereo Sound
  • Sound Card
  • Hardware Decoder
  • Hardware Encoder

Yes i can hear the difference. Yes i can hear the difference.

Fantastic sound quality, but build quality not up to the same standard. For sound quality it’s brilliant, i plugged my sennheiser momentum’s in and now i have a new appreciation for how good they are. This little box of wonders is fantastic, it’s small and easily tucks away. I’ve had it for just over 4 weeks now and i plugged the usb micro cable into the back of it and the port popped through into the box and is now rattling around inside making it unusable and broken. The build quality needs to be stepped up and i’ll be asking for a refund and maybe trying it again because the sound that it made was fantastic.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • Fantastic sound quality, but build quality not up to the same standard
  • Highly recommended
  • excellent sound quality

A must if you listen to digital music with headphones. . This is a superb piece of equipment being small, easy to use and fantastically enjoyable to listen to. I have used it almost daily with my mac and a lossless streaming service and paired with b&o h6 it makes me smile every time i use it. In direct comparison with other, much more expensive, headphone amp/dac combinations it also holds its head up high and easily performs at a level above it’s price point.

Very high quality dac/amp, excellent sound quality, great build quality, i also own a very expensive headphone amp i’ve had for years and it’s on the same level as that, great value, will improve the sound hugely if you have a crappy sound card, no brainer just pick it up, i’m using it every day, very sweet.

Talented little ‘black box;. This dac is tiny and usb powered, very well made and sounds very crisp. Firstly, as others have suggested, the instructions are not the best but this little dac is easy enough to figure out, simply plug it into your laptops usb socket and windows should do the rest, you may have to select the dac from the volume task bar but that should be it. Other input options are co-ax digital input (commonly found on tv’s/blu-ray players) and a standard analog stereo rca input)this little dac will bring your laptop to life in a way you never expected, i plugged in my v-moda m100s and listened to dark side of the moon which was reproduced beautifully, i’m used to hearing my music on high quality equipment but i’m certain i heard sounds on this cd i have not heard before, the sound is very crisp and clear with not a hint of back ground hiss or noise. This dac maybe too clean for some people. I’m no stranger to using a dac/headphone amp, i’ve been using a fiio e17 alpen for a few years now and always loved it, this optoma dac has one downfall, it will not work with my phone whereas the fiio will, i’ve put this down to the fact that the fiio has it’s own battery whilst the optoma does not. The optoma lacks a little oomph compared to the fiio, but that isn’t for everyone and i’ll admit i’m a volume and bass freak. The case of this dac is aluminum and feels solidly built, it should last a good few years. A great little dac that will open your eyes to what you have missed musically in the past,.

Significantly more refined than the built-in soundcard with the right hardware. This is really a piece of kit for the audiophiles amongst us, for mere casual listeners such as myself it simply adds a convienient way to improve the sound output from usb sourcs (such as my laptop or mobile phone) which are otherwise under powered. However, it does not appear that this is the target audience for this kit, therefore, passing it to a true audiophile, his report is thus:’couldn’t get it to play ball on my main win-10 pc, although that’s probably because it’s loaded with a variety of audio drivers etc. Which i’m loathe to disrupt. Plug & played nicely on my basic lenovo () win-10 laptop, although knickers got twisted when plugging in / unplugging to compare with internal audio h/wusing a challenging 24/96 gwyneth herbert track and the notoriously difficult sennheiser hd600 ‘phones showed the sound to be significantly more refined than the built-in soundcard, and quite pleasant. Not sure deep bass was cleanly controlled, but a difficult call. If i was into music but had only basic pc hardware, then i’d go for 24/96 digital soundfiles in which case something like this is a no-brainer – the relatively expensive 24/96 files are better than cd if you’ve got the delivery hardware so maybe £100 isn’t too much an investment. But for me, it is just a decent pc headphone amp to deliver 24/96 sound, much better than built-in but not up to dedicated non-pc sacd hardware. And a true audiophile will even turn off cd player displays to reduce noise, so certainly wouldn’t appreciate anything coming from a noisy pcso an interesting audience. Wanting studio-quality sound with pc convenience.

Brilliant sound quality from this tiny convenient usb device – highly recommended. I already own a fiio e10k headphone amplifier and dac and have always been really happy with the sound quality it delivers, so i wasn’t sure what to expect from the slightly more expensive nuforce udac-3. More cynical music lovers might wonder how much difference there can be between such digital devices, but i tried to test the udac-3 with a completely open mind using my much loved creative aurvana live. Headphones and i’m really glad i did – it’s fantastic.After using it for just a few days, i decided i actually preferred it to my fiio and now i use it all the time at home. The fiio (which is still a really good dac) now gets used at work insteadthe device itself is very simple and clean. The black outer casing is actually metal rather than plastic and feels solid to the touch. It’s still compact enough to easily slip in your pocket if you want to use it on the move or carry it with your laptop. There’s a solid rotary volume knob on the front, next to a subtle power led and the 3. 5mm headphone output socket.

For audiophiles to plug & enjoy right out of the box. A very good little dac serving as headphone amplifiers on the job. It is solidly built of aluminum and works flawlessly. I bought it because i experienced bass in my headphones that was so thin and tinny, especially from my pc. Using this, there is more pressure in the base and the sound is so much clearer and full. I haven’t bought anything like this before, but the sound quality seems lossless, rich and gorgeous. The unit itself seems very well made, and in comparison to other devices in this genre, it’s well priced. I would possibly say it is an entry to mid level device, and perfect for audiophiles with a decent pair of headphones.

For audiophiles to plug & enjoy right out of the box. A very good little dac serving as headphone amplifiers on the job. It is solidly built of aluminum and works flawlessly. I bought it because i experienced bass in my headphones that was so thin and tinny, especially from my pc. Using this, there is more pressure in the base and the sound is so much clearer and full. I haven’t bought anything like this before, but the sound quality seems lossless, rich and gorgeous. The unit itself seems very well made, and in comparison to other devices in this genre, it’s well priced. I would possibly say it is an entry to mid level device, and perfect for audiophiles with a decent pair of headphones.

Very high quality dac/amp, excellent sound quality, great build quality, i also own a very expensive headphone amp i’ve had for years and it’s on the same level as that, great value, will improve the sound hugely if you have a crappy sound card, no brainer just pick it up, i’m using it every day, very sweet.

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1 Comment

  1. This review is from : Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – Black

    Really pleased with this dac. I have had another nuforce amp for a couple of years to output music from my tv through large speakers and it has been brilliant. So when i saw these on a lightning deal i went for one (and discovered they had previously been even cheaper, albeit very briefly). I have to say i am very impressed with the clarity and depth of sound. Music through my p7 b&w headphones from a macbook pro, switching between the normal 3. 5mm socket and the dac is immediately noticeable, even to my rubbish hearing. The unit is tiny but solid and well made. I haven’t yet tried the co-ax or analogue rca’s through my hifi but i have no doubt they will be equally impressive and immersive. Sadly, as advertised, it does not pick up a signal from my android device (unlike other dac’s which can) but for getting sacd quality sound from a pc/mac i can highly recommend it.
    1. Really pleased with this dac. I have had another nuforce amp for a couple of years to output music from my tv through large speakers and it has been brilliant. So when i saw these on a lightning deal i went for one (and discovered they had previously been even cheaper, albeit very briefly). I have to say i am very impressed with the clarity and depth of sound. Music through my p7 b&w headphones from a macbook pro, switching between the normal 3. 5mm socket and the dac is immediately noticeable, even to my rubbish hearing. The unit is tiny but solid and well made. I haven’t yet tried the co-ax or analogue rca’s through my hifi but i have no doubt they will be equally impressive and immersive. Sadly, as advertised, it does not pick up a signal from my android device (unlike other dac’s which can) but for getting sacd quality sound from a pc/mac i can highly recommend it.
  2. This review is from : Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – Black

    A great bridge towards hi-fi sound from your laptop. This little box will ensure that your laptop is not embarrassed as a source to your hi-fi amp or headphones. The udac-3 does a superb job of decoding the 1s and 0s into a detailed, tight analogue signal. This tiny box is very well put together, with solid construction and a nice feel to the one one control – the rotary dial. The sound it produces reveals detail you may have never heard in your mp3s before – take a jamiroquai album for a spin and you’ll hear percussion and depth of bass that you probably didn’t get before. The dac-derived sound is clean and more rounded; i wouldn’t characterise it as warm or cold, but quite neutral and effortlessly rhythmical. Over the last 20 years, my hi-fi equipment has thinned out, because she who must be obeyed doesn’t like all the boxes and big speakers. There is no doubt that separates and big cabinets produce the best sound, but there are fewer and fewer people willing to do that – and since we tend to store most of our music on hard drives or the cloud now, we also tend to access them differently. Despite this, a laptop is a terrible source – even one with a high-end soundcard. So, the udac-3 helps to bridge that convenience/quality compromise quite nicely.
  3. This review is from : Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – Black

    A great bridge towards hi-fi sound from your laptop. This little box will ensure that your laptop is not embarrassed as a source to your hi-fi amp or headphones. The udac-3 does a superb job of decoding the 1s and 0s into a detailed, tight analogue signal. This tiny box is very well put together, with solid construction and a nice feel to the one one control – the rotary dial. The sound it produces reveals detail you may have never heard in your mp3s before – take a jamiroquai album for a spin and you’ll hear percussion and depth of bass that you probably didn’t get before. The dac-derived sound is clean and more rounded; i wouldn’t characterise it as warm or cold, but quite neutral and effortlessly rhythmical. Over the last 20 years, my hi-fi equipment has thinned out, because she who must be obeyed doesn’t like all the boxes and big speakers. There is no doubt that separates and big cabinets produce the best sound, but there are fewer and fewer people willing to do that – and since we tend to store most of our music on hard drives or the cloud now, we also tend to access them differently. Despite this, a laptop is a terrible source – even one with a high-end soundcard. So, the udac-3 helps to bridge that convenience/quality compromise quite nicely.
  4. This review is from : Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – Black

    Significantly more refined than the built-in soundcard with the right hardware. This is really a piece of kit for the audiophiles amongst us, for mere casual listeners such as myself it simply adds a convienient way to improve the sound output from usb sourcs (such as my laptop or mobile phone) which are otherwise under powered. However, it does not appear that this is the target audience for this kit, therefore, passing it to a true audiophile, his report is thus:”couldn’t get it to play ball on my main win-10 pc, although that’s probably because it’s loaded with a variety of audio drivers etc. Which i’m loathe to disrupt. Plug & played nicely on my basic lenovo () win-10 laptop, although knickers got twisted when plugging in / unplugging to compare with internal audio h/wusing a challenging 24/96 gwyneth herbert track and the notoriously difficult sennheiser hd600 ‘phones showed the sound to be significantly more refined than the built-in soundcard, and quite pleasant. Not sure deep bass was cleanly controlled, but a difficult call. If i was into music but had only basic pc hardware, then i’d go for 24/96 digital soundfiles in which case something like this is a no-brainer – the relatively expensive 24/96 files are better than cd if you’ve got the delivery hardware so maybe £100 isn’t too much an investment. But for me, it is just a decent pc headphone amp to deliver 24/96 sound, much better than built-in but not up to dedicated non-pc sacd hardware. And a true audiophile will even turn off cd player displays to reduce noise, so certainly wouldn’t appreciate anything coming from a noisy pcso an interesting audience. Wanting studio-quality sound with pc convenience.
  5. This review is from : Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – Black

    Significantly more refined than the built-in soundcard with the right hardware. This is really a piece of kit for the audiophiles amongst us, for mere casual listeners such as myself it simply adds a convienient way to improve the sound output from usb sourcs (such as my laptop or mobile phone) which are otherwise under powered. However, it does not appear that this is the target audience for this kit, therefore, passing it to a true audiophile, his report is thus:”couldn’t get it to play ball on my main win-10 pc, although that’s probably because it’s loaded with a variety of audio drivers etc. Which i’m loathe to disrupt. Plug & played nicely on my basic lenovo () win-10 laptop, although knickers got twisted when plugging in / unplugging to compare with internal audio h/wusing a challenging 24/96 gwyneth herbert track and the notoriously difficult sennheiser hd600 ‘phones showed the sound to be significantly more refined than the built-in soundcard, and quite pleasant. Not sure deep bass was cleanly controlled, but a difficult call. If i was into music but had only basic pc hardware, then i’d go for 24/96 digital soundfiles in which case something like this is a no-brainer – the relatively expensive 24/96 files are better than cd if you’ve got the delivery hardware so maybe £100 isn’t too much an investment. But for me, it is just a decent pc headphone amp to deliver 24/96 sound, much better than built-in but not up to dedicated non-pc sacd hardware. And a true audiophile will even turn off cd player displays to reduce noise, so certainly wouldn’t appreciate anything coming from a noisy pcso an interesting audience. Wanting studio-quality sound with pc convenience.
  6. This review is from : Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – Black

    Amazing sound (but poor instructions). First impressions of the udac-3 are actually not that good. For a premium price you get a folded up tiny instruction booklet with virtually nothing in it. No guide to get the best out of the device and not even how to set it up. However, look past that failing and you are getting a really amazing little dac. I used the udac-3 on a mac and to setup it was a case of plugging in to a usb port (i used a hootoo® 3-port usb 3. 0 hub with 10/100/1000 gigabit ethernet converter (3 usb 3. 0 ports, a rj45 gigabit ethernet port, support windows xp, vista, win7/8 (32/64 bit), mac os 10. 6 or higher, linux) and it worked fine), go to sound in the settings menu and look for udac-3. It is easy but it would have been nice to be told, some people may not have realised.
  7. This review is from : Optoma NuForce uDAC-3 USB Digital Audio Converter – Black

    Amazing sound (but poor instructions). First impressions of the udac-3 are actually not that good. For a premium price you get a folded up tiny instruction booklet with virtually nothing in it. No guide to get the best out of the device and not even how to set it up. However, look past that failing and you are getting a really amazing little dac. I used the udac-3 on a mac and to setup it was a case of plugging in to a usb port (i used a hootoo® 3-port usb 3. 0 hub with 10/100/1000 gigabit ethernet converter (3 usb 3. 0 ports, a rj45 gigabit ethernet port, support windows xp, vista, win7/8 (32/64 bit), mac os 10. 6 or higher, linux) and it worked fine), go to sound in the settings menu and look for udac-3. It is easy but it would have been nice to be told, some people may not have realised.