The latest addition to Audiolab’s multi-award-winning M-DAC range is the M-DAC Nano – a powerful, pocketable mobile DAC/headphone amp with advanced technology to boost sound on the go.
Ever since the original M-DAC rocketed Audiolab to the front of the DAC pack in 2011, the Cambridgeshire-based company has been renowned for its ability to give a huge sonic boost to all manner of digital devices – smartphones, tablets, PCs, Macs and more. The latest addition to the
M-DAC range continues this tradition, but does so in the smallest, most affordable and most conveniently mobile form yet. Enter, the M-DAC Nano.
Similar in size to a small matchbox, the M-DAC Nano is a brilliantly simple way to transform headphone sound quality when you’re on the go. It connects wirelessly to Android phones, iPhones, tablets and more via Bluetooth, untethering the listener’s headphones from the playback device – much more convenient for mobile use than DAC/headphone amps that require cables to connect.
And that’s not the only thing that’s wireless. The M-DAC Nano’s built-in battery supports Qi wireless charging – simply pop it on the supplied charging pad to deliver up to eight hours of playing time.
Of course, all this convenience would mean nothing if the M-DAC Nano’s sound quality was subpar – but Audiolab has squeezed in plenty of tech to ensure it sounds great!
For such a small device, the M-DAC Nano’s circuitry packs a mighty punch. Hi-res 32-bit/384kHz-capable DAC technology lies at its heart, with upsampling of data received over Bluetooth to enhance sound quality. The integrated Bluetooth v4.2 receiver supports the sonically superior aptX and AAC codecs, in addition to Bluetooth’s standard SBC format. All this advanced digital processing is coupled to powerful Class H analogue amplification, with auto-sensing to adapt the output to suit the load.
A choice of ‘standard’ and ‘enhanced’ audio modes is available – the former offers extended battery life while the latter optimises sound quality. A press of the ‘function’ button (labelled ‘f’) engages enhanced mode, using sophisticated digital filtering with upscaling to give an impressive sonic boost to whatever you’re listening to – it might be music stored on your device or streamed from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal; it could be a podcast or internet radio; or you might be watching a movie or playing a game. All forms of digital audio benefit from elevated definition, delivering a more dynamic and engaging performance through your preferred headphones or earphones. Bluetooth has rarely sounded so good!
Volume is adjusted using a side-mounted, 64-step rotary control; this also has a ‘press’ function, which can be used to pause content and skip forward or back. A built-in MEMS microphone enables hands-free calls when paired with a smartphone and may also be used to engage Siri or Google Assistant on iOS or Android devices respectively. Other useful features include auto-pause when headphones are disconnected and auto-power-off to conserve battery charge after 10 minutes of inactivity.
Measuring 44x44x14mm and weighing just 28g, the M-DAC Nano is easy to slip into a pocket, while the playback device it’s paired with may be stashed up to 10m away. It also comes with a protective faux leather pouch, with a clip to attach to a shirt, belt or bag, whilst keeping the controls accessible.
The M-DAC Nano mobile DAC/headphone amp is available from late October at an RRP of £149.