Posted on Thu, 15 Jun, 2017
Posted by Bob


Audiolab M-DAC Mini blurs the lines between portable, pocket DACs and bulky, mains powered Hi-Fi DACs, with great performance and convenience.

Audiolab’s range of M-DAC stand-alone DAC’s has garnered interest, praise and awards from audio journalists and enthusiasts the world over. Launched in 2011, the original M-DAC spawned a family of DAC’s including the flagship M-DAC+ and the combined DAC/amplifier M-one

Now, Audiolab adds a powerful pipsqueak to the range, in the form of the M-DAC Mini; a battery powered, compact DAC ideal for those on-the-go, and who demand true audiophile quality from their DAC.

Audiolab M-DAC Mini

Audiolab M-DAC Mini – Compact and Multifunctional

The Audiolab M-DAC Mini is a delightfully compact unit, coming in at just 34mm high, 136mm wide and 178mm long, it’s easily small enough to chuck into a bag or laptop case, for mobile listening. In practice, it’s slightly taller than a modern laptop, but a similar depth, and complements the laptop form factor nicely.

The M-DAC Mini is powered by an internal Li-ion battery, which should give up to 7 hours listening time per charge. Fret not, however, if you’d like to use the M-DAC Mini at home, an included mains adaptor plugs into the rear of the unit, which also charges the onboard battery.

This kind of dual functionality really enhances the value of the M-DAC Mini, which is at home both at home and on the go. In either situation, its specifications hold up; whether listening via the onboard mic preamp or via the line outputs,  its technical specifications hold up.

M-DAC Mini

High-Quality Conversion for Pristine Audio

Unlike many compact DACs, which control audio attenuation in the digital domain, the M-DAC Mini has a true, analogue potentiometer to control the output volume. You can be assured then, that no digital artefacts will be generated, regardless of volume setting.

This approach extends to design topology and component choice; where space constraints demand, and in non-critical areas, the Audiolab M-DAC Mini employs compact and efficient integrated circuits. However, where performance and space dictate and allow, discrete components are used for peak performance.

Audiolab M-DAC Mini Rear

The heart of the Audiolab M-DAC Mini is the ESS Sabre32 DAC chip, a chip which is gaining quite a reputation as a ‘go to’ device for audiophile quality conversion. Sample rates up to a dizzying  384kHz are supported via the USB input, whilst the S/PDIF Optical & Coaxial inputs support up to 192kHz. DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 are also supported.

With ultra high-quality, digital audio more accessible and convenient than ever, it’s timely that Audiolab has released a DAC which is equally accessible (priced at a bargainous £299) and convenient. If you’re an Audiophile that travels around lots or has constraints on space or budget, the Audiolab M-DAC Mini could fit the bill perfectly.