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Denon DA-300USB DAC Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
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Denon DA-300USB DAC Review
Set Up and Listening
ImageDenon has introduced a number of notable new products in the last year or so, including streamers, AV receivers, Blu-ray players, HiFi components, and headphones. I recently reviewed their very nice DHT-S514 Soundbar. Add to the list of hot new items: the Denon DA-300USB DSD DAC and headphone amplifier. It retails for $499.

With the DA-300USB, Denon has entered the exciting and fiercely competitive market of sub-$1000 multi-function digital decoders. Denon has a long history with digital, and there is a lot of engineering muscle to call on. Their universal disc players were coveted in the time that SACD and DVD-A were making a push, and their AV Receivers have been top performers.

Fast forward to 2014 and computer audio has now gone mainstream. Disc players have clearly taken a back seat, although they are still being produced, albeit with digital inputs. Denon also clearly understands that audiophiles want flexibility, with the ability to use products on a desktop, in a high quality home stereo, or with headphones. The DA-300USB is just the ticket.

The DA-300USB is about the size of a cigar box, and it can be set up vertically or horizontally.  It is sturdily made and feels solid when you pick it up. The unit is powered via an external 15V wal wart power supply. Denon has provided all common digital connections, including two TosLink, one Coaxial, and one USB input. You can run a fixed output via RCA interconnects into a preamp or integrated amp, or plug headphones into the front jack, with a variable output controlled by a very nice volume knob. As I said, versatility is the theme here.

The front panel has a very clear and easy to read display, showing sample rate and selected input. Switching inputs is done via touch screen, and the feel and response time is excellent. The DA-300USB covers all bases on resolution. It does up to 192 Khz PCM on all inputs, and DSD64 and DSD128 on the USB input.


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