Astell&Kern’s dongle will level up your subpar smartphone sound

DAC’s the way to do it
19 March 2021 / 10:54GMT

Disappointed with the DACs built into your smartphone or laptop and seeking a sonic boost? An external DAC could be the answer, and Astell&Kern’s AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable (£109, available from April) is one of the more affordable examples we’ve seen. Hooking up to an Android device, Mac or Windows PC via USB-C, this chewing gum pack-sized dongle funnels your audio through two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHiFi DACs, then out via a 3.5mm headphone port. Those twin DACs promise hi-res audio up to native DSD256 and 32bit/384kHz quality, which should make those audiophile albums you've been hoarding infinitely more pleasing to your lugholes.