Audioengine D3 DAC


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  • Product Description

    Read the new review in "The Absolute Sound"
    The Audioengine D3 DAC is the perfect interface between your computer and headphones or any music system.
    The D3 is a high performance Digital-to-Analog Converter, or DAC, that allows you to connect directly to your computer's USB port, instead of the 1/8‚" headphone output. It's a simple way to improve the sound of headphones, A5+ powered speakers, or any audio system!

    Audioengine D3 Premium 24-bit DAC

    • Connect D3 to a USB port on your Mac or PC and send high-quality music to your headphones or any audio system.
    • D3 includes a USB DAC and headphone amplifier for incredible audio performance in a portable design.
    • Audioengine D3 is the perfect intro to computer audio!

    The Audioengine D3 Premium 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) allows you to bypass your computer's headphone output and send music directly through a USB port for noticeably improved fidelity and a higher output. The D3 is a powerful yet portable converter with performance and features usually found in more expensive DACs and is the perfect interface between your computer and headphones or any music system.

    Easy setup

    Setup is easy and no special software is needed, making D3 a true plug-and-play solution. The D3 plugs directly into a USB port on your computer so no external power supply or cables are needed. The output of the D3 connects to headphones, Audioengine powered speakers, or any audio system. The D3 also has a sample rate indicator that shows sample rates above 48K so you'll know you’re getting the most out of your HD music.


    The quality of most computer headphone outputs isn't generally very inspiring, so the D3 provides a better option by streaming audio from your computer's USB port and directly connecting to your music system or headphones. The D3 DAC is the perfect way to get great-sounding music not only from your computer to headphones but also from your computer to any music system.

    Designed for the headphone enthusiast

    D3 will process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any native sample rate to 96KHz. With its high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion, the D3 delivers sound quality generally heard only in more expensive DACs. The high-performance headphone amplifier was designed for a wide range of headphones and will satisfy even the most demanding headphone enthusiast with its high output and revealing sound. The D3's asynchronous data transfer carefully controls USB streaming audio from any computer which greatly improves audio performance.

    See and hear the difference

    The aluminum case of the D3 reflects traditional Audioengine design and the high-quality components and audio fidelity are typical of Audioengine's commitment to great sound at affordable prices. The Audioengine D3 continues to close the gap between your computer music and home hi-fi and even if you're not an audio enthusiast we guarantee your music will sound better!


    • Portable USB audio converter for Mac or PC
    • Stream bit-perfect native 24/96 HD audio
    • High-performance headphone amp included
    • Plug-and-play, no drivers or software to install
    • Connect headphones or any music system
    • Easily drives low impedance headphones
    • Computer OS volume control
    • Asynchronous data transfer with dual master clocks
    • HD indicator for sample rates above 48K
    • Metal injection molded (MIM) aluminum case

    Works with

    • Any computer, Mac or PC
    • Headphones
    • Powered speakers
    • Any music system with audio inputs (RCA or minijack)

    What’s in the box

    D3 DAC
    Carry case
    1/4‚" headphone adapter cable
    Setup guide
    Product line brochure



    Full-scale output

    2.0V RMS

    Frequency response

    10Hz-25kHz (+/- 0.5dB)


    (DC to 20kHz) >110dB


    (1kHz FS 96 kS/s) <0.002%



    USB transfer mode

    Asynchronous (dual clock)

    USB device class

    Type 1.1 or above


    USB Audio

    Input bit depth

    24 bit (upsampled)

    Input sample rate

    32kHz-96kHz - native playback
    188.2kHz, 192kHz - re-sampled to 96kHz for playback


    Analog audio minijack

    Output impedance

    10 ohms

    Suggested headphone impedance

    12 ohms to 10K ohms

    Headphone amplifier


    D/A converter


    USB controller


    Power requirement

    USB 5V DC, 200mA

    USB power filtering

    2-stage redundant regulation

    Product dimensions

    6.5 x 2 x 1 cm (including USB connector)

    Shipping weight

    1.0lbs (0.5kg)


    Operating Temperature: 32 to 95 degrees F
    Non-operating Temp: -4 to 113 degrees F
    Relative Humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing

    Included accessories

    1/8" to 1/4" adapter cable
    Product case
    Setup guide

    D3 Internal Converter

    The heart of the D3 is the AK4396 DAC, well regarded for its low noise and high fidelity. Due to the high signal-to-noise specs of the AK4396 and the added benefit of double redundancy power source conversion and filtering, the D3 presents impressive low noise and low distortion characteristics. The D3 can process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any sample rate up to 192kHz. D3 pads (upsamples) all bit depths internally to 24 bits, thus achieving a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

    D3 Headphone Amplifier

    The D3 contains a high-performance headphone amplifier based on the LME49726 low-noise opamp. This amp is able to provide low-impedance, high-fidelity audio and a 2-volt output which easily drives a wide range of headphones, including headphones with impedances as low as 12 ohms. The D3‚'s relay-controlled stereo outputs can also be connected to any system with an analog audio input, such as Audioengine powered speakers, for example.

    D3 Power

    The D3 is powered directly from the USB bus and power is passed through two stages of regulation to ensure no USB bus power variations affect the audio quality. This low-noise, low-ripple power supply is located on a separate circuit board for extra isolation and thermal management.

    D3 Volume Control

    Volume is controlled from the computer’s OS and is implemented in the D3 as a digitally-controlled analog volume control.



    Can I use the D3 with an Apple iPhone or iPad?

    Yes! You will need an Apple USB camera adapter, and a self powered USB hub. We've tested this with the D-link DUB-H4 and DUB-H7, and it works well. Here's an example of how this would be connected:

    iDevice w/ USB Camera Adapter --USB-> Powered hub --USB-> D3 --Mini-> Speakers/Headphones

    Will D3 work with lower impedance headphones such as my Beyerdynamic DT-990 and Hifiman HE500?

    D3 can easily drive headphones with impedances as low as 10 ohms.

    Where can I download drivers for the D3?

    The D3 is a USB Plug-and-Play audio device. This means that the drivers it uses are developed and provided by the developer of your computers operating system. In the case of a Windows PC for example, these drivers are provided by Microsoft, and are a part of Windows.

    How can the D3 external computer DAC improve my music?

    The D3 is essentially a very high end external sound card. Its components and implementation make it more capable than what might be built in to a computer, not to mention the benefit of moving those sensitive components external to the potentially noisy interior of your computer. All of this means the signal your speakers receive will be clearer, with a lower noise-floor, and with a more pronounced dynamic range over your internal sound card.

    How easy is it to set up the D3?

    Plug the D3 into a USB port on your computer (If possible, pick the higher speed port), and plug your headphones, powered speakers, or stereo system into the minijack output at the end of the D3. If using a Mac, go to System Preferences/Sound, and select "Audioengine D3". If you're using a PC, no setting changes are needed as the computer will automatically find the USB driver. Now play music from iTunes or your favorite media player and that's it - setup really is that easy.

    How is volume controlled on the D3?

    The primary volume adjustment for D3 is the system volume. This interacts directly with circuitry in the D3 to control volume at the output. You can also use the volume control of your media player, but this (if implemented incorrectly) can potentially affect the digital signal out from your computer, so is considered less desirable.

    I'm hearing a crackling/popping sound when playing music. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix this?

    When issues do crop up in USB audio, this is a common symptom. The PDF linked below outlines the issue and potential causes as well as some common fixes.


    Is D3 USB input isochronous or asynchronous?

    The D3 is asynchronous, using dual clocking circuits to provide the greatest possible isolation between the system clock and the D3 DAC clock.

    Can I connect the D3 DAC to a USB hub?

    Although D3 may work just fine when connected to most USB hubs, this is not recommended as the data rate may not be fast enough for higher-resolution music. We therefore suggest you select a high-speed USB bus all by itself and don't use a USB port on your keyboard, for example.

    Will the D3 work with USB 1.1?

    Yes, however, note that 24/96 HD digital audio pushes the limits of USB 1.1 speeds. Due to this it's highly recommended that you connect to a higher-speed USB 2.0 port.

    How do I make sure that the D3 DAC is set to 24-bit/96KHz audio?

    If using a Mac, open the Audio MIDI Setup utility in Applications->Utilities, choose "Audioengine D3" under audio devices and check that the format is set to 96 and the bit depth is set to 24bit. Also a quick check is to simply observe the HD indicator on the D3 while music is playing. If the data rate of the digital signal being sent to the D3 is above 48K, then the HD indicator will be lit.

    I'm having trouble using my D3 with Foobar in WASAPI and KS mode. What do I do?

    In the Foobar control panel, under Preferences->Output, set the buffer length to minimum. A few customers have mentioned that WASAPI mode is more stable when used under WinAmp, so try that as well.

    Is there an easier way for Mac users to get to System Preferences and the Audio MIDI Setup control panels?

    A customer recommended an app called Soundsource - - which is an easy way to switch between audio input and outputs as well as to access System Preferences and the Audio MIDI control panels.

    Is there a recommended "break-in period" for the D3?

    Your D3 will sound great out of the box and will get better over time. We do generally recommend to play music for 40 to 50 hours first before doing any critical listening though.

    My D3 occasionally makes a clicking noise during playback. How can I avoid this?

    Try removing all other USB devices temporarily, and try each USB port on your computer one at a time to see which one works best in your setup. USB audio needs quite a bit of bandwidth, so for best results ensure your D3 is on a "High-Speed" bus and not a "Full-Speed" bus.

    What media player software and audio file formats are compatible with the D3 when using it with a computer?

    When connected via USB with a computer, the D3 acts like a USB sound-card. Because of this, once it's set as your default playback device, it should work with any application on your computer playing audio, and with any file format the software supports.

    Can I use D3 with the USB port on my TV, Airport Express, or other video device?

    Most of the USB ports on TVs and such are not meant for audio output, but serve other functions. As electronic components evolve, this may not always be the case. Check your operating manual for your device to see if the device supports USB audio. If so, the D3 may work, but as of late 2013 most of these ports do not support USB audio but are there for other reasons.

    How do I find out more information about DACs and computer audio?

    There are some excellent online computer audio forums and a quick search will turn up everything you need to know about the best hardware and software and how to get started on any budget. Computer audio is quickly evolving so we suggest to check and make sure the information you find is up to date.

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