China’s AFUL has released the SnowyNight portable DAC, also equipped with a headphone amplifier.
Portable DACs are selling like hot cakes. Not least because smartphone manufacturers have banned physical headphones for a while now. If you still want to use wired headphones, then a portable DAC headphone amplifier is an unavoidable accessory for most phones. The cheapest ones cost less than a tenner, for better quality you will pay more. But that can also be kept reasonably within reason, as evidenced by AFUL’s new SnowyNight. Weighing only 20 grams, this portable DAC has an on-board headphone amplifier with an output power of up to 300 mW. That also makes it suitable for driving more demanding headphones.
Internally, two CS43198 DAC chips are used for the actual D/A conversion. The maximum supported quality of the AFUL SnowyNight is 32 bit / 768 kHz PCM and Native DSD256. According to the manufacturer, the dongle clocks a high SNR: 125 dB through the 3.5 mm output and 130 dB through the 4.4 mm balanced output. By default, you use the SnowyNight paired with a USB-C cable, but an optional Lightning cable is available too. No installation of drivers or other software is needed.
The AFUL SnowyNight is available immediately at a cost of $109.