audiolab-mdac-nano-portable-wireless-dac-and-headphone-amplifier
Audiolab

I readily acknowledge that while I can sometimes be a bit of an audio snob, I know that not everyone is an audiophile. Most people are perfectly happy listening to streaming audio and MP3 tracks of questionable bitrate with their inexpensive earbuds, and that’s totally cool. Years ago, for example, I subjected Cheapskate Rick to a blinded test in which I played him MP3s at various bitrates, and he couldn’t tell the difference. But if you can hear the difference and yearn for more audio quality (plus the ability to plug your high-end headphones into your phone that’s missing an audio port), I might have just the thing for you. Right now, you can get the Audiolab MDAC Nano Portable Wireless DAC and Headphone Amplifier for $119 when you apply discount code MDACMAY at checkout. That’s 40% off the regular price of $199.

On the other hand, the MDAC doesn’t tend to sell for its list price online; these days, I commonly see it for closer to $160. Even so, you’re still saving about $40 with this deal. 

$120 isn’t inexpensive, but the Nano is a simple solution to a problem that vexes audiophiles: How do you push your gadgets to deliver better sound quality in a way that’s still portable, convenient, and affordable? 

What you get is a pocket-sized DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that’s better than whatever is in your phone, tablet or laptop. It connects to your source device via Bluetooth with high-fidelity AAC and aptX support, and then receives your headphones with a standard 3.5mm input. Combined with the integrated headphone amplifier (which automatically senses both high- and low-impedance headphones and adjusts accordingly) and the ability to upsample audio, it promises to deliver a listening experience that’s much closer to audiophile standards. A wealth of online reviews seem to support that claim.

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The Nano’s battery gives you between six and eight hours on a charge, and it comes with a wireless charging pad.

The Audiolab Nano is clearly not for everyone, but if the thought of dramatically improving your phone’s audio quality with a pocket-sized wireless DAC scratches an itch for you, this is a good time to grab one. And let me know in the comments if you’re interested in seeing more of these kinds of audiophile deals or if you’re happy with your mobile device’s stock audio. 

This article was published previously. It has been updated with the latest version of this deal. 

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

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