Our Verdict 
Best DAC £500-£700, Awards 2014. The M-DAC has raised the performance bar with apparent ease
Solid build, smart styling
supports 24-bit/192kHz
thorough selection of connections
sounds superb
Nothing of note
Reviewed on

The M-DAC has been eagerly awaited. Audiolab’s standalone DAC has been the missing piece in its arsenal for some time.

It certainly looks smart enough (it’s all relative) and scores well for connectivity.

Alongside the USB input you’ll find two digital optical and two digital coaxial inputs, while you can choose from optical, coaxial, RCA and balanced XLR audio outputs.

MORE: Awards 2014 - Best DACs

A dynamic and agile soundA wand-like remote control allows you to switch inputs, select from preset sonic filters and alter the display. The large, clear screen allows you to see what input you’re using and the sample rate being received.

More after the break

The M-DAC deals happily with hi-res 24-bit/192kHz files via the coaxial input, but is limited to 24/96 over optical and USB.

The real talking point here, though, is just how good this unit makes your music sound. Like a sportsman at the top of his game, this Audiolab makes the job in hand seem easy. There’s bags of detail, stirring dynamics and an exciting agility to the delivery.

Precise and controlledA WAV file of Hans Zimmer’s Time from the Inception soundtrack delivers masses of information to process, but the sound remains precise and controlled.

This is one of those products that has you reaching to play all your favourite tracks to hear just how good they can sound.

Capable of revealing weight to bass notes yet light and fast on its feet, the M-DAC is hugely capable. Even with a £100 price rise since our initial sample arrived, we urge you to find out what it could do for your system.

MORE: Awards 2014 - all the winners

MORE: Best DACs 2014


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Audiolab M-DAC