Audiolab Q-DAC is a stripped-down M-DAC for £399

Spotted tucked away in the corner of the Audiolab room was this, the £399 Audiolab Q-DAC. It's essentially a stripped-down version of the Award-winning M-DAC created to hit a more affordable price point.

IAG's director of acoustic design Peter Comeau says it offers "98% of the performance of the M-DAC for £200 less."

There's less functionality on the Q-DAC, which does without the remote control circuitry and balanced outputs of the M-DAC, and it has a smaller display. It also only has one coaxial and one optical digital input, where the M-DAC has two of each.

But you do get a headphone socket, USB connectivity, analogue RCA output and 'menu' and 'source' buttons.

The Q-DAC can handle hi-res 24-bit/192kHz files via the coaxial input and the USB input, but only 24/96 over optical.

The story says that the Q-DAC "can handle hi-res 24-bit/192kHz files via the coaxial input, but is limited to 24-bit/96kHz over optical and USB".

Actually, the Q-DAC can handle data up to and including 24-bit/192kHz files via asynchronous USB, in addition to coax.

Sharing the stand with the Q-DAC is the new Audiolab M-PWR power amp (£499) designed to go with the M-DAC (which acts as a preamp) to make a stereo system.

There are balanced inputs and speaker binding posts on the back, and claimed power output is 40W.

MORE: Audiolab Q-DAC review

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.