Audioengine's D3 Premium 24-bit DAC will beef up your Mac's audio

If you want to really improve the audio on your Mac's speakers or headphones, plug in the $149.99 D3 Premium 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) from Audioengine. It bypasses your computer’s headphone jack and sends music directly through USB. The result: a noticeable improvement in the sound coming from your music, movies and games.

I have my SoundSticks speakers plugged into the D3, which is about the size of a flash drive. They sounded good before; they sound great now.

No special software is needed to set up the Audioengine DAC. The D3, housed in an aluminum case, plugs directly into an USB port on your Mac (or PC) and the output connects to headphones, speakers, or any audio system.

Once it's connected, you'll tell the difference immediately. Music, vocals, sound effects and, well, pretty much any type of audio is more nuanced, crisp, and clarity. Plus, bass gets some extra punch.

The D3 will process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any sample rate to 192 kHz. With its high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion, the D3 delivers sound quality generally heard only in much more expensive DACs.