We have covered KEF LS50 before and if you have read our previous posts, you will know how exceptional these award-winning mini-monitors are. If you haven’t then please check out Best Amplifier for KEF LS50 as well as Best Subwoofer for KEF LS50. For today, we will be covering what are the best DAC which you can pick and match with your KEF LS50 speakers.
To find the best D/A converter for your KEF LS50, you must first work out your requirements. Integrating a DAC into your stereo system will slightly alter the sound signature and so you need to find out what kind of improvement you are looking for. For example, are you thinking of adding more warmth to the overall sound reproduction or need a more low-end punch? You are probably aiming to enhance your music listening experience or to overcome certain limitations of the KEF LS50 monitors. Before going the DAC route, you might want to see if you should upgrade your current HiFi components first.
Of course, replacing your amplifiers can be very expensive, and integrating a DAC to improve the audio quality can be a more cost-effective solution. Still, the main reason to get a D/A converter should always be because of high-res audio playback. The types of high-resolution audio files you are listening to would influence your decision on which DAC to get your hands on. If you listen to music using DSD512 formats, you will need a digital-to-analog converter that can playback such audio files.
There are plenty of DACs to choose from and to help lower the number of choices, we suggest working out a budget. The amount you are comfortable investing in a D/A converter will enable you to set a price range. You can use this to filter out DACs that exceeded your budget.
Other requirements such as the portability and size of the DACs might help in your decision too. For instance, if you use headphones when you are outdoors, you might want to buy a DAC that is lightweight and portable. Do take some time out of your busy schedule and think of more requirements on your own. When you have finalized what you want, please take a look at the list of the best DACs for your KEF LS50 speakers.
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Best DAC for KEF LS50 Speakers
For an award-winning loudspeaker such as your KEF LS50, you would want to pair it with a DAC of equal caliber. The Chord Electronics Mojo 2 is no doubt one of the best DACs to go for and has received plenty of accolades since its launch. It adds more liveliness to the overall sound reproduction without compromising transparency and accuracy. There is a tonal adjustment feature that you can use to alter the tones to your liking. The Chord Electronics Mojo 2 also has high portability, allowing you to carry it around with ease.
If you are looking for a tube D/A converter then check out the DOGE 7 MK2. This tube D/A converter is able to bring out the musical instruments, giving them more life and prominence where subtle nuances are clearly delivered. It also helps to add more body to the bass reproductions without losing details which are great for KEF LS50. Not to mention, the neutrality of the DOGE 7 MK2 also works really well with the LS50 speakers. You can switch to your own tubes or go for their premium selected tube upgrades.
For desktop DAC models, the Schiit Bifrost 2 is one of the best to go for. The level of resolution and details it can deliver is simply impressive and matches well with the KEF LS50 speakers. It adds musicality and allows for a more pleasant music-listening experience. The overall clarity is amazing as well and along with the sonic strengths of the KEF LS50 speakers, you can hear a massive amount of music details in high resolution. Furthermore, the price point of the Schiit Bifrost 2 is modest and will be worth your time to take a look.
The Topping D90SE is another excellent desktop DAC to check out and is ideal for KEF LS50 owners who require a D/A converter that can render and decode MQA audio files. On top of that, the Topping D90SE supports up to DSD1024 (native) and has a high-quality Bluetooth connection. The accuracy in delivering the music to its users is well matched with the KEF LS50 loudspeakers. You can hardly hear any audible colorations and this is amazing for users who prefer faithful reproductions of their music.
The AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt is one of the best portable DACs currently on the market. If your main concern is about the portability of the D/A converter then the Dragonfly Cobalt will absolutely be the one to look out for. You can easily fit it inside your pocket and keep it in your drawers after use. It adds a bit of energy to the music delivery, making it sound more lively without compromising precision. The clean sound quality of this AudioQuest DAC is a good match with the KEF LS50 speakers too.
Have a really tight budget? Do not fret as the entry-level Schiit Modi 3E will be a wonderful choice for you. The price point of the Schiit Modi 3E DAC is very modest and should meet most KEF LS50 owners’ budgets. It has a good sonic performance for the money and is enjoyable to listen to. This Schiit DAC adds more punch to the bass performance and enables the KEF LS50 speakers to sound slightly bolder. It still sounds well-balanced and the LS50 mini-monitors maintain the overall accuracy of the music presentation.
You should give yourself some time to audition the DACs that you find have the most potential. It would be better if you can use your own KEF LS50 speakers and HiFi components during the audio testing. If you have friends who own the DAC which you are interested in, you might want to borrow it for auditioning purposes.