AKM makes the best DACs

OK, before you flame a reply to my heading please read this section.

It is a terrible idea to judge a DAC based on the chip.  I don't think consumer's should ever do that. I think there is a lot that goes into a good external DAC unit and the converter chip is just one of many factors that go into the final sound.

Having said that, it turns out I tend to like the sound of DACs with AKM chips over most others.  A long time ago I would have said the same about Burr Brown.

For converters which use an all in one chip what is the brand you find yourfself more likely to like the sound of vs. not?



It is true that some of us are giving exposure to a very small and not very well known designer/producer who has provided amazing results at a good price.  By now, though, it is the newer users, including former sceptics, who are providing the favorable descriptions.

That being said, I have no dog in this fight regarding chips.  I agree with the OP (I think) that this whole chip thing is way overblown and the selection of the chip, whether conventional Sigma-Delta or R2R (whether chip or discrete) or FPGA (which is just  a chip after all) makes very little difference.  That's been shown in our thread and others, and in other places.   If we keep our eyes open we'll find great DACs made with all of these.  Because in the main, great DACs are made with great power supplies, great clocking devices and great analog stages.

To say “The Best” is such a hard title to try to hold, after all it’s all subjective to opinion, individual setups, etc.

Having said that, the discrete R2R ladder dacs coming out of Denafrips & Holo Audio are extremely impressive, and as it stands I’m in the Denafrips camp for the foreseeable. 

AKM all day ! I picked up a Gustard dac A18 when released which uses the 4499 and will be hanging on to it. feel in love with AKM through my last two Marantz pre/pro's which the latest 8805 caused me to drop plans to get an Oppo 205 but 203 and sold the 105, been happy with the sound  for for a few years but have a few upgrades coming to see if that stands.

@Audioman 58. There are many great-ladder dac chips -R2R out there to even consider any AKM chips not 1 upper dac maker use them ,buy a Topping if that’s your thing.


I suppose Esoteric (pre Mastersound Discrete Dac) doesn't count as an "upper dac maker"...

My current DAC uses an older AKM chip, it's pretty good for an older device.
I am waiting to be able to purchase a newer DAC from an Australian supplier based upon the AK4499EQ when it becomes available again. I am confident though, that AKM as per usual have been revising the chipset, and probably have a new one soon to be released. Perhaps I will hold off a few months??!

Important Notice < [link to AKM website]

We are preparing to resume the shipment of samples in 2022.
Sample shipments have previously been impacted by the fire that occurred in October 2020 at our semiconductor plant in Miyazaki, Japan.
Details will be announced in January of 2022.