Five DACs with Digital Passthrough for under $500

The Octava 1×1 HDMI Audio Converter features both an HDMI passthrough and a Toslink audio out in addition to analog conversion of an HDMI signal.  For those looking to convert a source like an AppleTV, this may be a perfect solution that preserves both the HDMI signal while also giving you additional analog and digital output options.

My ongoing research has led me to give you a top five list of DACs with digital passthrough.  The first two are HDMI-only units with HDMI passthrough, but I’ve listed them since the overwhelming majority of pre-pros and AVRs now have HDMI standard.
  1. Monoprice 4×2 Matrix HDMI switch with Analog Audio Out (this has an HDMI-only bypass for digital out) $59
  2. Octava 1×1 HDMI Audio Converter (this has an HDMI bypass connection and also a toslink output and is a great solution for both HDMI-enabled systems and systems that don’t have HDMI or need an additional digital feed) $169
  3. Audiotrak Dr.DAC2 DX Muses $298
  4. Music Hall dac15.2 $299
  5. Matrix Mini-I DAC $355

Footnote: AMI Musik DDH-1 (Price to be announced but assumed to be around $450)

Please drop me a note if you happen to know of any others!  If you are looking for a more comprehensive list, then I’m still keeping a running list of all available DACs (regardless of price point) at my original blog post here: /2013/01/dacs-with-digital-bypass-getting-analog.html

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