D3 24-bit DAC / Headphone Amp FAQs
Can I use the D3 with an Apple iPhone or iPad?
Yes! You will need an Apple USB camera adapter, and a self powered USB hub. We've tested this with the D-link DUB-H4 and DUB-H7, and it works well. Here's an example of how this would be connected:
iDevice w/ USB Camera Adapter --USB-> Powered hub --USB-> D3 --Mini-> Speakers/Headphones
Will D3 work with lower impedance headphones such as my Beyerdynamic DT-990 and Hifiman HE500?
D3 can easily drive headphones with impedances as low as 10 ohms.
Where can I download drivers for the D3?
The D3 is a USB Plug-and-Play audio device. This means that the drivers it uses are developed and provided by the developer of your computers operating system. In the case of a Windows PC for example, these drivers are provided by Microsoft, and are a part of Windows.
How can the D3 external computer DAC improve my music?
The D3 is essentially a very high end external sound card. Its components and implementation make it more capable than what might be built in to a computer, not to mention the benefit of moving those sensitive components external to the potentially noisy interior of your computer. All of this means the signal your speakers receive will be clearer, with a lower noise-floor, and with a more pronounced dynamic range over your internal sound card.
How easy is it to set up the D3?
Plug the D3 into a USB port on your computer (If possible, pick the higher speed port), and plug your headphones, powered speakers, or stereo system into the minijack output at the end of the D3. If using a Mac, go to System Preferences/Sound, and select "Audioengine D3". If you're using a PC, no setting changes are needed as the computer will automatically find the USB driver. Now play music from iTunes or your favorite media player and that's it - setup really is that easy.
How is volume controlled on the D3?
The primary volume adjustment for D3 is the system volume. This interacts directly with circuitry in the D3 to control volume at the output. You can also use the volume control of your media player, but this (if implemented incorrectly) can potentially affect the digital signal out from your computer, so is considered less desirable.
I'm hearing a crackling/popping sound when playing music. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix this?
When issues do crop up in USB audio, this is a common symptom. The PDF linked below outlines the issue and potential causes as well as some common fixes.
Is D3 USB input isochronous or asynchronous?
The D3 is asynchronous, using dual clocking circuits to provide the greatest possible isolation between the system clock and the D3 DAC clock.
Can I connect the D3 DAC to a USB hub?
Although D3 may work just fine when connected to most USB hubs, this is not recommended as the data rate may not be fast enough for higher-resolution music. We therefore suggest you select a high-speed USB bus all by itself and don't use a USB port on your keyboard, for example.
Will the D3 work with USB 1.1?
Yes, however, note that 24/96 HD digital audio pushes the limits of USB 1.1 speeds. Due to this it's highly recommended that you connect to a higher-speed USB 2.0 port.
How do I make sure that the D3 DAC is set to 24-bit/96KHz audio?
If using a Mac, open the Audio MIDI Setup utility in Applications->Utilities, choose "Audioengine D3" under audio devices and check that the format is set to 96 and the bit depth is set to 24bit. Also a quick check is to simply observe the HD indicator on the D3 while music is playing. If the data rate of the digital signal being sent to the D3 is above 48K, then the HD indicator will be lit.
I'm having trouble using my D3 with Foobar in WASAPI and KS mode. What do I do?
In the Foobar control panel, under Preferences->Output, set the buffer length to minimum. A few customers have mentioned that WASAPI mode is more stable when used under WinAmp, so try that as well.
Is there an easier way for Mac users to get to System Preferences and the Audio MIDI Setup control panels?
A customer recommended an app called Soundsource - http://rogueamoeba.com/freebies - which is an easy way to switch between audio input and outputs as well as to access System Preferences and the Audio MIDI control panels.
Is there a recommended "break-in period" for the D3?
Your D3 will sound great out of the box and will get better over time. We do generally recommend to play music for 40 to 50 hours first before doing any critical listening though.
My D3 occasionally makes a clicking noise during playback. How can I avoid this?
Try removing all other USB devices temporarily, and try each USB port on your computer one at a time to see which one works best in your setup. USB audio needs quite a bit of bandwidth, so for best results ensure your D3 is on a "High-Speed" bus and not a "Full-Speed" bus.
What media player software and audio file formats are compatible with the D3 when using it with a computer?
When connected via USB with a computer, the D3 acts like a USB sound-card. Because of this, once it's set as your default playback device, it should work with any application on your computer playing audio, and with any file format the software supports.
Can I use D3 with the USB port on my TV, Airport Express, or other video device?
Most of the USB ports on TVs and such are not meant for audio output, but serve other functions. As electronic components evolve, this may not always be the case. Check your operating manual for your device to see if the device supports USB audio. If so, the D3 may work, but as of late 2013 most of these ports do not support USB audio but are there for other reasons.
How do I find out more information about DACs and computer audio?
There are some excellent online computer audio forums and a quick search will turn up everything you need to know about the best hardware and software and how to get started on any budget. Computer audio is quickly evolving so we suggest to check and make sure the information you find is up to date.