Encore Design is not a company that has an established brand name, however, their founders are not new to the world of audio.
NuForce original CEO left the company while it was sold to Optoma to start a new venture creating several brands each focusing on specific market segment. Encore Design’s mission is to develop high performance entry level audio products.
Today, Encore Design has but one product out, the mDAC. The mDAC is a mobile DAC that is designed to improve the sound of your mobile devices. From Android to iOS, even laptops and desktops, the mDAC looks to improve the sound quality of whatever you need it to.
In the Box
Encore Design mDAC
Forged around a housing of aluminum, the mDAC is a beautiful little box of metal. The combination of sandblasted and brushed aluminum creates an effective and attractive design that works quite well. With that said, the mDAC is a nice-looking piece of hardware that will be able to compliment just about any device. It’s available in two colors: silver and black.
The sound that the mDAC offers is on the darker side of things. Overall, it still is a more neutral, brighter amp. However, in contrast to my iDevices (they generally all share the same DAC), the mDAC offers a slightly thicker sound (only slightly, if that) and possibly a stronger snap. Unless you compared them side by side, the actual signature won’t differ that much. I did find, however, that the treble may have a little more bite with the mDAC which may make it slightly harsh or edgy on some recordings. Overall though, if you’re fine with a colder sounding DAC, the mDAC actually will give you quality, though similar to what my iDevices put out.
Encore Design did great with the build of the mDAC. Outside the material choice that lead to an attractive design, the aluminum proves to be good for more than just looks. The shell is hard and attached nicely. Essentially, the mDAC will be able to take the daily abuse that any sort of mobile device should and continue trucking through.
The Encore DAC functions as a single DAC, that’s really all it’s designed to do. For what it does, it will improve some sound, but not everything. It’s versatility is one of the major selling points of this device, however. It’s compatible with desktops and mobiles alike.
Android is supported by default while iOS support is supported using the lightning to USB adapter. The only real drawback would be the additional wires and that may be an issue with portability.
Encore Design’s mDAC will set you back around 129 dollars, not too different from the NuForce mDAC. With additional support, it does take a step above NuForce’s offering. It’s attractive design and additional flexibility does add value. For its price, it is priced pretty reasonable for a DAC of this caliber.
Encore Design was founded by the same people who founded NuForce, a start that sounds promising. Their first offering is an improvement over the NuForce mDAC, and that it does.
The compatiblity with iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux help make it that much more valuable. It offers compelling sound qualitty that makes it a strong competitor in its price bracket.