Click to view our Accessibility Statement or contact us with accessibility-related questions

DAC/Amp for consoles, only 1 choice?

I am no audiophile, but if I am going to spend some money, I'd like to get a quality product. That said, I upgraded my initial $20 gaming headset to a massdrop AKG-K7XX headphone and a modmic 5. Its been pretty good, a definite improvement over the cheap crap I was using. But I am also interested in adding a DAC/Amp into the mix here. For a LONG time I could only find 1 option that actually supported console play- Xbox specifically. That, of course, is the Astro MixAmp. It gets great reviews from many gamers who purchased the MixAmp along with the A40 gaming headset as an upgrade from their cheap gaming headsets. However, anyone who is in to audio in general HATES the MixAmp, declaring it a piece of garbage, and that ANY DAC/Amp is better. Thats fine for PC gamers, but for us console guys, a standard DAC/Amp combo starts to become a bit of a logistics issue.
From what I can tell, to get a functional setup for an XBox I need an DAC/Amp with optical in to get the audio from the Xbox. Then I also need to have a line out that will pass through the Mic input, which then has to be run to the controller. (Thanks microsoft...) So its a bit of a wiring mess. I'm not sure if there is a better setup that people are using- maybe just use a standard DAC/Amp, and since my modmic can be plugged in separately, I could run that straight to the controller- not sure if that works or not.
However, I recently came across the Mayflower ARC DAC/Amp, which has headphone output, but also has mic input, and a seperate pass through mic output. Clearly designed for Xbox compatibility. It seems to get pretty good reviews.
What are other people using for console DAC/Amp solutions? Is the Mayflower ARC literally the only option that doesn't suck?

Mar 6, 2018
I hadn't even consider the option of using a receiver as the headphone amp. Currently I play game on a mobile cart that lets me move my whole setup to my porch when I want to watch TV or play games out side. Currently it has some super old reciever that only has RCA inputs. But for the $200+ range I have been looking at for a headphone amp, I might could get a receiver that does what I need, plus actually have HDMI ports and whatnot.
A community member
Mar 7, 2018
Fusi0nCatalystHey there
Yeah for me it's the best option get one with HDMI or with optical inputs if needed and you can decode all the formats you need it will take care of everything for you.
Apr 23, 2020
Fusi0nCatalystCan you explain more about HDMI receiver option. What are you using for a mic
A community member
Mar 6, 2018
Hi there
I had a time when I used my ps4 originally with a dss2 and it worked fine could also hook up the mic separately to the controller or usb port. Then I decided to upgrade to a dac/amp and had problems using the toslink and usb it would make horrible noises every now and then if the game sounds were not correct and even after making all the settings pcm 44.1/48k it still wouldn't always work. Tbh the external dac idea wasn't a good one for me and instead went for a receiver with a headphone out of it, can hook it up properly and the receiver can decide all the formats properly. If a dac like the mayflower is more console friendly that will work but for me the convienece of the av receiver means I'd never go down that road again. Hopefully that helped a little.
Trending Posts in Audiophile