Gaming headsets are usually anything but affordable. Nevertheless, very few gamers who are serious about their hobby manage without them, as they can be the decisive advantage in important situations. Sharkoon now wants to make sure that any headset can become a great sound system. Our test will show how this should work and whether it actually succeeds in practice.
The Gaming DAC Pro S we tested is a mini sound converter in USB format. The small device works similar to a portable sound card and converts digital to analog signals. By interposing the digital-to-analog converter, the sound experience of average headphones should be massively improved.
What we noticed immediately after unpacking the package: Software or anything else is not necessary. The stick alone is enough. This may seem strange at first glance, but is ultimately a great advantage because it provides maximum flexibility.
There is not much more to be said about the functionality of the audio converter stick. It is a simple device that can be used without further technical knowledge, without the installation of drivers and without preparation.
Workmanship and Connectivity
Externally, the converter stick is absolutely inconspicuous. In terms of both size and appearance, it is indistinguishable from a conventional USB memory stick. This is advantageous in the sense that it does not take up much space, is easy to transport and does not cause any visual disturbance. The exact dimensions are 42 x 17.3 x 9.7 millimetres. With a weight of just eight grams, the stick is also almost as light as a feather.
The processing of the stick is high-quality, it has an aluminum housing. In the test, it has proved to be robust against everyday influences and can withstand even average transport without any problems. Thanks to its robust construction, it should also withstand unprofessional, largely unprotected storage on a desk or in a drawer without any problems.
By the way, the USB converter can be used without any problem: It is simply plugged into the USB socket of the output device and then connected to the headset via a jack or TRRS plug. After insertion, it can be used immediately – without any further measures. The absolutely simple connection possibilities and the functionality according to the plug-and-play concept should accommodate gamers who are frequently to be found at tournaments or LAN parties. Sharkoon thus proves that it knows the needs of its target group and can respond to them. We would like to emphasize the uncomplicated usability as one of the central features of the Gaming DAC Pro S and put it in the foreground.
At the technical level, the stick offers a sampling frequency of up to 96 kHz at 24 bits and an output voltage of two volts. The signal-to-noise ratio is 100 decibels, impedances are supported in the range of sixteen to 300 ohms.
On paper, it all sounds very promising. How the sound turns out in practice is explained in the next section.
|Output voltage||2 V|
|Impedance||16 – 300 Ω|
|Max. Power||250 mW|
|Noise ratio (SNR)||100 dB|
|Distortion factor (THD+N)||0.002 %|
|Sampling frequency||24 Bit / 96 kHz|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||42.0 x 17.3 x 9.7 mm|
|Supported Operating Systems||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, PlayStation 4|
|Price||€ 17.99 *|
Most gamers simply connect their gaming headset to the onboard sound chip of their mainboard. Even if the chips are mostly quite decent, you have the influences of motherboard and graphics card, which quickly creates a slight background noise and the sound quality decreases. This is exactly where Sharkoon comes in with the gaming DAC Pro S. The sound solution is taken out of the PC and the disturbing factors are removed.
We tested Sharkoon’s USB sound converter with multiple headsets and found that the sound experience actually improved significantly. No miracles can be expected from the Gaming DAC Pro S, because it always depends on the headphones or headset used, but the sound output of the mini sound card is flawless and clean. Compared to the onboard sound chip, the sound is more detailed and raised by a few levels overall. We were very satisfied with the result.
A below-average standard headphone will not become a high-end sound system. However, the Gaming DAC Pro S provides very acceptable sound reproduction and offers significantly better audio quality than onboard sound chips. It is a very good choice, especially for people who invest little money in their equipment, but still want to improve their sound quality. Furthermore, it convinces by its robust and space-saving design as well as by its plug-and-play usability. We were positively surprised by the Sharkoon Gaming DAC Pro S*.