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Questyle M15 Dongle DAC/Headphone Amplifier: Editor’s Choice 2023

Not every Dongle DAC/Headphone amplifier plays nicely in the sandbox with Apple iPhones and Android smartphones. The Questyle M15 excels with both.

Questyle M15 Dongle DAC and Headphone Amplifier Lifestyle

Dongle DACs remained a hot commodity in 2023, but knowing which one makes sense for you and the headphones or powered loudspeakers that you own takes more than just a quick peek at the specifications.

There is also the issue of compatibility with both iPhones and their Android counterparts. Not every Dongle DAC does both well and that has hobbled sales of some high performance models.

Questyle M15 Dongle DAC
Questyle M15

The Questyle M15 Dongle DAC/Headphone Amplifier is one of those rare exceptions that works extremely well with both and it has proven to be a superb addition to their lineup.

Questyle’s M12 Dongle DAC which we reviewed was the luxury Chinese manufacturer’s first foray into the category and its performance made us realize that their long-term expertise in regard to high-end headphone amplifiers does matter. 

Questyle M12 DAC
Questyle M12

Questyle doesn’t cut corners and the M12 ($149 $99 at Amazon) proved to be much more capable than many of its rivals; the more expensive Questyle M15 isn’t a replacement and we were curious to see if the uptick in price placed it into the top tier in the category.

While the M12 is single ended with a 3.5mm jack, the Questyle M15 offers both single ended (via a 3.5mm port) and balanced (via a 4.4mm balanced port) sets of outputs.  

Questyle M15 Mobile Lossless DAC with Headphone Amplifier Front and Back
Questyle M15

The M15 uses a metal shell on three sides and a glass face so technology nerds have something to look at. Unlike the M12 with its automatic gain switching, the M15 gives the user a manual switch on the side eliminating one of the complaints leveled against the M12.

The LED indicators of the M12 are retained with one on either side of the USB port.  On the right hand side, we have a gain indicator with green for low and red for high; on the left hand side we have the data indicator with green for 44.1/48kHz PCM, red for high sample rate PCM (88kHz to 384kHz) and DSD64/256, and magenta for MQA files.  

Questyle M15 Mobile Lossless DAC with Headphone Amplifier Right
Questyle M15 – side view

With two gain options, the M15 offers enough power to drive full sized headphones like the Meze Audio LIRIC and delivers enough finesse to handle sensitive IEMs using the low gain mode and single ended output.    

One quirk that must be highlighted is that a headphone or pair of earphones must be connected to the Questyle M15 before it is detected by the source device.

The $249 Questyle M15 Dongle DAC certainly belongs in the premium class for a number of reasons; build quality, feature set, sound quality, and the ability to drive some rather difficult headphones. 

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Questyle M15 Mobile Lossless DAC with Headphone Amplifier

With both single ended and balanced outputs, two gain levels, PCM, DSD, and MQA support, there is a lot to like about this product.

Its support for MQA will only interest those who still prefer it over FLAC whilst listening to TIDAL hi-res streaming files; which is admittedly a rather dwindling group of listeners.

Where to buy: $249 $211 at | Amazon

Continue reading more Editor’s Choice Awards for 2023.

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