I want to begin by emphasizing that this website is not exclusively focused on high-end audio; I still find excitement in exploring affordable units that deliver a genuine HiFi experience. Today is one of those days. Two of the most interesting DACs I tried last year were the Gustard R26 and A26 and I still consider them to have one of the highest price-to-performance ratios.
It appears that Gustard is looking to broaden its influence into the entry to mid-level audio market by introducing a new brand and product. Enter the Audalytic AH90 – a compact unit with a surprising array of features. Despite its small size, it boasts even more functionalities than any of Gustard’s previous offerings, and remarkably, it comes with a price tag of just $599.
I was genuinely surprised to discover the multitude of features packed into this little unit. For starters, it comes with a built-in wired streamer, which seamlessly integrates with Roon. My Roon Core recognized it instantly, and I primarily used it this way. The DAC section is particularly noteworthy, utilizing the latest and greatest AKM silicon, and it also features a simplified volume attenuator, making it suitable for use as a preamp in a stereo setup. According to its front panel, it even houses a decent headphone amplifier section, but more about that in the video itself.