Knowledge of what a hi-fi DAC is may not feature on your CV. Simply put, it's an audio processor -- it's what turns digital signals into audible sound. There's a very basic one in your phone, and a slightly less basic one in your laptop. But if you're pumping music through a really good set of hi-fi speakers, a basic DAC probably isn't good enough.

We've tested a bunch over the years, but after listening to it for a few weeks, we knew we had to give Beresford's TC-7520 some room on this most 'umble of gadget blogs. Turns out it's one of the most impressive sub-£200 DACs we've heard.

Initially though, sound quality was distinctly average. We stroked our beards and thought we might have a duff cable. We didn't. What transpired is that the often-pretentious act of 'burning-in a DAC' was essential, and afterwards sound evolved from flat and closed to powerful, open and detailed, with a warm overall tone.

We've actually been using it in conjunction with Apple's AirPort Express audio system via digital fibre-optic cable, for those of you curious as to whether this works. It greatly improved sound from the APE ( here's why ), but can be hooked up to any laptop or desktop via USB to function as a high-end sound card, or to games consoles and other hi-fi components via co-ax cable.

Visually it's not stunning, no, and it's evident from the moment you unbox the system that your hard-earned cash is going on the components inside rather than the chassis that encases them.

But for the money, the connections and, most importantly, the sound quality, the TC-7520 is a superb option for anyone who doesn't want to stretch to the £230 of Cambridge Audio's highly praised DacMagic.

Some extra photos are over the page, and for more info on high-end wireless audio, check out our complete guide to using a DAC with Apple's AirPort Express .

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