The TempoTec Sonata iDSD is a very affordable portable Amp/DAC capable of up to DSD128, OTG, and Apple iOS connectivity. It retails for $70 and will be down to $49 during the 11.11 sale this 2019 on their Aliexpress store here. Disclaimer: The TempoTec Sonata iDSD sent to us is a sample in exchange for […]
The FiiO Q5s is a revision of the original Q5 portable Bluetooth DAC/Amp using FiiO’s latest interchangeable AM3E amp module. It retails for $349.99 Disclaimer: The FiiO Q5s sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank FiiO for this opportunity. To learn more about FiiO reviews on Headfonics you can click […]
Schiit Audio enter the gaming/podcast space this week with a pair of products first teased at RMAF 2019.
The Fulla 3 adds an ‘electret’ microphone input + automatic level control + 24bit AKM ADC to the company’s transportable AKM AK4490 DAC and headphone amplifier, all without dropping its analogue input or increasing the price. Fulla 3 will sell for US$99.
Why would we want a Fulla 3? USB-powered, it allows us to listen at a higher quality than the average laptop’s headphone output but also to record at a higher quality than the same laptop’s onboard microphone input.… Read the full article
iFi pitches the xDSD primarily as a mobile DAC with an onboard headphone amplifier, its 2200mAH rechargeable battery sufficient for up to 8 hours’ playtime. The line-out mode also makes it suitable for connection to the pre-amplifier section of a loudspeaker system, bypassing the unit’s volume control but also the xBass and 3D ‘tone controls’ – useful with headphones, less so with loudspeakers. A healthy 2.1V output seals the deal.
So — is this £399 / $399 / €448 xDSD DAC a true multi-tasker?… Read the full article
An MQA DAC and headphone amplifier that will talk to a Mac, a PC and a smartphone* for a hundred quid (ish)? Not the AudioQuest DragonFly Black but the forthcoming ZEN DAC from iFi that eschews the dongle in favour of a quarter-width aluminium chassis more becoming of a desktop rig.
Features abound in all directions so let’s keep it simple with four to the floor:
1) On internal D/A conversion, we note a TrueNative BurrBrown DAC chip that handles PCM up to 24bit/384kHz and DSD (up to DSD256) but without the usual apriori conversion to PCM.… Read the full article
The Monoprice Monolith™ THX Amplifier is a mid-fi priced THX certified DAC/Amp combo featuring dual AK4493 and up to 2W of power. It is priced at $499.99 Disclaimer: The Monprice Monolith™ Liquid Spark sent to us for this review is a paid-for sample. We thank the team at Monoprice for giving us this opportunity. To read more […]
With LG’s V series smartphones, the proposition is simple: connect a pair of headphones and you’re off to the races with an ESS DAC/headphone chip for some of the best portable sound in the world this side of a DAP. Yes, the LGs sound better than any Apple iPhone. That’s as true for lossy Spotify as it is for Tidal HiFi’s lossless.
The V series also maintain pole smartphone audio position once we park the headphones and repurpose a V30 or V40 as a network streamer (with touchscreen).… Read the full article
ES9218P – a system-on-a-chip (SoC) from ESS Labs that executes D/A conversion and headphone drive, fitted by LG into their V series smartphones for some of the best smartphone sound quality in the world. The V30 can’t match the iPhone on dynamic punch but its way with tone and a filigreed top-end means that when it came time to upgrade earlier this year, I considered nothing but its successor: V40. The V40 uses the same SoC and sounds identical to the V30.… Read the full article
Buy a high-end DAC and chances are it will be built around an off-the-shelf DAC chip from ESS, Wolfson, AKM or Cirrus Logic. Some DAC box manufacturers give us access to on-chip digital filters (or their own) that fine-tune the sound in the same way that a sprinkling of pepper seasons a meal. But the DAC’s sound (the meal itself!) will be fixed for its lifetime. When the upgrade itch strikes, we must look to another DAC.
Not so with PS Audio and their DirectStream DAC where an FPGA running operating system code, written by Chef Ted Smith, serves as a precursor to the unit’s DSD-decoding output stage and is field updatable.… Read the full article