DAC Reviews

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John Grandberg Posted: Jun 17, 2014 11 comments

About the size of a roll of quarters—and far lighter—the Resonessence Labs Herus is a portable DSD capable USB DAC with onboard headphone amp. There's no way a tiny thing like that could actually be any good, right? That was my thinking when Resonessence offered to send one for review.

I figured I should try it anyway, and boy am I glad I did.

John Grandberg Posted: Feb 21, 2014 2 comments

I love relatively compact devices packed with features. Unfortunately many of them involve significant compromise to achieve their size or price point.

Here's one that doesn't.

Skylab Posted: Feb 12, 2014 6 comments

I was approached by MiniWatt to review their current USB DAC/AMP combo, the n4. I had not really heard much about this company before but they have had several previous products that were well received, including a very compact vacuum tube headphone amp. I hadn't reviewed an "inexpensive" product ($349 MSRP in this case) here on InnerFidelity for a while, so I decided to give it a try.

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John Grandberg Posted: Nov 06, 2013 11 comments

Never has there been so much choice when it comes to all-in-one DAC/amp solutions. Many of them have some level of compromise, whether it be size, price, features, or sound. Here's one that seems to tick all the boxes without costing a fortune.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Aug 14, 2013 7 comments

I'm sick of choosing between Velcro, Dual-Lock, and rubber bands to keep my portable gear in one lump. I'm pissed I can't easily get digital audio outputs from portable digital devices. I hate it when my portable amp picks up RF noise from my cell phone.

Convergence...why is it so damned hard.

Dinny FitzPatrick Posted: Apr 25, 2013 24 comments

In many ways, the Essence One confounded my sonic expectations. It was disappointing with the phones with which I thought it would mate perfectly and soared with the phones I thought would break its back. This, folks, is why we actually need to listen to this stuff.

John Grandberg Posted: Mar 15, 2013 13 comments

Parasound hasn't released a DAC in nearly 2 decades. That streak is now broken thanks to their new Zdac. Was it worth the wait?

Skylab Posted: Dec 10, 2012 11 comments

The MP-301 Mk 3 is a very good sounding amplifier for the money. It wears its tube topology on its sleeve, both physically and sonically. Love it for that, or pass. But if you think it's a good thing, then you get a LOT of product for your $300 here.

John Grandberg Posted: Dec 07, 2012 4 comments

I just love checking out previously unknown (to me) gear from Japan. They have quite a few high quality headphone-oriented brands that don't get much exposure anywhere else. Case in point - the Izmo M1. Check out the picture above: looks like a nice portable amp right? That was my first thought as well but it turns out I was wrong. Sort of. It's far more than just a portable amp but can impersonate one with the right accessories.

Confused yet? Allow me to explain...

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John Grandberg Posted: Aug 27, 2012 12 comments

Focusrite, a pro-audio firm, calls this a "high-quality headphone interface with a difference"--the difference being their Virtual Reference Monitoring feature. They say it "emulates the experience of mixing in real rooms, with real speakers, using headphones." That's a big claim for a small device.

Let's see if it actually delivers.

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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Feb 27, 2012 23 comments

I’ve been a Schiit head since day one. The Asgard, the company’s very first Class A headphone amp lit up my old Sennheiser HD 580s, big time, and I’ve never looked back. The Asgard was followed by the all-tube Valhalla, and the Lyr high-output headphone amplifiers. Every one a winner as far as I’m concerned, so I just had to get my hands on Schiit’s Bifrost DAC.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Oct 13, 2011 9 comments
I have to admit I didn't quite understand the logic of making an AC powered device for iPods, iPhones or iPads, so I asked NuForce's Jason Lim about the iDo's raison d'être. He explained it was designed for people who bring their Apple devices to work and want the best possible sound, but don't have access to music on their computers.

That sounds cool ...

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Jon Iverson Posted: Feb 23, 2011 0 comments
Art Dudley and others have covered the first products released by HRT, and now the company has added to its product line a Pro version of its Music Streamer, which sports balanced circuit design from tip to tail.

Housed in the same simple, functional, six-sided case of extruded aluminum as HRT's other products, the Pro is painted a bright blue to distinguish it from the Music Streamer II (red) and Music Streamer II+ (gray). At 5.6" it is also a tad longer than the others, and includes a single B-type USB 1.1 jack centered on one end, and two small, fully balanced TiniQ output jacks on the other. More about these special mini sockets later.

Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 21, 2010 0 comments
YBA Design's new WD202 D/A processor and headphone amplifier showed up while I was turning the pages of Don and Jeff Breithaupt's Precious and Few: Pop Music of the Early '70s, recommended by John Marks in his October 2009 "Fifth Element" column. Each page drips with great examples of why the 1970s often wind up on the wrong end of the culture stick (the Osmonds, anyone? Terry Jacks?).
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Sam Tellig Posted: Aug 05, 2009 0 comments
Roy Hall has been Creek Audio's US importer for more than 20 years. Did you know that all Creek gear is now made in China? Just like Cambridge Audio, Quad, and many B&W models. Just like some US speaker brands, for which virtually all parts are made in China but are assembled, it's claimed, in the US. Three cheers for brands like LFD, Rega, Sugden, and Harbeth—all still made in the UK. For French marques made in France. For Italian products produced in Italy. Etc.

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