July 23, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Sadly, the M200 doesn’t have a headphone out, it is a pure DAC only and that makes it difficult to judge exactly what presentation the product actually offers. I have to rely on knowing my amps to connect it to, and how they differ in sound setup connected to this M200 vs other DAC’s I have experience with”.
I’ve found the M200 to be light on the low end, but moderately responsive to EQ and boosting if need be. You can drop in +5dB, or maybe even a bit more, and yield a more potent low end.
July 11, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Fortunately, it’s a good thing as both devices impressed me by their performances. The sound signature is flat, dynamic range excellent and all the good things I said about the previous version, remains true to this day : “The sound is sharp, with tight lows and clean highs”.
Switching from the AK4490 DAC to the newer AK4493 was a sweet move from the brand. Highs are more refined, voices softer and most of all, the dynamic range extends a bit more, so you can now discern subtler micro-details.”
April 19, 2020 § Leave a comment
“As an example, consider the organ bass notes in Felix Hell’s Symphony Concertante, Op. 81: 1. Allegro-Molto Moderato from Barber, Guilmant & Jongen: Orgel & Orchester [perc.pro]. With the aid of the xCAN the low range of the track seemed to be truly unearthed with a weighty, resonant, rock-solid bass performance not unlike what you would expect to hear when listening through a very high dollar desktop headphone amp. Disconnecting the xCAN after this experience revealed an auditory gulf that was painfully evident, so that I think most users would yearn for the added gravitas the xCAN provides.
In summary, while some might scratch their heads for a moment to wonder whether a product like the xCAN is necessary or beneficial, the proof is in the listening. To my ears, the xCAN delivers a sizeable sonic payoff beyond all proportion to its modest price.”
March 6, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The first thing I did once I unpacked the Red from its simple, but adequate box was trip a bit at just how small everything had to be inside the sleek casework. I tripped less than I did when first assessing the Apple Lightning dongle years ago and how small the amp/DAC combo is in it, but, nonetheless, knowing what AudioQuest was able to pack inside the ‘fly series cannot help but leave you impressed at Gordon Rankin’s circuit design (of Wavelength Audio – podcast interview with him HERE) and all the custom coding that went into to making it sound as ballsy and colorful as it does.”
February 11, 2020 § Leave a comment
The headphone amp has a nominal power rating of 400mW and is capable of delivering over 700mW from the balanced output depending on the impedance of the attached headphones – impressive in comparison with the hip-dac’s peers, driving all manner of headphone/earphone types with ease.
The amp stage features switchable gain, which iFi terms PowerMatch. This matches the level of drive to the load presented by the headphones, by adjusting input sensitivity and thereby signal strength. With high-sensitivity headphone types such as in-ear monitors, leave PowerMatch at its lower setting for ultra-low-noise performance. But if your headphones require more drive – most on/over-ear types, for example – press the PowerMatch button on the front panel to increase gain.”
February 8, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Playing Bon Iver’s 666ʇ, they deliver the opening two-chime notes and glitchy guitar attacks with greater clarity and texture, pursuing the harmonics of the distorted instruments with greater resolve.
The stepping-stone pattern, which rides underneath as Bon Iver stacks his dense synth-washed canvas layer-by-layer, has a closer-knit correlation with everything else.
And when it’s time for his warped, auto-tuned chop to come in, it’s placed centre-stage with a level of articulacy and dynamic discernment the Cambridge can’t quite match. That insight extends to the low end, with heft anchoring the tuneful bassline.”