September 24, 2022 § Leave a comment
With the XBass II setting disabled, it was rather clear that the xDSD Gryphon has very impressive low end performance; bass notes have strong definition, impact, and a lot of texture. The clarity in the low end was also excellent and when I used headphones that could show it off — it was clear that the unit is capable of letting you hear the differences between bass guitars and percussion instruments.
That is not very common with portable units like this and I was happy to hear that the performance did not fall off as we moved into the mid bass and upper bass regions; the impact remained very strong but with excellent linearity and texture.
There was no bleed into the lower midrange and it keeps things very clean in this range; even turning the XBass II on did not cause the bass to overwhelm the rest of the music.
September 15, 2022 § Leave a comment
The DragonFly Cobalt might at first appear to be an odd addition to the range on paper, and if you need support for very hi-res PCM and DSD you will need to look elsewhere. In more real-world terms, though, this is a fantastic DAC that elevates the go-anywhere, work-anywhere abilities that the more affordable models do so well, providing an extra level of performance.
September 14, 2022 § Leave a comment
iFi GO Bar has the classic iFi Audio sound in a small footprint. It’s clean sounding with good clarity, resolution and stereo imaging. The unit is a bit dry in the bass and midrange, which is not surprising from a device from iFi Audio. It’s somewhat a bit sterile, light in the bass and mids, and crisp in the treble region.
It does nothing in an aggressive manner though, it’s not too bright, but it’s not muffled or veiled either. It’s a well-balanced and well-controlled device, with excellent background blackness. The sound-stage is reasonably good, with very good imaging and separation.
The bass is a bit light but with very good pace and decay, the midrange is clean with good tonality and clarity, and the treble is crisp with good air and extension. I can also say that the midrange is a bit forward.
July 29, 2022 § Leave a comment
Most of the over-ears I wear while travelling are considerably easier to drive and so with all that power available, noise floor becomes a real issue. By dropping gain back to medium, the MAX performs well with the Campfire Cascade and DCA Aeon Closed and with its 8 channel volume control placed between the DAC and amplifier sections of the MAX, clarity and distortion stays nearly the same at all gain levels.
It certainly takes more effort to wrangle 8 independent volume controls, but by placing them on the output of the DAC and before the amplifier, the volume control is in the best position to adjust overall output without introducing additional noise.
The Bluetooth features remain largely the same as the KANN Alpha with support for LDAC, and aptX HD; the KANN MAX also supports the Bluetooth Sync feature which allows you to use the KANN MAX as a Bluetooth-enabled source device for supported loudspeakers or headphones.
June 20, 2022 § Leave a comment
Nevertheless I was also keen to hear the Mojo 2 as just a DAC, with a Toslink connection from a universal player and the analogue out into my regular system. Fed with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary [Capitol/Dark Horse/Apple 02435 65238], I ran it alongside a couple of highly-regarded DACs which I’m choosing not to embarrass. Chord’s Mojo 2 delivered such smooth, silky, open, transparent and undigital sound that it’s now a reference in my system.
Downsides? The Mojo 2 begs for a tiny touchscreen, as does the Poly, to make it usable for those of us who cannot tell the difference between, say, Pantone 290CS and 291CS colours regardless of ambient lighting. But, ergonomics aside, as both a DAC and a headphone amp, the Mojo 2 is amazing.