March 23, 2022 § Leave a comment
I then turned to a track I often use to evaluate speaker transparency, which relates to the clarity of a speaker and how well it projects sound without calling attention to itself. Colin James’s “National Steel,” from National Steel (16/44.1 FLAC, Warner Music Canada), is a well-recorded, minimalist track that is an excellent test for this attribute. The tune opens with two guitars, one centered at the back of the stage, the other off to the left and closer to the front. On this track, I like to focus on the reverberation of the strings during the attacks and decays, to see if the sounds remain focused in space, or if subtle cabinet resonances “link” the aural image back to the speaker, muddying the sound and hindering the illusion of realism. I can say without hesitation that the Focals did not disappoint in this category. They placed the guitar plucks authoritatively, with attacks and decays confined to well-defined aural bubbles that hung in free space—it sounded very real indeed.
March 3, 2022 § Leave a comment
Now, 44.1kHz and 48kHz files are represented by a yellow light, but 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8 and 384kHz files will be denoted by a white glow. DSD64 and 128 files are signified in cyan, while DSD256 (aka quad-rate DSD) files will now make the LEDs glow red. Thanks to the DAC’s ‘three unfold’ decoding process, now performed internally (as opposed to just the final unfold in the manner of an MQA ‘renderer’ – the method undertaken by the original hip-dac), MQA files glow green but MQA Studio tracks are now recognised too, glowing blue. Magenta means the file is playing in its original sample rate (MQB). The keen-eyed will note that iFi has added two new colours to the swatch here (red and white) to accommodate this functionality – and very helpful they are too.
February 21, 2022 § Leave a comment
These refinements help give the Mojo 2 a more neutral, crisper and livelier character than its predecessor, whose presentation ultimately feels comparatively confined and a little coloured. Music has the vividity of a stained glass window here – bright, intricate and demanding of your attention. Unsurprisingly, the updated Mojo/Poly pairing (possible when the Poly is firmware updated to 3.0) is even more of a delight in light of the new Mojo’s expanded talents.
February 6, 2022 § Leave a comment
The best solution for the R-2R circuitry is to obtain the highest possible incoming bit-stream level and then apply a high-quality analog volume control after the signal is converted by the R-2R DAC. Therefore, Cayin recommends using a music player app for the smart device that supports Bit Perfect USB, bypassing the volume control of the source device.
An optional adapter cable is also available for devices with a Lightning connector. Two headphone outputs with 3.5 mm and 4.4 mm jacks are placed on the connection panel. The user can also choose between oversampling (with upsampling to 384kHz) or non-oversampling.
January 12, 2022 § Leave a comment
The iBasso DC05 is a good little DAC, capable of great lengths once paired with a good IEM, or portable headset. Sound quality is surprisingly good, as is the build quality, and the conception design makes it the perfect companion for your smartphone – even if iPhone users still have to get an adapter like the ddHiFi TC28i.
It won’t replace your Dragonfly, Sparrow or Hi-mDAC, but, if you want a cheap/sturdy solution, that allows you to use your hi-res streaming subscription, and makes a real difference on the long run, this is a very serious option. I liked it!
December 30, 2021 § Leave a comment