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.”
January 21, 2020 § Leave a comment
“I am a tech person, so I did it all myself and thought it was kind of fun to figure it all out and troubleshoot issues. If you’re a Luddite or even a person for whom that sort of tech adventure sounds less than fun, maybe the Poly isn’t for you. As apps and their features change, you’ll need to adapt. The only thing that worked without any third party setup was Airplay streaming from the Apple music player on the phone. If the Poly is on the network (either hotspot or normal), Airplay just works. MPD using Rigelian was also straightforward unless the app decides it needs you to renew the purchase of the full version without the internet being available. This happened once to me on a plane and I had to make do with the limitations of the free version of Rigelian until I got to my destination. And with any complicated system, stuff breaks. The Poly relies on a Wi-Fi connection working and properly set up. This is your problem and requires some knowledge of Wi-Fi setup to get right. I could not imagine someone like, say, my father having any hope of successfully using the Poly. I thought it was great, though.”
December 27, 2019 § Leave a comment
“The latest arrival in the DragonFly range is a huge step up from the already impressive Black and Red models, being capable of levels of performance that are nothing short of stellar. Fast, weighty, dramatic and super-clean, the sound is superb with portable devices, and more than impressive enough for ‘main system’ use, too – at which point it will be embarrassing many a larger, and pricier, rival.”
November 11, 2019 § Leave a comment
“I can hear why the Black and its PCM1704K chipset is so highly regarded and it does have a bit more dynamic range and complexity to its sound than the Red. However, for vocal lovers, the Red has a lot of charm and a stunning harmonic balance.
If you can put up with the OS limitations and can find an HWA capable transmitter smartphone we may just have the best sounding sources reviewed to date. It will be a very interesting main review so stay tuned!”