USB DAC/amp (dongles)

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Stuff Jones, May 17, 2021.

  1. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    do these have a changeable battery or something?
     
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    It's not inherently bright, but if a track has a lot of treble energy it's not going to shy away from that.

    I kind of hate the term analytical because most people use it in contrast to another term I dislike as a descriptor, "musical." I find all the iBasso gear I've heard (which is a bunch now) to be musical and still having good technicalities and separation seems to be a real strength for them. When I say analytical for the DC03 Pro, I am referring to the ease with which I can analyze the separate elements of a track when I use it. It's not disjointed or clinical though.

    In short, I do not find the DC03 Pro to be bright or dry, nor is it warmed over like the RU6. This is why I call it neutral, it doesn't add excessive coloration in either direction.

    The DC03 Pro is the same regarding the app. However, the default filter is linear fast, which I think sounds fantastic. The gain is set to high which is fine because I've never heard any hiss from the device, and with 100 volume steps it can accommodate extremely sensitive IEMs to moderately powerful headphones like the 660.

    The only other setting IIRC is the "ultra" setting which enables or disables the additional opamps iBasso built into the dongle (the DAC chips have built in amplification opamps but iBasso added more for more power). iBasso recommends never turning this setting off unless you are severely low on battery. The chosen defaults sound great and I have never had the slightest complaint that I wished I could change the filter or the gain. I understand on principle it is annoying that iBasso does not provide the full experience for all of their customers, but IMO the app is there more to tick boxes on a spec sheet and for another marketing slide, not anything that significantly improves the experience of using the dongle. YMMV.
     
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  3. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Is Bandcamp compressed? It’s one of the places I like because all purchases are lossless. Not sure about the streaming quality though
     
  4. zottel

    zottel Friend

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    I think RD means streaming via the Bandcamp app, which indeed isn’t lossless, or at least wasn’t last time I looked.
     
  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Yes, steaming via the bandcamp app or website. Which is 128kbps for browsing and 360kbps or something for your purchases. neither one sounds very good.
     
  6. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    Would like to note that the iBasso DC03Pro continues to be a pleasant, synergistic listen with my (OG 300 ohm) ETA Minis after several months with this combo. It's not a $700 sound for $70, but that's not the point. :)

    I've tried the DC03Pro several times with my pair of Moondrop Kato and the combo has been less synergistic than the above. I sort of eventually get into it if I persist in listening, but I enjoyed the Kato more with the RU6. To me the DC03Pro is a bit thin or clinical with the Kato. Haven't tried EQ with that combo because life is too short 4 that.
     
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  7. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    I got the Hiby FC6 R2R dongle ($300) for a week now and I want to share my brief impressions of it:

    It got enough power for my Focal Celestee and Fiio FD5 and a bit lacking to my Shouer S12 (16ohm/102dB), the bass on the S12 is looser and slower compared to my E1DA 9038SG3 dongle (~500mw) but it was fine overall.

    It sounds neutral overall with good tone density, good stage but rolled off on the edges (I think because the air region is rolled a bit).

    NOS sounds NOS, fast, full and harsh I preferred it with the sloppy Fiio FD5 but hated it with the Focal and S12. For those I preferred the fast normal filter or sometimes the slow normal filter.

    It's not a warm dongle, it's pretty neutral overall with rolled off upper treble (air).

    It got crazy good imaging for such a tiny device.


    It's not a staging monster or the last world of details, it's a great dongle if you pair it with sensitive enough stuff and selected the right filter for each headphones/iems. It's pricey for $300 I think they should priced it at $220 max.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2023
  8. DigMe

    DigMe Friend

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    what does “weight density” mean in sound terms?
     
  9. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    WTF I meant tone density. I corrected it (damn a lot of typos too lol).

    And by tone density I mean notes have body to them and sound physical and tangible, opposite to that would be ghosty and ethereal.
     
  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I just received the iBasso DC06 Pro, a new iBasso dongle with dual ESS chips and balanced output, and off the bat I can tell that it sounds like a supercharged DC03 Pro. It has the same sonic hallmarks: Highly detailed, texture is upfront, propulsive energy, a very fast linear type sound. Like the DC03 Pro, the DC06 Pro does not smooth over harsh production. Listening to Heart's 1985 self titled album, full of great songs with some of the harshest 80s production I can think of, the tizziness from the cymbals and sibilants in voices are evident and not hidden, muted, or smoothed out in any way. When the production is smoother, the DC06 Pro presents it smoothly.

    Compared to the 03 Pro, the 06 Pro has a clear tighter control over the drivers (in BAL out, I'm not bothering with the SE on this one since all my headphones are balanced capable), and better layering, with more nuance in the presentation of instruments. I am hearing more detail, and also can discern more of the mix in terms of instruments that are mixed higher or lower. Listening to Art Blakely Live in Tunisia, I get a sense of space around the instruments. The soundstage feels close to the head though, not massively expansive, and is wider than it is tall.

    I've got a DC04 Pro coming for a direct comparison, which is supposed to have a more relaxed presentation, but that's shipping from China and with the holidays probably won't have it until January. Without that comparison, I can say the DC06 Pro is everything I like about the DC03 Pro, only more so. However if you don't need balanced out, save the money and get the DC03 Pro instead, which I still think sounds fantastic.

    Listening done with IE600s with IE Pro tips and ETA O2, source is an iPhone 15 Pro Max and a Macbook Pro.

     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2023
  11. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Looking for some help from any other iBasso DC Elite owners: mine is exhibiting some unexpected behavior and I'm trying to ascertain whether it's "normal" or if I've got a dud. On all three devices I've tried (MBP M1Pro MacOS Sonoma 14.2.1, iPhone15 iOS 17.2.1, Shanling M6U Android 10), when i plug the DC E in via USB C, it shows up in the connected devices/audio Midi setup, but defaults to digital out (white LED) after waking from standby (red LED). A long-press of the button only shuts the dongle down to standby if there's no signal being output, no matter the connected device.

    After starting an audio stream, while plugged in, the DC E will allow a medium-long-press to start passing audio (turning white LED to green), however (!!!), once the stream has stopped, the DC E reverts to standby (red LED) immediately. Also, single short-button presses while streaming audio do not seem to do anything; no apparent change in volume in 1dB-steps as expected per the Quick Start Guide.

    Whether playing audio or not, there is significant noise between volume knob clicks, no matter the connected device, or audio stream sampling rate or bit depth.

    Further, after installing the iBasso UAC App on the Shanling, it won't recognize the DC E, no matter what system settings for USB audio out I've tried (but I hate/suck at Android so there's very likely some stupid developer submenu somewhere I've not properly set up).

    Oddly, only when I set the M6U to run in PRIME MODE instead of ANDROID MODE do I get true "plug-and-play" (i.e., plug in the DC E, no audio streaming, DC E goes straight to green LED, and it does not immediately revert to standby after stopping an audio stream). But I still get noise between volume steps using the dial (and still no single-dB steps using the button).

    Other things I've tried fooling with, with no change in device behavior: 3 different USB C OTG dongle cables (one included with DC E, one included with Cayin RU7, and one DDHifi TC09S cable.

    Thanks for any help!!
     
  12. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I can’t speak to all of that behavior (I don’t own the device) but for the app, you have to download the version on ibasso’s website, not the one on Google Play: https://ibasso.com/dc-elite-driver-fw-app/
     
  13. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    I suspect that unit is a dud as my DC Elite (used with iPhone 13 Pro Max, and macOS) does not exhibit any "white lights" during initial connection or playback.

    Connecting with a USB-C to Lightning cable, the DC Elite shows a red light. Playing music the light goes straight to Green.
    stopping the music, DC Elite light goes back to red light after 8 seconds.

    A press and hold the side button does enable the white LED. then a press and hold brings it back to red.

    music playing or not-
    turning the volume knob exactly 1 click, there is a short click/stutter with the volume adjustment but no real noise.
    there is noise if the knob turn ends up "halfway" (a slight over or under rotation) in between the 1 click, and a slight nudge either way brings the volume back correctly. this "turn exactly 1 click" on the vol pot is not well implemented IMO.

    I've never had an Android device to try using the UAC App.
     
  14. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Shanling UA4 or iBasso DC04 Pro for use with Android phone and Tidal feeding Tangzu wu Heyday?

    Plan to use balanced outputs, typical volume is 85 db or lower. Trouble free operation is desired.
     
  15. Gezellig

    Gezellig New

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    Any thoughts which dongle would synergize well with a Hifiman Edition XS and laptop? I'm not bothered about battery drain (laptop is usually on AC power, but I often move between rooms for various reasons, which is why I'm looking for a dongle instead of a desktop set). Also not bothered much with dongle size. Won't be using it with my smartphone. I read earlier in this thread that the Ifi Go Bar has decent power output. There's an open box at €220 available to me atm.

    To be clear, I don't own the Edition XS yet, but I auditioned it on my Dragonfly Red and laptop recently, and was rather surprised how good that sounded already. I'm using the Red with an HD650 atm, which is far from ideal, but doesn't sound as bad as I expected. The red's v-shaped sound signature brings a little fun to the 650, even if the final presentation is a bit... I don't know.. strained? In any case, I might pick up a second hand Apogee Groove to see what that does to the 650, but my first romance with the XS and longer love for the HE-500 might mean I'm just more of a planar's guy.
     
  16. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Bad news, I went to use my iBasso DC06 Pro last night and I got horrible static and dropouts. This morning I tested with both a different cable and connecting to a different device, and got the same issues. The DC04 Pro using the same cable and on the same devices played perfectly. Researching online, I found several reports of this same issue (and others) happening with the 06 Pro specifically. I used mine very lightly so it wasn't user error. Really disappointing but at this point I'd suggest that anyone interested in an iBasso dongle, look at the 03 Pro, 04 Pro, or Elite.
     
  17. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Sorry to hear about the DC06 Pro! I've been looking forward to your impressions on the 04 Pro. Do you have a preference between the 03 and the 04 (besides the balanced output on the 04)?
     
  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    They’re extremely close to my ears, I’d say get the 04 if you need balanced, otherwise save a little cash and get the 03.
     

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