Designed in a palm-sized footprint, this portable DAC has practically the entire range of supported bit rates most audiophiles would have loved. Throw in any formats, it will just decode in the purest form of signal straight to your headphones as a headphone amp, or get it fed to an amp for a clean source amplifications.
Referencing the renown the Amanero USB interface circuit, the re-designed upper board houses the exact Atmel and Xilinx chips the actual Amanero Combo384 module uses. Below it is another high end DAC, ES9038Q2M from ESS Sabre. Q2M series is a mobile version from the famed lineup of 9038 series of DACs. Built around a low power and efficient design, the combination of Amanero and ESS chips can still manage a huge and remarkable sound. PCM is supported up to 32bit 384kHz, DSD is hardware-decoded, effortlessly up to DSD256.
No external power is needed to drive the DAC as just the bus power from USB 2.0 in part of the input source is all it needs, thanks to the voltage converter and regulator. With less of a cable to contend with, the setup is lighter and more streamlined. USB power is also more linear and clean than a normal DC power supply can provide anyway, hence ensuring the signal is less affected by noisy power supply. (Jumper needs to be removed when an external power source is still desired to be connected)
On the output end is two opamps in DIP8 sockets, giving users the flexibility of rolling different opamps available to tailor to a flavour of sound preferred. At default, QA has already included two quality opamps, OPA627AUx2 and OPA1622. On our testing with various opamps before deciding to make these two the defaults was because they proved to present a balanced sound signature while maintaining a musicality structure at both ends of the frequency. Compared to common opamps like NE5532, JRC4558, OPA2604 or even LME49720 that usually come in DACs, OPA627AU and OPA1622 are definitely two high end, high fidelity opamps one would not find easily included in any DACs at this price point.
Housed in a proprietary acrylic case designed by QA, the DAC is a light but tough gear that could be brought about to be used with headphones. Any headphones up to 320Ω can be plugged directly into the 3.5mm output end of this portable DAC and be driven by it. The volume control buttons on the side the DAC control the output level in both usages of driving headphones or as a line output to a separate amp. When connecting to an amp, the output level should always be at the highest.
The portability of this DAC is further enhanced when connected to Android devices as OTG is supported. Bit-perfect native output of highres music, in either PCM or DSD, can be made possible when this DAC is selected as the output USB device in the settings of music-playing app. OTG cable is needed for connection to Android devices and it is still depending on the devices if the OTG works.
Driver needs to be installed in Windows 10 and it can be downloaded here. Raspberry Pi and Mac OS support the DAC natively.
1x short USB A cable and 1x short OTG Micro USB cable are included. Heat sink is provided as an option for customers to stick on the Atmel chip as an efficient cooling measure.