#donglemadness

100 USB DAC/Amp Audio Dongles Review


PROVISIONAL RANK

The ranking are based on my personal preferences as a USER, matched with my own equipment. I am NOT a professional reviewer, I am NOT an Audiophile. THIS IS NOT A BUYING GUIDE!

Facebook ◼ Email: andyaudiovault@gmail.com ◼ Head-Fi: OspreyAndy

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

1TempoTec Sonata E44
2Ovidius B1Apogee Groove
3Hidizs S9 ProE1DA 9038SG3
4Astell & Kern PEE51Hidizs S9
*Dongles that actually perform on par or better than some Mid-Tiered DAPs

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

5Luxury & Precision W2
6JCally JM10Xnyocn Q2
7TempoTec Sonata HD Pro
8Abigail
9XumeeAvani
10KINSOUNDAmazon DAC
11hiliDAC Audirect BEAM 2S
12VE Odyssey HDHAKUGEI
13ASUS ROG Clavis
14Lotoo PAW S1
15iBasso DC04
16E1DA 9038D
17hiliDAC Audirect BEAM 2SE
18Shanling UA2
19CX-Pro Audio 31993JCally JM6
20iBasso DC03Hidizs S3 Pro
21xDuoo Link2
22THX OnyxQuestyle M12
23TANCHJIM STARGATE iOS
* Dongles that are excellent sonically & with great features. Minimal Cons

⭐⭐⭐⭐

24Zorloo Ztella MQA
25MCDODO Beethoven
26GGMM A1REIYIN DA-03
27IKKO Zerda ITM03
28TERA Grand iOSJCally JM08L iOSUGREEN MFi iOSJSAUX MFi iOS
29JSAUX Type-C
30Meizu HiFi Audio Pro
31hiliDAC Audirect ATOM2ddHiFi TC35 ProHiBy FC3
32Xnyocn X1ES9280c
33TempoTec Sonata BHD
34JCally JM08cBREXLINK
35Hill Audio ALC4050JCally JM04Pro
36JCally JM20
* Dongles which are great sounding, suitable for casual usage


⭐⭐⭐

37Nillkin Type-CHill Audio WSH9415
38Shanling UA1
39Hill Audio ALC4042
40CS-PRO CS46L41
41HIFI Audio PCM2704
42Baseus Type-C
43ARKTek Type-C
44AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt
45CYBERDRIVE XMOS
46ENVEL Type-C
47ES-PRO Audio 9318
48UGREEN Type-CNGOKGA Type-C
49Stouchi Type-C
50JCally JA21
51JCally JM01JCally JA04
52JCally JA05JCally JA06
53Apple Type-C
54Monolith Hi-Res DAC
* Dongles which are moderately good but the Cons holding them back


⭐⭐

55DSD.3D SigmaTel
56Glotao Type-C
57JCally JA02
58TempoTec Sonata HD II
59Vention Type-C Gold
60Vention Type-C
61Plextone Type-C
* Dongles that failed to impart sonic enjoyment or functional use

DISQUALIFIED DONGLES

ZOOAUX
iNassen
I have stopped buying budget range Dongles from Amazon as I am no longer confident that the advertised specifications are accurate. The listed Dongles as above has been found to be inconsistent from various feedbacks received by others. The same models has been found to contain different DAC chips

Sep-Oct 2021

  1. CEntrance DACport HD (In Progress)
  2. IKKO Zerda ITM01 (Ordered)
  3. HELM Audio Bolt (Ordered)
  4. HAA FEE 4 Vrms (Ordered)
  5. REIYIN DA-Plus (Ordered)
  6. Shanling UA1 Pro (Ordered)
  7. JCally JM40 (Ordered)

I actively post updates on the progress of my #donglemadness activities to the Facebook group Chifi Audio Reviews


135 Comments

      1. Thank you! There doesn’t seem to be a 3.5>USB-C option here though, which is what I’m after! Any ideas?

        Like

  1. Hi Andy! I may be getting a S20 soon, if you plug a dongle to it, will all sounds be routed through the dongle then to your wired headset? Or would you need UAPP for this?

    Like

    1. You plug in any USB DAC/Amp and all digital audio processing will be routed to the USB device. Not just S20 but practically any Android phones that use OTG functions. No need for UAPP. But UAPP and HiBy Player are used to bypass SRC sampling and thus giving us bit perfect output. I use HiBy Player Exclusive Mode to do it

      Like

  2. Hi Andy. Any plan to acquire iFi Go Blu? It implement a Cirrus Logic CS43131 and an S-balanced jack (iFi version of single ended balanced circuit to eliminate crosstalk). Hope you can review it here. Is it worth the $199 price for an interchangeable DAC Amp (wired/wireless use case)?

    Like

  3. Hi Andy! I stumbled on this series by chance after venturing beyond Ugreen/Vention USB offerings for my laptop, as my mic is rather quiet on it.

    Before I found you I had bought two dongles from Keysion, both using the ALC5686 for under $9 each. They also had a version using CS46L41+SA9302L for under $15. I didn’t consider the CX31993 since the ones I found at the time didn’t support a mic.

    No datasheets but I know the ALC5686 has a dynamic range of 100dB, CS46L41 having 120dB. Would a larger dynamic range play a role in improving my mic volume? I don’t know how much power each option passes to the mic.

    Like

    1. Hi Shane, I am sorry as I am clueless as to how the dynamic range you mentioned would impact the MIC volume, my #donglemadness practically omitted any tests on MIC as I focus on playback quality only. I only mention if they support MIC or no (based on manufacturer details)

      Like

      1. Ah, I understand. As far as playback goes, how much different is a 100dB dynamic range from a 120dB one? I would assume the noise floor is much lower on the latter to achieve the increase.

        Before I forget, thank you for your #donglemadness testing! I have non-dongle DACs like the Fiio K1 and Q1 but if I get more into dongles I’ll be sure to keep your thoughts in mind!

        Like

  4. Hi andy, is jcally jm10 consider an upgrade over my cx pro and ve ohd? or should i go for tempotec sonata hd pro/ e35 instead.

    Like

  5. Hi, looking for dac/amp for my IEM (22 Ω, 117dB / Vrms @ 1kHz) and want the best SQ. According to your ranking list E44 or S9 Pro should be the best, but since I don’t really have headphones I don’t need the extra power or probably balanced output. I have few questions.
    1. Does going balanced improves SQ on my IEM? (seems like a no, but want to be sure)
    2. Is E44/S9 Pro significantly better in Sound quality comparing to Sonata HD Pro (with IEM)?
    3. Could you compare power consumption with some IEM with E44/S9 Pro vs Sonata HD Pro? Want to know if the better DACs eats more battery.
    4. Is dual dac better than single dac in terms of SQ considering it’s the same DAC?

    If you could review this DAC someday if you would be great 🙂 it has ES9038Q2M, while it isn’t really powerful it says that it has low battery consumption which means it might be what I am looking for.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002858873451.html?spm=a2g0o.search0304.0.0.7d186dd6plbiXa&algo_pvid=0476d39e-c328-4d9a-b211-f61fcdb8c0b3&algo_exp_id=0476d39e-c328-4d9a-b211-f61fcdb8c0b3-29

    Thanks

    Like

    1. 1. It depends on which DAC/Amp we are talking about. For something like TempoTec Sonata E44 yes because E44 is a true discrete balanced which will offer great SQ even for sensitive IEMs. The healthy driving power will enhance dynamic performance even at lower drive
      2. E44 and S9 Pro are 5 Star dongles for good reasons, they are just better sounding than Sonata HD Pro even for high sensitivity IEMs
      3. Power consumption is higher on S9 Pro on balanced mode. E44 a bit more forgiving. Sonata HD Pro a bit more efficient that the two
      4. Dual DAC will perform better if implemented correctly. But not always. If you look at the 5 Star Dongles, Ovidius B1 and Apogee Groove are Quad DAC setup, E44 & PEE51 Dual DAC, only S9 Pro, S9 and E1DA 9038SG3 are single DAC

      Like

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