Abigail

Abigail Prototype 00

DAC Chip: Synaptics (Conexant) CX31993 Single
PCM 32bit–384khz, SNR: -128dB, Power: 2 Vrms 65mW x2, USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: YES), 12mm, 5g, Powder coated Aluminum Chassis with compact cable


LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING


BACKGROUND

Abigail is a variant of the CX31993 (CX-Pro) which has been widely popular among Audio Enthusiasts ever since its exposure through #donglemadness a few months back. Wild Lee the founder of Venture Electronics (VE) has procured prototype version of a Dongle built on Cirrus Logic (Synaptics) CX31993 DAC from the same factory that produced and tuned Avani/Xumee.

Similar to Avani, Wild Lee have asked me to test the new CX31993 and ascertain if it is a legitimate unit to be introduced to the Audio consumers, focusing on budget segment. VE has sent several samples to others including Yannick Khong and a few people to get better perspective and evaluation.

After undergoing lengthy and extensive tests on my end, I am satisfied that the prototype CX31993 is indeed a very refined unit exhibiting all the adept implementation similarly found on Xumee/ZOOAUX/iNassen/Avani, all from the same manufacturer with their signature tuning. Cross checking with Yannick Khong and several other recipients of the prototype CX31993, the assessment seems to be aligned towards general agreement on the sonic characteristics of this prototype.

Much similar to the situation with Avani, Wild Lee has asked me to name this CX31993, I have chosen Abigail. This is the story of Abigail, the elder sister to Avani.

Despite physically being the same DAC of Synaptics CX31993, here as shown through TTGK App, Abigail has been identified differently to the CX31993 of CX-PRO and JCally JM6. This proved that the CX31993 of Abigail has been extensively implemented and tuned differently from both CX-PRO and JM6

💚PROS

  • Neutral balanced timbre, natural density and texture
  • Polished and crisp airy dynamics, great coherence
  • Crisp smooth Treble with polished decays, deep extensions
  • Naturally balanced Mids/Vocals with rich textures, realistic tonality
  • Punchy, dense Mid-Bass responses, great texture, smooth decays
  • Deep, subtle Sub-Bass responses, smooth decays
  • Realistic guitars and stringed instruments tone, polished edge
  • Great balance between technical and organic musical ability
  • Wide soundstage depth with excellent spatial imaging
  • Great Macro & Micro details retrieval, superbly transparent
  • Amazing speed and transients, zero congestion/compressions
  • Great resistances to sibilance, forgiving to Lo-Fi recordings
  • Drives stubborn IEMs/HPs with satisfying fidelity
  • Black silent background for super sensitive IEMs
  • Very clean and rich output for AUX/Line Out purposes
  • Great resistance to heating even used for long hours
  • Conservative on power draw from the host
  • Synergize great with ALL type of IEMs/HPs/Earbuds
  • PC, Android and iOS compatible (both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0)
  • Great rugged and durable build and construction

💔CONS

  • Driving power maxed out below 100Ω and with no less than 91db sensitivity.
  • Less euphonic compared to Avani/Xumee
  • No volume adjuster

VERDICT

Abigail. It’s simple. Abigail is the natural progression that was started with Avani. As how Yannick put it “Avani nailed the tone. Abigail continues the story, taking more risks at handling more technicalities and succeeds” – and I couldn’t agree more.

So it seems CX31993 has indeed made history in the audio scene, for being highly affordable yet delivering values beyond the asking price. There are several CX31993 variants already released out there to cater for varying needs. Shamelessly I would say Abigail can shine brighter than most of them, simply because the dongle itself has been built to impress. From the physical rugged build quality to DAC chip implementation, not just solder-on solution and hope for the best OEM approach like the others.

Abigail, Avani & JM6 Compared

IEM Test: TForce Yuan Li + TACables Obsidian
STRICTLY HiBy Player USB Exclusive Mode, Samsung Galaxy S20 USB 3.0 Power Delivery, EQ: Always Off, FLAC

  1. Alison Krauss “Goodbye is All We Have”
  2. Diana Krall “Don’t Dream it’s Over”
  3. Hoff Ensemble “Polarity”

Avani (Vol: 14/100), Abigail (Vol: 14/100), JM6 (Vol 14/100)

  • Deep, crisp Sub-Bass extension for Avani vs Abigail & JM6 deep, smoother responses
  • Smoother vocal decays on Abigail vs crisper & bold presentation of Avani. JM6 in between.
  • Mids 1 step more intimate on Avani & JM6 vs Abigail
  • JM6 has the thickest sounding Mids vs both Abigail & Avani
  • Soundstage 1 step wider for Abigail vs Avani & JM6
  • Abigail & JM6 has more air between notes vs Avani

Driving Power Test: FOSTEX T40RP MK3 50Ω 91db Magnetic Planar + VE Standard DIC OFC Cable

  • Avani, great timbre density, texture, dynamic range and coherence. Amazingly crisp and smooth sound with volume of 20/100
  • Abigail, similar drive as Avani, with better headroom and sense of space. Less crispy but smoother instead
  • JM6 equally adept to Abigail on this test. Practically no difference that my ears can pick up

Among the three, what is apparent to my ears how spacious the headroom and spatial staging is with Abigail. What is common between Avani and Abigail, very marginal superiority on timbre coherence over JM6 (this is extreme nitpicking), transients sounded more polished on the two sisters. If I am to draw my own conclusions, I will always pick Avani for Mids centric intimacy, sharp imaging and overall crispiness, and I will use Abigail when I need a bit more of airy neutrality, space, headroom and smoothness to the sound. Either way, it is great to have options especially considering how insanely cheap these Dongles are. The two of them at $10, 😆

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ ($5.00)

Best Pairing: Flexible for anything less demanding under 100Ω

Back to #donglemadness

With Moondrop Aria & VE Black Litz
Abigail & HZSOUND Heart Mirror

59 Comments

      1. VE Server has been overloaded since last night with people ordering VE Megatron and Asura 3.0. Abigail will be released later when their server stabilized

        Like

  1. This and/or Avani for replacement to my CXPro but only if it start to behave or dying later 😉.. Cause I like so much the CXPro characters (energetic, nimble, fresh, euphonic).. Thanks to you, Andy..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello! I am looking to buy a VE Monk Lite 120 ohm for a while now as I think it’s the more comfortable earbud with great tonality. Sadly, I don’t have a proper dac/amp setup yet so I only use my smartphone to listen to music. It is said that Abigail synergizes well with Monk Lites thus the bundle offerings from VE. Is it worth it for me to buy this bundle? Can Abigail drive the Monk Lite 120? Your review says that it’s best paired with anything less than 100 ohms impedance so I’m quite not sure anymore haha. I started dipping my toes in the audiophile world just recently so there’s still a lot for me to learn.

    Like

    1. Yes and that’s the reasons why Monk Lite is bundled with Abigail. Yannick has tested this extensively. I cannot verify that as I don’t have Monk Lite yet, still on order. But I trust Yannick more than anything else

      Like

    1. Not ideal. For compact Dongles to use with demanding Magnetic Planars I would use VE Odyssey HD instead. But for best results you really should consider any of the 5 Star Dongles

      Like

      1. Thanks man! though I’m considering if I can use this dongle as a dac for a pre-amp, say the fxaudio x6 mkii’s

        Do you think it’s ideal?

        Like

  3. Hi Andy, I am confused and perhaps I just missed something. Why does the Avani pair well with gear less than 100ohms while CX-Pro and Abigail can pair with higher impedance gears?

    Like

    1. Actually if you check again I stated for all three of them especially Avani and Abigail the exact words – “Best Pairing: Flexible for anything less demanding under 100Ω”. There’s an old mistake on CX-Pro page that I forgot to fix. All four of them will be similarly powered

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Andy! Just found your list and I’m loving reading through all the reviews you’ve got up. This looks like the best-rated most portable option for on-the-go listening with a smartphone, how do you think this would pair with the ER2XRs?

    Like

  5. Hey there Andy, I am planning on getting these for my PC to run on my Samson SR850’s, would these be an okay pairing and would they be okay on the PC?

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      1. How does it affect the volume, especially on PC? Currently, the stock volume I have on a direct connection to the pc is slightly too low, to the point I’d need to add a 2-4db pre-amp(with software), this was actually the main reason I was looking for a DAC in the first place as I’ve heard they do increase volume while also helping with sound quality.
        I’ve also heard cheap DACs like these have a different sound when on different devices, did you experience this at all?
        I am also planning on using these with an EQ software, will they be registered as a sound device on the PC?

        Sorry for bombarding you with so many questions, I am currently a little low on funds but am quite adamant on buying a dac as it has been bothering me for a few days and I am trying my best to make a smart purchase with the little money I have

        Like

      2. Yes once connected to a host, the entire Audio Processing now redirected to the outboard DAC/Amp. So it also means the volume level differs depending on the capabilities of the DAC/Amp itself. For my own use, Abigail has enough power even to drive Magnetic Planars when connected to USB 3.0 power of my ASUS TUFF 15 Laptop or even Samsung Galaxy S20 in HiBy USB Exclusive mode. Don’t let the size fool your eyes. These things pack some punches

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey there Andy, I am planning on getting these for my PC to run on my Samson SR850’s, would these be an okay pairing and would they be okay on the PC?

    Like

      1. Thanks for clearing it out for me because I wqs reading your other responses but sometimes you’re recommending different dac’s for certain iems. Thanks again

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Andy, I recently bought the VE Monk Plus. Tried it with my CX Pro but I feel like it’s not enough. Do you think this one’s the best for Monk Plus?

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  8. Hi, I mainly listen to metal (death, thrash, black ecc…), what dongle would be more suited for these generes, Abigail or Avani? I’m sorry for the dumb question, i’m just getting started on the whole audio world.

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    1. Depends on what you are connecting them to. For myself I use TForce Yuan Li/KZ EDX with Abigail and VE Monk SM/7Hz Timeless with Avani. Two IEMs/Earbuds that I use the most for Metal

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      1. Thank you so much. 😊 Now i’m decided to get this one. I have a VEOHD already, but for whatever reason, it feels like it doesn’t work well with my edx pro and cca nra. (Maybe because of my source?) And then I discover this Abigail and Cx Pro. I’m just curious why some says CX Pro is the better version of abigail.

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      2. OHD does not work well with sensitive IEMs. I use OHD for my magnetic planars, Earbuds and Etymotic IEMs. For sensitive IEMs use Avani or Abigail. That some people who said CX-Pro better than Abigail have different taste and preferences, I made the discovery for both CX-Pro and Abigail. And I personally regard Abigail as superior for my usage

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