DAC Chip: Conexant (Synaptics) CX21988
PCM 24bit – 96kHz, SNR: Undisclosed, Power: Undisclosed, USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: YES), Metal Chassis & OFC Cable
LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING
- Reference grade, crisp balanced neutral flat timbre, mildly euphonic
- Vibrant and coherent dynamics, full bodied with smooth presentation
- Exceedingly well nuanced Micro and Macro details, very transparent
- Balanced Mids with detailed textures and definition, naturally toned Male/Female vocals
- Sparkly Treble with crisp smooth decays, great extensions
- Smooth impactful Mid-Bass, tight, fast with crisp decays
- Sub-Bass with tingling seismic response, natural decays.
- Crisp and vivid guitars, piano, percussions (chimes, bells) and drums and taps
- Amazing holographic spatial imaging with sharp precise placement/layers
- Amazing speed and dexterity on complex passages and transients
- Super clean background, zero floor noises
- Super clean layers and well-defined separation lines
- Drives Magnetic Planars and BA at 80/100 volume, great fidelity
- Excellent synergy with many type of IEMs/HPs
- Forgiving on Lo-Fi and lower quality sources
- Low battery drain on the host
- Does not heat up easily
- Limited to 24bit/48kHz Max resolution
- Driving power for great fidelity maxed out below 100Ω and with no less than 90db sensitivity.
- A bit dry sounding compared to the top 3 performers
- No volume adjuster
- Amazon ONLY exclusive release
Amazon DAC. Yet another CX21988 Dongle that I recognized immediately upon listening. It is identical to iNassen, ZOOAUX 2nd Gen and KINSOUND. Sounds great and limited to 24/96 resolution. This is assuredly the same internals made by the same factory for ZOOAUX, iNassen, Xumee and Avani. However worth to mention that this unit is different externally with much better build – rubbery and resilient design to withstand abuse. I personally like the look of it.
The differences between KINSOUND/iNassen CX21988/ZOOAUX 2nd Gen and Xumee ALC5686/ZOOAUX ALC5686/Avani ALC5686– very little. What my ears telling me, the ALC5686 version seems to offer a hair better timbre coherence and dynamics, volume loudness slightly more on ALC5686 version, while the rest of the spectrum are identical. Tonality wise and staging also identical, so does the technical capabilities. The factory that built them are damned good at tuning and implementation to keep the standards consistent despite using different DAC chips.
PS: Avani is the exact same model as Amazon’s Xumee, branded differently for Asian consumers who don’t have access to Amazon. Avani is available through Venture Electronics sales network. Xumee, ZOOAUX and iNassen remained Amazon only exclusives.
Best Pairing: Flexible for anything less demanding under 100Ω
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