CX-Pro Audio 31993

DAC Chip: Conexant CX31993 (Single)
PCM 32bit – 384khz, SNR: -128dB, Power: 1 Vrms 65mW x2, USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: YES), 12mm, 5g, Aluminum Chassis with Braided Cable


LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING


💚PROS

  • Sparkly clean timbre, natural and realistic, mildly euphonic
  • Spacious airy note, great coherence.
  • Great Treble textures and extensions, polished crisp decays
  • Visceral Mid-Bass punch, rich textured body and crisp decays
  • Neutral Mids, not too forward nor recessed, richly texture, smooth.
  • Rich Sub-Bass with tingling and polished seismic feedback
  • Beautifully nuanced and crisp details retrieval, highly transparent
  • Realistic tonality to guitars, cello, percussions, and piano
  • Amazing speed and transients handling, amazing dexterity
  • Properly sized soundstage with natural feel to the spatial imaging
  • Great separation of layers with precise holographic projection
  • Good driving power, 65/100 volume to drive Tin HiFi P1
  • Great synergy with about anything (no lower than 94db of sensitivity & over 250Ω)
  • Very forgiving on poor quality recordings and Lo-Fi music despite being very transparent
  • Good sibilance resistances even on shouty music
  • Clean black background even on low impedance IEM (TRN-MT1)
  • Doesn’t get hot even after over 5 hours of usage.
  • Very merciful on battery drain

💔CONS

  • Being this cheap, there’s potential QC issue and consistencies. As with many cheap Chifi items
  • No mechanical volume adjuster
  • No Balanced Output
  • 90/100 for normal loudness on T40RP MK3
  • Compared to other dongles in the same range, driving power for demanding pairing seems lower

VERDICT

CX-Pro Audio CX31993. When I started this #donglemadness, this is exactly what I was hoping to discover. A true performer that’s modest and unpretentious. There’s no hype surrounding this CS unit, just sheer performance both technically and musically. It has some of the most balanced timbre projection I have listened to so far, and it is consistent across all of my IEMs and Headphones – exhibiting flexible synergy better than any other 5 stars dongle I have tested so far. It has the power, sparkly smooth Treble, deep commanding Bass, richly textured Mids, it has it all – well balanced and not overcooked. On the subject of cooking, I believe one of the reasons this CX unit exhibited stellar stability was due to great power management. It doesn’t seem to want to heat up even used for long hours. Not forgetting the merciful power draw on the host despite being a powerful unit that can drive even the notoriously stubborn Tin HiFi P1. For the asking price of no more than $13, this one is a no brainer ⭐⭐⭐⭐ performer.

18 July 2021 Update:

The arrival of my FOSTEX T40RP MK3 91db Magnetic Planar warranted for a re-test of for some of the top performers I have tested before. This include CX-Pro. The test was done using my iPhone 7 USB 2.0 (USB-C to Lightning ddHiFi adapter). All on Deezer HiFi FLAC.

First of all, the volume required to be cranked all the way to 90/100 and over for proper listening loudness. What I have observed, the CX-Pro has lost that euphonic signature to the timbre vibrancy. It is still decently engaging to not sound outright meek. However, worth to note that on many songs, I can’t shake the feeling that the overall presentation now being held back, reserved and occasionally recessed. Luckily the mids somehow managed to not degrade that it retained a semblance of neutrality to the tone and texture. Treble suffered a little as it seems the extension are not as far reaching now, it rolled off earlier. Bass remained fast and tight, still amply punchy and vibrant.

Most importantly, unlike iBasso DC04 and DF Cobalt, CX-Pro survived intact by not falling apart on timbre and dynamics coherence – despite being less euphonic now. It remained stable cranked at 90-100/100 volume. All these taken into consideration, CX-Pro retained its place in the ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ segment but will now be placed behind Shanling UA2 which fared better with the T40RP tests.

A/B Contest with Ovidius B1:
– A hair crisper and more rounded timbre on Ovidius B1
– A step more intimate Mids on Ovidius B1
– Ovidius B1 3 steps more powerful than CX-Pro (both already quite stellar in driving capability)
– Ovidius B1 still brutally unforgiving to Lo-Fi recordings, CX-Pro much more accommodating

For CX-Pro to even stand so close beside Ovidius B1 is a testament how stellar this nondescript unit is. Ovidius B1 keep on reminding me why it is still my No.1 personal best dongle.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ($13.00)

Best Pairing: Flexible for anything less demanding under 100Ω

Back to #donglemadness

109 Comments

  1. ClovisBaztán says:

    You are very right, this dongel pur its price is very good, for me the best dongol for this price, everything pointed out in the review is correct, I tried it with a blon Bl 05s and Phone redmi note 8

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I also ordered this DAC, I’m looking forward to it, curiosity takes over) . It’s very cool, Andy, that you decided to make your own format ,and thereby fence yourself off from prying judging eyes, further success to you)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Johny says:

    For that low price and so good review I cann’t hesistate. Will get one for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. friarminor says:

    Based on your review, this is value for money. Just had mine and still trying to figure how difference between this and a more expensive Dragonfly Red. Noticed though that it says file not supported when playing DSD.

    Like

    1. Mert says:

      hey man, what’s your opinion in comparing this vs DF Red?

      Like

      1. Andy.EF says:

        I never tried DF Red. But I do know CX-PRO is a better unit than DF Cobalt

        Like

  5. You’ve made some good points there. I looked on the web for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

    Like

  6. There’s certainly a great deal to learn about this issue. I like all the points you’ve made.

    Like

  7. does it work if I use a y splitter to connect an earphone and a mic together in this dongle?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Honestly I have no idea as I never tried it and I don’t have a separate Mic

      Like

  8. Im amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thats both educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I found this in my search for something relating to this.🤗 🤗 2021-08-30 04h 19min

    Like

  9. Michael Combs says:

    I find it quite capable and actually a pleasure to listen to. I have it driving my Senn HD580 just fine. With my Sony IER-M7, the sound is wonderful. I keep mine at work to use on my laptop. If it gets stolen, big whoop.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ken Tran says:

    Could this dongle drive heart mirror properly, sir Andy?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes it can. HM is easy to drive

      Like

      1. KKAiserTran says:

        Hi sir, will HM+cx31993 be a good combo (I mean the sound)? I’m about to buy HM, but still don’t know if it can get along well with my cx31993.

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        They will pair great

        Like

      3. KKAiserTran says:

        Nice, I hesitated to buy because thought it would be bright. Thank u for the advice

        Liked by 1 person

  11. ebz1c16 says:

    could this dongle drive heart mirror properly, sir Andy?

    Like

  12. Sarah says:

    I bought it for 5 dollars and a couple cents from aliexpress to dive my Moondrop SSP (30 dollars). Those will be my first IEMs apart from those that used to came with smartphones! Just waiting for it.

    Like

    1. Chetan says:

      Product is good or bad I want this for moondrop spaceship should I buy

      Like

  13. luis tapia says:

    wow. Interesting. But i cannot find it in Aliexpress. Could any of you guys please lend me a link? For usb c

    Like

      1. luis tapia says:

        Thanks for the link, but directs me to an Abigail combo? Is it the same?

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        Abigail is a better CX31993

        Like

      3. Arnesh Bhattacharjee says:

        Hello, I got very interested in this dongle after reading your elaborate review but then I found this comment that the Abigail was better with the same chip. I would be grateful if you could briefly expand on that to help with my purchase. Thank you!

        Like

      4. Andy.EF says:

        Yes that is true, just read my Abigail review and you will understand why

        Like

  14. Tonga_Time says:

    Do you think it’s enough to power a Sundara (37 ohms, 94db)? Could you test it if you have one on hand maybe?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Not optimal, it will still be listenable just like my FOSTEX T40RP MK3 (91db 50 Ohm). You will be better off with VE Odyssey HD for Magnetic Planars if you want compact Dongles. Or if you have the budget, get TempoTec Sonata E44 which runs great on Planars

      Like

      1. Tonga_Time says:

        Thanks, you really saved my purchase decisions, gl with your blog dude

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        You too. Cheers

        Like

  15. JMRE says:

    How would this dongle work with the beyerdynamic dt 240 pro, would it be recommended?
    I congratulate you on the web

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      No I would not recommend CX-Pro for something like a DT240 Pro, with a sensitivity of 98db DT240 Pro will be better served with VE Odyssey HD instead (if you are looking for compact sized budget options). Otherwise I would recommend either TempoTec Sonata E44 or Ovidius B1

      Like

      1. Is VE Odyssey HD better than CX-Pro? In term of sound Quality?

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        Not necessarily. OHD is warmer and more musical. CX-Pro is better at technicalities

        Like

  16. techgeek36 says:

    This dongol is f*cking amazing, great review 👍

    Like

  17. Petrus says:

    Can it bring out potential from SSP sir ?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Sorry I never use SSP so can’t really tell

      Like

  18. Raghav says:

    Hi, I was looking for an entry level DAC. Which one would you recommend under $15. This, VE Odyssey HD or some other

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      VE Odyssey HD if you are using earbuds or magnetic planars. For IEMs I would use Abigail or Avani

      Like

      1. Raghav says:

        I am using Blon Bl-03, Moondrop Spaceship and CCA CST

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        Abigail would be best for those IEMs

        Like

  19. Aaron says:

    Can I use this for my pc? Will it not get too hot if it’s plugged in for a long time? Planning to pair it with my blessing 2 dusk

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Works perfectly attached to a PC. Will not get hot easily

      Like

  20. Sab says:

    Hello boss, have you try this for gaming (PC)? Last time i bought ALC5686 when i use mic ingame (CSGO) the dongle has stopped. Something like connection issue. Need to reconnect the dongle or use another usb soundcard. I’m tired already using multiple dac and soundcard for input and output.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      No I never use CX-Pro for gaming on PC. So no idea. Sorry

      Like

    2. ddmareo says:

      actually the same thing happened to me while i was playing valorant using this CX31993. It was fine until i exited the game, then my would hang unless i unplug the dac itself

      Like

  21. Zachary says:

    Hello sir. I’m new to Head-Fi. Do you think this Conexant CX31993 can pair with Venture Electronics Monk Plus and play Hi-Res/DSD track withou any problem? Will it be the ultimate best combo for cheap Head-Fi? Thank you sir

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      For Monk earbuds, get Abigail instead. They are the best pairing for ultra compact dongle segment

      Like

      1. Zachary says:

        Thank you for your response sir. But unfortunately, I already spend on Conexant dongle. If to buy another dongle, that would be out of my budget. However, do you think Conexant dongle still best work with Monk 64ohm? Thank you in advance

        Like

  22. Alex says:

    Is Conexant okay for KZ ZS3 or should I get the Abigail?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I will always choose Abigail over CX-Pro now, Abigail is simply more refined

      Like

  23. Clint Dy says:

    VE Odyssey HD or cx pro 31993 for 7hz timeless?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I personally use VE Odyssey HD for my 7Hz Timeless. It just sounds better

      Like

      1. Just asking..
        Why You recommend VE Odyssey pro for planar and earbuds and Abigail for IEMs

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        Because VE Odyssey HD is one of the strongest 1 Vrms dongle that is optimized to provide density to the sound. In comparison the other 1 Vrms dongles, they can sound leaner with Magnetic Planars which often are very low sensitivity

        Like

  24. Thangavel says:

    Can it be connected with my Cambridge audio 540a amplifier as a stereo input?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes, just connect it to your amp Line In using 3.5mm Interconnect cable

      Like

  25. Sam says:

    Hi, Does this work with ipad air 4 with TRN MT1 or is there a better option with similar price?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      A better option would be either Avani or Abigail for ultra compact segment

      Like

  26. Dileep says:

    Hi Andy, I’m using Blon bl-03. I wonder why are you recommending abigail mostly while you rated higher on ve odyssey and avani over Abigail. So, which one is best among three

    Doubts aside , which one do you think will more suitable to blons
    I always feel blon bl-03 lacking sound stage and DETAIL revealing DETAILS.
    Consider these 2 suggest a good dac (under 30 USD). I heard Tiandirenhe CS-PRO Audio CS46L41 is best pair is that True. Thank you.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      BL-03 is already lacking details and soundstage natively and no amount of DAC/Amp swapping can fix that. The very best perhaps you can try DACport HD or any of the 5 Stars dongles. If you check carefully on my Dongle ranking Abigail is rated higher than both Avani and OHD. Yet I love and use all three of them regularly on rotation as they serve different pairing for different IEMs/Earbuds, so the reality it what is the best is subjective to the perception of the listener. CS46L41 is a good DAC but not as great as any of the 4 1/2 Star performers

      Like

  27. Arnesh Bhattacharjee says:

    Hello, I was using the ve odyssey hd with blon 03 but the constant background hissing has become annoying. I was looking for alternatives and I came across your post. Now I am conflicted between getting the Abigail and the CX pro. Also to note, I found a version of the CX pro with a balanced 2.5 termination. I would be grateful if you could point me rightly, between the balanced CX pro or the Abigail to use with the blon 03. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      OHD is not a good pairing for sensitive IEMs. Between Abigail and CX-Pro, I will always choose Abigail for better refinement. Be it BAL or not it does not matter as the CX-31993 is natively a single ended DAC which uses a common ground. The BAL jack only serve to allow for usage of either 2.5mm or 4.4mm jacks – otherwise they all are the same sonically

      Like

  28. MFSEA says:

    I have been using my CX to drive a pair of HD580s and HD600s for nearly 5 months now, almost daily on my work laptop. I listen to both Qobuz and my personal collection of DSD, Hi-Res FLAC, and CD WAVE files.
    It drives my cans well but I agree I am pushing the CX. With an external amp, I may find it even better.

    This is some quality kit for $13. I cannot fault it in any way. I bought several as Christmas gifts this year. My son uses it on his Android with his AKG IEMs and is very excited!

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      That’s amazing. Thanks for sharing this. More people are discovering that small things can deliver too 🙂

      Like

  29. Michael Combs says:

    I have been using my CX for nearly 5 months when at work. I use my HD580s and I find it does push them well but I am near 80%. I may try an external amp to see if it improves, but it may not be worth it. This little thing rocks and I am very happy with its resolution and timbre. It just gets things right, whether it is Qobuz, DSD, or any number of WAVE files I have on my server.

    I bought a few as gifts for my Android using friends. So far I have heard a lot of good things. At $12 each, I can spread hi-res enjoyment to those in my circle. Can’t beat that.

    Like

    1. After a few months more, I tried it on my iPhone 12 using the DDHiFi Lightning/USB-C adapter. This is where it seems to fail.
      During dynamic passages or attacks, the sound compresses. A song starts with an acoustic guitar, clean and well separated. The snare hits and my volume perceptively drops and all dynamics are gone. The song break has an acoustic guitar bridge and it jumps up and back into focus. The band comes in and it squashes. It could be a current draw issue with the iPhone. I think I will stay with my Ugreen adapter. Rarely use my phone as a wired listening device.

      Like

  30. threeleggedlegged says:

    Hello, Sir! Will it fit with Beyerdinamic DT770 (80 Ohm)?

    Like

  31. Hello. Will it fit with Beyers DT770 PRO (80 Ohm)?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes you can use it, but the sound output will be at approx 80% of DT770 true potential

      Like

      1. threeleggedlegged says:

        What would you recommend on a budget to fully unleash the potential of these headphones? And by the way, how well does CX handle AKG K 240?

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        I am not sure what you consider as budget. But for under $100 definitely something like TempoTec Sonata E44 or REIYIN DA-Plus. Then you will get 100% potential. Anything below that is pretty much similar to CX-Pro. I have not tested K240 so I can’t tell

        Like

  32. Phat says:

    Hi Andy. I currently using Apple Lighting dongle for my iPhone 12 with KZ Zex Pro & ZS10 Pro iem. How is CX-Pro Audio 31993 compare to Apple lightning dongle? Thanks you!

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      CX-PRO has more power and dynamics extensions. Probably the most popular ultra compact dongle now in the world

      Like

  33. ddmareo says:

    which has more deep and punch bass between Cx31993, Jcally JM20, and Cyberdrive XMOS? Thanks in advance!

    Like

  34. Biggusdickus says:

    Which dongle would you recommend for k361 ,i have a 3.5 jack on my phone but its not bit perfect . Would a dac amp like cx pro be better than a dac only like abigail?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Abigail and CX-PRO are practically built on the same chip of CX31993. Both runs on compact setup without any auxiliary Amp companion other than the built in unit. So, no not much difference really in other than dynamics handling of which Abigail is smoother and CX-PRO pro being a bit more euphonic

      Like

      1. Biggusdickus says:

        New to the hobby , what does euphonic mean in terms of sound? And which one would be better for akg k361 under 20$ ?
        Thanks for quick reply sir!!

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        Please don’t call me Sir, Andy will do. Thanks. Euphonic means very vibrant and energetic. Some like it that way, some prefer smoother presentation. Sonif you want energetic and slightly brighter sound, CX-PRO. Abigail is more neutral and smoother

        Like

  35. Noman Hossain says:

    hey, wanted to know one thing about this dongle. you probably know by now that this dongle is currently available in two different colors, blue as you showed in the picture and other one is gold. So people is calling the gold one “new” and advising against buying that, i’m wondering why is that? no one gave a clear answer to that question. I was wondering what’s wrong with the new one? if you could shed some light in that, will appreciate thank you

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      If you are referring to CX-PRO, I recall the Blue one comes first then the Orange/Gold version. However I never actually had the chance to try it so I have no idea people say what they say. I can only speak for CX-PRO 31993, JCally JM06 and Abigail, three of which are based on CX31993. And CX-PRO practically similar sounding while Abigail a bit more refined with less aggression

      Like

  36. linda says:

    Hi, is there a software to verify if a unit is original? the non branded dac chips worry me, could be fake ones, sellers jut putting the logo, specially with Conexant being dissolved x_x

    Like

  37. Dino says:

    Hi thanks for the review, I bought the lightning iphone version. since i never used any dongle rather than apple original, this one somewhat boosting the transparency and the soundstage + instrument separation, Feels like better detail and airy on my sennhesier hd25. it’s definitely an upgrade to the apple, then i’m kinda curious to buy the shanling ua1 as an upgrade, do you think it will be worth it? or saving more for shanling ua2

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Thanks for the feedbacks. No Shanling UA1 is not an upgrade over CX-PRO. And you can see I rated UA1 lower than CX-PRO. Even UA2 will operate at similar level to CX-PRO. Just check my ranking orders and it will be an upgrade from CX-PRO after Abigail level

      Like

  38. Ru says:

    Hello, I have a Koss KSC75, will the connexiant CX31993 DAC chip be a good paring with the KSC75s?

    I am planning to buy JCally JA3 which you are planning to review and the dongles with this DAC chip seems to perform similarly.

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes, KSC75 will work great with CX-Pro

      Like

  39. linda says:

    Wow received it yesterday and it really is amazing, better than Samsung and Apple plus better build! thank you for the rec, I’ll buy another pair from Shopee where is cheaper hope it is as good

    Like

  40. EDUARD says:

    Hi! How are you. Do you think that this dongle can correctly move some sennheiser hd599se, sr80e grade and some Phillips Fidelio l2? thank you very much for your reviews 🥳

    Like

  41. Jet Li says:

    Hi Andy, I’m using KZ CRN Pro and Grado SR60, which would you recommend, CX-Pro Audio 31993 or JCALLY JM04Pro. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I would recommend JM04Pro or Avani for the pairing you mentioned

      Like

      1. Jet Li says:

        Thank you Andy

        Like

  42. ddmareo says:

    When I connect CX31993 to my windows PC, I experience some issues such as audio getting buggy. Also, sometimes it can lag out my PC. Why is it like that?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I have no idea as my CX-PRO works without any issues with my two laptops. Try to connect it to a different machine and see if the behavior is consistent

      Like

  43. HNN says:

    Can I combine CX-Pro with Sennheiser HD 449 and Tanchjim Ola ?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes you can

      Like

  44. Jet Li says:

    Hi Andy, JCALLY JM10 and JM04Pro which would you recommend to pair with KZ CRN Pro and Grado SR60.
    Thank you!

    Like

  45. HNN says:

    I can combine Sennheiser HD 449 and Tanchjim Ola with CX-Pro .

    Like

  46. Gilang says:

    Is Jcally JM6 is the same as CX-Pro 31993? Or which one better?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      They are identical

      Like

  47. HNN says:

    Hello, I have a question. I just received the IEM “Tanchjim Ola” today, when I listened to it, it was almost perfect for me but there is a problem with this IEM that the sound is quite ” harsh ” ( The mid itself has a weight that tends to be thin with a slightly dry timbre and tends to be bright. ) which is a bit difficult, I really don’t know if the description is correct. So which DAC should I use to help balance my IEM . Abigail
    , Avani , CX-Pro , JCally JM6 , JCally JM04Pro …

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      OLA is natively drier sounding than most others, but you can still balance it properly with Avani or JM04Pro, even better if you can get xDuoo Link2 BAL, Ovidius B1, Lotoo PAW S2 or ultimately CEntrance DACport HD

      Like

      1. HNN says:

        thank you, maybe I will choose to buy JM04Pro according to your recommendation instead of CX-pro as originally planned.

        Like

      2. HNN says:

        last question . As far as I find out, AVANI and JM04PRO use Realtek ALC5686 chip, this chip is quite hot when used for a long time. My average usage time is 3-5 hours mainly youtube and Spotify, will it have a bad effect?

        Like

      3. Andy.EF says:

        I have used ALC5686 very extensively from several models and I don’t find them to be running hot at all. The ones that get hot are the bigger models and something like Apogee Groove, DACport HD and Hidizs S9 Pro can almost fry an egg with the heat they generated. Yet despite the heat they still works perfectly

        Like

      4. HNN says:

        I forgot to tell you some essential information. My daily music is Anime (J-pop), mostly female vocals (full time on Spotify). So I ask again, do you still recommend that I combine “Tanchjim Ola” with “Avani” or “JM04Pro”?

        Like

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