DAC Chip: Ti Burrbrown PCM2704 Mini
PCM 16bit–48khz, SNR: -105db, Power: Unknown, USB Micro Female, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: NO), Naked Bare Board PCB, No Casing
LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING
- Analogue neutral timbre, natural and clean
- Well controlled mild dynamics, great coherence
- Smooth Treble with polished decays, good extensions
- Balanced Mids with good texture with natural tone
- Fast Mid-Bass responses, fast decays
- Mild Sub-Bass presence with soft decays
- Round edged guitars and stringed instruments tone
- Good balance between technical and musical ability
- Spacious soundstage with good imaging
- Well nuanced details retrieval, great transparency
- Great speed and transients, will not get muddy
- Good resistances to sibilance, very forgiving on Lo-Fi recordings
- Great resistance to heating even used for long hours
- Does not drain host battery too fast
- Very low resolution at 16bit/48kHz
- Driving power maxed out below 70Ω and with no less than 96d sensitivity.
- Not as euphonic for those preferring aggressive dynamics
- No user selectable gain options, no adaptive gain as well
HIFI Audio PCM2704. This is an interesting piece of DAC/Amp that came shipped from AliExpress practically naked with just basic transparent heat shrink tube for protection. It is so very DIY looking. The behavior of this Dongle also varied greatly from one to another depending on the pairing.
FOSTEX T40RP MK3 needed almost 90/100 to match proper listening loudness. Once matched the sound was quite usable with dynamic range exhibiting enough technical bits and pieces. However, I must admit this Dongle is not optimized for driving something this demanding. I can’t shake the feeling that things rolled off somewhat early and short on both end of the spectrum.
It was much better with the pairing to my favorite BA, Etymotic ER4SR. The already technically competent ER4SR was able to present all the PCM2704 has to offer. There’s great resolution, transparency, Treble Extensions, Bass Extensions, balanced Mids, Speed and surprisingly spacious headstage with sharp spatial imaging. I enjoyed it so much that my ER4SR stayed plugged for over 6 hours without me realizing it. The native analogue signature of PCM2704 blended well with ER4SR DF Neutral characteristics. The sound was meaty and free from any sibilance or metallic sheen. Similar results observer with HZSOUND Heart Mirror where things gets a bit more vibrant (but slightly less technical).
Another big surprise was how great the synergy with the natively warm Harman Curved Moondrop Aria (with SPC cable). I half expected Aria to sound even warmer or slow. But I was pleasantly surprised with the results. In fact I think the performance was slightly better than it was with Heart Mirror. Odd indeed. Bass responses richly textured and well controlled, natural sounding Mids and super smooth Treble with equally smooth extensions.
However, the positives can’t be said for both of my VE earbuds. VE Monk GO and Asura 2.0 wasn’t sounding great. Asura was somewhat fuzzy and Monk GO lacking dynamics.
So it is a mixed bag with this one. It is apparent the tuning is focused on driving something not very demanding – but it was rather odd that my 98db 45 Ohm ER4SR sounded so great when paired with it.
Best Pairing: Sensitive Dynamic Drivers IEM below 70Ω
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