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
- Resolution limited to 24bit/96kHz
- 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 item, not available elsewhere
- May suffer from QC issues, if you are lucky you get a great copy, with $9 there has to be a compromise since this is not a bespoke handmade unit, it is an assembly line product, probably with near zero QC (just like tons of other ultra budget Dongles)
iNassen. The moment I listened to this device I immediately recognized the sound of ZOOAUX CX21988. And that made it all super easy for me to grade it alongside ZOOAUX, Xumee and Avani in the same exact group – #donglemadness 4½ Stars Performer.
The differences between iNassen CX21988/ZOOAUX CX21988 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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