Ovidius B1

DAC Chip: Undisclosed AKM (Custom Quad Channels, IAA)
PCM 24bit – 192khz, SNR: -108dB, Power: Adaptive up to 600Ω, 2.5mm DATA to USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: No), Aluminum Chassis


Listening Equipment: Etymotic ER4SR, Etymotic ER2XR, Shure KSE1500, TIN HiFi P1, Monolith M565C & FOSTEX T40RP MK3

LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING


💚PROS

  • Ethereal neutral and natural airy smooth timbre, uncolored tonality
  • Realistic dynamics with well controlled vibrancy
  • Reference grade coherence with pristine clarity all over, super transparent
  • Intimate Mids with rich textures and definition, vivid Male/Female vocals
  • Silky smooth Treble with matured finesse, depth, extension, and textures
  • Richly textured Mid-Bass with commanding vibe and smooth decay
  • Deep, richly textured Sub-Bass with realistic decay
  • Excellent details retrieval, Macro and Micro. Realistically nuanced
  • Lifelike guitar, piano, cello, and bass guitar tones, vivid yet smooth
  • Sweet sounding percussions (chimes, bells) and realistic drums and taps
  • Massive soundstage with great depth and spacing.
  • Reference grade imaging, razor sharp precision with spacious spatial staging
  • Reference grade speed and transients handling, no chance for congestion
  • Zero signs of coarseness or grainy edges, at any frequency
  • Great sibilance resistance
  • Immensely powerful SE output with commanding drive
  • Absolutely gorgeous sounding paired with Etymotic ER4SR, DT990, Monolith M565c
  • Drives FOSTEX T40RP MK3 91db Magnetic Planar at 65/100 Volume with ease. Desktop fidelity

💔CONS

  • Need to use the included Impedance Adapter for sensitive IEMs
  • Sub-Bass seismic impact could be a little bit stronger
  • Smooth dynamics could be regarded as a bit laid-back (vs PEE51 & DC04)
  • Being super transparent it exposes bad recording artifacts audibly
  • No hardware volume adjuster
  • Proprietary 2.5mm to USB-C cable (DON’T lose it!)
  • Available only in 3.5mm Single Ended Audio Out
  • Does not synergize well with Electrostatic (as Line-In AUX in general)
  • Best paired with later model Android phones (2019 and above) preferably with USB 3.0. Some weaker USB powered devices may induce distortions due to bigger power demand for the B1 Quad DAC circuitry and IAA amplifiers
  • Will NOT work properly with UAPP
  • Exhibit floor noises when paired with super sensitive IEMs, need to use an Impedance Adapter to eliminate the noise
  • WILL NOT WORK ON iOS. Forcing B1 to pair with iOS will result in MAX volume all the time

VERDICT

Ovidius B1. Realistic, that’s how I would describe this mysterious DAC/Amp. The overall sound reproduction meticulously focused on presenting transparent and natural sound. It is properly organic as it is competently technical. This B1 will reveal the true nature of the recordings, any imperfections will be audibly heard. There’s no hint of attempts to overdo anything. This thing is totally uncolored. The smoothness and crispiness level is just about right, the highs extended naturally, the lows oozes matured finesse, Mids naturally vivid – it doesn’t feel out of place. What surprised me the most is how spacious and airy the sound is, the soundstage is wide as it is with proper depth – definitely among the best. The airy dynamic presentation is as meaty is it gets even driving natively thin sounding IEMs/Headphones.

The greatest appeal for this Ovidius B1, is for those seeking perfectly balanced source – totally neutral and uncolored. In my book that’s a massive plus and I personally loved it. Because it synergize so exceedingly great with my Etymotic ER4SR, ER2XR, VE Monk GO, TIN HiFi P1, Monolith M565c, FOSTEX T40RP MK3 and AKG K52, this B1 is definitely is my personal favorite now. Especially with my all time favorite the ER4SR, with the B1 that venerable BA sounded almost like an Electrostatic IEM. (Worth to mention that does not synergize well with my Shure KSE1500, both being ultra resolving so it is somewhat unnaturally sterile sounding).

PS: Would have received 100/100 score from me however I must factor in the cons as noted in Weaknesses – well nothing is perfect.

High Sensitivity IEMs

With each Ovidius B1 unit, there’s an L shaped 3.5mm adapter included, which is actually an Impedance regulator (adds 16Ω resistance) for highly sensitive IEMs that are ranged between 8 to 16Ω. B1 is an utterly powerful unit and have power enough even to drive 600Ω full sized headphones, it is necessary to use the included adapter for anything which is below 32Ω or sensitivity over 100db. Failing to do so will likely introduce unwanted hissing or noise due to overwhelmingly powerful feed.

UPDATE 20 July 2021: Ultra-Critical Tests #donglemadness Top Performers

IEM: ETYMOTIC ER4SR (98db, 45Ω )
Source: Windows 10, Native Windows USB Drivers
Ovidius B1: (Single Ended 3.5mm) Adaptive Gain
L&P W2: (Balanced 4.4mm) High Gain
ZOOAUX: (Single Ended 3.5mm) Fixed Gain
EQ: Always Off

ZOOAUX vs L&P W2 vs Ovidius B1 (6 passes for each Dongles)


DIANA KRALL – “CALIFORNIA DREAMING” (24BIT/48KHZ) FLAC

  • W2 (Vol 52/100), ZOOAUX (Vol 32/100), B1 (Vol 14/100)
  • Micro Details W2 equal ZOOAUX. B1 slightly more pronounced
  • Crisper Piano tone on B1, W2 and ZOOAUX equal
  • Shorter decays on ZOOAUX, Slightly longer on W2 and B1
  • Intimate Mids on ZOOAUX & B1, W2 slightly spaced back
  • Overall timbre: W2 & B1 slightly warmer, ZOOAUX neutral
  • Timbre coherence equal on all three
  • Background on silent passages equal for all three

ALISON KRAUSS “GOODBYE IS ALL WE HAVE” (16BIT/44KHZ)

  • W2 (Vol 56/100), ZOOAUX (Vol 32/100), B1 (Vol 14/100)
  • Overall timbre W2 and B1 equal, ZOOAUX very slightly brighter
  • W2 Mids spaced back 1 step, B1 & ZOOAUX equally intimate
  • Timbre coherence equal on all three
  • Everything else performed equally (timbre, transparency, details, speed, soundstage, imaging & extensions)

In addition to my own tests, I decided to extend it further and asked the help of two members from ChiFi Audio Reviews FB group. Edmund Chan and Syazwan. Edmund being a seasoned Audiophile highly respected in the Malaysian Audio scene, He is a crew of AudioMonsta Malaysia. Syazwan on the other hand, is a freshly made Audiophile and I opted to ask him to share his impressions as well. This way I am able to gauge the perspective from both end of the spectrum = seasoned and fresh perspective.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ($149.00)

Best Pairing: Best synergy with technically competent IEMs and Headphones.

LOL, Home Automation Kits, Small Nuclear Section, Google says so! not me!

93 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Without this website, the Ovidius B1 probably would’ve been completely overlooked by virtue of its poor measurements.

    Goes to show that there’s more to it than that 🙂

    Thanks for all your effort!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Measurement are good, no doubt. But to completely judge a device purely on numbers perhaps not the best of way to ascertain their values and actual qualities that apply to human senses. We are not FR measuring devices anyway. We human are much more complex. I have come across devices with over -120db of SNR and yet they can’t even make it to my 4 Stars rating.

      Like

  2. Ish says:

    So, overall your goto recommendation would be the Ovidius B1? How do these dongles compare to the sound on a dedicated dac or a “portable” dac/amp combo? Also, between the B1 and S9 Pro what would be better for Midwest emo/math rock, hip hop, and vocal heavy (think Daniel Caesar) songs. Also, if it’s not too much of a hassle, which performs better on the song IMPERIAL SMOKE TOWN by Ichiko Aoba?

    Thanks a huge in advance

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      First of all, this is not a recommendation. #donglemadness is my adventure trying out as many Dongles I can and I ranked them based on my personal preference and taste and what I believe is quality sonic performance. I choose B1 over any other Dongles and in fact any DAPs that I have ever owned and used including Cayin N6ii E02, Cayin N3 Pro or desktop rig of Topping D10s/A50s. I am not familiar with the music that you mentioned so it will not be possible for me to imagine if B1 or S9 Pro will suit them, also not knowing what IEM/Headphone you will be using. On top of that I have no idea what is your sound preference (warm? smooth? euphonic? bright?). So I would not be able to suggest anything, sorry.

      Like

      1. Ish says:

        Oh, I was generally asking for your subjective opinion vs an objective one, I like your transparency, I personally haven’t had the highest level of audio equipment, safe for my Topping E30 I run speakers through.

        Other notable equipment includes BTR5, Shanling UP4, AK JR and Acoustic Research M2, I’m generally looking for a better way of listening to stuff and stumbled across your comprehensive collection of dongle reviews. My preferences lend itself towards a slightly warmer neutral or a closer to harman neutral but generally anything in the realm of neutrality and resolution is where I’d place how I listen to music.

        Headphones/Iems include: AKG K371, AKG K612, Ety ER4PT, Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk, Koss KSC75 (modded, yaxi and headband), Ikko OH10, HD 6XX and the Campfire Cascades.

        Generally the music is vocal heavy with higher pitched (falsetto?) singing alongside plenty of RnB, Math rock in general is best described as complicated riffs and instrumentation, very instrument heavy and fun, and finally the best way I’d describe Ichiko Aoba’s music is vocals married to a guitar in the middle of a large resonant room, very Soundstage-y.

        Again, thanks for taking your time out to read and/or respond!

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        No worries. Alright I see that you have ER4PT in your inventory and I am very familiar with that Ety unit. Since you mentioned warm neutral then perhaps I could suggest you try VE Odyssey HD SE which will cost you peanuts at $10. If you read my review on Odyssey HD you would find how silly shocked out of my skin I was with the performance of that stupid looking Dongle. But I chose to keep my perspective purely on performance and in the end VE Odyssey HD won my heart for the versatility it offered. I am still using my Odyssey HD as frequent as possible especially when driving my Shure KSE1500 and VE Asura. For my ER4SR, I get the best results with Ovidius B1. Both B1 and Odyssey HD are highly musical and technical at the same time. My favorites are Diana Krall, Alison Krauss, Morrissey and Madonna for Hi-Fi side, but equally I listen a lot to Lo-Fi Black Metal and Shoegazing

        Like

      3. Ish says:

        Thanks for the prompt replies! I was wondering, have you tried the ibasso dx160 at all as I’m debating between dongle + a big battery android phone (moto g9 power) or a dedicated dap.

        I’m still on the fence as to weather dongles can replace DAPs in terms of amplification and sound quality.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Andy.EF says:

        I don’t have DX160 so I can’t compare. But I do have a $1300 Cayin N6ii E02 (Dual Discrete E9038Q2M Permanently Balanced) and a $400 Cayin N3 Pro (Dual Discrete AK4493EQ Balanced). All of the 5 stars performers in my #donglemadness list are either equal or superior in terms of SQ. As for driving power, the likes of Ovidius B1, Hidizs S9, S9 PRO, A&K PEE51 easily perform as efficiently as the two dedicated DAPs. Even the likes of E1DA 9038D can make that N6ii E02 blush. Try it for yourself and keep an open mind and you will understand what I mean. I started this #donglemadness because I wanted to find out how far the Dongle revolution has evolved. A Dongle is basically external DAC/Amp which is modular/swappable as opposed to fixed/permanent internal DAC/Amp you would find in the DAPs. The setback being those external DAC/Amp will not have their own battery and they are designed as minimal as possible to just do the single important role, to play audio. That’s good enough reasons for me as the rest of the features can be done by the host (Phone/iPhone)

        Like

  3. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    Hi Andy, Hope you’re doing well. What you’re doing here is amazing and very helpful to those in need of information and don’t have the luxury of even hearing some of these dongles in person. Thanks for your hard work, bro! I need your help. I am torn between getting the S9 Pro or the B1. I have them both in the cart and ready to checkout one of them anytime. I got enticed by your donglemadness and started some buying spree recently. I tried the cheaper dongles first (I now have the Odyssey HD, CX-Pro 31993, JSaux, X1 and the ZooAux is still in transit) and now that I have the fund, I’m ready to try the top rankers. I only use earbuds. My current daily driver is a Seahf AWK F150C. Quite surprising for me to like this cheapo earbuds after owning a bunch of them like the VE Zen 1.0 and 2.0, Moondrop Liebesleid, Shozy Cygnus, DQSM Turandot, some Blox earphones and many more (just recently I got a Blur 64ohm but it lacks bass for my liking). Maybe because I like the signature – big bass and soundstage and tamed but present treble. I’m very sensitive to spikey treble. However, the mids is a little recessed for some music. Actually, I like it that way so as to avoid fatigue for long listening sessions but sometimes, there are vocal-centric music that can sound farther away. Can the B1 or S9 Pro help if I want to put the mids a little forward but not too forward and shouty? If I could get more bass slam and impact, that would be also great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy.EF says:

      If you have the budget then Ovidius B1 what I would pick all the time over anything. B1 is my No.1 because it has all the refined features to smooth things up especially for my bright and highly resolving Etymotic ER4SR and FOSTEX T40RPMK3. And it is equally stellar with earbuds. Your Seahf AWK F150C is a stubborn 85db sensitivity unit and the insane power of B1 will be perfect to drive things up without making them shouty

      Like

      1. Jeffrey Marimat says:

        Thanks Andy! B1 it is. Good luck and more power to you!

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        Thanks. Enjoy your music!

        Like

  4. dsyahrizal says:

    Hai Andy, really great review. Is the B1 can be use as amp only, use line in from other DAC? Currently am using Dragonfly Red with TRN V80 and & Philip SHP9500. I think I like the sound but could use a little bit less peak on the treble (both the IEM & headphone can be harsh sometime depending on the track) and more instrument separation. I also looking for life like in term of tonality of instrument. The B1 looks like could give what I´m looking for.

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    1. Andy.EF says:

      Thanks. No B1 or any of the Dongles you see on my page cannot work as amp only. They all have DAC stage with just Digital in. B1 2.5mm port is purely digital feed from transport

      Like

      1. dsyahrizal says:

        Thanks for clarification. I really like how this sound based on your review, might just get it in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Kang says:

    Hi Andy
    Purchased the Ovidius B1 from redape after reading your personal experience
    Noticed the output from b1 is fixed at 96k 16bit always no matter the original file
    Tried using usb player pro and hiby music app and neutron app with exclusive usb mode made no difference
    All these from samsung s21 ultra phone
    Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Hi. I never use HiBy App or UAPP. I use Bandcamp, Deezer and Tidal native app all the time. Even on PC it will always show 16/96. This is consistent as reported by other B1 owners. Honestly the numbers never bothered me as the sound the only thing I am interested in. I am using S20 as well for my primary usage. Cheers

      Like

      1. KANG says:

        Thanks Andy
        Agreed with the great sound from the B1
        Was worried about receiving a defective product
        Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    Hey Andy, the B1 finally arrived today. I was so excited like a child opening a birthday present. But I have a big issue. After I plugged it on my phone, I made sure that the volume is lower than 50%. I’m worried that the nuclear thingy is real. 🙂 Then I launched Tidal via USB Player Pro and pressed Play. The volume is so loud like it’s 100% and I can even hear the music even after removing the earphone (Seahf F150C) from my ears. I tried it again but I really cannot control the volume. I have several dongles already and this is the first time I’m having issues with volume adjustment. I wonder if you have experienced this or have any suggestion how to fix it. Thanks.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      What phone are you using? It sounds like you are plugging it to an iPhone? if yes B1 will not work with iPhones, the volume will always be 100 on iPhones. On Android and PC mine works perfectly. Have you tried it on PC?

      Like

      1. Jeffrey Marimat says:

        It’s an Android Phone, Google Pixel 4a 5g. It works with all the dongles I have used so far – CX-Pro 31993, Odyssey HD, ZOOAUX, Jsaux and sadly except the B1. Maybe there is a workaround. I’ll try to uninstall and reinstall USB Player Pro and see if it works. I’ll report back.

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        There’s your problem, I never use UAPP with any of my Dongles, check my Foreword on this. UAPP is more problematic than anything else I know

        Like

  7. Kang says:

    The problem is ovidius volume control is software driven not hardware
    In UAAP settings go to USB Audio and under bit perfect make sure its off
    Then go to volume setting under USB volume control switch to software control
    You might want to change volume steps to 250 sa B1 is very powerful
    Then you are good to go

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Thanks so much Kang!

      Like

  8. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    I gave up trying the B1 with UAPP last night. I tried the native Tidal app and played some songs with the B1 still attached. And just WOOOOW! This USB DAC makes everything sounds real like music is breathing. Sorry I was so happy I cannot properly describe what I’m hearing and comparing it with the CX-PRO 31993 which pairs nicely with my F150C, the B1 is just next level. I started with 60/100 volume on my Pixel and it feels very sufficient despite of the low volume (I usually listen at high volume level 70-85%) while hearing everything like they have their own space in my head. The soundstage and imaging is spot on while timbre and overall tonality is just perfect for me. You are correct Andy even with high volume, it does not tend to be shouty or too much in your face and I LIKE IT. Thanks Andy for discovering and introducing the Ovidius B1 to us. It’s indeed a gem. Still I want to be able to try it with UAPP. Comparing the Tidal native app with UAPP using my other dongles, the UAPP is just way better. Tidal sounds subdued, tamed and less lively compared to UAPP.

    Hi Kang, I will try your suggestion and report back here. Hope it works. I’m very thrilled to hear how the B1 will sound with UAPP. Fingers crossed…

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I am glad you discovered the true nature of B1 without the need to use UAPP. For myself I am perfectly satisfied with Samsung S20 USB 3.0 power to deliver the best B1 and Apogee Groove capable of. And I am always on traditional FLAC 16/44 or Deezer HiFi so really I don’t need UAPP. Perhaps the suggestion from Kang can help you with that. Cheers

      Like

  9. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    UAPP is now working with the suggestion from Kang. Thank you so much Kang! Now I don’t need to inform the developer about this B1 specific bug and wait if they will respond. Now that UAPP works, I’m hearing some little differences between the native Tidal app and UAPP with volume matched and using the B1. The B1 is so powerful that the volume on UAPP is only around 20% while on Tidal it’s 60%. It’s still early to decide which one sounds better over the other but I’m amazed how Tidal now sounds good with the B1. Hope I like the Tidal app better sound wise because the UAPP interface is like half-baked and there is no Discovery feature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Awesome Jeffrey. Thanks to Kang again. This is really very useful info

      Like

      1. KANG says:

        No problem guys
        We are all fellow appreciators of this awesome nifty B1
        Btw you can also try hiby music app which is free and has Tidal integration in the app
        Seems to auto adjust volume nicely for the B1 once you enable the Usb Dac exclusive mode in it

        Like

  10. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    Hey Kang. I’m fairly new with MQA and I’m curious about this Bit-Perfect feature in UAPP. Now that I am forced to turn it off so i can use UAPP with B1, am I missing something with the app? How does this feature affect the overall audio quality. Unfortunately, I cannot validate the difference using the B1. Kindly provide your insights if any. I will check the Hiby Music app also. Thanks!

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    1. KANG says:

      Unfortunately B1 does not support MQA so it does not matter much if you turn off bit perfect
      Normally bit perfect mode ensures that the original digital file is passed unprocessed and unaltered by any dsp , eq or software alterations before reaching the external dac amp in this case the b1
      With app like UAPP or hiby it allows the digital data to avoid being resampled by the android stack so the signal reaching the external dac is in its original format
      But in practice as pointed out by Andy and i agree its the music that counts in the end
      To be honest its difficult to discern between the different sampling rates or even MQA nor not
      Trust your ears more than the numbers

      Like

  11. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    Well said Kang. Got the idea now. I downloaded the Hiby Music app but it sounds dull for me and for some reasons the volume is fixed. I have not seen yet the volume adjuster in-app and the physical buttons on my phone are not working as well. Anyways, good thing it’s free so I just uninstalled. I’m pretty happy with the UAPP or the native Tidal app for now. Both sounds fantastic with the B1. There are instances where I felt that the non-MQA songs never sounded differently than the MQA files or maybe better. I agree, in the end, it’s what we hear that matters.

    P.S. Andy, is there any way to turn off the white led light??? I’m planning to put a black sticker on it since it’s very annoying at night or when in the dark. I don’t think there’s a real use for it.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      LOL, it never bothered me. Just tape it off! hahaha

      Like

  12. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    I taped it then after a few minutes, I played one of my favorite tracks and the soundstage became wider, deeper and it sounded more realistic than ever before. I think that this is the most overlooked feature of the B1. hahaha. Thanks Andy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andy.EF says:

      LOL. Have a blast!

      Like

  13. mahakit paiboongasemsutti says:

    Does Ovidius B1match with Shure kse1500?
    Thank you

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      No, I already mentioned that clearly in my review, B1 does not pair well with KSE1500 due to Amp stage of B1 being very powerful. KSE1500 better be served with dongles on low power like ASUS ROG Clavis or Avani

      Like

  14. Aris says:

    Hi,Andy. As per today is there amy workaround to use B1 with Iphone (max volume issue)?
    I have both Android (Pixel 3) and Iphone (XR) and would like to try this B1 if it can be used on both phone

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Sadly no fix for iOS yet. Android and PC only still for now

      Like

      1. bcsim says:

        Hi!Will the volume be adjustable from the macbook pro?

        Like

  15. bcsim says:

    I placed the order before I read the information that the volume control does not work with the iPhone.

    In this regard, there are a couple of questions.

    1. What is the difference between the SQ b1 in direct comparison to the hidizs s9 pro? As far as I understand they are both pitch neutral, but what is the difference? I currently have the LPW2 and am interested in trying something different.

    2. Does the developer of b1 warn customers about the incompatibility with iPhone? Is there any work being done on this by the manufacturer?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Every B1 owner that I have talked to complained about two things. iOS dont work and floor noises on super sensitive IEMs. And yes I have contacted Ovidius on the iOS issue and they are still working on it. No updates yet. I believe I have made comparison between B1 to S9 Pro in my S9 Pro review, please check that

      Like

  16. bcsim says:

    Got the B1, but with the Tin P1 I can not achieve high volume. More precisely, the unacceptable audible distortion begins.
    I was sure that the power would be enough for these IEMs, could you check this for yourself?
    I like the sound on the more sensitive ones, but I can hear the background noise.

    Have the developers said anything about working with iPhones?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      I use my B1 on daily basis and never had issues with distortion for P1 or any of my Magnetic Planars. The sound is driven at great fidelity. Background noise for anything sensitive is now a known issue for B1

      Like

  17. citrus says:

    A bit off topic question but on the last picture, 90° angled usb-c adaptor is just for comfort when using the phone? or does it relieve some stress on the phone connector? I always fear using dongles with phone in pocket might lead to damage of the phone usb port and bad connexions at the end maybe…

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      It was a Micro to USB C. I hoped it would help to reduce the footprint but alas it’s not that very good. The straight ones are better

      Like

  18. Dezmenn says:

    How does b1 performs when use as a dac/pre-amp to external amp? Does all the sound characteristics basically just scales and amplifies? I’m planning to use it with topping nx7 to drive full size headphones like arya and lcd x.
    Does the b1 compare to desktop grade dac like totl topping d90? Or any totl akm dac chips like ak 4497 or ak 4499?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Not a good idea. B1 works best on its own. B1 is a very special Class D amp Dongle, so when you pair it with another external amp, distortions bound to happen. You want to do this, Questyle M12 does it better, or Lotoo PAW S2

      Like

      1. Dezmenn says:

        Sorry for the duplicated comment. I’d like to try the velvet sound from akm dacs or any sabre chips with similar sound signature? Basically musical, but with very good detail retrieval, lush mids, deep bass and at the same time neutral.
        Any other recommendations

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        From the ESS side, Apogee Groove and Questyle M12 is what I regard as highly organic (musical) yet very resolving and neutral. FiiO KA3 and Shanling UA2 comes close too

        Like

      3. Dezmenn says:

        Thanks for the recommendations. Out of all that you’ve tested, which has the best dac performance (line out only)?

        Must the dongles have line out to use with external amplifiers? What about good dongles that feeds as pre-amp? Any good ones with least or negligible distortion? What would you recommend?

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      4. Andy.EF says:

        I personally use Questyle M12 for pairing with external amp, which means they serve as DAC and Pre Amp, now I use Lotoo PAW S2 as well for Line Out. But really even the 1 Vrms Abigail has been quite good serving this purpose

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      5. Dezmenn says:

        I see. Could describe the line out performance of s2 and m12?
        What are their signature, tonality, microdetails etc? Btw, thanks for the quick reply!

        Like

      6. Andy.EF says:

        M12 has very clean and crisp attack which is matured and technically amazing. S2 on the other hand gives me smoother presentation while keeping it technically precise. So one hand I have an option for crisp presentation, the other hand focus more on smoothness. Both of which I equally enjoy

        Like

  19. Dezmenn says:

    Hi Andy, How does b1 performs when use as a dac/pre-amp to external amp? Does all the sound characteristics basically just scales and amplifies? I’m planning to use it with topping nx7 to drive full size headphones like arya and lcd x.
    Does the b1 compare to desktop grade dac like totl topping d90? Or any totl akm dac chips like ak 4497 or ak 4499?

    Like

  20. Eko Sulistiyo says:

    Hi Andy, got to write this. Just plugged in the B1 it is really good sounding. It’s funny that it’s slighty smaller then S9 but sounding so big. Thanks for reviewing it.
    Just let you know also, I connect the B1 to a Macbook. The only way to control the volume is from the software, ie. Apple Music volume slider. Is there any app on the Windows to control the volume? It is dangerously loud really hahahaha.
    Btw I’m listening thru Sennheiser HD650, HD6xx, HD400 Pro and Shure SRH1840. The higher the impedance the better sounding for me. Probably I’ll try some planar headphones to tame this little nuke box.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Glad that you find it as amazing as how I feel. Unfortunately, B1 is very not compatible with Apple and even the manufacturer admitted it. Yes I emailed them and there’s no fix for it other than running on PC or Android

      Like

  21. adimmr says:

    Hi, Andy. I got Ovidius after reading your review. I know what I expected, but boy was I surprised. This small stick is indeed magic. One question, do you get any hiss/small audible buzz when IEM/earbud is plugged in without playing any song? I don’t quite remember the first time using it as it sounded amazing through-and-through and I was immersed in the song

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yep, B1 is still one of my top 5 among over 110 dongles I owned. The downside of B1, being noisy with sensitive IEMs and this is why they include the L adapter which will introduce 16 Ohm of resistance and the floor noises will be gone, but you just need to crank up the volume a few notches up to compensate for loudness

      Like

      1. adimmr says:

        Yeah, now I use the impedance adapter it comes with and the black background is simply astonishing. The floor noise can still be heard with 32 ohm earbud, and some sensitive earbuds I use are simply unbearable when no music is played. Do you think other impedance adapter will also work?

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        Look for 47 or 75 Ohm impedance adapters. I don’t find the floor noise bothering at all since it only appear in between songs

        Like

  22. Bt says:

    Hi andy.
    How does earmen sparrow perform when compared to the 1. ovidius b1, and 2. Hidizs s9pro.
    Thx.
    I use er2xr.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      No idea, I never tried Earmen Sparrow

      Like

  23. Jeffrey Marimat says:

    Andy, so eager to hear your review of the Sparrow when it arrives and the comparison to the B1 and Centrance DHD. I like that the Earmen has both single and balanced connection and that it can play MQA. Hope to see your review here very soon.

    Thanks.
    Jeff

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      What is certain, DACport HD and B1 remains the better unit for my personal preference and taste. Sparrow is one hell of a Dongle, but it is not unique since we already have something like Questyle M12 and xDuoo Link2 BAL operating on the same level

      Like

  24. Raf says:

    Andy, what’s the USB-C to USB-A adapter that will work for my laptop?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Actually many will work. Nowadays almost each Dongles will come included with C to A adapter and I have yet to find one that’s not working

      Like

  25. Piotr says:

    Hey man, I am an audio beginner and recently discovered your webside, kind of by accident. I love your content and I think your should get more recognition. Your reviews are very professional and informative. Keep it up.

    I am also buying a nicer set of headphones and a dongle. Your reviews are really helpful to that process. I’m thinking about getting a Audio Technica MSR7, I can buy them for about $130. What dongle would you suggest to pair with them (up to $100)? I was thinking about Hidizs S8 that can be bought for less than $60 on Aliexpress. Seems like a decent bang for buck.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Thanks! I personally never tried Hidizs S8. But if you want to keep the budget under $100, then I highly would recommend REIYIN DA-Plus or Pro. There’s also Colorfly CDA M1. They are among the very best one can get for that price range

      Like

      1. Piotr says:

        Hey, thank you very much! What about Creative SXFI AMP? I can get it for $74 with a pair of decent earbuds, Aurvana Trio LS. The DAC itself costs $62, so the price is good, it is available in my country, not Aliexpress, so with warranty + quick delievery. I can pay 12 bucks more for that earphones, as I heard they are good and used to be sold for like $50.

        Do you know how these dongles compare to the more mainstream ones, like Dragonflies or Earman Eagle/Sprarrow? I’ve seen your review of the Dragonfly Cobalt and I was suprised how underwhelmingly it performed given the hype surrounding it and its price tag.

        Like

  26. SriV says:

    Hi Andy, currently B1 is on sale for $75…is it worth trying even if i have e44 and L2B…will it add different flavour? Thanks for all your work on this piece.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Yes it is, the original king of #donglemadness remains my firm favorites among many. Because it is uniquely special

      Like

  27. Jakub says:

    Thanks for the rewiew, it’s really awesome. I’ve just bought B1 on a sale, so I have a question. Is there any mid 70-100$ iems that you would reccomend for B1? Are arias any good pick for it?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Tripowin Olina will be perfect for B1

      Like

  28. Jakub says:

    Therefore olina outmatches aria in your opinion?

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      Absolutely. Olina performs like a $500 IEMs. Loving it

      Like

      1. Jakub says:

        Are you using it with B1 adapter or it’s not nessesary?

        Like

      2. Andy.EF says:

        I used my Olina directly

        Like

      3. Jakub says:

        Thanks. I think I’ll be buying olina then. Any upcoming sales from base 100$?

        Like

      4. Andy.EF says:

        Keep an eye for Kinera Idun Golden if it ever drop to $100. My No.1 ChiFi IEMs now that I like better than Etymotic ER2XR (however ER4SR and KSE1500 remained my No.1 overall)

        Like

      5. Jakub says:

        Kinera idun golden looks awesome. The price tho… I don’t think it will ever reach 100$ cap. I’ll hold with my order for a while. Just to be sure that I’ve concidered everything, but right now olina is probably the first pick.

        Like

      6. Andy.EF says:

        Can’t go wrong with Olina

        Like

      7. Jakub says:

        Btw, do you think that B1 could improve the sound of athsr50bt? (They could be used in the wired mode as well) https://images.app.goo.gl/cSpSaoL4w2MK7T698
        If that’s so I’ll hold with buying olinas for a while.

        Like

      8. Andy.EF says:

        Hard to tell, but if anything I have observed B1 among the few that really works amazing with many headphones. And I still use B1 regularly even for my DT880 600 Ohm. Using it more over iFi ZEN Stack

        Like

  29. SriV says:

    Thanks Andy got the Olinas great news ordered B1…so if b1 does not need adapter what about source…i mostly use uapp on mobile but b1 seems trouble using uapp right…if we use phone which software best for b1?

    Like

    1. Jakub says:

      Hiby music.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Andy.EF says:

      Use HiBy Music App. USB Exclusive mode. That’s how I do it all the time

      Like

  30. SriV says:

    Hi Andy got the B1 completely agree pairing with Olina….it is great pairing…the hot edgy bit is gone when paired with E44 before. B1 is great match for Olina. Thanks for the rec. Also using UAPP successfully using software volume function.
    Sad that you have to cease all activities but i believe rating 118 dongles is not joke…much appreciate your hard work. I got E44, L2B and now B1 all excellent recs. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Gopala Paruchuri says:

    Thanks for your recommendations for B1 and DACport HD. I am really happy with both of them😀. Is it possible to buy a spare 2.5mm to USB-C cable? I am sure going to loose that cable in few months 🙄.

    Like

    1. Andy.EF says:

      If you search Aliexpress, I think there’s 2.5mm to USB cable you can buy

      Like

      1. Gopala Paruchuri says:

        Searched it and unable to find it on AliExpress. Please post link in this thread if you can find one. It will be helpful for others too. Thanks in advance 🙂

        Like

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