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!

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