DAC Chip: Apple MFi C101 (Single)
PCM 48kHz, SNR: Undisclosed, Power: 1 Vrms Adaptive, iOS Lightning, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: YES), Metal Chassis & 18cm SPC Cable
LISTENING EQUIPMENT USED IMPARTED HUGE INFLUENCE TO SOUND IMPRESSIONS & RATING
- Clear crisp balanced neutral flat timbre
- Well controlled dynamics, full bodied with smooth airy presentation
- Well nuanced Micro and Macro details, very transparent
- Balanced Mids with detailed textures and definition, natural toned Male/Female vocals
- Sparkly Treble with crisp decays, great extensions
- Smooth Mid-Bass, tight, fast with crisp decays
- Sub-Bass exhibited audible seismic response with mild decays.
- Crisp and vivid guitars, piano, percussions (chimes, bells) and drums and taps
- Great holographic spatial imaging with sharp precise placement/layers
- Amazing speed and dexterity on complex passages and transients
- Super clean background, zero floor noises
- Clean layers and well-defined separation lines
- Drives Magnetic Planars and BA at 80/100 volume, Enjoyable output.
- Excellent synergy with DD and BA
- Forgiving on Lo-Fi and lower quality sources
- Very compact and sturdy rubbery build. Designed to withstand abuse
- Spatial imaging focuses on Left/Right and less frontal
- Soundstage slightly tall but narrower than the other iOS Dongles
- Driving power for great fidelity maxed out below 100Ω and with no less than 95db sensitivity.
- No volume adjuster
TERA Grand iOS MFi. This is the 4th Apple C101 DAC based Dongle that I tested and for the first time I am hearing some differences in timbre characteristics. While the first three which is UGREEN iOS, JCally JM08L and JSAUX iOS exhibited identical warmth to the sound, this TERA Grand is actually more balanced neutral.
Subjected to driving my FOSTEX T40RP MK4 Magnetic Planar, it was decently sounding with volume at approx 75-80/100. However the soundstage was caved in. Spatial imaging split audibly between Left and Right. Timbre and dynamics however remained clean and stable with no hint of distortion even pushed almost to the max.
Switched to the more sensitive Moondrop Aria, the staging now sounded proper with frontal imaging restored. However the footprint remained narrow and intimate. The silver lining of this, separation lines and imaging is sharp and succinct. Lose some, and get some back. Bass responses of Aria well handled with great control. Mids well balanced despite having narrow staging. Treble were smooth and with proper decays.
With HZSOUND Heart Mirror, similar results to Aria, except of course Aria being warmer and less sparkly, Heart Mirror being sparkly bright and airy (but never fatiguing). Both equally smooth edged with clear and clean presentation.
Synergy with Etymotic ER4SR is great as well, with the soundstage surprisingly quite decent. I was worried that it would get more cramped with the BA unit. The pairing between these two offered true neutral natural sound with all frequencies well balanced (perhaps Bass a little lean for some). It is sibilant free and despite being very resolving and transparent. However, overall is it not as musical compared to JCally JM08L, UGREEN iOS and JSAUX iOS (them being warmer). Great nonetheless especially for those preferring neutral flat sound.
One element that makes this TERA Grand so appealing against the other options, very rugged, sturdy and convincing rubbery build. Meant to withstand abuses with compact length that provide great flex. I absolutely love the design.
Best Pairing: Flexible for anything less demanding under 100Ω
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