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Aune T1

Posted

Pros: Many tube-rolling options, works well with high impedance cans, performance for price is great

Cons: Gets physically hot, needs desktop (less portable than some combos), stock amp is mediocore

The Aune T1 is a great DAC/amp combo on a budget, with the ability for tube-rolling which makes it a winner compared to other portable solid state DAC/amp combos in its price range. I reviewed my T1 listening on Sennheiser HD 650s, and I think it pairs up very nicely with them.

 

 

Packaging

 

My T1 came packaged in a nice cardboard box, with plenty of foam packing to prevent damage to any components. The tube also came packaged inside the foam, as it is quite fragile. If you're unboxing your T1, make sure to look for the tube inside the foam packaging, as some others have missed it! Also included is an instruction guide, USB cable, and wall adapter (there are two separate adapters; one for 220V and the other 110V).

 

 

Build quality

 

The T1 comes in two flavours; silver or black. I have the black edition, and the case looks very slick. The tube itself plugs in the top, beside a round volume dial. Headphone jack is located on the front of the case, and USB, power, and RCA jacks are all located on the back. There are also dip switches located on the bottom of the unit, for adjusting the gain settings for the amplifier. (0db, +8db and +16db settings are available). Overall, I am impressed with the case, jacks and volume dial. The case itself looks modern and has rounded corners for a stylish look. There are plastic guards that are supposed to snap in around the top of the tube to prevent contact with the tube, but I think they look very cheap and did not install them. There is no additional guard to go over the tube, which is not an issue for myself.

 

While the T1 is on, the case itself will get warm, then may even get hot to the touch. This leads me to only leave it powered on while I am in the vacinity of the T1, as I am overly cautious. I would strongly advise the same, which may be an issue for some. There are others who leave their units powered on 24/7, but I don't like the fact that the case warms up.

 

The T1 can be opened up very easily, and I actually upgraded the capacitors inside of mine. It came with a mix of Nichicon, Panasonic, and ELNA capacitors, which I opted to remove and replace with ELNA Silmic II, and Panasonic FR capacitors. I had no issues with the stock capacitors themselves, I just wanted to further refine the sound of my unit. 

 

 

Input/output Options

 

Input - the T1 requires a USB input to play the music through the tube portion of the DAC. It is limited to a max of 24bit/96kHz which is great. There is also an RCA input which will go through the amplifier portion of the T1 only. If you plug in via RCA, the DAC and tube will not be in use.

 

Output - The 1/4" headphone jack can work solo, or also in conjunction with RCA outputs which can feed an amplifier and speakers. I honestly enjoyed the headphone amp of the T1, although I have heard it reviewed by others as mediocore. After upgrading the capacitors, the headphone amp now sounds amazing.

 

 

Sound quality

 

The T1 uses a Burr-Brown chip inside of its DAC, along with the tube buffer. The quality of the sound with the T1 will vary greatly depending on which tube is being used. Mine came with the "upgraded" Electroharmonix 6922 tube, which I quite enjoyed. It sounded slightly warm, with decent separation between bass, mids, and highs. I noticed clarity in the bass compared to my laptop's soundcard, which was more bass heavy and muddled. The mids and highs were also pleasant sounding, although I found that the highs were a bit bright for my liking. Overall, it was a nice upgrade from my laptop's soundcard, but I wanted to refine the sound even further.

 

I rolled in a Phillips JAN 6922 tube which cost $15, and immediately noticed the mids became slightly richer sounding, and the soundstage layered out. I preferred this tube to the EH 6922.

 

I then rolled a Siemens E88CC gold pin tube, which cost around $45, and was astounded by its presentation of the highs... female vocals were nuanced, refined, highly detailed and spacious/airy. Cymbals shimmered without any brightness, and the height between bass/mids to highs was expanded. I was in love with my collection of female vocalists.

 

Onward to the Amperex 7308, which I am currently enjoying. Beautiful, rich sounding mids, and detailed highs (although not quite to the extent of the Siemens tube). Layering and imaging beyond belief... this puts any other amp/dac combo in the T1's price range to shame. These 7308 tubes come in many different variations, and can be found on ebay from $15 to $200 and up. I would expect to pay around $45 for a nice 7308 tube.

 

As mentioned, I also opted to upgrade my capacitors inside the T1. I bought my new capacitors online for $25, and it took a couple of hours to open the unit, do the soldering, and close it back up. The change in sound is very, very nice. Beautiful, refined, liquid gold is now shimmering from my T1. I highly recommend this upgrade as well. (Details can be found here, on the T1 Discussion Forum).

 

 

Overall

 

To recap, the T1 is a great option if you are playing digital files at home, or at the office. It requires a dedicated setup on the desk, and I would also recommend feeding it CD quality FLAC files, or 320kbps mp3s. I would also recommend upgrading the tube, as the sound definitely changes with different tubes. The capacitor upgrade is not mandatory for beautiful sound, but it will take your T1 to a level far beyond its price point.

 

 

For less than $200, the T1 is a great way to enjoy warm, detailed, layered sound. I highly recommend the T1, and also recommend reading the T1 Discussion Forum here on headfi, as there is plenty of info from other users. I rate the T1 at 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Posted

Pros: Value, build, and sound quality.

Cons: Just goes to 96khz. But that doesn't bother me.

My System:

 

Imac 27”

Audirvana (updated)

Aune T1 with EH 6922 tube

Audio Technica ATH-50M Headphones

 

I’ve had my Aune T1 for about a month now. I paid $188 from Sweetwater in Canada, that included shipping. Took about 2 weeks to get to my place on the West Coast. I bought strictly for playing music off my Imac and into my headphones.

 

I’ve owned a Schiit Bifrost, HRT iStreamer, CalyX Coffee, Cambridge DACMagic, and Audioquest Dragonfly.

 

The Aune T1 is not close to a BiFrost, but close to the DACMagic and Dragonfly. I would purchase the Aune T1 over the DACMagic and Dragonfly if I had to chose. It looks cool, has tubes, and is always a conversation starter. No one sees a Dragonfly and a DACMagic looks like an old wireless router. Fact is, I love when people ask me about gear when they notice a piece of gear. This is of my subjective opinion. Nothing against any other DACS.

 

Build: 4/5

Sound: 3.5/5 (Hi-end DACS usually being a 5,  for your reference. The 3 is solid)

Value: 5/5

Misc: 5/5 (headphone amp, tubes, and gain settings are not usually on $200 and under DACS).

Posted

Pros: Smooth, well balanced sound, easy setup, good build quality/materials

Cons: Can be slightly civilised at times, heat management is questionable

This has been a very nice DAC/Amp for my Koss Pro 3AA phones, and while I haven't figured out some of its features (e.g. the gain controls on the base of the unit) I can understand the use it would be for someone. The only thing that concerns me is that after several hours, both the casing and the tube become incredibly hot and this contributes to distortion that I experience regularly. I have to unplug the valve regularly, and this raises concerns for me about the longevity of the electronics. Otherwise though, it has served me well, but anyone who is a sucker for reliability should probably stay away.

Posted

Pros: Great tube sound, small attractive, well built, inexpensive.

Cons: None yet

This little unit is everything I hoped it would be. It makes a big improvement in sound over my Fiio E7 through my Sennheiser HD558s.

Posted

Pros: tube, cheap, good looking

Cons: not portable

Hi, i am a new comer in head fi, i am studying in beijing, and thanks to headfi, i bought aune t1. Yes they have none of the 6n11 tube anymore, mine come with eh 6922, which actually sells for usd 12 in China. (Of course i get better warranty :) ). I have used senn px 100 for 4 years and just decided to enjoy more music by getting the akg k240 mk2. Only to find out that other guys "cried" for having a usb dac and amp to power them. So i buy this aune t1, it hurts me a lot that quality is expensive. But yes i also cried the first time i listened to it. 

 

I have to admit that I need to learn the word "sound stage", "airy", "analytical". But here is my short review with my only standard being the original px100 and my local church band which i helped set. Listening on my new equipment tells me about good music and mastering. Bass and drums become more natural and closer to reality than the bass head px100. Sound stage is very small if your ear is not trained to differentiate from the laptop soundcard. But instrument separation, vocal pump is the keyword. A/b ing have revealed it to me. And yes, i must say that all music become more engaging, not to mention those background music on movies too.

 

i am now following this forum to see which cheap tube i should get. Thanks guys. 

 

Oh i also sandpapered the tube cover so i can unplug them easily.

 

*** update: the culprit for the underperfomance is the driver. After i installed asio4all and winamp with its plugin, then changing the midi output in the winamp, then turning off the input of aune in the asio properties, the sounds come up much louder. And the correct airiness. This is a lot of improvement for my k240 headphone.

 

Aune T1
By:
Description:

The appearance of this aune T1 uses brushed metal material, it will be black and white colors. Assembled, the frame of the bile duct and bile duct are very beautiful, and this design can also be good to avoid burns caused by the unwitting non-user groups of onlookers. In the lower right of the fuselage for the volume adjustment button and input selector button, the user can select one USB DAC and headphone amplifier, or line input of pure amp. Interface and Features In terms of functionality, aune T1 is a DAC and headphone amplifier in-one product, in addition to a USB decoder interface interface to configure the digital input or output interface, there is no coaxial interface have some regrets, but this design highlights that this is a design for the computer to create one, and only a USB interface design seems to have gradually become the mainstream of desktop HiFi equipment, and even many well-known international manufacturers are beginning to such products are available.

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