Pros: Great overall sound quality, extremely easy to use, amazing build quality, awesome price/performance ratio
Cons: Could ask for an extra output
Quick Story and Intro
The reason I'm writing this review is not because this is a cool new up and coming product. In fact, its quite the opposite. Peachtree released their second version of the DAC iT, the DAC iTx, in 2013. I've heard only great and positive things about Peachtree in the time I've been here with the Head-Fi community, so naturally, when I was looking for an affordable desktop DAC, I instantly thought of the DAC iTx as a potential option. Strangely, even after being released for many years, I couldn't much about the DAC iT let alone the DAC iTx. Seeing that Peachtree has dropped the price of the DAC iTx from 499 to 299, and having heard good things about the original DAC iT at its original 499 price, I could only see the DAC iTx at 299 as a pretty safe, if not good, deal. So I took a little risk and bought these. I'm now sitting here wondering why this little device has gone so unnoticed and feel the strong need to at least get some impressions of the DAC iTx out there.
The DAC iTx is a very desktop friendly size. It's chassis isn't that smallest I've seen but it's definite small enough that using it as a desktop DAC is still very reasonable.
Getting the DAC iTx setup was a breeze and its a very intuitive and easy to use device. Switching between different inputs couldn't be easier. I actually had an initial problem downloading the driver for it. It turns out, Peachtree had actually recently updated the firmware for the DAC iTx and that their website hasn't been updated yet. Its great to see that even after two years, Peachtree is still keeping their products up to date and running smoothly. Once that little bump in the road was taken care of, everything was smooth sailing and enjoyment.
Inputs include USB, Coaxial, as well as an optical while there is one dual RCA line out. I would have loved an extra set of RCA line outs so I could have the extra versatility of connecting the DAC iTx to my speaker amps as well. But besides that, no real complaint, as these very user friendly.
The build on these is awesome. The chassis is completely metal, the buttons are metal, and the bottom has a rubbery surface to prevent sliding. The device has a solid feel to it and the buttons have a nice feel to them as well. The really nice look of the DAC iTx is a bonus here!
So the reason I decided to purchase these is mainly because I was a bit tired of using my iBasso DX90 as a USB DAC, so much of my sound impressions will be based off of this transition, but keep in mind that I have also heard my fair share of dedicated DACs. Just something to keep in mind, as I recognize that it may be odd comparing the two.
In addition, listening was done using my desktop setup consisting of: Asus Zenbook UX32VD > AudioQuest Forest > Peachtree Audio DAC iTx > AudioQuest Evergreen > Burson Audio HA-160 > Forza Audio Works Claire Hybrid HPC > AKG K812.
Interestingly, the DAC iTx, while using an ESS Sabre 9023 DAC chip, it didnt quite have the typical colder sound that the Sabre chips tend to have. Bass is extremely full sounding, deep, and punchy while being just slightly elevated and warm. Despite that, the bass is incredibly well controlled while adding a great amount of excitement to the music. The midrange and treble remain in good balance and provide a fantastic amount of detail. Worlds ahead of the dual Sabre DAC from the DX90. The overall sound is just a tad sharper in tonality than the DX90 line out, making the sound of the DAC iTx really pop while making the latter sound quite stale and uninvolving.
I cannot stress how exciting it is to listen to the DAC iTx and how engaging its sound is. Everything pops to life with great accuracy, articulation, and detail. It's not just the punch of the bass giving the DAC iTx it's drive. The way the DAC iTx delivers its sound is simply a thing of beauty.
Soundstage and imaging of the DAC iTx is also a very positive thing to talk about. While the dual DAC of the DX90 shows its prowess with an every so slightly wider soundstage, the DAC iTx walks all over it in terms of imaging and three dimensionality.
I recognize that I'm comparing a 420 dollar all-in-one device with a 300 dollar dedicated DAC, but I cannot stress enough the value the DAC iTx holds, even compared to other dedicated DACs. At the price of 299, there really isn't anything about the sound you can really complain about. The sound is simply fabulous and addicting.
I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with the DAC iTx. It's breathed life into my music in ways I haven't experienced in quite a long time and has brought a new level of interest in my music to me. I honestly feel that this product has been glossed over just a bit and perhaps a little forgotten. Maybe that's because Peachtree is more focused on making products oriented towards speakers systems? Regardless, I genuinely hope that this short little review can direct a few people looking for a desktop DAC towards the Peachtree DAC iTx, because this is one rocking piece of equipment! I don't rave about a product all that often, but this is really a damn good DAC for 300 dollars!