DACport is not only compact USB DAC+AMP but the DACport is a remarkable product because DACport delivers a true high-sampling capability for this size. For example, Icon uDAC is also small DAC/AMP and sounded great. However, the sampling rate from the PC is limited to 48/16. This is not a sake of Nuforce but this is a limitation of PCM 270x USB receiver. DACport has a capability to accept 96/24 source with no custom driver.
CEntrance provide this proprietary high-sampling technology and they have many major client for the license. Ex. Benchmark, Lavry, PS Audio, Belcanto and Empirical.
Here is their home page to know more about them.
That means you can feed high-sampling data from your PC. USB connection is no longer the bottle-neck of high-sampling chain.
If you have LINN studio master files in your PC, you can sent them to the DACport without any loss.
If you have a favorite resampler in your foobar2k or others, you can control resampling quality on the PC side.
You can enjoy this high-sampling capability even you are on the go, as DACport is very compact and bus-powered. I think this is groundbreaking for us portable audiophiles.
This is my Kojinsya SC UMPC setup. The Kojinsya SC UMPC is 7-inch LCD with touch panel, employs Atom 1.3Ghz.
I can enjoy true high-sampling sources while I am writing a document in a coffee shop.
DACport itself is also sounded very nice. DACport has very decent A-class headphone amp which power source is separated from digital circuit pollution.
The housing is made from aircraft aluminum with laser lettering. looks nice and the metal body is helpful to cooling the body. The body get somewhat warm(as a prove of A-class).
For more details, refer to their developer blog. This is quite useful to understand DACport.
* Sound impression
Installation is easy, just plug'n play. In fact, the use of standard driver(USB class driver) is a strength of DACport, no need to install any custom drivers.
I hooked it up with my desktop DELL PC(Win XP) and Kojinsya 7-inch LCD UMPC(Win XP), I use foobar2k and ASIO4ALL as well as other players.
This is the impression on the first few days.
At first, I tried it with AT-ESW10jpn for portable use in mind. However, soon I found the sound quality of DACport is not in the league of portable headphones so I switched to Senn HD800. This level of high-end headphones will bring out the real performance of DACport.
With HD800, I was impressed by the sea of details that DACport deliver. Not only the DAC resolution is good but the DACport is very quiet amp and the background is pure black.
I tried ultra sensitive ES3x hissing test and I found there is only slight hissing over three o'clock. This is outstanding and almost same to Hifiman 801.
I thought bus-powering is polluted and DACport must have some amount of background noise. But I was wrong, they must have designed circuit carefully.
In addition, localization is also nice, music instruments are clearly separated and placed at the right position. DAC port sounded neutral and flat, sounded like professional gears. DACport would be good to monitoring purpose as DACport reveals even tiny detail.
Music instruments sounded realistic and no excess. DACport also sounded tight and sharp. From these things, I think jitter is well suppressed.
I'd say the overall sound quality is well comparable to more bigger home amps.
I have also tried with some high-sampling sources like LINN studio master. I was so much impressed by the spacious sound reproduction and transparency.
Priced $500 seems to be a bit high but DACport delivers a unique high-sampling capability as well as good sounding.
I use iMod+amps or Hifiman801 daily as a portable-audiophile. To me, this product opens up a new possibility for both of portable audio and computer audio. This is well worth it I think.