The Uber Muzik TTD V2: Comparisons with the Audinst HUD-MX1, Anedio D1, and ADL Cruise
The Uber Muzik Tiny Tube DAC V2 (currently not working) is a desktop DAC that comes with a wall wart and has a USB input that supports 24/96 and has both 6.3” and 3.5” jacks on the front and RCA jacks on the back for line out and speaker out, as it can power 3” speakers. The TTD V2 comes with a 1 year warrant, except the tube, which is a 6 month warranty and costs $225.
In order to gauge the performance of the TTD V2, I compare it with some of the DACs I have including the similarly priced Audinst HUD-MX1 (although I do have an upgraded op amp, the OPA1611), the more expensive ADL Cruise (although the Stride is close in price and portable), and the Anedio D1 just for kicks.
I found the TTD V2 to be unusable with my custom IEMs due to hiss and noise plus a too sensitive and imbalanced volume control due to the high sensitivity. Many are 16 Ohm or less, and the TTD V2 is rated between 32 and 300 ohms for the output. My most difficult to driver and least sensitive CIEM, the Starkey SA-43 didn’t have any hiss or noise at low volume levels, but as the volume went up to counteract the channel imbalance noise and hiss became evident. Even with the SA-43 the channel imbalance required me to increase the volume to levels that were too high for any extended listening, but it did drive the SA-43 quite nicely at those levels.
I did try the TTD V2 as a DAC, pairing it with various amps having good results, which is something you can do if you want to use the TTD V2 for full sized headphones and only occasionally with IEMs. However, is that the best option for your money?
Testing was done with many earphones and headphones, but I focused on three headphones, the HD600, K701, and LCD-2 because of the issues with IEMs. Note: the HUD-MX1 has a pair of OPA1611’s installed (considering the MX1 is cheaper, this small price difference brings the prices closer) and was powered by the external wall adapter.
Vs. the Audinst HUD-MX1: Using the HD600, I was impressed by how much richer and fuller the TTD V2 sounded to go along with a more realistic and liquid presentation. The low end is more prominent with the TTD V2 while the MX1 has better control resulting in better texturing of the bass. With a more forward presentation in the mids on up, the MX1 has better articulation of notes with more detail. Soundstage space is about the same, but the MX1 images slightly better. Overall the TTD V2 recreates a more natural overall sound that is very pleasant.
Using the K701, things are different as the MX1 has cleaner treble, a more spacious sound and better focus within the soundstage vs. the warmer TTD V2, which sounds a bit compressed in comparison. While the K701 is brighter with the MX1, the treble is of higher quality while in the bass region the MX1 extends a bit deeper with more slightly more impact and a bit more control.
I didn’t use the LCD-2 for comparing these two as both don’t really do the LCD-2 justice, but I will compare with some other sources.
Both have their strengths and weaknesses with the TTD V2 giving the typical tube sound while the MX1 has a more sterile and analytical presentation.
Vs. the ADL Cruise: With the HD600, the TTD is warmer than the ADL, which has a larger, deeper soundstage with better imaging. Detail levels of the Cruise are higher, but not by a huge amount, which is impressive given the colder and more analytical presentation of the Cruise. There is slightly more bass with the TTD and but the Cruise has better control while offering better dynamics. The TTD V2 is a musical combination, giving pleasant results for causal listening as well as fitting the tube sound while the Cruise is more analytical and recreates a bit more detail.
Comparing with the K701, the Cruise has more on both ends of the spectrum, especially in the bass region where there is more weight and depth. Due to the larger soundstage space, the Cruise had a more laid back presentation than the TTD V2, which gives the K701 a slight mid-forwardness. While clarity of the ADL is better, the difference wasn’t too large. The TTD V2 does give the K701 a bit more soundstage depth to go with a smoother and more liquid presentation.
Comparing the two with the LCD-2, the Cruise has a more spacious presentation that is punchier, deeper, clearer, and more engaging and transparent with the LCD-2.
Vs. the Anedio D1: Comparing with the HD600, the level of refinement was significantly better with the D1 with a smoother and more detailed sound. Transparency, clarity, control, and space are all better with the D1 while the TTD V2 is warmer.
Using the K701 for comparison, the differences were apparent with much better note articulation and a much wider soundstage space in all directions. While the TTD V2 isn’t necessarily congested, the D1 gives complexity to the presentation the TTD doesn’t have as well as an organic quality missing with the TTD. Overall, there is a bigger difference between the D1 and TTD with the K701 than with the HD600.
The LCD-2 sounds too aggressive and offensive with the TTD in comparison with the D1. The soundstage seems off in direct comparison as the presentation is small and congested, holding the LCD-2 back and giving a very in-the-head presentation. Bass weight is quite a bit better with the D1. Overall the D1 outclasses the TTD by quite a bit, which is to be expected.
Summary: Depending on if you listen to full sized cans or IEMs, the TTD V2 will be a good buy or a poor choice. Just as with any piece of gear, the TTD V2 has its strengths and weaknesses and synergizes with some things better than others. The highlights are the warm, liquid, involving sound when paired with headphones that aren’t all that bright as the treble quality isn’t quite as good as the Audinst HUD-MX1. Spaciousness, while not too small, didn’t expand with headphones that have an expansive size such as the K701 and LCD-2, restricting them, although the LCD-2 did still sound very enjoyable with the TTD V2.
While the TTD V2 wasn’t a good match with the majority of my headphones, which are the IEM variety, I would recommend it for use with the HD600. There is now a V3 of the TTD out that is supposed to improve on many of the issues with the V2. You can pair it with an external amp for use with IEMs, but the Cruise/Stride could be an even better option depending on the sound you are going for, as the warm tube sound of the TTD V2 is a good deal different than the faster, punchier Cruise/Stride sound. The similarly priced MX1 also has its weaknesses, but again, a different sound. As I am sure you can tell, I have mixed feelings about the TTD V2 as when it synergizes it is great, but that isn't often, at least with my headphone collection.