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New CEntrance DACportable dac-amp - Page 3

post #31 of 82

sorry for OT, but has anybody compared Mojo and Hifi-Skyn in terms of sound quality? Liked to start a new thread but I guess I can't do it as I am relatively new here (or am I missing out something?). Thanks in advance.

post #32 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by samireivinen View Post
 

sorry for OT, but has anybody compared Mojo and Hifi-Skyn in terms of sound quality? Liked to start a new thread but I guess I can't do it as I am relatively new here (or am I missing out something?). Thanks in advance.

It is a tough topic, particularly if you have not experienced at least one of the Chord products to discern if your listening palette can A) hear a difference B) determine if that difference is to your liking.

 

I think the HiFi-Skÿn (and a few other products using the 4490 off-shelf chip) have taken the D/S sound as far as it can go, at reasonable cost. That is, in my opinion, I don't think there is much further sound quality to be gained from off-shelf products until you spend $2000 or more. The HiFi-Skÿn is the sweet spot. The HiFi-Skÿn is quite good, and quite worth its cost by that relative comparison.

 

But to my ears, there is still something significant to the sound of the FPGA and Chord products (and by that same extension, the work by Mike Moffat on the R2R implementations). With the Mojo, to my ears, there is a significant sound quality increase comparable to the off-shelf products costing $2000 and more. I hear it - you may not. Or you may hear and dislike it. You may prefer the obvious details of the HiFi-Skÿn, and may not be bothered by what my ears still perceive as a slightly bothersome glare. This is very slight, and it is only noticeable to me when comparing against the Chord.

 

In short, I think the HiFi-Skÿn is excellent. I still think the Chord Mojo is better. I also suggest that if you don't know what it sounds like, to ignore my preferences, and to give it a listen for yourself.

post #33 of 82


Smooth, detailed, powerful, full bodied.

I am really enjoying the DAC Portable, quite similar to the excellent Hifi-Skyn.
post #34 of 82

 

My review of the CEntrance DACportable is up.

 

http://headpie.blogspot.jp/2016/08/centrance-dacportable-review.html

 

Enjoy.

 

Regards

expat

post #35 of 82
I've never heard other Centrance products aside from the Dacport and Dacport LX.
Those are quite analytical and thin sounding for me. Although it never sees to amaze me how Centrance could extract so much power from such small devices!

Anyway,if newer Centrance line ups are smoother in sound while maintaining the details and full bodied, I might be interested to check out their offerings again
post #36 of 82

Full review of text and  pictures at www.headpie.net.

 

Here are the highlights.

 

 

CEntrance DACportable review
 - expatinjapan

http://www.centrance.com/products/dacportable/

 

 

 

*CEntrance DACportable with Campfire Audio Andromeda IEM. 

I emailed Michael at CEntrance with a few questions about the DACportable that they had kindly sent Head pie for review and he emailed back a nice summary of what the DACportable is:

`The DACportable is basically a HiFi-Skyn, in a universal package (not tied to any particular phone model, it works with Mac, PC, Android and iOS).

HiFi-Skyn pioneered our newest Amp Extreme (TM) circuit, a modified Class A circuit, that takes its power from an extra clean, bipolar, 16V power supply. The internal Li-PO battery gives us plenty of clean power that we later transform into 7 different voltages for different parts of the product. Separating the power supplies allows us to achieve perfect isolation between analog and digital circuitry. This offers lowest jitter, noise and distortion, and improves soundstage, definition and clarity.

The EQ is subtle and musical. It's the same hardware circuit as in the HiFi-M8, which was so popular and well-regarded when it was introduced. Nothing beats well-designed analog circuitry in the age of digital audio.

With the EQ, we've kept a low degree of boost, just enough to accentuate the music, but not to much to overwhelm the senses. The bass switch offers a energetic boost, perfect for dance music enjoyment, while the high switch engages a smooth shelf that adds sheen to the very top of the range. This helps definition and adds sparkle for all music types, and allows better matching to various headphones.` - CEntrance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
Digital specs

Resolution                      32-bit (Also supports 24-bit)

Sample Rate                   44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.2 kHz, 192 kHz, 352.4 kHz, 384 kHz

DSD Support                   DSD64 and DSD128

Clocking                          Two custom, mil-spec clocks, 1 ppm precision, 1 ps jitter

Jitter                               Unmeasurable

Streaming LED                 Lights up when digital audio is streaming

Compatibility                    Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS.

Analog Specs

Freq. Response                 20 Hz...40 kHz

S/N Ratio                         110 dB

THD+N                            0.002 %

Crosstalk, 1kHz                -111 dB

Output Impedance            1 Ohm

Output power, 32ohm       775 mW (total)

Supported Headphones     16...600 Ohm

Max Output Level, 1kHz     4.1 V rms / +14.5 dBu

General Specs

Audio Output                     Gold-plated 3.5mm headphone jack

Headphone Amp                Class-A with super-clean, bipolar power supply

AC Adapter                        Standard 5V adapter with USB "micro B" plug

DC Powering/Charging       +5V (2.1A) from external adapter, such as iPad charger

Internal supplies                Battery-isolated, triple-filtered ±9V, analog power supply rails

Unit Dimensions:                98 mm (L) x 41 mm (W) x 21 mm (H)

Shipping Weight:                550 g

Chassis Material                  Scratch-resistant, lightweight anodized aluminum

Battery Specs                      Rechargeable Li-Polymer, 8 hours play time

Cables                               Same cable can be used for Audio or Charging

 

 

 

 

 

USE

The CEntrance DACportable is compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS.

 

 

The ipod touch 5G seems to require the CCK.

*I preferred the sound of the lightning to Micro USB cable over that of the CCK set up. It had better clarity and detail.

Value

At US $349 it is priced quite decently in the scheme of all things audio.
The build is excellent.

Size is portable, although I would like it to be a bit thinner...but that is the price to pay for a decent sized battery and enough output power for a full bodied sound, and also so that the ipod touch/iphone/ipad/android devices battery does not drain.

Audio is typical of the CEntrance in-house sound we have been accustomed to: Clear, great details, full bodied, fairly neutral.

If the DACportable in terms of its size, power and quality of sound makes the larger DAC/Amps on the market quite redundant.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sound
As per usual I let the device acquire a decent amount of hours and playing time before completing  my review, this is to check for any possible changes in the sound signature as demanded by a percentage of readers of audio reviews ;)
I used a variety of IEMs in my testing (some of them pictured in the photos) and also two headphones: the MEZE 99 Classic and the ATH-ESW11.

The DACportable has already been described by Michael at CEntrance as `basically a HiFi-Skyn, in a universal package`.
This is true for sure, although it seems to have been tweaked a little more as is to expected, it sounds slightly clearer and less warm than the Hifi Skyn to my ears.
I preferred the sound from my ipod touch 6G straight to the DACportable over the ipod touch 5G with the CCK cable. It seemed to have slightly more sound stage, depth and a 3D effect.

 

*Using the Campfire Audio Andromeda which has been my go to IEM as of late all I can say is that everything seems to be where it should be sound wise. Bass is full but not over riding, vocals are nicely balanced with the music and slightly forward, large sound stage, excellent and effortless width and height, fast decay but lingers where it should, mids are lush, sweet but also full of clarity and tight, treble is perfect as it reaches out just far enough.


The DACportable is a large sound in a small package.
Bass is fast and accurate, punchy when it is present and needed.
Mids are clear, crisp and not bleeded out.
Treble is well balanced, non fatiguing and extends far enough to be pleasurable and satisfying to the listener without encountering any sibilance.
Sound stage is very wide, with excellent instrument placement and separation.
Virtually zero hiss on low gain with sensitive IEMs such as the Campfire Audio series.
A 3D-ish, holographic listening experience. Height and depth extends tall and wide.

 

*Using the Jomo 6R IEM which is a more airy experience. I enjoyed the laid back sweet, sensual sound whilst listening to Lana Del Rey. The key words being clarity, detailed and wide.

 

*With a more moderately priced earphone such as the Shozy Zero everything is a bit less of course, the highs partly more subdued, and the sound stage more medium. 
As it is a single driver I was able to use high gain and this bought back much of the 3D effect, depth and width. Still great clarity, detail, separation and performance. Very musical.

 

Meze 99 Classic headphones pictured with the CEntrance Hifi-Skyn.

*Next I tried the Meze 99 Classic headphones on low Gain they were a bit quiet and un energetic as to be expected as the low gain setting is more geared towards sensitive IEMs.
Switching up to the more appropriate High Gain  I got what I was expecting, a decently wide sound stage, great details and instrument separation. 

 

*The Campfire Audio Nova performed excellently on both low and high gain. 
Using high gain gave the DACportableextra oomph using gain 2 which gave it a bit more punch at low volumes.
On low gain it was also fantastic but retained more clarity and coherancy at higher volumes. 
The Nova sound is XXx, more centered around the bass and mids, light on the treble.
I have found the Nova to be picky at times with sources and daps, but it seems to be a nice fit with the DACportable.

 

 


Overall
For those who have owned a CEntrance product before you will already be familiar with their products` excellent build quality and the CEntrance in-house sound signature. 

The DACportable takes all the great points of the previous CEntrance portable range from the Hifi-M8 to the Mini-M8 and the more recent Hifi-Skyn and re-imagined them in a smaller foot print.


Keeping the Hifi-M8 power and hard EQ switches, the portability of the Mini-M8 and its friendliness towards IEMs, added the new AMP Extreme(TM) of the Hifi-Skyn and made it universal in its usage with Mac, PC, Android and iOS.

 

Though a bit chunky due its height, the overall size is well within acceptable parameters.


With a solid build and silky finish of the scratch-resistant, lightweight anodized aluminum it is easy on the eyes and feels robust in ones hands.

 

The Amp Extreme (TM) has oodles of power to drive most headphones to the users satisfaction.

 

With my sensitive Campfire Audio Andromeda with no music playing on gain 1 there is virtually no hiss. Very near a black back ground.

 

Whilst the DACportable retains the CEntrance in-house sound signature, it appears to my ears to be a lighter, clearer and more detailed product. It loses a little of the warmth that some of the earlier CEntrance products` had but retains the power and fullness of them.

 

I found the DACportable overall to be an excellent performer on all points, this is my favorite CEntrance product release so far. CEntrance has taken all that is good from their earlier products and folded it into this smaller package.

 


 


http://www.centrance.com/products/dacportable/

Thank you again to CEntrance for sending Head pie the DACportable for review

 

regards
-expatinjapan


Edited by ExpatinJapan - 9/15/16 at 6:07pm
post #37 of 82

Has anyone compared DACportable with DACport HD?


Edited by ninaraduga - 9/17/16 at 10:39pm
post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninaraduga View Post
 

Has anyone compared DACportable with DACport HD?


Working on it very soon.

post #39 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninaraduga View Post
 

Has anyone compared DACportable with DACport HD?


So far, I've had only a few hours of listening to the two devices with only three different headphones (HD600, V-MODA M-100, HiFiMan Edition S), and with neither amp burned in.  I'm only using it right now on a maxed out retina Macbook Pro 15".

 

I'd say the biggest difference is that the DACportable has a stronger foundation in the low end than the DACport HD, followed by a slightly larger more open sound.  I have only spent a couple of hours listening to the DACportable so far, and I'm trying to put some hours on both amps to make sure nothing changes with use. I had to replace my DACport HD recently, when my original one was stolen from my backpack a while back, so it's pretty fresh too.

 

Now, having said that, you should know that the DACportable isn't a bass heavy amp per se (nor dark/bright at the other end), so it continues the CEntrance theme of "balanced and neutral".  But it seems like it has more reserves to draw from, although not as much as the full-size HiFi-M8 that I've been using exclusively for the past year for trans-portable use with headphones and IEM.  I do occasionally sprinkle in the Encore mDAC when I need a very small iPhone DAC/amp with it's own built-in battery.  So for me, the plan is to see if the DACportable can replace the mDAC as my go-to very small iPhone DAC/amp when the HiFi-M8 was too big.  But I'm not sure that it will replace my HiFi-M8 as my primary DAC/amp that I'll travel with, yet.

 

The DACport HD is not bad with HD600 but the DACportable drives them a bit better, with more authority and presence.  Both will not change the slightly mid-forward character of the HD600 when driven with a small amp, as they really blossom with a stronger desktop amp like my Eddie Current ZDT and CEntrance DACmini.  

 

With V-MODA M-100 portable closed headphones the DACport HD is an excellent match for the phone's strong deep bass that's seen with almost any amp, but giving them additional air, detail, and space that you'd not expect from a tiny DAC/amp; while the main thing the DACportable adds over the DACportHD with the V-MODA is a little more punch and authority. The sound is very impressive with the extra power.  So of course with the DACmini desktop amp the M-100 turn into OMG!

 

With the HiFiMan Edition S open/closed portable headphone system in open mode (the best way to listen), the DACportable is the clear winner as the DACport HD sounds a bit thinner and mid-forward with these headphones.  I find the Edition S to be somewhat picky about what I use to drive them, and while they lean towards the HD600 sound character at times they have a smaller soundstage that comes forward even more with some amps - then they can get a little congested sounding.  

 

The DACportable is a definite upgrade over the iPhone or DACport HD when using the HiFiMan Edition S, HD600, or M-100, but it's the biggest upgrade with the Edition S and HD600.  The DACport HD is a definite upgrade with the HD600 and M-100, but with the HiFiMan Edition S I may prefer the iPhone 6s+ headphone jack over the DACport HD, as the phones were designed to be used. They just don't have the right synergy, but with everything else the DACport HD was an upgrade. 

 

I'll have more impressions over the next few days and couple of weeks, and will try to combine them into a complete review in the review section before RMAF in October if possible.  I need to spend some time with my HD800, HiFiMan HE560/1000, LCD-2, and a multitude of IEM.  Note - I have not bought any DSD music, as I didn't see a need vs CD rips and 24/96 ALAC downloads.

 

If you need to make the decision sooner, and it's between the DACport HD and DACportable for a very small DAC/amp, then I'd pick the DACportable hands down.


Edited by HeadphoneAddict - 9/22/16 at 1:58pm
post #40 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
 


So far, I've had only a few hours of listening to the two devices with only three different headphones (HD600, V-MODA M-100, HiFiMan Edition S), and with neither amp burned in.  I'm only using it right now on a maxed out retina Macbook Pro 15".

 

I'd say the biggest difference is that the DACportable has a stronger foundation in the low end than the DACport HD, followed by a slightly larger more open sound.  I have only spent a couple of hours listening to the DACportable so far, and I'm trying to put some hours on both amps to make sure nothing changes with use. I had to replace my DACport HD recently, when my original one was stolen from my backpack a while back, so it's pretty fresh too.

 

Now, having said that, you should know that the DACportable isn't a bass heavy amp per se (nor dark/bright at the other end), so it continues the CEntrance theme of "balanced and neutral".  But it seems like it has more reserves to draw from, although not as much as the full-size HiFi-M8 that I've been using exclusively for the past year for trans-portable use with headphones and IEM.  I do occasionally sprinkle in the Encore mDAC when I need a very small iPhone DAC/amp with it's own built-in battery.  So for me, the plan is to see if the DACportable can replace the mDAC as my go-to very small iPhone DAC/amp when the HiFi-M8 was too big.  But I'm not sure that it will replace my HiFi-M8 as my primary DAC/amp that I'll travel with, yet.

 

The DACport HD is not bad with HD600 but the DACportable drives them a bit better, with more authority and presence.  Both will not change the slightly mid-forward character of the HD600 when driven with a small amp, as they really blossom with a stronger desktop amp like my Eddie Current ZDT and CEntrance DACmini.  

 

With V-MODA M-100 portable closed headphones the DACport HD is an excellent match for the phone's strong deep bass that's seen with almost any amp, but giving them additional air, detail, and space that you'd not expect from a tiny DAC/amp; while the main thing the DACportable adds over the DACportHD with the V-MODA is a little more punch and authority. The sound is very impressive with the extra power.  So of course with the DACmini desktop amp the M-100 turn into OMG!

 

With the HiFiMan Edition S open/closed portable headphone system in open mode (the best way to listen), the DACportable is the clear winner as the DACport HD sounds a bit thinner and mid-forward with these headphones.  I find the Edition S to be somewhat picky about what I use to drive them, and while they lean towards the HD600 sound character at times they have a smaller soundstage that comes forward even more with some amps - then they can get a little congested sounding.  

 

The DACportable is a definite upgrade over the iPhone or DACport HD when using the HiFiMan Edition S, HD600, or M-100, but it's the biggest upgrade with the Edition S and HD600.  The DACport HD is a definite upgrade with the HD600 and M-100, but with the HiFiMan Edition S I may prefer the iPhone 6s+ headphone jack over the DACport HD, as the phones were designed to be used. They just don't have the right synergy, but with everything else the DACport HD was an upgrade. 

 

I'll have more impressions over the next few days and couple of weeks, and will try to combine them into a complete review in the review section before RMAF in October if possible.  I need to spend some time with my HD800, HiFiMan HE560/1000, LCD-2, and a multitude of IEM.  Note - I have not bought any DSD music, as I didn't see a need vs CD rips and 24/96 ALAC downloads.

 

If you need to make the decision sooner, and it's between the DACport HD and DACportable for a very small DAC/amp, then I'd pick the DACportable hands down.

GREAT job Larry!!!!

 

Been LOVIn' it - and workin' on  new Mike Drop at OccupyHifi gonna mention it.

Then full review.

 

But you NAILED it man!

I've been so busy lovin' music through the thing and new cans I haven't sat down to write about the damn thing!

Michael's psyched about this - and he should be.

 

Yeah - I said recently if you're in the market for an iDevice/Android battery Amp/DAC - and the budgets around this - just pull the damn trigger!!

 

    

post #41 of 82
64004abd4b8f41c3259435cfe897842e.jpg

CEntrance DACportable and Meze Neo 11
post #42 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninaraduga View Post
 

Has anyone compared DACportable with DACport HD?


I have both.  As others have said, the portable has more oomph.  The big difference for me is that the DACport HD gets VERY hot.  The DACportable does not.

post #43 of 82

How does this perform in the line out section. I have read both slim and dacport HD not doing well as a line out option?

Does this have a mid gain option like Skyn? I'm thinking about pulling the trigger if it does well in that section as I use my home stereo system with Hifi Skyn and it works very well.

post #44 of 82
Thread Starter 

I'll agree that the DACportable seems to have more power in reserve than the DACport HD. But not everyone needs it.  The DACport has plenty of power for many different headphones.  The two devices' sound signatures are quite similar.

 

Larger factors that would sway someone to one or the other are: the battery in the DACportable making it usable with a portable device/phone ; and the sound-shaping controls (bass and treble boost) of the DACportable.

 

For me, the versatility, portability and stellar sound make the DACportable a screaming bargain.  Go ahead and listen to it head to head against a Mojo and try to justify the price difference. I dare you!

post #45 of 82

I bought the HD before the DAC portable.  If I were deciding between the two now, I would buy the DACportable for the reasons JerseyD mentioned.  I should add that CEntrance's support is excellent.  I was fortunate to be one of the early birds in their Indiegogo campaign for the portable, and had issues getting the correct driver through their website.  The president of the company responded personally and copied me on his emails to two of their employees to resolve the issue.  They resolved it quickly and apologized for the inconvenience.  I thought that was really nice.

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