CEntrance Mini-M8

CEntrance Mini-M8

Average User Rating:
5/5,
  • Mini-M8 (pronounced: "mini-mate") is thinner and lighter than our best-selling HiFi-M8, making it our most portable DAC/Amp with the longest battery life. Yet, despite its slimmer size Mini-M8 packs additional features, such as four inputs, DSD playback and more!

    Mini-M8 is ideally suited for driving IEM headphones. Our flagship HiFi-M8 continues to be our most powerful amp -- it drives the most challenging over-head cans in the world. But if you prefer IEM listening, you don't need all that power -- and then Mini-M8 is for you!

    Mini-M8 features a laptop input with 24-bit/192kHz asynchronous USB interface, an iPhone/iPad/iPod input compatible with both 30-pin and lightning-based devices, a SPDIF optical, and a SPDIF coaxial input. That's four inputs in total! This unheard-of flexibility allows you to connect your Mini-M8 to any Digital Audio Player and be confident that your amp remains future-proof, even if you change DAPs later.

    With its unique combination of sound quality, portability, and function, Mini-M8 sets you apart to experience Audiophile sound anywhere you are. Reclaim your freedom from the confines of a home system -- experience your music anywhere.

Recent User Reviews

  1. cleg
    5.0/5,
    "Gorgeous DAC/amp for you IEMs"
    Pros - incredible transparency, natural and musical sound, DSD support, battery life
    Cons - I'd like other socket for balanced output and a little lower price

    I was really surprised, that there is no reviews of CEntrance Mini-M8 on Head-Fi, it's really unusual, because its "elder brother" HiFi-M8 worthily posses #11 in Head-Fi's DAC/amp list. I definitely like original HiFi-M8, despite its big size, it is a real masterpiece of electronics art. HiFi-M8 is a real powerhouse, able to deliver up to 1.4 watts of exceptional quality sound to your headphones.

    Downside of it's power is pretty big size, weight and not-so-impressive battery life time. That's why, CEntrance came out with newer, updated model called Mini-M8.


    There is not much technical specifications available for Mini-M8, here is info from it's box.

    • Resolution: 16/24 bits
    • Sample Rate: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.2, 192 KHz
    • USB Audio: asynchronous
    • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
    • THD+N: 0.004%
    • Output power: 165 mW per channel from balanced output
    • DC Power: +9…+20V DC (2A)
    • Dimensions: 127 mm × 80 mm × 22 mm

    I don't know much details about DAC/amp chips used in Mini-M8, because CEntrance always preferred not to disclose this information, but I really don't care much. Of course, it's very interesting to know what is inside of particular device, but I definitely can live without it. Moreover, it helps to make less biased judgment about sound.


    Mini-M8 is priced same $700 as it's bigger brother because it offers same quality of sound (with adjustment for lower power) and some new features: DSD support, longer life time (about 11 hours versus about 6 hours for HiFi-M8) and fully balanced amplifier. Also, Mini-M8 is 33% thinner then Bigger-M8, so it's much more portable, even stacked with your sound source.

    Mini-M8's box is plain simple. Outer box is black, with different information printed on it, inside there is "main" box, from thick white cardboard. In this box you'll get: M8 itself, two rubber bands for attaching Mini to your phone or DAP, huge power adapter (bigger then M8 itself), power cord (always with US plug), USB cable, carrying pouch and few papers (manual, adverts, etc.).


    Device itself have very minimalistic and simple look, it's rectangular, it's made of metal, and it's 99% black. There are two huge logos on both sides of M8, it's looking a little "too much", but CEntrance deserves this advertisement.

    On front panel you'll find optical and coaxial input, small wheel for volume control, 3-positional gain switch, 3.5 mm headphone out and 4-pin balanced headphone out (same as in RSA amps).


    On rear panel you'll see two USB sockets (for iOS devices and for PC), power socket, switch to select one of two ports or turn device off and 4 leds. One is on, when device is charging, and other three indicates battery status.

    Mini-M8 is pretty straightforward device, it's not trying to be Jack of all trades, so there is no line in or line out, to use it as pure amp or pure DAC, even optical S/PDIF, present in HiFi-M8, is gone. Mini-M8 is simple, it takes digital signal, and output it to headphones out. So, you'll need something to use as source, and here comes big Mini-M8's advantage: it have 4 digital inputs and can work with virtually every source: DAPs with coax and optical out, android phones, iOS devices, PCs, Macs. Big HiFi-M8 forces you to select only one: iOS USB input or S/PDIF input.


    I particularly like iOS compatibility. Just plug iPhone or iPad into M8's USB-A connector, and that's all, you're ready to experience absolutely new level of sound from your device. I've always felt some regret, that Apple left HiFi market and now making only average sounding gear, so CEntrance's "mates" was a real panacea for me. There are few good iOS players, able to play lossless records, so now, iOS can be good digital transport. BTW, new CEntrance project HiFi Skÿn looks really curious: iPhone case with decent DAC and amp. I've missed it's preorders, so now I'm waiting for mass sales to start.

    But let's turn back to Mini-M8.


    Main point of interest for any device is, of course, sound. Big HiFi-M8 was often called "wire with gain", because of it's incredibly detailed, clear, transparent and open sounding. Mini-M8 saved all this and even improve it.

    Unfortunately, Mini-M8 lost sound adjustment options of it's big brother, but "default" sound is really superb, so I can live with it.


    Mini-M8 still offers incredible transparency, without any coloration. You'll hear all recording's details, all instruments, every notes and smallest nuances of sound. New fully balanced amp improved channel separation, so stage is even wider, and sound layering (my favourite thing) is incredible. Reduced power is also great for listening with IEMs, Mini-M8 have blacker background, so music sounds reacher and more impressive. I've seen some complaints on Mini-M8s noise with sensitive IEMs, but I didn't hear it with all earphones I have.

    I don't know, is there any sense to describe Mini-M8's sound more, bass is bassy, it punches when necessary, it have great texture. Mids are detailed, emotional and resolving. Highs are airy, non-fatiguing and transparent. Like Apple's "it just works", Mini-M8 "it just plays". It leaves you eye-to-eye with your music, allowing your headphones to do their job in best possible way.


    Maybe I'm looking too excited with Mini-M8, but honestly, I am :) I'm trying more and more new earphones, and discovering their full potential. My most favourite combo now is with Dunu's Titan 1, it offers great resolution, and nice sound with small hint of aggression, perfect for rock and heavy metal. Also it plays nice with new Kennerton Algiz, giving smooth and very musical representation, perfect for jazz and vocals.

    Despite reduced power, Mini-M8 is good with not power-hungry cans, so don't think that it's an IEM-only device. But if your prefer something with 250+Ω or like plannars, big M8 are waiting for you! I've made my choice, and now I have them both.


    I'll summarise differences for convenience.

    Reasons to buy HiFi-M8: power hungry cans, bass/treble adjustment, output impedance selector, optical S/PDIF out
    Reasons to buy Mini-M8: smaller, longer battery life, fully balanced amplifier, DSD support, 4 digital inputs.

    And one more thing! When plugged to power source, Mini-M8 will charge connected iPhone, it's really a touching care.

    P.S. As usual, I've made a small video, showing Mini in real life.

User Comments

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Cover Image

joe
1997380803_Mini-M8-front-700.jpg

Quick Stats

CEntrance Mini-M8, 1 votes
Author:
joe
Category:
Portable Amps
Views:
30
Images:
1
Reviews:
1
Comments:
0
Average User Rating:
5/5, 1 vote

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