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<b>Specifications</b><br /> <br /> Output Power: -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω / -108dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω<br /> Frequency Response: 20-30000Hz(-0.15dB)<br /> Distortion: 0.0004%<br /> S/N Ratio: +125dB SNR, +120dB DNR<br /> Supported Inputs:...

Audirect Beam

Rating:
4/5,
  • Specifications

    Output Power: -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω / -108dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω
    Frequency Response: 20-30000Hz(-0.15dB)
    Distortion: 0.0004%
    S/N Ratio: +125dB SNR, +120dB DNR
    Supported Inputs: PCM 16-32bit, 32-384KHz / DoP64, DoP128, Native DSD64/128/256
    DAC: ES9118 Sabre HiFi SoC
    I.R.: <1Ω
    Input Port: USB-C
    Output Port: 3.5mm
    Dimensions: 52x14x6mm
    Weight: 12g

Recent Reviews

  1. cqtek
    Lots of sound in very little space
    Written by cqtek
    Published Jan 5, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Completely flat and extensive frequency response, above 40 kHz.
    - Overall sound quality.
    - Very small size and weight.
    - Cable quality.
    Cons - Micro USB cable missing.
    - Looks like some specifications aren't real.
    - Sensitive function stick. Does not work with the same precision in all environments.
    - Absence of physical buttons for the volume on the front.
    Purchase link:

    https://penonaudio.com/audirect-beam-usb-dac.html

    Link to the Store:

    https://penonaudio.com/

    Presentation and personal preferences

    I've been an electronic technical engineer for 20 years. I studied that career because my great passion was Hi-Fi. But for more than 15 years I have been working as a programmer of production control systems based on artificial vision.

    The sound profile I like could be represented as ¬. I like bass (the sub bass above all), forward voices and soft trebles, but that provide a lot of clarity, separation and detail. I like the natural sound, full of air and nuances, as well as enjoying a great stage and three-dimensional recreation. I prefer the warm profile to V-profiles or mid-centric. And I run away from brilliant profiles.

    Specifications:
    • Output Power:
      • 114dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω.
      • 108dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω 1.1Vrms.
    • Frequency response:20-30000Hz(-0.15dB)
    • Distortion:0.0004%
    • S/N ratio:+125dB SNR, +120dB DNR
    • Input supports PCM:PCM 16-32bit, 32-384KHz
    • Input supports DSD:DoP64, DoP128, Native DSD64/128/256
    • D/A Chips:ES9118 SABRE HiFi SoC
    • I.R.<1Ω
    • Amplifier Chips:ES9118
    • Input port:USB-C
    • Output Port:3.5mm
    • Size (L/W/H):52x14x6mm
    • Weight:12g
    Packaging

    2018-12-19_20-07-08_.jpg 2018-12-19_20-07-35_.jpg 2018-12-19_20-07-55_.jpg 2018-12-19_20-09-16_.jpg

    Package Dimensions (H x W x D):
    • 130x145x21 mm
    Contents:
    • Beam
    • Type-C to type-c cable
    • Type-C to lightning cable
    • Type-C to USB cable
    • Instruction manual
    The dimensions of the packaging are very large for how small the product is, it certainly comes well protected. The package is opened like a book by using a magnetic cover. Inside, embedded in a cardboard box, is the Beam. Next to it, in another box, there are three sachets with each of the cables.
    There is no USB Type C to micro USB cable when many Smartphones still use that type of connector.

    Construction and design

    2018-12-19_20-14-05_.jpg

    The Beam is very small, you don't get the idea of its dimensions until you have it in your hands. It is extremely light although it is metallic. It is made up of two pieces assembled by 4 screws, which gives it even better strength and durability. The blue colour is very striking. All the written legends are white, as well as the logo of the brand.
    Headphone output is 3.5mm unbalanced.
    The USB input is type C.
    The connection cables have very good quality connectors, linked by very flexible tricolour braided cables.

    2018-12-19_20-15-29_.jpg

    To the left of the Beam there is a stick that offers two functions: volume (movement up or down), Play/Pause (push). The use as a push button (Play/Pause functions) is fast and precise. On the other hand, the use as a volume does not respond quickly in Windows: it must be kept pressed upwards to increase the volume or downwards to decrease it. Both operations respond slowly and the volume jumps are considerable. However used with my Android mobile, both functions are immediate. I have only noticed that the volume jumps are a little big, although this detail may depend on the Smartphone itself.

    Ergonomics, connectivity

    Due to the size of the Beam, it fits anywhere. I still can't find the ergonomic function stick, I would have preferred fixed buttons.

    My smartphone has micro-USB, whose cable is not included, so you need to buy another cable to connect it.
    I managed to use the Beam with my smartphone using the Hiby Music app.

    For the connectivity with the PC with Windows was necessary the installation of a driver that can be downloaded from the web:

    http://www.audirect.cc/faq

    Once installed and after restarting the system, I ran Foobar2000. The reproduction was not fluent using the driver ASIO Bravo-HD (stock), however using ASIO4ALL 2 I managed to solve the reproduction problems.

    2018-12-19_20-16-16_.jpg

    Measurements

    I measured the output of the Beam using a Fluke digital oscilloscope, using pure tones encoded in FLAC with a resolution of 24 bits and a sampling frequency of 96 kHz, making a frequency sweep between 20 Hz to 46 kHz. As a player I have used the Foobar2000 in my Windows PC, using the Asio4All driver. With these measurements, it has become clear that the Beam meets the Hi-Res specifications, because it is able to reproduce without problems tones above even 40 kHz.

    The measurements have been taken at the maximum possible volume without visible distortion being observed in the reproduced waves. Fixed resistors of 32 Ohms, 100 Ohms and 320 Ohms were used as loads.

    The linearity of the frequency response between 20 Hz and 20Khz, the range defined as audible, is almost perfect, the difference is only a few millivolts. Above that frequency, the drop is somewhat higher, but even up to 30 kHz the linearity is still excellent.

    There is a feature in the Beam's voltage delivery: the higher the connected load, the higher the voltage delivered. You might think this fact is due to a high output impedance, but in my opinion I think it's some kind of "autogain" system. Even so, in the specifications it says that the Beam is capable of delivering 2V at 600 Ohms. This time I do not have loads with that resistance, but seeing that for 320 Ohms is only capable of delivering less than 1.15V, it is difficult to reach that number.

    As can be seen in the following graph, the Beam delivers 0.71V to 32 Ohms, 0.95V to 100 Ohms and 1.14V to 320 Ohms.

    Audiodirect Beam.png

    Sound

    The sound of the Beam has several very marked characteristics, in my opinion: the sound produced is totally flat, there is no doubt about it after the previous graphic. There is no enhancement or recession in any of the audible frequencies.

    On the other hand, its sound is quite wide, very ethereal and zenithal. It provides a lot of separation and depth, especially to the bass. That's why I find its sound with a certain warmth.

    Another characteristic is the softness of the sound. Compared to the Fiio Q1 Mk1, whose response is also quite flat, the highs are less penetrating and hard. In the Beam, the music is more harmonious and delicate, while in the Q1 it is more direct and aggressive. Following the comparison with the Q1, I haven't missed anything in the bass, neither using IEMs nor closed headphones, like the SoundMagic HP150. And as I said before, I'm amazed at how it's able to go down and deliver power to the sub-bass without turning pale.

    In other aspects where the softness of the Beam is reflected, it is in the sibilances, even in the songs more susceptible to them, they are more subtle than in Q1.

    On the other hand, the Beam has some electronic features that must be taken into account, as it can alter the sound of the connected headphones. Earlier I talked about the possibility that the Beam has some "autogain" circuit. Maybe this feature, or maybe it is that the output impedance is not less than 1 Ohms, as specified in the box, modifies the frequency response of some connected headphones. I've checked sensitive sound differences in some IEMs in the comparisons between the Beam and the Q1 (whose output impedance is proven to be less than 1). While with others, the differences have only been due to the change of source.

    2018-12-19_20-16-41_.jpg

    Conclusion

    The Audiodirect Beam is a remarkable product. It is excellent in size, weight and functionality.

    The use is not just perfect in all scenarios: the stick is sensitive and its operation is not the same on PC as with the smartphone.

    I recommend it for use with IEMs or headphones with low/medium impedance and/or high sensitivity, both on PCs and Smartphones, whose audio output is not very adequate.

    The sound is very good, starting from a magnificent and flat frequency response, the scene is wide and deep, the separation is noticeable and the presentation is smooth and musical. I find no substantial differences, used with the PC or with the smartphone.

    The accessories are good, quality and very useful, just miss another cable with micro USB connector.
    On the negative side, the specifications do not seem to be 100% met.

    2018-12-19_20-17-34_.jpg

    Headphones used during analysis
    • NiceHCK M6
    • 1More Triple Driver
    • Dunu DN-1000
    • Fiio FH1
    • SoundMagic HP150
    Ratings
    • Construction: 90
    • Comfort: 70
    • Accessories: 80
    • Sound: 90
    • Quality/price: 80
  2. antdroid
    Good Detail but Missing Low End Performance
    Written by antdroid
    Published Dec 27, 2018
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Good detail
    Good mid and treble performance
    High quality cables
    Cons - Not a fan of the control stick
    Missing low end response
    [​IMG]

    The Audirect Beam is a new USB-C DAC/Amp that works on computers and mobile devices like Android phones and tablets. This was provided to me for review purposes by Linsoul Tech. I actually was not expecting this item to arrive in my last shipment of stuff, but it came.

    I thought it was quite interesting and finally have had time to try it out.

    First off, let's get some specs out of the way.

    The minature DAC features the ESS Sabre ES9118 DAC and claims to deliver up to 125dB signal-to-noise ratio and up to -114dB Total Harmonic Distortion. Pretty impressive numbers, and similar to what you'd see in ESS brochures. Finally, the output power is the real seller here, as it states it can provide up to 2VRms into 600Ohms.


    Background/Experience:

    I've owned a few of these type of devices in the past, but none of them have really stuck with me, despite the lost of the 3.5mm headphone jack on my primary phone devices. I've tried cheap stuff from Fiio like the K1 to the SMSL devices to the higher end Sabaj DA3.

    All of these devices do their job as intended but have always had one big issue for me and that is the power. Yes, many of them have weak power but I'm talking more about power consumption. These do not have batteries in them, so powering them does drain your device. This isn't a big problem on a computer where it's already powered to an outlet, but using it on a mobile device can be a burden on the device's battery.

    Since it uses USB-C, the mobile device can't charge at the same time, unless you carry around a mobile hub with you that has USB Power Passthrough (I actually do have a couple of these...).

    So, none of them really fit the bill for me. But I'm still interested in hearing how this one works.

    I've had a little more luck with the battery-powered ones like the Fiio Q1/Q1 Mk 2 and the ES100 Bluetooth/USB Amp. They work well and can power themselves, though not as easy to carry around as these tiny little "dongles." (I hate that term!)


    [​IMG]



    Build and Accessories:

    The device is made out of lightweight aluminum and is quite small. It's about the same size as the SMSL and Sabaj units I've tried in the past and slimmer than the popular AudioQuest Dragonfly series.

    The left side of the device features a very odd springy toggle that controls source volume and when pressed in, controls Play/Pause. This is a unique look, and I must say, I do not like it at all. It's very easy to trigger volume up and down and even more likely to accidentally pause music.

    The device does come with a nice selection of OTG cables though. It includes a USB-A to USB-C, USB-C to USB-C, and a Lightning to USB-C cable for use with your computer, android, and iOS devices. The cables are well designed and attractive, more so than the ones that came with my FiiO Q1 Mk2.


    Sound/Usability:

    I've tried this device with my computer as well as an Android device. I have not tried it on my iPad yet. Pairing it with these devices was as simple as plug and play. Both my Windows 10 laptop and my Android Pie phone was able to recognize and switch over to it immediately and I didn't miss a beat.

    Volume on this device is plenty. There's a lot of spare headroom even on my Hifiman HE560 planar over-ear headphone. I originally plugged the Unique Melody ME1 IEM into it and was a bit shocked at how loud it sounded with my Windows volume down at 8.

    I then tried plugging in the Campfire Orion, which I have on loan from Headphones.com. The Campfire IEM is notoriously sensitive to hiss and noise, and I am happy to report that the Audirect Beam does not have any noticeable noise at all with the Orion.

    Finally, I gave it a good listen through some of my playlists. This IEM has a similar sound to what I find a lot of ESS Sabre DACs sound like -- very detailed, analytical and neutral/cold. The treble is accentuated on these and as mentioned, sound very clean and detailed. What I found missing right off the bat was the low end presence. It lacked bass.

    I threw on a test track, Massive Attack's Unfinished Symphony, slapped on my HE560 and didn't feel overwhelmed with rumbling extension. The bass was very clean, but was missing the oomph I expect. Just to make myself assured, I unplugged the headphones and plugged it back into the Monolith THX-AAA amp on my desk and played the same track at a similar (normalized) volume and I could feel the energy of the opening bit of that track and some rumble around my ear pads. It's that sensation I was missing in the Beam.

    So just to compare, I decided to plug the headphone into my laptop directly. Now, this isn't as crazy as you think. My MSI laptop actually features an ESS Sabre DAC/Amp system on-board, which was a selling point for me. It has a surprising amount of detail and power to drive most headphones well. With the HE560, again, I felt the low end rumble that was missing with the Beam. It wasn't quite the same as what I heard on a full blown THX-AAA amp with balanced connection, but it was in-between what I had heard on the Beam and desktop amp. My laptop wins.



    [​IMG]


    Wrap-Up

    I unfortunately do not have my other portable dac/amps with me to test with as they are on loan with others, but from memory, I feel like the Beam excels in detail retrieval and clarity, while missing low end performance.

    The whole set comes in at $99 and is actually a solid choice based on sound quality and package contents. I did not like the controls however, and that's a big thing for a device like this. The missing bass quantity (not quality), is also another strike.

    So, in the end, I find that this is a perplexing one to review. It does a lot of things very well. It does a couple important things very average to mediocre. I'll just put it at that.


    Links

    Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Audirect-Portable-Earphone-Amplifier-Android/dp/B07HP3719J
  3. IryxBRO
    AUDIRECT BEAM — ultra-portable USB DAC
    Written by IryxBRO
    Published Dec 14, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - flawless, easy to use, convenient controls, small, fairly balanced sound
    Cons - no microUSB->microUSB adapter
    Finally there is something else rather than IEMs to talk about. IEMs are good piece of technology but some rest is required while running out of words to describe the next pair. Today we would jump to another trending stuff — external ultra-portable DAC&AMP which purpose is to pump the sound quality of a smartphone, laptop or tablet. But not only that — it can also turn back the time and equip your device with beloved warm, tube-like :) analog 3.5mm audio jack, if you’ve happened to miss that one!

    The topic of our review today is AUDIRECT BEAM ultra-portable USB DAC&AMP — this is the second product of this type in AUDIRECT lineup after Whistle. This brand has 5 years experience in R&D of different video-audio appliance, mostly known for their successful HDX1000 and BD1 mediaplayers. Now they have decided to turn their sight at ultra-portable DACs due to the latest trend of many popular smartphone makers to abandon 3.5mm audio jacks (which is sad, but true). The idea is not new, but why not having one more option to bring 3.5mm back…

    [​IMG]

    AUDIRECT BEAM technical specifications:
    • Output Power:
      • -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms | 600Ω
      • -108dB THD+N, 49mW | 32Ω 1.1Vrms, up to 1.1Vrms
    • Frequency response: 20-30000Hz (-0.15dB)
    • Distortion: 0.0004%
    • S/N ratio: +125dB SNR, +120dB DNR
    • Input supports PCM: PCM 16-32bit/32-384KHz
    • Input supports DSD: DoP64/128, Native DSD64/128/256
    • DAC Chip: ES9118 SABRE HiFi SoC
    • AMP Chip: ES9118
    • I.R.: <1Ω
    • Inputs: USB-C
    • Outputs: 3.5mm
    • Dimensions: LxWxH: 52x14x6mm
    • Weight: 12g
    UPDATE: just got to know that AUDIRECT BEAM has passed HiRES certification (JAS) and now would have HiRES sticker on it

    ES9118 DAC chip belongs to SABRE HIFI grade SoC which integrates DAC with a proprietary ESS headphone amplifier and output switch. Some additional infromation from the official website:

    «ES9118 HiFi SoC leverages the company’s patented 32-bit HyperStream architecture to deliver up to 125 dB SNR and -112 dB Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N) ensuring audiophile quality sound all the way to the headphones. It also supports the industry’s most popular high resolution and lossless audio formats including FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV»

    [​IMG]

    Among other features there are:
    • Enough power to drive up to 300Ω earphones
    • Physical jog dial with volume +|- and PLAY|PAUSE funсtions
    • OFC, silver-coated copper wires
    • No battery inside, power over USB
    • Compatible with iOS/Mac/Win10/Android operation system
    Packaging, build quality and design:

    Didn’t expect to see such a small device in a such a large box.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, it is neat and stiff enough to protect all the contents. AUDIRECT logo at the front and BEAM description at the back. Accessories are packed in a separate box.

    [​IMG]

    Box contents:
    • BEAM DAC
    • microUSB typeC -> USB adapter cable
    • microUSB typeC -> microUSB typeC adapter cable
    • microUSB typeC -> Lightning adapter cable
    [​IMG]

    Kind of embarassing that there is no microUSB typeC -> microUSB cable included… Just another adapter but covering much more smartphones, potentially. We understand that most of the smartphones running Android OS with no 3.5mm audio output are already equipped with USB typeC port but it doesn’t mean that this DAC won’t be used to upgrade the sound quality even if there is one… Come on, AUDIRECT, make everyone happy and don’t create artificial limitations to various usage scenarios!

    [​IMG]

    This little DAC is made of 2 pieces of aluminum — top and bottom covers with four screws holding the whole structure as one piece. Quality of shell crafting is decent. Parts are perfectly aligned. All labels and indicators are neat.

    [​IMG]

    There are two small LEDs located at the front to indicate current stream type (PCM or DSD). Spring loaded VOLUME up|down dial is combined with PLAY|PAUSE function and located on the left edge. Button is convenient to use and have a good grip. Top edge has microUSB typeC input and bottom edge contains only 3.5mm audio output. No other elements and controls.

    [​IMG]

    BEAM doesn’t have the battery inside and totally power-dependent of the source device. We’d say that this is more proper way rather than having another device that should be charged independently and would have more weight.

    Usage scenarios:

    [​IMG]

    We think that this device would be useful in the next scenarios:
    1. Adding 3.5mm audio output to a smartphone|laptop|tablet if there isn’t one
    Scenario 1 is obvious — if there is not 3.5mm output and you have good headphones with 3.5mm jack BEAM would be a good choice in terms of sound quality characteristics. No doubt that there are other ultra-portable DACs available to solve the same issue but BEAM is another good option.

    2. Upgrading sound quality of a smartphone|laptop|tablet not regarding whether there is native 3.5mm audio output or not.

    This implies that you are not satisfied with the audio quality of your device or|and that is BEAM is surerior in this respect. There are some capable smarphones out there nowadays that would be directly competing, but only few. Same goes for the laptops. Tablets are usually left aside when it comes to audio quality — good that they can play sound at all :) In our case it is Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X smartphone with low power&low quality sound processing and Lenovo Y500 laptop with regular integrated IntelHD sound card. So, we would opt to use external USB DAC based on more capable DAC&AMP chips to increase the audio quality.

    [​IMG]

    3. Adding some juice when driving higher loads (headphones with higher impedance)

    Scenario 3 is the addition to either scenario 1 or 2. Headphones with higher impedance would require more output power from a device to be driven to a better sound quality level in terms of dynamics, amplitude, volume, etc. Regular smartphones or tablets would usually give out ~30mW power while BEAM is capable of ~50mW @ 32Ω resulting in more volume and more driving ability.

    4. Adding 32bit/384kHz and DSD/native DSD playback to a device

    Another addition to the previous ones but in terms of source device compatibility with various audio formats. Passing the stream to modern external DAC would remove some source limitations and allow you to listen to more sophisticated formats. For example, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X doesn’t want to eat DSD files unless you would connect external USB DAC. But even if it did — it would still be DSD over PCM and not DSD native.

    Getting it to work:

    AUDIRECT BEAM is a user-friendly device. Using it under Windows 10/MAC OS/iOS and Android is straight forward — just connect and it would be recognized by the system. In case of Windows 10 it should be hiliDAC (HS) . If Windows10 has not recognized this device or if you are still running Windows 7/8 there is an additional driver which can be found HERE. This driver seems to belong to ASIO family which is even better than system Windows10 driver but would result in larger audio lag. The next step in Windows environment would be going to recognized device options and selecting the maximum desired audio quality (right click on volume icon in tray -> sounds -> playback devices tab -> select the device -> properties -> additional -> select 24/32bit, 192/384kHz -> ok). Run some music player like Foobar2000 and pass the stream over WASAPI (push) or ASIO to BEAM DAC. No problems in our case.

    [​IMG]

    Using it with Android is even easier — just connect BEAM and run some audio player like HibyMusic. You can also set HibyMusic to use external DAC in «Exclusive HQ Audio mode» to get bit-perfect stream.

    Can’t tell anything about iOS or MAC OS — we don’t have any APPLE devices to test BEAM with.

    Sound quality:

    Tested with Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X, Lenovo Y500, Anew U1 IEMs

    [​IMG]

    Connected to smartphone:

    The differences in sound quality between bare 3.5mm audio output of Xiaomi smartphone and BEAM are apparent: better presence and bass extension, more powerful and full-bodied midbass, crispier and brighter treble together with better extension as well. Some of those differences are the result of better driving ability while others are due to more capable DAC/AMP SoC. Native smartphone audio output sounds thin, parts of the midbass dynamics is totally lost, deep bass sounds blurry and the treble is far too simple and limited. Therefore, concerning that BEAM is a little and lightweight device that doesn’t require charging — it is a good option for a smartphone to upgrade SQ and add the ability to play more formats even while on the go.

    [​IMG]

    Connected to laptop:

    Almost the same differences in sound here, although less emphasized. Laptop audio output is more powerful and can produce some good midbass dynamics with better extension of lower end but the crispness and extension of treble as well as overall resolution are still better when passing music through BEAM. Using ASIO instead of WASAPI should be capable of even better results but we would sacrifice that in favor of less audio lag which is vital while watching video content.

    Compared to Hidizs SONATA HD DAC cable:

    [​IMG]

    Hidizs Sonata HD cable is very similar device purpose-wise but very different in terms of design approach. It is even smaller, doesn’t have any controls or indicators and is not that capable when it comes to DSD or maximized bit depth. There are some major sound differences when compared to BEAM: Sonata can reach deeper bass levels but with less texturing, it emphasizes treble more and elevates upper mids. Moreover, lower mids are a bit thin and underpowered resulting in more apparent U-shaped tuning. It definitely has a brighter tonality and bit more power to drive higher loads. More prone to hissing, though. BEAM sounds more natural and balanced, with more even distribution of gains on lower and treble ranges. Midbass is rich and powerfull on both devices.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion:

    In our case AUDIRECT BEAM served its purpose very well. It is a clear win over intergrated audio interfaces in our smartphone|laptop and really managed to increase its sound quality with a better driving ability and more capable DAC element base. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of revelation but is able to normalize frequency gain levels, increase instrument separation and add more resolution. Sound is fairly balanced and detailed to provide good listening experience while at home or on the go. It also did provide our smartphone with the ability to play more advanced audio formats like DSD (native) together with higher bit depth and sampling frequencies of FLAC files. Furthermore, BEAM is user-friendy, doesn’t require charging, has the convenient formfactor to be carried and used in a pocket, free of software and hardware issues. Consequently, all minor and major characteristics of AUDIRECT BEAM are looking implemented right as expected and this little device could be recommended for anyone who wants some more juice and quality of sound or simply misses 3.5mm audio output.

    AUDIRECT BEAM is available for purchase at PenonAudio store
  4. Sebilion
    Neutral sound, less bass than expected
    Written by Sebilion
    Published Dec 13, 2018
    3.0/5,
    Pros - compact, sturdy cables, good mids and highs. A nice selection of colours
    Cons - lack in bass and lower end. Volume and frequency feel like it is source dependent.
    I am not a professional reviewer, so this is just a simple review to share my experience with everyone.
    I used different genres of music from rock to pop, folk and metal.
    I was expecting more from this. The highs and mids are natural and are not recessed, which is good. When it comes to the lower end though things change, the bass is lacking.
    The DAC is very source depending as well, I can hear it differently with my Samsung s9 and differently with my LG g7.
    On my Samsung, I can hear the improvement on my magaosi k3 pro and because they are warm earphones the bass is still present and the overall experience is very nice, but on my BGVP DMG6, the bass is lacking quite a lot. On my LG bass is lacking regardless the earphones I am using. It will be perfect for someone who likes a neutral response, it is just not my cup of tea. Wish I knew the lack of bass before buying it.

    images

    1. 20181213_145056.jpg
    2. 20181213_145101.jpg
  5. ngoshawk
    Maybe all the ultra-portable dac/amp you need?
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Oct 16, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Small.
    Affordable.
    Plug-n-play.
    Provides a nice DAC as a replacement for your Smartphone.
    Plenty of power.
    Good sound quality, and again a good replacement for your Smartphone DAC.
    Cons - Volume is source dependent (see writings).
    Volume/play/pause all tied to one button.
    Treble may not suit some (not enough, but I'm good with it).
    Not much else.
    Audirect Beam: Maybe all the ultra-portable dac/amp you need? $99USD

    [​IMG]

    Audirect website: http://www.audirect.cc/



    I want to thank Wood Lui for his generous offer in making the Audirect Beam available for review. All of the words are mine, and all we mutually expect is an open honest review.

    Chock full of details, the Beam is a really nice DAC following in the footsteps of more expensive offerings such as the Audioquest Dragonfly, and future offerings from FiiO. An extremely hard spot to be in, Audirect jumped in with both feet, and I can openly admit that the Beam is worthy of consideration in the conversation regarding the above companies. An excellent start.

    Easy to use, plug and play and with the included connectors for USB-C/USB, USB-C/USB-C and USB-C/lightning, you can connect to anything short of the older USB connections. I noticed an immediate improvement when hooked to my iPhone X, bypassing the X’s DAC. Volume control was easy (but took two clicks on the Beam to register one “notch” on the X. Play/pause and moving the volume up/down did cross paths a bit and I would pause instead of raising the volume. But, with care one can easily work that out.

    Hooked to my Shanling M3s, I had complete control of the DAP, with good results. Again, the issue was with the volume increments, as to raise/lower volume on the M3s one notch required seven, yes 7 up clicks on the Beam. While not entirely tiring as I simply kept the volume on the M3s right at the point of change, to raise the volume a good bit (or lower…) required either multiple clicks on the Beam or utilize the volume pot on the Shanling. Again, the sound was good, taming the somewhat warm sound of the M3s to a more neutral presence. Good stuff, indeed.

    So far this is one very nice little critter!

    [​IMG]

    Specs from their website:

    Beam 規格書Specifications

    Using the critically acclaimed ESS patented 32-bit HyperStream® DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the ES9118 delivers up to 125dB SNR and –114dB THD+N, a performance level that will satisfy the most demanding audio enthusiasts.

    THD Compensation, Minimize distortion from external PCB components and layout


    參數(Specifications)
    指標(Data)

    輸出功率(Output Power)
    -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω
    -108dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω
    高達 1.1Vrms,up to 1.1Vrms

    頻率響應(Frequency response)20-30000Hz(-0.15dB)

    失真度(Distortion)0.0004%

    信噪比(S/N ratio)+125dB SNR, +120dB DNR

    支持PCM採樣頻率(input supports PCM)PCM 16-32bit, 32-384KHz

    支持DSD規格(input supports DSD)DoP64, DoP128, Native DSD64/128/256

    D/A轉換芯片(D/A Chips)ES9118 SABRE HiFi SoC

    內阻 I.R. <1Ω

    耳放芯片(Amplifier Chips)ES9118

    輸入接口 (Input port) USB-C

    輸出端口(Output Port) 3.5mm

    長x寬x高(L W H)52x14x6mm

    淨重(Weight)12g

    [​IMG]

    Songs used:



    Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:

    REM-Losing My Religion
    Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
    Coldplay-A Message
    Coldplay-White Shadows
    Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
    Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
    twenty one pilots-Trees
    twenty one pilots-Car Radio
    twenty one pilots-Heathens
    Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
    Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
    Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
    Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
    Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
    Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
    Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado


    Comparison equipment:

    Advanced Sound GT3
    KZ AS10
    Kinera iDun
    AAW-Shozy Hibiki MK2

    MacBook Pro (used the most along with the M3s)
    iPhone X (used the most along with the other two mentioned, so about 1/3 each)
    Shanling M3s (used the most along with the MBP)
    Aune M1s
    QP2R

    [​IMG]

    *Most of my time was bouncing between the three in parenthesis above, but I did hook the Beam to the Aune M1s briefly for comparative purposes…and it was good. There was a point in which there were diminishing returns, and that came somewhere between the M3s and M1s. Still good, but less beneficial. I also hooked the Beam to the QP2R, but I had gone past the point of diminishing returns, so no more mention of that pair is needed (this is not a slight of the Beam, just that the QP2R is SO good).



    Fit-N-Finish/Unboxing:



    [​IMG]



    Coming in a flat magnetic flapped box, you hearken back to the day when you had a see-through window to the toy of your purchase. And I felt that way as I looked at the box. Simple, straightforward, Audirect allowed the box the draws one’s attention towards the critter who held point. I like simplicity and less packaging. This fit the bill, with just a smidge too much packaging for me. But, it worked, and once inside you understand why there was that added space. The extra space was for the assortment of accessories, which are included. While not terribly much, the accessories do take up space, and that space was used to keep all the contents protected. Of that, I do approve.

    Inside you remove the Beam carefully on the left, and the connectivity cables on the right. Pulling the Type-C/Type-C connection I hooked into my MacBook Pro after trying on my iPhone X to gauge a quick comparison. Tidal through my MBP provides too much bass, but at this point it was to ascertain how the critter sounded quickly with many sources.

    [​IMG]

    Finish is good, with mostly solid matching of the halves. Good tactility resulted from a slight curve on the top right side, opposite the function button/toggle; of which there is one. But that single toggle is used for play/pause and up/down on the volume. This is where the biggest limitation lies in my mind for two reasons. One, it is quite easy to hit the pause feature as one raises/lowers the volume, especially on the go. And two, with each source used the volume movement was not consistent. One notch up/down on the Beam was one on the MBP, but the Beam was almost too powerful for the MBP. On the lowest volume setting I could tolerate it but not for too long.

    On the X, it was good, but two up/down pushes on the Beam equated to one notch on the X. Tolerable. Worst was the M3s, for there it took eight, yes EIGHT up/down numbers on the Shanling to equate to one volume adjustment on the Beam. In other words, for every eight numbers on the Shanling volume setting it equated to one on the Beam. Again tolerable, and I kept the adjustment to where one push up/down would trigger that raising/lowering of the volume by one notch on the Beam.

    The included cables are of good quality so banging around in one’s pocket with their smartphone could be tolerated. There was very little tangle as well. Overall build, feel and intangibles are what I would expect from something that cost $100. I am satisfied.

    [​IMG]

    Critical listening:

    Not having heard the Audioquest Dragonfly, I had to base my opinions off of other small dac/amps. But I feel that would be an unfair comparison for several reasons. First of course in my humble opinion would be price. The closest portable I have that comes close to this would be the iBasso PB3. And as a dedicated balanced amp, which cost over 2x the price in a different ballpark, and of different need. Second, to me is that this really isn’t a comparison about “portable” amps, but rather “micro-portable” dac/amps, which can be utilized to better one’s smartphone. And here, when considered singularly, the Beam succeeds wholeheartedly.

    That said, there has been some recent ridiculous commentary on Facebook regarding how if one “wastes” money on a DAP, you are missing the point because, and I quote, “my so-and-so smartphone is better than ANY DAP I have heard. Period!” The above convo degenerated into a who drives what comparison, which essentially became who was the bigger tool…as I said, ridiculous. To each his or her own and we should never fault one for their choices. It might be our place to educate and inform; but never judge one’s choices. At least outwardly. Sheesh, indeed…

    So, as I listened to the Beam on various sources, I did my best to simply compare it for what it was…a simple to use, straightforward DAC/AMP for ultra-portable use; especially with Smartphones. As such I hooked the Beam to my iPhone X, first. And sat back.

    [​IMG]

    Grabbing a single malt, pulling up Tidal Premium, hooked to the Advanced Sound Group GT3, I sat. And I listened. And I sat some more. Grabbing another single malt (that kind of day…), I popped on Aretha Franklin, for she had just passed on to that great gig in the sky. Good Lord, she was amazing. I could imagine her up there jamming with Ella, Janice, Jimmy, Stevie, Glenn, Tommy, Satchmo, Billy, JohnLee, Johnny, Frank, Bob, and Tom. Look those names up if you have to, but those are the true icons of North American music for the last century. And I am unabashedly promoting them. You could listen for days on any of them and Tidal (or Spotify) is the perfect outlet for them all with this combination.

    So, listening to the sweet melodiousness of Aretha all but brought me to tears. Part of it was for her and the music; but another aspect was because of how far we have come in the last five years. To understand that in five short years, we have come to the point of inclusion where for less than one Ben Franklin you could make your smartphone a quite fine musical device is astounding. Just astounding. Yet, there are still unbelievers out there. Some would harbor that their smartphone is enough. They need not more. I would respectfully state that until you give something of this nature a try you are: A. doing a disservice to your musical tastes and listening, and B. not getting enough out of your phone. To do without is something that you should not do.

    [​IMG]

    Moar words:

    So, for $99 USD what do you get? You get an eminently portable, versatile DAC/AMP, which easily hooks to any device I threw its way. And as such, the Beam does shine. I was immediately hooked upon first listen. The sound signature of my iPhone X turned from warm and slightly muddy, to warm and of a fuller nature. Detail became more prevalent. I could more easily discern the intricate notes of Coldplay’s A Message. When you can go from hearing the song, to hearing the breath taken between notes, I consider this a good sign. Santana’s Corazon Espinado sounds simply fabulous through the Beam. Better than the iPhone X yes, but you do reach a limit as to how far that improvement can go. Hooking the Beam up to something of higher level, such as the Shanling M3s can scale only so much. But going higher on the DAP food chain and you reach a point where the Beam does no good. Hooking the Beam to the QP2R, and you will actually lose benefit. This makes sense as you are hooking a $1200 DAP to a $99 DAC/AMP.

    No matter what I hooked the Beam to, up to about the mid-fi price point there was a benefit to having the Beam in the chain. I consider this a triumph of technology in our time. That is about the most I can say of a device. It works, and it works well. I have said this before and I will again, it just works. Providing an even near-natural sound, with good detail retrieval, the Beam also adds a smidge to the bass response of your source. Not muddy of course, but a decent addition to the lower end. Detail becomes cleaner when using sources with suspect audio-innards, such as less expensive smartphones.

    [​IMG]

    This is a good addition to your inexpensive source because it can provide that better amount of detail, as well as broaden the sound stage a bit. With good layering and instrumentation, the added amount of detail highlights what the Beam can do and do well.


    Finale:

    Well, it seems that no matter what I hooked to the Beam benefitted up to a certain level. The Beam is not meant to be a world beater. It isn’t. But, it IS meant to be positive influence on your smartphone as well as more affordable DAP’s, even your PC/Mac. Even with those minor niggles regarding the volume control, I would highly recommend this as a really nice addition to your system. It isn’t very often that one can take a truly portable amp with one and not have it be the center of attention (as in I HAVE AN AMP HOOKED TO MY PHONE, DO YOU???!!!). Yes there are alternatives, but I like to think that the Beam has brought down to the truly affordable level, what a portable amp (ultra-portable) can be for those who do not want to lug around their iFi Black Label (I truly love mine…) or worry about the cost of bringing their Chord Mojo (remember it?...) along. And here is the true genius of the Beam, portable, affordable and it sounds darn good in 85% of the situations in which I used it.

    I cannot think of a higher regard in which to end, the Perfect Sense as Roger Waters would say. Well done, Audirect and it has been my honor to have the Beam in house. I use it almost daily.

    I again want to thank Wood Liu for showing faith in the reviewers to provide an open honest review of his product. It is good, and I think you should really give the Audirect Beam a listen if you can.

    [​IMG]
      Sebilion and B9Scrambler like this.
    1. Sp12er3
      Was looking around for am ultra portable dac/Amp like this, but the Audioquest is a bit too up there locally... Interested by this one also, but then.. Jude rave about the Fiio BTR3 end my search and insta buy.

      It's a tad bigger than the other options sure, but the addition of mic, battery and Bluetooth is worth it~
      Sp12er3, Oct 17, 2018
    2. ngoshawk
      Glad you found something, which works. I too, would like to audition some of the others. There are many choices now. cheers
      ngoshawk, Oct 17, 2018
  6. Moonstar
    The Audirect Beam Review
    Written by Moonstar
    Published Sep 5, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great Sound (especially the midrange area),
    Good detail retrieval,
    Low to none hissing,
    Lots of OTG Cables (inclusive Apple lighting),
    Plug and Play capability for Android and IOS
    Cons - No battery means additional battery drain for the source
    The Audirect Beam Review



    About Audirect:

    Audirect is part of Shenzen Micronetwork Technology Co., Ltd. located in Shenzen – China and is engaged since more than 6 years in the development, production and sales of portable DAC’s and the Audirect Beam is the latest DAC / AMP of the company.

    Audirect Webpage: Audirect.cc



    [​IMG]



    Disclaimer:

    I would like to thank Audirect for providing me a sample of the Audirect Beam DAC/AMPfor review purposes. I am not affiliated with Audirect beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.

    PS: This review was originally posted on my Review Blog, which I want now to share with the Head-Fi community:

    Original Post: http://moonstarreviews.net/audirect-beam-review/



    Price:


    The MSRP Price for the Audirect Beam portable DAC/AMP is $99,00 USD

    Purchase Link: Audirect Beam & Accessories



    Introduction:

    The Audirect Beam DAC&AMP is a small very small sized Hi-Fi DAC and Headphone Amplifier created for people who are not satisfied with sound of their Phone, Table and onboard soundcard of their PC or Laptop.


    [​IMG]




    Package and Accessories:

    The device comes in a relative thin and small white card-box that sports the brand and model (Beam) name. There is also a small window where you can see the Beam without to open the box. This box is including the following items;

    • 1 pcs x Audirect Beam DAC&AMP
    • 1 pcs x USB 2.0 to USB Type-C OTG cable
    • 1 pcs x USB Type-C to USB Type-C OTG cable
    • 1 pcs x Lightning to USB Type-C OTG Cable

    [​IMG]


    Audirect Beam has put some nice accessories in to the package with almost 3 different UBC Type-C OTG cables. Especially the Apple Lightning to USB Type-C OTG cable is a hard to find and a very nice addition in my opinion.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    Design and Build Quality:

    The Audirect Beam is a very small and lightweight device with a well made/solid metal housing, which has a dimension of 52x14x6mm and a net weight of 12g (according to Audirect specs).


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    At the top is the USB-Type C female data connection.


    [​IMG]


    At the bottom of the device is the 3.5mm headphone jack (unbalanced).


    [​IMG]


    On the front of the DAC is the Audirect and the Beam logo. There are also two (2) led indicators, one for PCM and one for DSD conversation.


    [​IMG]


    On the back of the device are four (4) screws and information like certificates/serial number.


    [​IMG]


    At the right side of the Beam is an action key dedicated for volume up, down and play/pause functions.


    [​IMG]

    They are two color options, which are gold and grey, but my personal favorite is the one in grey color, which looks pretty nice.




    Technical Specifications:

    • DAC : ES9018 HiFi SoC
    • AMP : ES9018 HiFi SoC
    • Output Power : -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms @ 600Ω -108dB THD+N, 49mW @ 32Ω
      up to 1.1Vrms
    • Frequency response : 20-30000Hz (-0.15dB)
    • Distortion : 0.0004%
    • SNR : +125dB SNR, +120dB DNR
    • PCM : PCM 16-32bit, 32-384KHz
    • DSD : DoP64, DoP128, Native DSD64/128/256
    • Internal resistance : <1Ω
    • Input port : USB-C
    • Output port : 3.5mm
    • Dimensions : 52x14x6mm
    • Weight : 12g


    [​IMG]



    Hardware & Software:

    The Audirect Beam DAC & AMP is a pretty small device with some nice hardware specs.


    DAC & AMP Section:

    The Audirect Beam DAC/AMP sports the ES9018 SABRE HiFi SoC (System on a Chip), which is made by the company ESS Technology Inc. This HiFi type System-On-Chip (SoC) integrates the Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) and the headphone amplifier with an output switch.


    [​IMG]



    The ES9118 HiFi SoC is supporting the ESS patented 32-bit HyperStream architecture to deliver up to 125 dB SNR and -112 dB Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N). It also supports some of the popular high resolution and lossless audio formats including FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV.


    [​IMG]



    Supported Audio Formats:

    • The Audirect Beam supports the following formats that I have tested out during this review;
    • DSD (64/128), FLAC, ALAC, APE, WAV, AAC, OGG, MP3, WMA

    Drivability:

    The onboard amplifier, which is integrated to the ES9018 SoC is has a output rated of 49mW into 32Ω and 2Vrms into 600Ω. It was capable to driver my Sony SA3000 and Audio-Technica ATH-M50 to very loud volume levels.


    [​IMG]



    Battery Draining:

    The Audirect Beam shows less battery drain than my old Fiio E10K, the first generation of Audioquest Dragonfly 1.0, Dragonfly Black and Red.



    Hissing:

    One of the remarkable and pretty surprising features of the Audirect Beam is the clean sound output. The Beam sounds pretty clean with some of my sensitive IEM’s like the iBasso IT04 and the DUNU Falcon-C.


    Equipments used for this review:

    • DAC’s : Audirect Beam, Audioquest Dragonfly Black
    • IEM’s : Vsonic Ares, iBasso IT04, Campfire Audio Polaris, Final E5000, FLC8N
    • Earbuds : Simphonio Dragon2+, Astrotec Lyra Collection
    • Headphones : Audio-Technica ATH50M, Sony SA3000
    • Source : Meizu 7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, iPad Air 2, Dell Inspirion 5521


    [​IMG]



    Albums & tracks used for this review:


    • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
    • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Metallica – Sad bu True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
    • Jehan Barbur – Yollar (Spotify)
    • Minor Empire – Bulbulum Altin Kafeste (Spotify)
    • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
    • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing (DSD 64)
    • Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
    • GoGo Penguin – Fanfares (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Adam Taylor – Colour to the Moon (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
    • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Deeperise feat. Jabbar – Move On (Spotify)



    Sound Analysis:

    The Audirect Beam has a coherent and well balanced smooth and slightly bright tonality, which sounds in general very musical.

    I have burn-in the Audirect Beam for approx. 150 hours before I wrote this review.

    Please note that this is a low budget DAC and all my comments about the sound quality are in consideration of this price range.


    [​IMG]

    Bass:

    The bass presentation of the Audirect Beam is pretty fast, controlled and linear. The sub-bass extension is moderate and the quantity is on an average level. Even if I wanted a bit more sub-bass depth, this is a situation that challenges the limits of this DACAMP on the basis of efficiency.

    The Audirect Beam is pretty good in terms of speed and control that defines the detail level of the bass. The bass presentation of the Beam is more in a punchy than boomy character and there is no muddiness or interference while presenting some bass heavy genres like Trance, EDM, etc.

    The bass quantity will satisfy most users with the exception of people who prefer presentation on a bass-head level.



    Midrange:

    The midrange is the focus point of the Audirect Beam. This device is very successful in the midrange especially for its size and its price, with its slightly bright, relative neutral and transparent, clean and clear midrange presentation.



    Vocals:

    The Audirect Beam pretty successful with female vocals, because of the relative prominent, detailed and well extended upper-midrange presentation. A noticeable plus point of the Beam is the ability, not to be harsh with its relative transparent vocal presentation. I liked the Beam with both mezzo-soprano and soprano level female vocals, because of the pretty good transition and control, form the top to the end and vice versa.

    When it comes to male vocals; the Audirect Beam shows a deep, clean and transparent presentation, without any remarkable interference and muddiness. The source is important in this manner, because if you use an IEM with a neutral tuning, the Beam will sound slightly thinner than normal with male vocals.


    [​IMG]



    Instruments:

    The Audirect Beam shows a slightly bright, close to neutral, natural and clear instrument tonality. The Beam represents instruments in a detailed and airy way, with good separation and definition. Pianos sounding slightly bright and pronounced, acoustic guitars are natural, transparent and fast, violins are slightly bright and doesn’t sounding harsh, but there is missing only a hint or warmness with violas.



    Upper Midrange and Treble:

    The upper midrange of the Audirect Beam is fairly pronounced and controlled, without any remarkable interference and sibilance. Instruments like piano, violin or cymbals sounding pretty fast and controlled.

    The treble range of the Audirect Beam is not very upfront or too recessed and sounds quite neutral and clear. The treble extension is at a moderate level, but this makes a fatigue free listening possible.

    The treble quantity and intension is pretty good and is able to catch the treble speed of some fast treble intensive genres like metal music, which is in my opinion a noticeable advantage. This ability makes a good detail rendering possible. The Beam is pretty successful in terms of control, emphasis and extension with instruments like side flutes while rising from the upper-midrange to the treble range. The Beam will also satisfy those who like a good detail rendering while listening to genres like electronic music.



    Soundstage:

    The Audirect Beam offers a very spacious and airy stage, where the instruments have enough space to spread out. This feature is also avoiding any conflicting and disorganizing of the instruments.

    The soundstage has slightly less depth than its wideness, but don’t get me wrong, because the soundstage is by no way shallow. One other noticeable attribute of the soundstage is arrangement of instruments, which performs better in the horizontal direction than in the vertical.


    [​IMG]



    Comparison:

    Audirect Beam versus Audioquest Dragonfly Black:

    Both the Audirect Beam and the Audioquest Dragonfly Back are very capable devices in a price range between $100,00 – 150,00 USD.


    [​IMG]

    The Dragonfly Black has warmer tonality with an additional emphasis at the lower end.

    The bass of the Audirect Beam sounds more linear and balanced than those of the Dragonfly Black, which has additional impact. The sub-bass of the Dragonfly Black are showing more depth and rumble, but have slightly less extension and definition compared to the Beam.

    The bass of the Audirect Beam is faster and has better layering than those of the Dragonfly Black.

    The midrange of the Dragonfly Black is warmer and ticker than those of the Audirect Beam, which has a more natural and transparent presentation. The Dragonfly Black sounds very delicious with male vocals, while the Audirect Beam has the upper hand for female vocals because of its brighter tonality and upper midrange emphasis.

    Instruments like Bass Guitars and Drums sounding better with the Dragonfly Black, while the Audirect Beam sounds more natural with instruments like violins, side flutes etc.

    The Audirect Beam has a brighter, more pronounced top end, which is superior to the Audioquet Dragonfly Black in terms of treble extension and control. The Beam sounds also slightly more detailed than the Dragonfly Black that is otherwise an already good performer at this price range.

    When it comes to soundstage performance, both have an above average soundstage wideness, where the Beam has a slightly wider presentation. The soundstage depth is for both devices on a moderate level.



    Conclusion:


    The Audirect Beam is probably one of the best sounding portable DAC/AMP’s in its price tag. The great sound, tiny size and lower power consumption makes it to a nice option for those who are not satisfied with the performance of their phone, tablet and onboard soundcard of their Laptop or Desktop PC.



    Pos and Cons:

    • + Great Sound (especially the midrange area)
    • + Good detail retrieval
    • + Low to none hissing
    • + Lots of OTG Cables (inclusive Apple lighting)
    • + Plug and Play capability for Android and IOS

    • – No battery means additional battery drain for the source
  7. Kervsky
    Set Phasers on Wow
    Written by Kervsky
    Published Aug 26, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Small, dedicated controls, good detail retrieval, good separation, near neutral but energetic signature, plug and play connectivity.
    Cons - Some android apps when given exclusive control of the Beam can only output one volume level (volume control can be source dependent)
    [​IMG]

    Introduction: Audirect is a Chinese company that has engaged in the development of Hi-Fi products for quite some time, and they have been busy recently making their third generation product after the Whistle, a USB portable Hi-Fi DAC called the Beam. The Beam is aimed as an audiophile solution for the disappearing audio jack on mobile phones and can also double duty as your computer audio upgrade. The Beam I have is the Grey (Graphite) one and they also come in Gold.

    I would like to thank Audirect for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. You can buy the Audirect Beam at the Audirect's online store, the Penon website or locally if your retailer has them in stock.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Specifications/Unboxing: "Using the critically acclaimed ESS patented 32-bit HyperStream® DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the ES9118 delivers up to 125dB SNR and –114dB THD+N, a performance level that will satisfy the most demanding audio enthusiasts."

    Output Power: -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω
    -108dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω
    up to 1.1Vrms
    Frequency response: 20-30000Hz (-0.15dB)
    Distortion: 0.0004%
    Signal to Noise ratio: +125dB SNR, +120dB DNR
    PCM sampling frequency: PCM 16-32bit, 32-384KHz
    DSD specification: DoP64, DoP128, Native DSD64/128/256
    D/A conversion chip: ES9118 SABRE HiFi SoC
    Amplifier chip: ES9118
    Internal resistance: <1Ω
    Input port: USB-C
    Output port: 3.5mm
    Length x Width x Height: 52x14x6mm
    Net weight: 12g

    You can also download their Windows driver from the product page HERE if you need it, personally on Windows 10, there was no need for me to download the driver but your mileage may vary. The Beam is totally dependent on what the device it's connected to can play, with regards to file compatibility, but if your phone/computer/DAP is capable of playing DSD files and the app you use can course it through, you can get full DSD reproduction on the Beam (you'll see this when the DSD LED lights up instead of the PCM like the image below).

    Unboxing isn't very complicated, you get the nice little cardboard box with the Audirect Beam displayed in front through a clear plastic cover with information printed around it as seen above. Opening it reveals the dongle and a separate box where the 3 cables are placed along with the manual. No fuss, just like the Beam.

    [​IMG]

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    Cable: The Beam comes with 3 cables for general (modern) use, a USB C to USB C for most modern phones and DAPs to the dongle, a USB C to Lightning adapter for those modern iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads, and a USB C to USB A for computer use. Construction of the cables is nicely done with braided wires protected by strain sheaths and sturdy gold plated connectors at each end. They're flexible enough to be pliable in use but strong enough not to stretch or break easily. An adapter for USB C to Micro USB could have made the package more universal, but considering the target market of the BEAM, both people who are looking for a portable upgrade for their computer/phone audio and those with modern phones lacking the 3.5mm audio jack, this is more than adequate in terms of cables and actually a bit more than some DAC/amps I've seen recently.

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    Build/Design: The Beam case is made of a lightweight metallic material that is smooth in texture with a bit of an angular edge that is not sharp or piercing. The color on mine is called grey but I would consider it more of a Graphite color as it has a tendency to look a bit lighter or darker depending on the light angle, just like pencil lead. Still, it's rather eye catching but simple in design. There are two LED ports indicating the bit-rate of the song being played, DSD is when the file format plays in DOP mode, and PCM is for everything else. The LED's are colored white and are small enough not to be considered a factor in power drain as they are just bright enough to be easily seen. There is a dial like switch on the left side for controlling the volume and you can press that lever inward to play/pause the music. There are 4 screws on the back as part of the construction and likely makes it easier to repair in case of trouble (but I don't suggest you fix it in case something goes wrong), and at the opposite ends are the USB-C port (top) and the 3.5mm (bottom) output plug.

    Overall the construction feels solid but light and the fact that it's pretty small at around the width of an AA battery while being a little bit taller and (almost exactly) 3 SD cards stacked on top each other thick, it's easily portable. The control switch is a nice feature that's intuitive and doesn't take up a lot of space, keeping the whole dongle streamlined and rather clutter free.

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    Sound Analysis: Initially when I tried the Beam on multiple sources (phones, DAPs and my laptop) I felt that it was something like Mids > Bass > Treble in terms of attention provided in the frequency areas. But in addition to that, it had the technical ability to provide good detail and present a nice level of stage while sound pretty engaging. I always treat my review items to long usage times before finishing the review, just to see if anything breaks and such, so after over 250 hours of use, I'm ready to write down my findings.

    Bass: The Beam is able to present a better than average extended sub-bass with a neutral level of quantity, which ties in with a faster than average decay. This contributes to a more energetic presentation of the bass and a rather tight level of control. Bass impact and body is along the neutral side where bass hits aren't boosted (but are neither bass anemic) and sound closer to the original recording with neutral bass gear. Overall the bass is responsive and sounds smooth, lively and not exaggerated.

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    Mids: As usual, good mids are my happy pill and the Beam is able to provide a rather great level of mid frequency detail and separation. There is a little bit of forwardness to the lower mids with male vocals sounding a little above neutral with thickness that prevents them from sounding thin or hollow and gives them good presence. The upper mids are presented in a bit more forward manner and again, a little above neutral thickness, which gives a good level of intimacy to female vocals. Overall, the tone of the mids is near neutral but has enough warmth and dynamic energy to convey emotions across the middle frequency effectively and with life.

    Treble: There is a little boost in the treble region which gives the Beam a more stronger treble presence. The Beam presents an average extension in the treble region, but combined with the boost and available reach, they contribute to the sense of air the Beam can provide as well as a little brighter perception of notes. The level of clarity and crispness is affected by the boost, which gives those ear gear with 'almost' crispy highs, a push to be crisp but this can also cause brighter gear to sound a little more brighter. Sibilance and harshness is not normally induced on the Beam on listenable levels, however, very high volumes (around 95+db) with sibilance prone music and brighter ear gear can reveal some light to noticeable sibilance. Treble is accurate and responsive overall with a good amount of air, excitement and smoothness.

    Soundstage: The presented stage of the beam is of a good horizontal width and almost as good in vertical depth that sounds natural in it's spread. It can provide a good open feeling that is scaled up (or down) depending on your ear gear. Imaging is a bit above average in accuracy while the ability to space layers is pretty good.

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    Conclusion: Audirect's Beam is a great portable DAC, it's small yet packs a big punch in terms of sonic and technical ability. It presents a near neutral sound signature to get as close to how the music was intended to be and yet does not sound clinical or boring. It provides a detailed and engaging mid range, a natural sounding bass with a crisp and energetic treble which can synergize with bass heavy gear as well as those with a relatively recessed mid frequency and relaxed treble regions for a fun and engaging listening session. Cable accessories are of very good quality and perfect for modern use, but if you happen to use sources with micro USB ports, you'll need to get an extra cable for that.

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    Sound comparisons were made using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6, Zishan Z1 volume matched to 90.X db of max volume for safe hearing below 8 hours of use and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher. More information will be available on the About Me page (once I find the time to write it up.)
  8. ExpatinJapan
    Audirect BEAM - ...ing with joy
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Aug 23, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Easy connectivity, physical controls, great sound, small and light
    Cons - No battery, volume steps dependent upon source
    Audirect BEAM Dac/Amp Review
    - Expatinjapan

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    http://www.audirect.cc/
    The supaa smexy streamlined Audirect BEAM is the latest in the series from relatively new company Audirect,
    It is available in Gold or Black and light as a feather.
    They had previously released the Audirect Whistle which was reviewed at an earlier date here on Head pie: https://www.headpie.net/2017/08/audirect-whistle-dacamp-review.html

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    Unboxing

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    The Beam comes with a healthy array of quality cables.

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    Volume switch, push in for play/pause. LED lights for PCM and DSD.

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    Beam Portable Hi-Fi DAC Earphone Amplifier
    Beam Specifications

    Using the critically acclaimed ESS patented 32-bit HyperStream® DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the ES9118 delivers up to 125dB SNR and –114dB THD+N, a performance level that will satisfy the most demanding audio enthusiasts.
    THD Compensation,Minimize distortion from external PCB components and layout
    Specifications
    (Output Power) -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω
    -108dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω
    1.1Vrms,up to 1.1Vrms
    (Frequency response)20-30000Hz(-0.15dB)
    (Distortion)0.0004%
    (S/N ratio)+125dB SNR, +120dB DNR
    (input supports PCM)PCM 16-32bit, 32-384KHz
    (input supports DSD)DoP64, DoP128, Native DSD64/128/256
    D/A(D/A Chips)ES9118 SABRE HiFi SoC
    I.R. <1Ω
    (Amplifier Chips) ES9118
    (Input port) USB-C
    (Output Port) 3.5mm
    (L W H)52x14x6mm
    (Weight)12g

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    Audirect Beam and Whistle specs compared.

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    Price
    The Audirect Beam package (Beam plus cables) is $99 US dollars.
    http://www.audirect.cc/buy
    The cables can also be bought individually at $11.99 to $14.99 and are of a good quality.

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    Connectivity
    The Audirect Beam is a simple plug and play device with no mess, no fuss.
    I had no problems connecting to my aging Macbook Pro and ipod Touch 6G,
    nor to the upcoming Hidizs Ap80.


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    DSD settings for iOS mobile app.
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    DSD LED light on. Using Onkyo App on iOS.(Set DOP: DSD over PCM).

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    Onkyo app on iOS


    Sound and summary

    The Audirect Beam is solid successor to the previous Whistle (which was no slacker in its own right).
    It was a bit difficult to do a full A/B comparison due to the BEAM being USB-C and the Whistle Micro USB which meant I didnt have in my stock a set of identical cables that could be used.
    But rest assured in my simple check I did deduce across the board the Beam improved upon the Whistle.

    With a solid black background and no detectable hiss to my ears even via my Macbook with Campfire Audio Andromeda makes the Beam an ideal affordable choice for improving upon your computers audio sound.
    The sound signature of the Beam is neutral with no strong emphasis on either the lows/mids or highs. Each part performing in an excellent synergy resulting in a pleasing aural experience.
    The lows are fast and full and can delve deep, the mids clean and prominent enough to give vocals that realness and emotion, and the treble just reaches over the edge without extending into the dreaded Sabre glare zone.
    There is a naturalness within the neutralness, a smoothness to alleviate the crispness.
    It even survives the severe Coldplay test.

    The Beam has detailing, layering to please and doesnt restrict my earphones that have a wide sound stage (more width and height than depth).

    The Andromeda is known for its large sound stage and quietly for its exquisite separation that is delicate and subtle which results in a rich yet not over bearing layering with beautiful texturing, these points are compounded and extended when combined with a dap higher up the chain from mid fi to totl. When combined with the Audirect Beam, a lower priced item the Andromeda still shines and I experienced pleasure when using them in unison.
    Depending on the device the Beam is connected to the volume steps at times can be a bit tricky to get the right setting.

    With the Hidizs AP80 there were no problems with its many volume steps.
    On my ipod touch there was a slight jump and finding my particular sweet spot at times was difficult. This was made easier by using a music app and dialing back the gain to allow for more room to set the volume. (More volume steps please Apple!).
    On the Macbook pro I encountered the same problem (Apple really needs to implement more volume steps for IEM users or any user) this was solved when I used the VOX music player which has more volume steps.
    The Beam has the best control at low to upper mid volumes with some IEMs, going beyond what could be users regular listening levels can introduce some loss of coherency or sibilance with some music. But I found this to be a rare occurrence and earphone/track dependent. I listen at fairly loud volumes 75-90db so you`d really have to pump it to have a problem.

    It has two LED lights for PCM and DSD.

    Nice to have the physical switches for play/pause and volume whilst on the go.

    When combined with a dedicated dap such as the upcoming Hidizs AP80 the Audirect Beam really took off. With the IT04 the Beam really shone, a fairly neutral earphone with a bit of low end bass and mids can really complement a Sabre dac. But each to their own tastes.

    Also the size, weight and form makes it an attractive option for an on the go dongle: especially with phones who have removed the headphone jack, which some may prefer to the small Dap/dac/amp option such as the popular Shanling M0, or the larger iFi Audio xDSD. Both great performers in their price points which loads of features.

    The Beam is deliciously neutral, clean sounding with excellent texture, no grain and exquisite clarity.

    Well color me impressed.

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    Upcoming Audirect `Bean` earphones sneak peek


    Thank you to Audirect for sending the Beam to Head pie for review.
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  9. audio123
    Audirect Beam - Beam Delight
    Written by audio123
    Published Aug 23, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Details, Size, Energetic
    Cons - Treble extension can be better
    Introduction

    Audirect is a Chinese company that specializes in portable digital analogue converters (DACs). They started with the Whistle and released the Beam recently. I would like to thank Audirect for the review unit of Beam. At the moment, you can purchase the Beam from http://www.audirect.cc/buy .

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    Specifications

    • Output Power: -114dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω / -108dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω
    • Frequency Response: 20-30000Hz(-0.15dB)
    • Distortion: 0.0004%
    • S/N Ratio: +125dB SNR, +120dB DNR
    • Supported Inputs: PCM 16-32bit, 32-384KHz / DoP64, DoP128, Native DSD64/128/256
    • DAC: ES9118 Sabre HiFi SoC
    • I.R.: <1Ω
    • Input Port: USB-C
    • Output Port: 3.5mm
    • Dimensions: 52x14x6mm
    • Weight: 12g
    Unboxing & Accessories

    The Beam comes in a white package which sports the model name and brand logo. There is a transparent film that shows the Beam. After opening the package, there are the Beam and a blue box that contains 3 cables – USB-C to USB-C OTG, USB-A to USB-C OTG and Lightning to USB-C OTG.

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    DAC Build & Design

    The Beam has a rectangular design and it is gold in colour. At the top of the Beam, there is the input port. At the bottom of the Beam, there is the output port. On the front, there are the brand logo, signs for the button and indicator lights.

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    Sound Analysis

    Lows

    The Beam is able to extend its sub-bass well with a moderate quantity. The sub-bass reproduction on the Beam is exciting to listen to. There is a consistent punch. The bass decay has speed and the agility enhances the engagement level. Bass texture on the Beam is rendered smoothly. Each bass note on the Beam is articulated rather accurately. There is moderate tightness. The mid-bass on the Beam has a fair amount of body and the slam is quick without a weighted feeling.

    Mids

    The Beam has a lively midrange and it boasts good transparency. The midrange is rendered in a manner with a high level of details retrieval. There is slight lack in the lushness. The lower mids has moderate quantity and male vocals are expressed well without any dry feeling. The upper mids has a nice boost and the forwardness accentuates the intimacy level of female vocals. It ensures a captivating listen. There is energy which contributes to the overall vibrance.

    Highs

    The treble is extended moderately and demonstrates a fair stretch. There is no sibilance and harshness. The crisp is good and there is slight sparkle to inject excitement into the overall sound. There is moderate brightness. Treble articulation is accurate with an acceptable amount of body. The amount of air rendered helps to create an airy feeling at the top end.

    Soundstage

    The Beam has moderate naturalness in its expansion. The width magnitude is good and the depth is closed in. It is able to provide a fairly open feeling . Positioning of vocals and instruments is rather accurate.

    Conclusion

    The Beam is a detailed sounding DAC that is able to provide a performance that combines agile bass, lively midrange and airy treble. The transparency is great and the midrange is the star of the show. In addition, its compact size gives the added convenience of bringing it around. The release of the Beam as Audirect’s latest offering comes in the form of an engaging yet portable DAC that is sure to delight many.

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    For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
      Audirect and Moonstar like this.

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