Audirect Beam

General Information

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

Latest reviews

Pros: Cables bundled
Clarity & Transparency
Soundstage
Power
Size
Cons: Lack of bass / low frequencies
Source-dependent volume steps (can be an issue with sensitive IEMs)
Disclaimer: I have a preference for an open, lush/smooth/warm sound with some definition, texture and soundstage — none to excess. I am not into an analytical or clinical sound. Keep this in mind when reading this review.

· · ·

The DAP is dead. Or at least it is how I wished to title this review. I strongly believe there is a place for portable DAC/Amps for a setup with streaming capabilities. This would allow one to choose the smartphone platform they like best and plug-in the necessary accessory to transform it into an portable audiophile setup. So, how close are we to this with Audirect’s Beam?


SOUND

Clear, transparent, with a nice soundstage and amount of details without excess. It excels at mids and highs but can leave one with a feeling that the lows have been forgotten. The latter are controlled and precise which borders on the clinical.


USABILITY

Audirect ships the Beam with four well-made type-c cables to: type-c / lightning / USB / micro USB. If you think the Beam is small from looking at the pictures available online, think again: yeah, it is that small. It is also well-made. The volume dial is source-dependent which can be an issue with sensitive IEMs as they benefit from very small volume steps. I did not notice any particular drain on the battery compared with the Apple’s Lightening to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter. Speaking of which…


COMPARED WITH APPLE’S LIGHTNING TO 3.5MM HEADPHONE JACK ADAPTER

Audirect Beam
· Wider soundstage
· Clearer / More transparant

Apple’s Lightening to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter
· More intimate
· Darker / Warmer
· Has the low-end the Beam is missing


CONCLUSION

Small, versatile and powerful, the Audirect Beam DAC/Amp is good. It just is not for me. While I did not mind the added clarity, transparency and soundstage compared to Apple’s Lightening to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter, it is the lack of bass which killed the Beam for me. So for those of you who like a rumble where it is supposed to be or prefer a darker / warmer signature: 3/5

For those who prefer a more controlled and precise low-end which borders on the clinical in favor of a particularly clear and transparent sound: 4/5

RNI-Films-IMG-84B34490-8D94-4DBC-9084-EA7E4333C8FE.jpeg

· · ·​


SOURCE

iPhone XR / iOS 13.3 / VOX Music Player 2.4


IEM

Campfire Audio Andromeda Special Edition: Gold (silicone tips, medium) with stock Smoky Litz Cable, 3.5mm, Single-ended


SONGS
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Never Going Back Again
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Iron Maiden, Fear Of The Dark, Fear Of The Dark
    Quality: 24-Bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Joni Mitchell, Blue, California
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Nina Simone, Pastel Blues, Sinnerman (Live In New York/1965)
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, Wish You Were Here
    Quality: DSD / SACD
  • Plüm, You’re the one, You’re the one
    Quality: 16 bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Simon & Garfunkel, Sounds Of Silence, Anji
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Stevie Wonder, Talking Book, Superstition (Album Version)
    Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
  • Various Artists, Atlantic Jazz: Soul, Comin’ Home Baby (LP Version)
    Quality: 16 bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

BURN-IN

None

Last edited:
Pros: Clear delicate sound, battery free device that do not drain phone battery life, very small, volume and play-pause switch-button, generous accessories
Cons: low amping power, some sound cutting with (my) phone, lack of dynamic, intimate soundstage, not very competitively priced
AUDIRECT BEAM REVIEW:

P1011223.JPG

SOUND: 8/10
CONSTRUCTION: 8/10
DESIGN: 8/10
ACCESSORIES: 8.5/10
VALUE: 7.5/10


I'm a DAC kinda guy, I like how different DAC chip can offer different sound flavor, sometime its subtle, sometime game changing. Sure, amping section and implementation is as much important than the digital audio decoder, but when you know a good dac is hide in an audio device, it give you a big clue about sound quality potential it can offer.

After trying multiple OTG DAC, today I will be reviewing the well receive AUDIRECT BEAM, an ultra portable dac-amp with a promising sabre ES9118 dac chip in it. It have DSD support, ultra low distortion and a high Signal-to-noise ratio of 125db. Since most smarthphone do not have 3.5mm phone output anymore, this type of OTG DAC-AMP became more interesting than ever, and to be honnest, even with a phone output, the sound upgrade is sure to be a big step to please demanding audiophile that plan to use earphones or very easy to drive headphones on the go without compromising sound quality.

P1011532.JPG

AUDIRECT have been working in audio industry since 5 years, creating DSD DAC, Video player and Wireless sensor for audio-video brands. Apart from the BEAM, they lauch another Dac-AMP call the WHISTLE wich receive good review. As well, they sell different type of OTG cable, earphones cable, and even begin to lauch earphones and earbuds. Yep, Audirect is a quite busy company, now, let's see what worth this 99$ portable DAC-AMP.

DISCLAIMER: The AUDIRECT BEAM was send to me free of charge in exchange of a fully independant NO BS review. I was curious to test it for multiple reason, but mostly for sound quality and comparaison with other portable DAC-AMP own. When it come to reviewing audio product priced under 100$, I have no problem convincing myself I pay for it, so my price value obsession stay intact.

You can find the BEAM about everywhere, it sell for 100$ on Amazon and Aliexpress. Cheapest price I find is on Ebay for 90$.



Specs

  • Audirect

  • Output power: -114 dB THD+N, 2 Vrms into 600 ohms; -108 dB THD+N, 49 mW into 32 ohms

  • Frequency response: 20 Hz–30 kHz (-0.15 dB)

  • Distortion: 0.0004%

  • Signal-to-noise ratio: +125 dB SNR, + 120 dB DNR

  • DAC chip: ES9118 SABRE HiFi SoC

  • PCM support: 16–32 bit, 32–384 kHz

  • DSD support: DoP64, DoP128, native DSD64/128/256

  • IR: < 1 ohm

  • Amplifier chip: ES9118

  • Input port: USB-C

  • Output port: ⅛ in (3.5 mm)

  • Dimensions: 2.1 x 0.6 x 0.2 in (52 x 14 x 6 mm)

  • Weight: 0.4 oz (12 g)
Included
  • Lightning to Type-C cable

  • Type-C to Type-C cable

  • USB-A to Type-C cable

  • User manual

ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN:

P1011218.JPG P1011220.JPG P1011221.JPG P1011222.JPG


UNBOXING is an elegant and satisfactory experience. Unlike other portable DAC-AMP I try, number of accessories is rather generous, wich the consumer will be gratefull as he will not have to struggle to find or buy the necessary cable to connect the BEAM on its phone or laptop. Here, its all about cable, and you got them ALL: the Lightning to Type C, the Type C to Type C, the USB to Type C. And they are all of way above average quality, with great high end look to them. Who doesn't like 4 cores braided cable with black, gold and silver cores?? Really great cable that have a secure tigh fit on my LG G6 Type C port.

P1011224.JPG P1011537.JPG

CONSTRUCTION is all metal with the exception of sound-play switch button, wich is unfortunately made of plastic. Here, a piece of metal would have been appreciate because i'm a little worry it affect long term durability. Nonetheless, the device look sturdy and can be drop on the ground without worry.

P1011543.JPG P1011541.JPG

DESIGN is low profil and mean to be very light so it act as an extra cable to your earphones, at 12g you really do not have to care about the BEAM disconecting suddenly from you phone because of its weight. Connectivity in both sens is tigh and trusthworty, my earphones never disconnect from the BEAM either.

P1011544.JPG

Gratefully, we have a button-switch that is use for play-pause and volume control. We cannot change track with this button, wich is a drawback for me as the volume control isn't THAT needed since the BEAM have not a lot of volume step to it due to low power output. As said, this plastic switch worry me a little, its quite an audacious design as it turn left and right and can be press too. I work perfectly to play pause, but for volume control I find the switch a little loose and lacking in preciseness.



CONNECTIVITY AND PHONE BATTERY CONSUMPTION:

P1011539.JPG

Firstly, I hate my LG G6, i do not have own any phone I can say I love: i'm NOT a phone dude. I guess at 35 years old, seing this smartphone phenomenon taking an invasive place in our social life and behavior do not help, anyway, G6 is not loved because he struggle with OTG DAC-AMP connectivity and do not sound good without by passing its audio decoder.

So, I was surprise that for CONNECTIVITY the BEAM was a plug-and-play joy! It was recognize by my capricious G6 without problem. Sill, about connectivity, I can encounter cuting in sound time to time, an half-second cut every 5 minutes to be precise. This tend to be my phone issue, as I encounter this with all OTG Dac from my Xduoo X20 or X3ii.

P1011538.JPG
(sorry, my phone is in french, but you can see that you need to select MIDI option to get better connectivity)

The Audirect BEAM have No Battery, wich really scare me about battery drowning of my phone. Again: BIG surprise! The BEAM its litteraly Magical when it come to power consumption. I think my Wi-fi use more phone battery than this device, as I just can't tell something is plug to it. After 3 hours of usage, my phone go from 100% to 90%. Sure, G6 have a good battery, but without any DAC plug to it I think it would have been 92% or less if I listen to music. I can't explain it but: BEAM really do not drain your phone battery.


When it come to USB DAC for Laptop, the CONNECTIVITY is even better, again, plug-and-play, it was recognize automaticaly on my Window 10 and volume control switch work perfectly, not the play-pause button tough. Now, I do not encounter any cut in the sound, not a single time, wich confirm the issue is due to my very LG G6. Sound is exactly the same as with phone (not more powerfull).


SOUND IMPRESSIONS :

P1011547.JPG

Audio enthusiast that own or have heard any audio source with a sabre ES dac in it know that this decoder have a special sound of its own. Here, its a love or hate story. For me that begin my audiophile journey with a Ibasso DX90 that use dual ES9018 dac, its a passionate fanatical love. This explain why I own a Xduoo X20 that use single ES9018 dac too : this mature, delicate, analytical and ultra clear balanced audio rendering is reference decoding to me, unlike more coloured AK4490 or Cirrus CS4398 processing, the ES dac tend to offer a more neutral and revealing approach.

I was utterly curious to try the BEAM so I can transform my phone into a SABRE DAP. What is ironic, is that the LG G5 have this very ES9118 dac in it, but not my G6, so, now, is it as impressive as the ES9018??

Answer is no, but not far too. The thing is that the 9118 have an integrated headphones amplifier to it, and even if sound processor is top notch, the amplifier isn’t enough powerfull to offer same dymanic and sound pressure of a ES9018 that use dedicated amplifier chain.

Wich is why all my test are done with earphones, earbuds or very easy to drive headphones and with the right one, yes, I have this ultra clear, delicate and neutral sound I love, but with a smooter more liquid approach than sharper ES9018.


BASS is more about timbre and definition than body and impact, it will tend to tame bassy earphones, wich is positive sometime, but when you use bass light one it will perhaps feel underwhelming. The level of separation is very impressive, but sub lack body and feel a little thin even if i’m not into pumped up bass the lack of air and impact made it a little to linear and dry to my ears.

MID RANGE is where the BEAM offer more richness, its very articulated and vocal gain extra presence due to a very clean approach with smooth transparent timbre. Should it be for vocal, violin or piano, it’s impressive how natural and well define the instruments are. Vocal became more centered, intimate and spot on with the BEAM, it isn’t very thick mid, more a foward transparent approach. Details are above average but not overly textured or grainy, wich will help to tame upper mids harshness of problematic earphones like the Tinaudio T2. Imaging is good, but not spacious and airy, so there not lot of space between signer and instruments, again : intimate.

TREBLE is another winner with the ES9118 dac, it feel at the same time very revealing and effortless. Extension is extreme and micro details do not struggle to show their face, wich will sure make you discover new on in your favorite music. Highs have more brilliance than sparkle, minimal decay and a tigh smotth attack. I find it to be extremely enjoyable for well mastered electronic music like ‘’Arterial’’ album from ‘’Lusine’’, where the ultra clear background permit a high definition musicality very rich in details.


SOUNDSTAGE
is more on the intimate side, it have good widness but not alot of deepness, unlike more powerfull dac-amp, sound do not feel alot around-you-head.

TIMBRE is transparent, smooth, liquid, its well rounded but not thick or particularly rich in subtle details.




SUB : 7/10


MID BASS : 8/10


MID RANGE : 8/10


TREBLE : 8/10


TIMBRE : 7.5/10


SOUNDSTAGE : 7/10


ATTACK : 7.5/10



AMPING POWER:

With power stated as 49mW into 32ohm and high signal-to-noise of 125db, I feel the amping power is more about digital gain than proper real amping power. I mean, look at the size of the device, and think about the fact its not battery powered, we can’t ask the BEAM to drive properly high impendance headphones or earbuds. But even the earphones can benifit of good stable powerfull amping, wich explain why the BEAM will perhaps be as powerfull as your phone out. Yep. So, if you wanna take full advantage of its potential, I suggest only using it with easy to drive iem or super easy to drive headphones like the Meze 99 NEO (22ohm).




PAIRING:


P1011529.JPG

With TONEKING MRZ TOMAHAWK earbuds:

The TOMAHAWK is one of my favorite earbuds, it have a very spacious and airy soundstage, with mid centric sound and slightly bright treble. Its a bass light earbuds too.

With the BEAM, the bass is even more bass light, but clear and accurate, with too powerfull source, Tomahawk bass can distort, here its clean, light and well separated. The MID RANGE gain in details in a delicate way, it feel more transparent and wider than deeper, still airy but less spacious. Highs became less harsh and treble less grainy, giving an overall more liquid sound that feel less agressive to the cost of loosing some dynamic and attack. Level of microdetails is shown effortlessly and whole sound have a new unique level of agility to it.

The BEAM drive them quite well, and I do not have to push volume to max to enjoy loud sound, but at 32ohm I feel it lack a little juice to offer fuller sound, the vocal being less thick and rich in timbre.




With TINAUDIO T2 :
P1011531.JPG


Another favorite of mine, the T2 offer a mid centric airy soundsignature with above average imaging.

Here, the BEAM tame a little the lower bass, but give more grip and punch to mid bass, wich is very benificial for the rather relax T2.

MID RANGE became less opaque and more transparent, giving a quite impressive instrument separation. As well, it became less bright and upper mids feel less harsh.
TREBLE is slightly more emphased in upper section, wich give a hint more details to T2, again ,highs aren’t as sparkly than with more powerfull DAP.



With MEZE 99 NEO :

I say BEAM cannot drive most headphones properly, but there exception, like this 22ohm NEO that are super easy to drive and thinked tobe use with phone.

I’m surprise about how BASS became more controled and less sloppy than with powerfull source, sub is less emphased but betetr rounded and mid bass gain extra control wich permit overall better clarity and sless warmed tonality.

MIDRANGE is clear and well centered, vocal have extra clarity to them and feelmore centere but less wide too. Level of imaging is really impressive.

TREBLE extend even further and give a very articulate detailed sound to rather warm NEO, the BEAM delicate and organic sound mix extremely well with warm thick and lush treble of MEZE.

Yep, this pairing is exceptional.



COMPARAISONS :
P1011528.JPG


With RADSONE ES100 (100$) :

The ES100 is now a part of audiophile history and gain tremendous respect among audio lovers due to his excellent sound, powerfull amping, small size and 3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced phone out.

As well, it can be use as a Bluetooth receiver using its dual AK4375a.

Hum, I don’t think the BEAM stand a chance against the ES100 in term of vesatility and price value, due to the fact its more powefull and have BT receiver that sound incredible. Still, ES100 have one drawback and its battery life, the BEAM do not encounter that problem with no battery.

AMPING is way more powerfull from 3.5mm output and crazy more powerfull with balanced out, this makethe ES100 more capable to drive demanding earphones and headphones.

SOUND is slightly brighter, with bigger soundstage (thanks amping!), better instrument separation and imaging and more energic dynamic. BEAM sound smoother and more delicate, have a little less sub bass thickness but better transparency compared to the more grainy timbre of ES100, as well, it sound more neutral and less analytical. I find more details richness with ES100 and better attack-decay. Paired with bright earphones or headphones, the ES100 can sound less natural than BEAM.

A plus for the BEAM, it can play DSD while the ES100 play up to 48khz-24bit.

Anyway, as said, its just IMPOSSIBLE to beat the EARSTUDIO RADSONE ES100 in term of overall price value, sound quality and versatily. Sorry BEAM, ES100 is still the KING.



VS XDUOO XD-02 (110$) :
P1011527.JPG


Now, again, its a Bluetooth USB-DAC with more features than the BEAM, but its not as portable for sure.

XD-02 can be use as usb otg dac-amp, Bluetooth amp AND portable amplifier.

In term of sound quality, the BEAM sound clearer and more balanced than warmer bassier XD-02, but have a more intimate soundstage that ultra wide and tall spaciality of XD-02. BASS of XD-02 is thicker with more lower end emphasis, the BEAM is more mid bass emphased and have better resolution and punchier tigher attack. MIDS are wider and more airy with XD-02 but thicker and more opaque, wich give a better imaging and detailed mid range to BEAM. TREBLE of XD-02 is slightly rolled off, but mid treble give good decay to highs, the BEAM is more extended and show naturally plenty of micro details, its as well less grainy than XD-02.

Amping is way more powerfull with Xduoo XD-02, and this is without high gain on. Not comparable really, BEAM is perhaps 3 times less loud.

In term of price value, XD-02 win, in term of sound value, the BEAM win.



CONCLUSION :

In a time where portable OTG USB DAC-AMP market explode with competition, the AUDIRECT BEAM appear a little late. 3 years ago, it would have been in direct competition with pricier Dragonfly, but nowadays new technology make this type of DAC-AMP more competitively priced than the 100$ BEAM. I underline this as a quite intense usb DAC-AMP explorer that is able to find quite incredible ‘’chi-fi’’ DAC for less than 100$, hum, like a very small es9018 dac that I still need to test more but cost 25$. So, this is to take with a grain of salt : I ask ALOT to this type of audio device in term of overall price value.

So, for the BEAM my conclusion is that it sound great for the price, do not drain battery life, is ultra small and portable, but seriously lack power output wich affect overall sound dynamic. As well, the sound cutting I encounter on my LG G6 make me worry.

If you search for an ultra small and portable DAC-AMP to bypass a bad sounding phone or to add a audio output to it, the AUDIRECT BEAM sure offer an appealing non offensive sound with delicately detailed musicality that will benifit most of your earphones, and some very easy to drive headphones. As well, if you care about extra accesories that come with it, I think it make it worth the buy, but as said, there lot of other alternative cheaper DAC-AMP that perhaps will please you too.

For more reviews, you can go take a look to my NO BS BLOG
Pros: + Tiny Body
+ Draws very little battery from a smartphone, ideal for protable usage
+ Clear and musical sound
+ Fun to use
+ Excellent package contents and price performance ratio
+ Wide compatiblity, works with pretty much anything
+ Wide soundstage
Cons: - Not very powerful, can't drive most headphones, and may have issues even with some IEMs at louder volumes
- Gets warm during usage
- The sound may be a bit of an acquired taste
- Soundstage lacks a bit of depth
Pocket Fun - Audirect Beam DAC/AMP Review



The tiny Audirect Beam has seen a lot of attention lately, and for a good reason, it has Hi-Res decoding, a good amount of driving power, and a warm sound, all in a device that's no bigger than a tiny USB Stick. I'll be testing it out, and comparing it to other similarly priced devices in today's review.




Introduction

Audirect is a little company from China that rose to fame recently, with their Beam and their older Whistle DAC/AMPs being some really nifty products, small in size, but pretty capable, and with the large number of good quality cables included in the package, I'm pretty confident that it will come in handy for many people. They are a friendly company, and since they are presented by Linsoul Audio, you also have good warranty, if you decide to get it from Linsoul, but don't worry, I spoke with Audirect directly, and I'm fairly sure they'll help you with warranty regardless where you purchase it from, although for a small, one piece device, there's very little that can go wrong.


It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Audirect, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Audirect or anyone else. I'd like to thank Audirect for providing the sample for the review. The sample was provided along with Audirect's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review reflects my personal experience with Audirect Beam. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those curious about Audirect Beam find their next music companion. There are no affiliate links in this review, or any Audiophile-Heaven review.



About me

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



Packaging

First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:











The package for this little one isn't large, but it is very rich, especially for a DAC?AMP in this price range. Besides the little Audirect Beam, you also get a set of USB cables, including an iPhone cable, a Type-C to Type-C cable, and a Type A to Type-C cable.

Since the Beam uses a Type-C cable, that's pretty much all you'd need for using it, and it is better than some 500 USD DAC/AMPs come with. I'd also like to note that the cables can be purchased separately, and they make a good portion of the value of the overall package of The Beam.

Considering the price and the package I'd say that the package quality for the Beam is excellent.




What to look in when purchasing an entry-level DAC/AMP

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



Technical Specifications









Build Quality/Aesthetics/UI/Firmware

Physically, the Beam is a really small device, with a tiny volume / play / pause knob on the right side. It is made of metal, and my unit is green in color, reason why my photos are slightly less convincing than my typical photo work. I would recommend going for the black or yellow colors instead.


The unit doesn't have hard edges, and it is plug and play with virtually any device, including Android and Windows 10 computers, and it looks like an extension of the OTG cable while connected.



There is a Type-C connector and a 3.5mm Single Ended Headphone Output, but that's pretty much all you can find on it, not that you'd require much more.

The volume knob seems to work on both Windows and Android, and the Play / Pause button (basically pressing on the volume button), also seems to work just fine on both Operating Systems. I had no iOS on hand to test, but a friend of Audiophile-Heaven owns a Beam and an iPhone and told me everything works flawlessly on iOS as well.

It is very handy, very tiny, and that it gets pretty warm during usage, but it still stays cooler than the original Whistle did, so I'm happy to notice improvements from Audirect.

Weighting 12 grams, the Beam is probably the smallest DAC/AMP on the market, being pretty much as unobtrusive as a normal USB Dongle, like HIDIZS Sonata HD DAC.

Overall, for its intended purpose, it is an excellent little device, flawless software, and pretty great build quality.



Sound Quality

The little Beam DAC/AMP can even decode Hi-Res files, up to 32 Bit / 384 kHz, and even DSD, up to Native DSD 128 files. This is much better than most tiny DAC/AMPs can do, and Audirect's efforts are totally commendable. This being said, it is a 100 USD DAC/AMP and by itself, the resolution may not be quite enough to notice the bump in quality when using Hi-Res files.



On the other hand, it has a pretty low power rating, being able to power mostly IEMs and some portable headphones, so it is best to get the Beam if you have IEMs and even there, I'd recommend it for IEMs that are easier to power.


The main signature can be described as clear, clean, musical, engaging, warm, smoothly textured, brighter as far as the tonality goes, and with a solid bass, punchy type over the boomy type.

The bass is pretty neutral in quantity, and it has a punchy type of texture, with the lower registers extension going fairly averagely low. The character of the bass is punchy above boomy, and it doesn't feel wooly, but rather natural. The textures in the bass are fair for a 100 USD device, and so is the extension. You can't EQ this too much without reaching the hard limit of the device though, so not exactly a little DAC/AMP for bassheads.

I noted in my little Youtube video review, that it is warm, I was talking about the midrange tonality, where you can feel some warmth coloring the overall midrange, but this is one sweet kind of warmth, not a dark or a boomy type. The midrange is pretty natural, slightly warmed by the bass, and pretty detailed for 100 USD. The detail isn't exactly Beam's strongest point, and it is focused on a musical and soft presentation rather than a textured and detailed one. Textures in the songs of Mindless Self Indulgence are expressed okay, but micro details and micro detail is about fair.

The treble is fairly bright and neutral, although it is smooth in the texture, laking grain. The treble may lack aggressiveness for metal music lovers, and for those looking for a touch more detail, and instead presents music in a soft and non-offensive way.


The sondstage is wider more than it is deep, and The Beam is good at offering stereo clues, being pretty holographic and fun, but the layering and separation, as well as the depth takes a second seat when it comes to its soundstage representation.

There is almost no hiss, even with hiss sensitive IEMs like Campfire Atlas and IT04, so you don't have to worry about hiss regardless of the IEMs you're pairing The Beam with.



Portable Usage

With such a tiny size, and with a good selection of cables, the portable usage of The Beam is pretty much excellent.



You can add the fact that it can decode Hi-Res files, and when it is connected to your smartphone, you can plug in some Tidal and you'll have access to a virtually unlimited collection of music files, all from a really tiny device.

For smartphones that don't have a Headphone Output already, The Beam is a necessity, while for smartphones that do have a headphone output, it is a pretty cool way of enhancing your experience, as it will have better detail, a wider soundstage, and a clearer overall presentation than most smartphones on the market.


The Beam should also have better driving power than most mid range smartphones on the market, making it a pretty interesting little device to juice your trips.



Comparisons

Being priced at 100 USD, it has quite a few enemies, like Shanling M0, FiiO K3, and even something like the Cyrus Soundkey. Some of the devices aren't direct competitors, but let's say you have 100 USD to get a DAC/AMP or a solution for your music source, you may be considering multiple scenarios, and my purpose here is to help explain what each of those does, and what scenarios each of them is best in.




Audirect Beam vs FiiO K3 - FiiO K3 is a desktop DAC/AMP, and although it isn't intended for portable usage, if you have a phone with a huge battery, you could do it, although I really recommend you don't. K3 is considerably more versatile than the Beam, has both SE and Balanced output, K3 has Optical Out, and even coaxial outputs, and it has a considerably more neutral signature than the Beam. Now, if you need a portable, The Beam is probably the only real option between the two, although K3 has much more driving power, and the Beam is best paired with IEMs rather than headphones.

Audirect Beam vs Cyrus Soundkey - Here's an interesting comparison, because both The Beam and The Soundkey are pretty much the same device, easier to compare. The Beam wins in terms of connections, because it has a Type-C connector, where The SoundKey has a microUSB one. It seems that Cyrus includes better cables with the new SoundKey units, but the unit I have only has micro-micro and micro-TypeA, no Type-C to microUSB. In terms of driving power, Soundkey has better driving power, and has a much brighter tonality, more detail, and better textures revealing abilities, but that comes at the price of it being brighter and more neutral, the bass is punchier, but less in amount, SoundKey clearly being a more neutral device. This being said, I really love my devices revealing as much detail as possible, so SoundKey has an upper hand there. Audirect Beam is more musical and sounds more analogue-like compared to the soundKey. Both draw more or less the same amount of power from a smartphone. If you're looking for a softer and warmer mid range device, The Beam is the better option here, while if you're looking for a brighter edge, and for more detail, then Cyrus Soundkey is the better option.


Audirect Beam vs Shanling M0 - As I said before, if you have about 100 USD, you may not be fully sure what to get, like a DAC/AMP, or even a portable player. Shanling M0 first comes to mind when comparing it to The Beam, as it is pretty similar in terms of sound and driving abilities. Now, Shanling M0 has its own microSD slot, and display, and it is basically a portable music player, but it is larger in size when compared to M0. This being said, M0 is not necessarily easier to use, since its really small display makes it complicated to browse around it, while a smartphone connected to The Beam makes it simpler for me to browse my music collection. Overall, The Beam gives you more listening options, with a larger access to a larger music collection, including tidal, which Shanling M0 can't do, and The Beam gives you access to Youtube and other features, that are inherent to your smartphone, that M0 can't do. On the other hand, M0 draws no power from your smartphone, and has its own battery, and M0 is better if you're on a long trip and don't want anything tethered to your phone. The sonic performance is fairly similar, although The Beam has slightly better detail and a wider soundstage, with slightly better textures and a more softer sound, compared to M0. If you're looking for an affordable music Player with a touchscreen, Shanling M0 is a really good option, or you could even consider FiiO M3K, but if you're looking for a nice little DAC/AMP for your smartphone, The Beam makes a more compelling offer.



Pairing

Audirect Beam is best paired with IEMs, rather than headphones, since its power rating really isn't quite high enough for most headphones, although it does a sweet job with most IEMs. I said in my video that it can power my Ultrasone Signature DXP, but even there, it tends to struggle at high volumes, and if you're trying to listen louder, I'd recommend it for IEMs only.



Audirect Beam + Dunu Falcon-C - Dunu Falcon-C has always been one of my favorite ~200 USD IEMs, for its very healthy V-shaped sound, natural midrange, and an open stage. Pairing with The Beam is very good, as the Beam can give Falcon-C both enough juice, but also a really wide stage, along with a pretty punchy signature, and a warm midrange.

Audirect Beam + Alpha Delta D6 - Delta D6 is one really open and light-sounding IEM, and the good width of The Beam shows its potency here as well, since D6 becomes even wider sounding, but also gains some punch from The Beam, as well as some good amount of warmth in the midrange, which it needed pretty much to become more versatile

Audirect Beam + Shozy CP - Shozy CP is a pretty midrange-forward IEM, that really shines in the mids, and with a DAC/AMP that also shines in the mids, CP becomes even sweeter, even more wide sounding, and even more punchy. I feel the overall ergonomics and aesthetic of this combo will please a lot of music lovers, looking for this kind of pairing.




Audiophile-Heaven Youtube Video Review Link






Value and Conclusion

It has been pretty fun reviewing this little DAC/AMP, and I feel it is fairly well priced, and although it is nowhere near as versatile as a FiiO K3 DAC/AMP is, The Audirect Beam is much more portable and aimed at a person who's always on-the-go. At 100 USD, it includes a good number of cables, some of which may be worth almost half of the price, if purchased separately, making Audirect Beam a pretty fair value.



The build quality is pretty much excellent, a tiny fully metallic device, that even has a physical volume control, and a play / pause button, and which has a nice overall design. The USB implemented is Type-C, which is pretty awesome, as it is reversible, and as it should be easier to pair with most smartphones, especially considering the cables included in the package.


The music is pretty good, and what's more amazing is how easy it can decide Hi-Res files, and even play DSD files. The warm midrange, and smooth yet present treble is surely going to be music to the ears of those looking for this kind of signature.



Overall, if you're looking for a tiny device to power your trips, if your smartphone doesn't have a Headphone Output, or if you want to get a better sound of your smartphone, you should totally consider The Audirect Beam, and if you like a warm midrange, wide sound, and if you use IEMs a lot, The Audirect Beam might make your main portable DAC/AMP for a good time.



Full Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Tidal Playlist


https://tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

Song List

Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
SOAD - Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
Eminem - Rap God
Stromae - Humain À L'eau
Sonata Arctica - My Selene
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
Dope - Addiction
Korn - Word Up!
Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
Fever The Ghost - Source
Fall Out Boy - Immortals
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
A static Lullaby - Toxic
Royal Republic - Addictive
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans - My Love
Skillet - What I Believe
Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei - Mirror
Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
Falling Up - Falling In Love
Manafest - Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
Zomboy - Lights Out
Muse - Resistance
T.A.T.U &amp; Rammstein - Mosaku
Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
Saving Abel - Addicted
Hollywood Undead - Levitate
The Offspring - Special Delivery
Escape The Fate - Smooth
Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
Dope - Rebel Yell
Crazy Town - Butterfly
Silverstein - My Heroine


I hope my review is helpful to you!

---

Contact me!











---

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Top