Audirect Whistle - Reviews
Pros: + Clean Sound
+ Well Built
+ Clear, Wide sound
+ Enough power for most portables
+ Better overall SQ than most smartphones out there
+ Price isn't too high
+ Comes with a lot of accessories and cables, this adds to the value
+ Odd shape means it doesn't roll off tables, which is helpful, since it is a little complicated to stack
+ Small size means it is really portable
+ High quality jacks and connectors
Cons: - Gets Quite Hot
- Drains the battery of the source a bit, since it doesn't have one of its own
- Glue can be seen a little at the ends, may cause some concern
- Doesn't have a lot of depth to the soundstage
- No mechanism of stacking it with a smartphone is included, odd shape makes it complicated to stack if not becoming a little creative
Audirect Whistle - Affordable, Clear, Fun

Audirect Whistle is the first DAC/AMP we are reviewing from Audirect, and it was quite an interesting one to take a look at, priced at 100 USD. We'll be comparing it with its direct competitors, and we'll see whether it is worth its price tag, or if you should seek a DAC/AMP from a different company.


Audirect is a growing company from China, which has been gaining traction for creating affordable DAC/AMP equipment for music lovers, with a good reputation and known for good price/performance ratio. They speak English fairly well.

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 will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with Audirect Whistle. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Audirect Whistle find their next music companion.

About me


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

Audirect Whistle comes packaged in a small little package, together with a large number of cables for connecting it to other devices. The package is a bit simplistic by design, but it comes with all the accessories you could need and desire for, to enjoy it. There is a cable for iPhone, one for Android Devices, and there is a Type-C Cable as well.

If anything is missing from the package, that is a way to strap the Whistle to a smartphone, as that would have been quite welcome.

What to look in when purchasing an Entry-Level DAC/AMP

Technical Specifications

Build Quality/Aesthetics/UI/Firmware

We'll start by saying that the Whistle is not perfect. The build quality is very solid, it is made of metal, but you can see some surplus glue here and there, especially at the top and bottom, and in usage, it gets quite hot, even after a few mere minutes of usage. Even so, the Whistle is quite solid by itself, and it doesn't tend to fall apart easily. You shouldn't worry too much about it getting hot, but it is unusually so for a device of its size.

The cables included in the package are of high quality, and they should last you a lifetime, and in all honest, just the cables are worth half the price of the overall package, and even more, given the fact you're quite likely to use the Whistle with a portable device.

The Whistle does not include any battery, and instead will drain the battery of its source continuously while it is in usage. This isn't such a bad thing, given that it doesn't eat quite that much battery.

From our tests, it tends to work with anything we paired it with, but we only tried Windows and Android devices, as we don't have any iOS devices in our office at the moment. Pairing is simple, it is easily recognized, and it never caused issues.

All in all, we hope that Audirect will improve a bit the build quality and remove more extra glue in their next product, The Beam.

Sound Quality

The Sound Quality of Audirect Whistle is generally great, and there is little we wish to change from it. It is basically neutral, with just a tiny touch of warmth, it has a lot of impact and depth, and it provides overall power and volumes better than most smartphones we ever tested, including LG v20.

On the other hand, the sound tends to have more width than depth, similar to other entry-level DAC/AMPs, like HIDIZS Sonada HD DAC.

With most IEMs and easy-to-drive headphones, it is an outstanding source, with a lot of energy and life in it, sounding very dynamic and fun, but it won't win against something a little more expensive than it, like an iFi xDSD, or even an iFi iNano BL.

Give the fact that it is mostly neutral with a touch of warmth, the bass is slightly elevated, and it has a bit of warmth, compared to something truly neutral, while the treble tends to be a bit smooth, without the sparkle that something truly neutral would have. For 100 USD, the detail and clarity is fairly good, and it tends to provide a clean window to music, but then again, it isn't very cheap, and something slightly more expensive provides quite a bit more detail.

Interestingly, Audirect Whistle doesn't have any kind of interference or hiss, which is quite amazing, for something at this price range, being able to drive even sensitive IEMs without adding any hiss. In fact, this is something that many will appreciate, as most smartphones will be inherently more hissy than Audirect Whistle.

All in all, it has a dynamic, fun, vivid and punchy sound, if you're driving the correct type of headphones and IEMs with it.

Portable Usage

The Portable Usage of Audirect Whistle is fairly good, and there's very little we can complain about, as it is quite easy to carry around, easy to use, and it is easy to pair with anything we tried it with.

It doesn't have any hiss, it is smaller than a typical cigarette and lighter, and you can easily use one of the cables included for any device you own (at the moment of writing this review).

If anything should cause you discomfort, that is the fact that the unit gets a bit hot, and that, judging from reports from other sites, it doesn't work quite as well with all iOS devices, but then again, this is something we haven't tested.

We did a drop test with it, and happily, nothing happened to it, so if it were to fall on the ground, a few scratches are the most that is going to happen to it. All in all, we are giving it a golden rating for its portability.

Select Pairings

Please note that for any pairing, the IEM has more impact on the final result than the DAC/AMP. There are many IEMs people will probably be pairing this one with, since it has such a versatile price range, but we'll try adding some from a similar or compatible price range.

Audirect Whistle + Dunu Falcon-C - This is an interesting one, as Dunu Falcon-C is one of the better IEMs we heard from its price range. Paired with the Whistle, Falcon-C sounds vivid, energetic, lively and quite wide. It has a nice impact to its bass, and regardless of the source, the Whistle can get it louder than most people would listen to it anyways.

Audirect Whistle + FiiO F9Pro - This is another IEM we recommend quite a lot here, due to its nice price point, and neutral sound at an affordable price range, which makes it quite an interesting choice for the budget-oriented audiophile looking for a nice deal. Through and through, F9Pro sounds wide and more happy with the Whistle than most sources, and it seems to tilt F9Pro's colder signature towards a more happy and warmer tonality, which works fairly well for them.

Audirect Whistle + iBasso IT01 - This is the third IEM we recommend a lot to people looking for a deal at 100 USD, and this is for a good reason, IT-01 is the dream IEM for a budget-oriented warm and bassy music lover. IT01 typically has a really warm bass, and some treble sparkle, with the midrange being pushed back a little. When paired with Audirect Whistle, IT01 has a wider sound than typically, which balances out some of the bass, making it quite a more balanced, and a more enjoyable overall experience.


It is a little complicated to compare the Whistle with other DAC/AMP solutions, mostly because we had more options from higher prices than from 100 USD, but we'll try our best to be fair with the comparisons.

Audirect Whistle vs Hidizs Sonata HD DAC - This one comparison is not quite that fair, as the Sonata HD DAC is just about 30 USD, but we should consider whether the Whistle is worth the extra money over Sonata HD DAC. Starting with the build quality, the concept behind the two is quite different. While the Whistle will work with any device, Sonata HD DAC will only work with USB Type-C devices, as well as Windows devices with a USB port. The build quality is equally solid between the two, both have nice jacks, and both will take a beating and return to life. The sound is actually quite similar, with both having a wide soundstage, and clear sound, but the Whistle has a touch more detail and depth, along with a bit more overall dynamics, the sound alone isn't different enough to justify a 3 times increase in price, but we do feel that having the larger device, without a fixed port, and the cables that come with it may justify the price difference for many customers.

Audirect Whistle vs Shanling M0 - This comparison isn't absolutely fair either, but we feel people may be curious whether they should be getting a dedicated DAP, or the Audirect Whistle. Now, the build quality is great on both, and both devices come with a nice set of accessories, but their usage scenarios is different. If you wanted a DAP, Shanling M0 is absolutely fabulous for 100 USD, but if you want to have Streaming abilities, Shanling M0 just won't do it, so you're better off with a dedicated DAC/AMP to connect to your smartphone, like the Whistle. The Whistle can also render the music part of your videos while you're using your smartphone, while Shanling M0 isn't able to do that, but the sound is a touch more detailed on the Whistle actually. All in all, they are similar in the sonic signature, and while the Whistle is a touch wider in the soundstage, Shanling M0 has a little edge in the treble reproduction, where it feels slightly more refined.

Value and Conclusion

At the end of the day, we've been talking about a DAC/AMP which is sold for 100 USD, which isn't exactly a little considering the wide number of options on the market at this moment.

Audirect Whistle is well packaged, and half of its asking price could very well go for the cables alone. The package doesn't include much else besides the unit and the cables though, so you need to be a bit creative on figuring on how to strap the Whistle to your smartphone.

The build quality of the device itself is okay, you can see some extra glue without much searching, but it is made of metal, which helps dissipate heat easily, and it is very strong as an overall device. The jacks are also high-quality, and the whistle looks like it can take a serious beating, and still come back for more.

It will connect with anything we tried it with, Android and Windows, and it works just fine in every scenario it was made for, so we have to give it extra points of Audirect's software.

The sound is generally very wide, clear, fun, vivid, energetic and clear, mostly linear, with a touch of extra warmth. This means that it will pair well with almost any IEM and Headphone that's not too hard to drive.

In all honesty, we're talking about a DAC/AMP which is able to impress any listener with its sonic performance and although it costs a pretty penny, if you're looking for a simple, nimble, well made, fun and dynamic sounding DAC/AMP, you should add Audirect Whistle to your list, especially if you can listen to one from any friend, as they are not sold officially in many shops (yet!).

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.

Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Eletric Six - Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir

Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Manafest - Impossible
Thosand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
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
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry

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 - Tommy Gun
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
Skillet - What I Believe

I hope my review is helpful to you!


Contact us!

Pros: Tiny form factor,
Lots of low profile cables/accessories,
Plug and Play capability for Android and IOS,
Pretty good sound presentation,
Low to none hissing
Cons: No independent volume control,
No battery means additional battery drain for the source
The Audirect Whistle, small in size but Big in Sound…

1. Disclaimer:

First of all, a big thanks to Audirect for providing me this free sample of the Audirect Whistle for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Audirect beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.

The review was originally posted on my blog, and now I would like to share it to the Head-fi community.

2. About Audirect:

Audirect is part of Shenzen Micronetwork Technology Co., Ltd. located in Shenzen – China and is engaged since more than 5 years in the development, production and sales of portable DAC’s. The Whistle is the second generation there audio line.

Official website of the Company

3. Price:

The Audirect Whistle DAC/AMP is sold for 99,00 USD

Purchase Link:

4. Introduction:

The Audirect Whistle is a small Hi-Fi DAC and Headphone Amplifier created for people who are not satisfied with there onboard PC soundcard or the sound and output power of there Smartphone’s or Tablets.

5. Package and Accessories:

The device comes in small white card-box and contains the following items;

  • 1 pcs of Whistle PCM/DSD DAC/AMP
  • 1 pcs of Micro USB cable
  • 1 pcs of USB Type-C cable
  • 1 pcs of Lightning cable
  • 1 pcs of long profile 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable

Audirect has put some nice accessories in to the package. Those are 3 digital OTG and 1 analog connection cables. The Lightning and USB Type-C OTG cable is a free bonus. When you plan to buy it separately you must spend normally 13.90 USD for the Lightning and 9.90 USD for the USB Type-C cable.

6. Design and Build Quality:

The Audirect Whistle is a very compact and small (better say tiny) device that has almost the same size of an AA type battery. It is very lightweight and is only weights only 12g.

It has a triangle shaped design with rounded corners and has an all metal housing. The all metal housing is made of aluminum material and is very well made.

The device has a smooth surface and is painted in one color; only the top and bottom corners are not painted and are appearing in silver metal color. The device is available in 2 different color options and those are gray and red. My review sample came is in red color.

On the top of the device is the 3.5mm headphone/analog out that is compatible with 4 and 3 poled jacks.

At the bottom is Micro USB digital out that allows you to connect it to devices with USB 2.0, Micro USB, USB Type-C and Lightning connection like Tablets, Smartphone’s, PC and MAC that supports external USB DAC’s.

On one of the front surfaces are the Audirect Logo and two LED lights. The PCM marked LED lights up when a PCM conversation is in process and the DSD marked LED lights up when you play a DSD (Direct Stream Digital) file.

7. Technical Specifications:

  • DAC : ES9018Q2C
  • AMP : ES9016
  • Frequency response : 20 – 30000Hz ( -0.15dB)
  • Distortion : 0.0004 %
  • SNR : – 128dB
  • DNR : +121dB
    Output Power Rating : – 115dB THD+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω
  • Output Power Rating : – 100dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω
  • Output : 3.5mm (supports 3 and 4 pole headphone jacks)
  • Input : Micro USB (from Micro USB, USB Type-C and Lightning)
  • Resolution : PCM 16 up to 32bit/384kHz sampling and Native DSD 1bit/2.8MHz/5.6MHz DSD
  • Demission’s : Length: 51.0mm Wide: 14mm Height: 14mm
  • Weight : 12g

8. Hardware and Software:

The Audirect Whistle is a small DAC but has some nice hardware specs. The Whistle has no battery and any physical volume control button/wheel.

a) DAC Section:

Inside the Audirect Whistle is the ES9018Q2C DAC of the company ESS Technology Inc.

The ES9018Q2C is a 32-bit Stereo D/A Converter with Integrated Headphone Amplifier and Output Switch. The SABRE9018Q2C SOC (in short System-On-a Chip) is capable to deliver an SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) of 121dB, THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion) of -115dB.

The ES9018Q2C SOC operates from a single +3.3V supply.

The ES9018Q2C features ESS’s 32-Bit HyperStream® architecture that handles up to 32-Bit 384kHz PCM data via SLIMBus, I2S, or DSD-11.2MHz data.

b) AMP Section and Drivability:

The Audirect Whistle has an ES9016 amplifier of the company ESS Technology Inc.

The ES9016 is an on board amplifier that is integrated in to SOC of the ES9018Q2C. The output rated of 49mW into 32Ω and 2Vrms into 600Ω. It was capable to driver my Audeze iSine20 and Audio-Technica ATH M50 to very loud sound volume levels.

c) Battery Draining:

The Whistle has less battery drain than the first generation of Audioquest Dragonfly and other devices like the Fiio E10K.

d) Hissing:

I was very surprised to hear such a clean sound output form such a priced device. I don’t know the performance of the first batch, but the Whistle is a great performer if you have a sensitive to hissing.

The Audirect Whistle sounds very clean with some of my sensitive IEM’s like the HiFi BOY OS V3 and the DUNU Falcon-C, even in very high volume levels. I think that the Audirect team did a good job by making such silent device for this price.

e) Compatibility:

The Audirect Whistle works flawless with Windows PC, MAC, iOS and Android devices.

The Whistle installs the required drivers at the first connection and everything runs automatically. A MAC device doesn’t need any driver installation.

My Ipad Air 2 did automatically recognize the Whistle as a plug and play device.

My Samsung Galaxy S8+ Android Smartphone is working flawlessly and doesn’t need any additional third party software.

9. Equipments used for this review:

DAC’s : Audirect Whistle, Audioquest Dragonfly Black

Digital Source : Ipad Air 2, Samsung Galaxy S8+ and Dell 5521 Laptop
IEM’s : Audeze iSine20, Dunu Flacon-C, HiFi BOY OS V3, TFZ TEQUILA1,
Earbuds : NiceHCK EBX, HiFi BOY Dream

Headphones : Audio-Technica ATH50M

10. Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Sebastian Ingrosso, Thommy Trash &John M. – Reload (Apple Music)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (DSF)
  • Casey Abrams – Robot Lovers (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Emmanuel Pahud (Claude Debussy) – Syrinx (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
  • Melody Gardot – Who Will Comfort Me (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (DSF)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – Up Close “Album” (DSF) – Binaural Recording
  • Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
  • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Metallica – The Black Album (Flac 24bit/96Hz)
  • Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)

11. Supported Audio Formats:

The Audirect Whistle supports the following formats that I have tested out during this review;

Native DSD (64/128), FLAC, ALAC, APE, WAV, AAC, OGG, MP3, WMA

12. The Sound:

I have burn-in the device for approx. 100 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.

Tonality / Bass / Mid / Treble / Soundstage & Imagine:

The Audirect Whistle is a quite balanced sounding source with a hint of warmth that avoids making it sound too dry.

I have use the Audirect Whistle with my Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Smartphone), Ipad Air 2 (Tablet) and Dell 5521 (Laptop).

The improvements on any source I have plugged the Whistle was clearly noticeable. The first noticeable thing was a better authority in the bass department. The improvement of the sub-bass extension on my The Galaxy S8+ was immediately noticeable. It was able to provide a better sense of sub-bass power in the 20-50 Hz range.

The Whistle has also the better mid-bass presentation and control. The quantity and quality is good enough to avoid any lose of definition. My Dell 5521 (Laptop) and the Galaxy S8+ have some problems to handle the speed of the mid-bass range, especially in bass heavy songs that need additional speed and control. The mid-bass improvement was best noticeable on my Dell 5521 that has an onboard soundcard. The Ipad Air 2 the best bass department right after the Whistle.

The midrange of the Whistle sounds slightly more forward than the above mentioned sources. The midrange clarity is quite good and benefits form the clean background of the device. The biggest improvement was the detail retrieval on all plugged devices. The midrange improvement on my Dell 5521 was dramatically especially in the upper midrange; while the change in quality was less noticeable with the Galaxy S8+ and the lowest on the Ipad Air 2.

The Audirect Whistle has some pretty good clarity in the treble area. It has the smoother upper treble register and it sounds also more transparent than all the three sources that I have mentioned above. The improvement is best noticeable on the Dell 5521 and less on the Ipad Air2.

The increasing of soundstage is noticeable but not in a marginal way. There is some improvement for the depth on my Galaxy S8+ especially on the Dell 5521. The wide of the soundstage on the Ipad Air 2 is already for a tablet, but gets quite step further with the Audirect Whistle.

13. Comparison:

Audirect Whistle vs. Audioquest Dragonfly Black (v1.5):

The Audioquest Dragonfly Black is USB Stick-Sized Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that is also compatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and most Android mobile devices (requires Apple Camera Adapter or OTG adaptor for Android).

Accessories, Design and Build Quality:

The Dragonfly Black is a small device but is bigger in size compared next to the Whistle. The outer shell of the Dragonfly Black is made of plastic that has a rubber like coating that gives a nice touch feeling, while the Whistle has an all metal shell with a smoother surface. One thing that I don’t like about the Dragonfly series is the use of a plastic cap that maybe protects the USB male connector of the device but can be easily lost.

The package of the Dragonfly Black includes only the leather case, no low profile cables for mobile devices that Audirect Whistle has already in the package.

Hardware Comparison and Compatibility:

The Dragonfly Black has the 32-bit ESS 9010 DAC with minimum-phase filter under the hood. The Audirect Whistle on the other hand uses the newer DAC chip of the ESS family the ESS9018Q2C.

The Dragonfly Black has the advantage that there is no need for any cable if you use the device with a PC or MAC but makes is more bulky that the Whistle. The Dragonfly Black has also this nice colorful LED indicator with the look of a Dragonfly that shows which bit-rat is actually active. The Whistle has also two LED indicators one for PCM that is active for all bitrates (except of DSD) and one for DSD.

The Dragonfly Black supports sampling rates up to 24-bit/96 kHz but doesn’t support DSD files. The Whistle in the other hand supports sampling rates up to 32bit/384kHz and has Native DSD capabilities for sampling rates up to DSD64 -1bit/2.8MHz / DSD128 – 1bit/5.6MHz.

The Dragonfly Black doesn’t need any drivers for PC and MAC devices but needs and CCK (Camera Connection Kit) for IOS devices (that you must buy separately) but without the need to install any software, but doesn’t works great with Android devices. To pair the Dragonfly Black with Android device, you need an USB OTG (On the Go) cable (must be bought separately) and you should install third party applications like USB Audio Pro that costs additional money to active the hardware volume control. The Whistle automatically installs the drivers to your PC and doesn’t need any software for MAC, IOS and Android devices. The cables to connect to these devices are also included to the package that is a big plus.

Both devices have nearly the same battery drain effect to the device they are connected.

The Dragonfly Black has an output voltage of 1.2 Volts and has more output power than the Whistle that performs very well with IEMs.


The Dragonfly Black’s sound signature reminds to this of the Chord Mojo, especially the warmth and musical sound presentation. The Whistle has the more balanced sound tuning compared to the Dragonfly Black.

The bass on the DF Black has more punch and gives a nice hint of warmth. The Whistle on the other side has less bass impact but with better speed layering and control. The bass definition is nearly equal.

The mids on both devices is sounding quite detailed and but after an intensive listening period with both devices, I have come to the decision that the Audirect Whistle has the better detail level for instrument and vocal presentation. The Whistles layering of mids is also superior compared to the DF Black.

The treble range of both devices sounds quite controlled and with nice detail retrieval, that has a performance above this price point. The Whistle has more treble focus and sounds more lifelike, but the DF Black has the advantage with its better control in the upper treble register.

The soundstage of both devices is above average not ultra wide or claustrophobic. Both devices have a nice sense of depth and above average performance for soundstage wideness.


No doubt, the Audirect Whistle sounds much cleaner that the DF Black. The DF Black has a small amount of hissing with sensitive IEM’s, while the Whistle is the cleanest sounding DAC I have tested in this price range to date.

14. Conclusion:

The Audirect Whistle is a small DAC with a good build and sound quality that has lots of accessories (low profile cables) and almost no hissing that is a big welcome, especially in this price range.

15. Pos and Cons:

+ Tiny form factor
+ Lots of low profile cables/accessories
+ Plug and Play capability for Android and IOS
+ Pretty good sound presentation
+ Low to none hissing

- No independent volume control
- No battery means additional battery drain for the source

This review was originally posted on "Moonstar Reviews" :
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Audirect Whistle – Mini Portable DAC


whi (1).JPG

Technical Specifications
  • +121db DNR
  • -115dB TND+N, 2Vrms into 600Ω
  • -100dB THD+N, 49mW into 32Ω
  • Resolution: up to 32 bit/384kHz sampling or 1bit/2.8MHz/5.6MHz DSD
  • Dimensions: L: 51mm, W: 14mm, H: 14mm

whi (2).JPG

Price: U$D 99

  • Micro USB to Micro USB cable
  • Micro USB to USB Type-C cable
  • Micro USB to Apple Lightning cable
  • 3.5mm to 3.5mm Aux. cable
whi (3).JPG


The Whistle DAC is a very compact and well-built device. The outer material is made of metal, aluminum it seems, painted in either gray or red color (depending on the model). The surface is very smooth and despite the triangle shaped design the edges are well rounded.

It is a very simple portable unit, with a Micro USB input connection on one side and standard 3.5mm output on the other. There are also a two Led lights to indicate the music format being played, PCM or DSD.

whi (4).JPG whi (5).JPG


The Whistle can be connected to a personal computer, tablet or smartphone. For Windows systems it is needed to install an extra software for the drivers. Unfortunately, it was not recognized with two of Samsung Galaxy phones I tried, but seems to work fine with iPhone devices.

The Whistle volume is adjusted by the device it is connected to. With Windows PC it can get too loud already even before reaching the half of volume steps.

whi (7).JPG

Sound Quality

The Whistle sound performance was tested with various kind of gears, IEMs, earbuds and portable headphones, like the Vsonic GR07, Dunu DK-3001, MeeAudio P2, Fiio EX1ii, VE Monk+, Asura and Zen, Sennheiser HD-25 ii and Grado SR80. The gain and improvement in sound were more noticed with the open earbuds and headphones rather than with the closed In-ear sets.

Overall, the Audirect Whistle small DAC offers a fuller sound from lows to mids with a smoother yet detailed upper end. It shows pretty much no coloration to the sound, which is quite a good feature for any DAC, but brings out a more natural tonality. The bass is larger and better layered without showing a higher mid-bass quantity. Sub-bass extension was better noticed on with the HD25 and Grado sets as both benefit from some extra amplification. The midrange remains very clean and slightly more forward with a nicer texture for vocals. No real gain on instruments separation though, but it keeps the detail and positioning. Treble has a better control, especially with brighter sets, being better rounded and very slightly smoother overall. The less favorable improvements are in stage dimensions; it doesn’t sound smaller, but still not as wider as could be expected.

Compared next to a similar DAC such as the Zorloo ZuperDAC, the differences are easily noticed. The Zorloo has a more v-shaped presentation with a warmer low-end and less forward midrange but with a wider soundstage, while the Whistle is cleaner towards the midrange and highs and more natural in presentation.

Overall, the Audirect Whistle DAC is a very compact and comfortable device, fairly well built and easy to use. My only complaint would be the need of extra drivers which is a bit annoying for the 2017, and the lack of volume control. That aside, the sound presentation is still enjoyable for a small and simple audio gear.
Pros: Small form, transparent, easy to use, no cck needed, smooth, ess dacs and amps
Cons: Cable is good but not great, no internal battery
Audirect `The Whistle` Dac/Amp Review - Expatinjapan

I give it 3.5 stars

Audirect Whistle and Campfire Audio Jupiter
The Audirect Whistle dac/amp is for use with iOS, Android, PC, Mac and your car.

The DAC chip is ESS9018Q2C and the Amplifier is ES9016

Updated new packaging.

*Audirect has since updated the packaging. Those photos following my unboxing.

The older original packaging.

Cables galore: Micro usb to lightning, micro to micro and a micro to usb-c.

A cable for use in your automobile.

Apple Touch 6G, Audirect Whistle and Simgot EN700 Bass

New packaging

Back in black, paint it black...


The Output impedance is <1ohm which means its friendly with multi driver BA IEMs.

Audirect Whistle with Campfire Audio Andromeda, iBasso CB13 cable
and Effect Audio Balanced to single end adaptor.

The Audirect Whistle was tested with my ipod Touch 6, 128GB and mainly 16/44 FLAC using the Flacplayer app by Dan Leehr.

ipod touch 6G and Flacplayer app with Audirect Whistle

Headphone Jack out (only) - Flacplayer app

The Whistle is an affordable DAC/amp with a ES9018Q2C Dac and a ES9016 amplifier so one would hope for noticeable improvements in sound quality over that of an ipod or smartphone and computer...
The vocals are nicely presented, at times a bit forward of the music for my tastes.
Stock cable, vocals forward - sounds fabulous, cymbals and high hats prominent. Sound stage seems to be more forward, vertical and less on the horizontal.Treble seems more prevalent. ESS signature sound.

With the REI cable the music and vocals are more complementary, smoother, the sound stage becomes wider, deeper and more of a sphere shape, instrument separation and placement is greater, the overall experience more deeper and intimate.

The ipod Touch 6G is an excellent dap itself, clear, detailed and with good definition. It lacks a bit of body and can get fatiguing for long periods of listening.
With the addition of the Whistle into the mix it becomes more smoother, the music has more body to it, the low end is more present and fulfilling.
The ipod Touch 6G and the Audirect Whistle share many sound signature similarities.

I found the effect to be more noticeable the higher up the chain I went with various earphones.
As with many of these devices often the difference isn't a night and day or `wow!` factor, more often the effect is incremental and more subtle. A fine tuning of the experience.

I was able to listen at lower volumes with the Whistle rather than have to crank up the volume through the headphone jack to have a decent sonic range.
It did take quite a number of sessions to unravel the Audirect Whistle benefits.

At first I wasn't sure what I was and wasn't hearing (coming from TOTL daps), it took a few days listening to confirm what I believed my ears were hearing, and to isolate the various benefits of the device.

The Audirect Whistle tempered the overall experience, giving more body to the music, reduced hiss and added a smoother element to the overall listening experience resulting in less fatigue during longer listening sessions.

*The Whistle new batch will have a better sound quality, because they found that the capacitor at the "COG" level will be improved.

With a laptop

With my Apple Macbook pro I found benefits such as no hiss when using the Whistle, whereas when I used the headphone jack of the Macbook I experienced hiss.

The Macbook pro already reproduces decent a point. The Whistle takes it quite step further in terms of resolution, smoother, more body, greater separation, sound stage is increased and my overall listening experience was certainly more pleasurable. More lively and engaging.

For Macbook I found I didn't need to install any drivers for the Whistle to function.
Windows computers running Windows 10 don't need a driver so I have been told. Windows 7 needs drivers installed.

Using VOX music player for Macbook

At US$99 it is one of the lowest priced dac/amps out there on the market.
With no need for a CCK for idevices it makes it simple to use.
Its small form and lightweight body means it is easy to carry and use.


The Audirect Whistle is a very affordable DAC/amplifier that can complement many an existing system.

I wish I had an Audioquest Dragonfly (Black) to compare with as they both retail for the same price.

One thing that puts the Audirect Whistle in good company (Cozoy REI, CEntrance DACportable to name a couple...) is that they don't require an Apple CCK to function.

The Cozoy REI has more smoothness, detail, separation and subtlety, the CEntrance DACportable has more power, detail and low end body. But the price differences are quite wide and distant between them and the Audirect Whistle so that is to be expected.

The Audirect Whistle has that clear, (slightly) highs focused signature often associated with Sabre Dac devices.
The effect is one of increased clarity and transparency, more noticeable with analytical listening or longer sessions. It is not a strong change in that it does not possess any coloring to be easily heard, but more of its intended aim to clean up, concentrate and contain the musical reproduction.

I think a better lightning cable would improve clarity, detail and overall sonics. When used with the lightning cable that comes with the Cozoy REI the experience improves in thats its smoother and richer. (Yes, yes. I know its all 1s and 0s and that it shouldn't make a difference....buuuut....).

Red or Black? I chose red so I could find it easier. :wink:

Don`t expect to use this with a low end set of earphones and have them magically transformed, I really noticed the Whistles performance with the Andromeda, less so in the budget to just below the mid fi bracket.
(With the ipod touch).

Its hard to say whether its the DAC or the AMP, or the DAC and the Amp combined making the difference. As we know a bit of extra amplification itself can do wonders.

That it eliminated the hiss (with my macbook) might be a major appeal point for some.
perhaps this might be replicated on other devices also? Smartphones etc...I don't know.

I would have liked to have more variety of sources at my fingers to test the Whistle more, in particular smartphones that have poor quality music playback.. at an uneducated and untested guess the Whistle might help - using my macbook as an example.

Not included is a Micro USB to USB-A cable for use with a computer, but I think we all have a few of those at home.

*The Whistle new batch will have a better sound quality, because they found that the capacitor at the "COG" level will be improved.

Overall the Audirect Whistle comes in at a decent price, my regret is I don`t have the Dragonfly black to compare with. It does produce a pleasing effect in that the music has more body and it adds a fullness to the music, also it gives a smoother and less fatiguing experience.

Thank you to Audirect for sending Head pie the Whistle Dac/amp for review.