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Small but powerful DAC/amp combo with AKM4490 inside

CEntrance DACPort HD

Rating:
4.75/5,
  • Small but powerful DAC/amp combo with AKM4490 inside

Recent Reviews

  1. Aero Dynamik
    A more than excellent computer DAC/AMP
    Written by Aero Dynamik
    Published Sep 22, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Tiny, 99 % black (also with IEMs), scales perfectly (IEMs to full size cans), precision volume control wheel, clear, clean and meaty sound.
    Cons - Not perfectly neutral, becomes a little hot (but small price to pay for great sound)
    Got mine used from sheldaze (thanks!)
     
    Packs a very clear, clean and meaty (slightly u-shaped) sound in a very small light weight package.
     
    I think I prefer it over all my other sources, except for perhaps my O2 DAC/AMP which is more neutral and a little more spacious but maybe not quite as exciting/fun. It's a matter of preference and genre and not a matter of SQ.
     
    Works extremely well and is 99.5 % black with all of my current IEMs/headphones. An extremely faint hiss can be heard when not playing.
     
    As of now I don't have any super sensitive IEMs but something tells me it will be black enough with anything you throw at it.
     
    Nice with CEntrance ASIO support and sample rates to up to 384 kHz, DSD128 and 32-bit bit-depth. Not that I can hear any difference. Anyway, nice to know I can take it "all the way".
     
    The volume wheel is very easy, comfortable and quick to operate, and it's completely free from any scratchy sounds (unlike its predecessor).
     
    It looks really cool which doesn't hurt...
     
    If you have any questions just ask, and if you wish to know more about me and other sources I have or have had then click here.
     
    Thanks!
      bladefd and stalepie like this.
  2. stimy
    Makes a great Portable rig for the money. Ton of tech packed into this tiny DAC/AMP
    Written by stimy
    Published Mar 27, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Super quiet with my iem's... 775 mill watts of power (in hi-gain) hard to believe.... Extremely precise volume wheel.
    Cons - Can get very hot! No markings on the VOL knob. You can easily go the wrong direction and blow your ears up!!
    This DAC is unbelievable, it works flawlessly with my Samsung S5 running tidal and flac on a micro SD card. Sound is phenomenal for my Noble K10s..... relaxed, crystal-clear and punchy bass. I use this in a portable rig with a huge extended battery on the S5. The DAC will run your battery down quickly and less you have a extended addon. I've also hooked it up to my MacBook Pro and Windows 10 PCs it's outstanding on both. The build quality is also top-notch all aluminum construction dissipates heat well. They will generate some heat but it's totally normal. Just for fun I put it in high gain mode and hooked up my Beyerdynamic DT 880 pros 600ohm and it sounded amazing! I never thought this little device would have the power to drive this hungry can. Pair this up with an old android phone with an extended battery and you have an awesome portable rig. Couldn't be happier!!!!!!
     

    2016-02-1213.27.18.jpg
      stalepie likes this.
    1. avitron142
      What, it draws power from the S5 alone? I thought it was too power-hungry for that. Let me know!
      avitron142, Mar 28, 2016
    2. jedi5diah
      SIC your micro to micro cable, thanks!
      jedi5diah, Apr 5, 2016
  3. Geraffe
    Incredible SQ for the money and size.
    Written by Geraffe
    Published Mar 22, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Neutral, clear, clean, detailed.
    Cons - Needs run in to show it`s best.
    You really need to be patient with this one. Because of it`s size, the small caps needs to be fully charged before it sings. I would estimate they need 100 to 200 hours. But when accomplished, things starts to happen. 
     
    Brand new out of the box, it sounds thin, with no bass to speak of, When run in, the midrange is fleshed out, and there are bass a plenty. If it is present in the recordings, that is. A lot of 70`s recordings are revealed as having not much bass, It`s just the neutrality of it, that is showing this. Not a fault. With "normal" recordings bass is of very high quality.
     
    It`s neutrality really shows how you cans sounds. Fidelio X2 is slightly dark, but very musical, and nice controlled bass. Great for rock and heavy metal. HE 400s is slightly bright, but good balance overall. Great for acoustic music. With my slightly modded Beyerdynamic DT150, it is close to perfect. Close to perfect tonal balance, and huge soundstage and great dynamics. My DT990 is too bright with it. Not an issue with my Lake People G109s amp. AKG 702 is still a bit bass shy, but no great issue. Overall it is nice and detailed, with absolutely no sibilance.
     
    Overall the DACport HD is very neutral, clean and clear, and lets a lot of information through.
     
    If neutrality is your thing, and it suits your cans, go for it. It`s really amazing for prize and size.
    1. iemmustiane
      How's the noise floor with the X2? Any hissing?
      iemmustiane, Aug 13, 2016
  4. cleg
    Excellent sound in tiny packaging
    Written by cleg
    Published Feb 15, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - powerful, dynamic, live, small, well built, neutral, solid, inexpensive
    Cons - picky with IEMs, bass is lacking depth a bit
    1MainPic.jpg

    I am a pretty big fan of CEntrance's gear. I'm owning both HiFi-M8 and Mini-M8, and I really hope to see full-sized desktop DAC/amp from CEntrance. Meanwhile, company presented very interesting tiny DAC with built-in headphone amplifier DAC Port HD. Of course, I can't resist and get one for review. Here are my humble 5 cents.

    Package is really basic, it's small black cardboard box, inside you'll find device itself and USB cable to plug it.

    DACPort HD is incredibly tiny, it's slim and is just a bit bigger then usual disposable cigarette lighter. Device made completely form black aluminium and provides solid and sturdy build. From one side you plug MicroUSB, from other — headphones (3.5 mm used). One of edges contains volume wheel, other — gain switch. No LEDs, no power button, no built-in battery, pure minimalism.

    2Box.jpg

    It's really incredible, how many power was stuffed inside this small case. Heart of DACPort HD is fresh AMK4490 DAC, so device is capable of handing signal up to 384 kHz/32 bit and even DSD64/DSD128. Amplifier is built in A-class, powered by ±9 V rails and doesn't have output capacitors. It's heard to believe, but DACPort HD has up to 775 mW of output power, so it's pretty able to drive even orthos.

    Actually, specs

    • DAC: AK4490
    • Formats supported: up to 384 kHz/32 bit, DSD64, DSD128
    • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz (±0.2 dB)
    • Dynamic range: 112 dB
    • THD+N: 0.002% (1 kHz)
    • Noise level: 7 µV RMS (at high gain)
    • Output impedance:
    • Max. signal level: 4.1 VRMS / +14.5 dBu
    • Max. power: 775 mW
    • Size: 76 mm × 29 mm × 11 mm

    4SideView.jpg

    Pretty impressive for a device that weight 40 grams and cost $200. By the way, there is "simplified" version DAPort Slim, that sold exclusively on Massdrop and costs only $100. It has reduced power, doesn't support DSD and resolutions higher then 192/24. Also it has a bit worse THD+N and DR. But anyway, it's also a good option for "not-so-hard-to-drive-headphones" owners.

    DACPort HD is a USB powered device, and it "wants" pretty lot of power to operate, thus isn't compatible with smartphones. I've seen solution, involved external battery, USB hub and Android smartphone, but I can't call it portable. I've seen mention, that DACPort Slim works with mobile sources, but I didn't have an opportunity to check it.

    5FrontView.jpg

    This tiny thing gets a bit worm during work, don't worry it's OK.

    And, on to sound.

    During the test I've used

    • MacBook Pro Retina Late 2013 as a source
    • Audirvana Plus as a player
    • ZMF Omni, Oppo PM-3, Titan 3 and Titan 5, Lear LHF-AE1d, Ambient Acoustics AM10, VE Monk and Asura v2, HiFiMan HE-400S

    DACPort HD shares same "house sound" as well-known HiFi-M8, it's detailed, neutral and have a good resolution, so device's sound is on brighter side, it's airy and light.

    7AgainwithDeltas.jpg

    Bass is pretty quick, combined with plenty of power, it's both an advantage and a drawback of this device. The fact is that DACPort requires excellent bass control from headphones. It will showcase all faults in lows, if they are present. It's especially ruthless with small IEMs and earbuds. For example, it sounds pretty OK with new VE Asura, but with VE Monk — it's not an option at all. If you like strong lows, DACPort may be not a good option, as it doesn't add anything to lows, so you can benefit from darker sound, but DACPort is more for neutrality addicts.

    Mids are emotional nd dynamic. DAC is especially good in representing small nuances and emotions of vocal. Voice's sound is intimate and engaging. It helps DACPort build pretty deep stage with good layers separation, it's pretty on par with some much more expensive desktop devices. Width is about average.

    Highs are just perfect to my taste. Not too much, not too few, not harsh and not soft, not overdetailed, not veiled — just good in any aspect. DACPort even tries to "fix" bad treble of some old records, and sometimes it's even succeed in this business (but sometimes it doesn't, so it's better to feed it with good remasters).

    "Big" HiFi-M8, of course is better in terms of connection and sound tuning options, also it features more resolution and better mids rendering, but DACPort can be easily treated as "sound sampler" of bigger M8.

    As I've mentioned above, DACPort is pretty picky for IEMs, from my big collection most of all I've liked Titan 3 and Lear LHF-AE1d. But big cans is where DACPort shows his brilliance most of all. For last 5 days I'm listening DACPort HD with HiFiMan's HE-400S, and I think it's one of the best combos by price/sound ratio.

    So, if you need small, inexpensive, but powerful device, I can recommend DACPort HD with easy heart.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. cleg
      @Decommo unfortunately no. I'd like to test it (MQA sounds like an interesting feature), but not a chance yet
      cleg, Feb 16, 2016
    3. jedi5diah
      if i'm able to hear DSD files does it mean i'm doing it right or it is actually being "converted" so i can hear it. any particular steps i need to do to receiver DSD signal?  thanks. 
      jedi5diah, Apr 5, 2016
    4. cleg
      @jedi5diah it depends on your software settings. You can easily google manual on how to setup DSD playback with your OS/player software
      cleg, Apr 6, 2016

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