1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

Portable USB/OTG DAC Amp for Android/iOS/PC

Cozoy Astrapi

Rating:
4.41667/5,
  • Portable USB/OTG DAC Amp for Android/iOS/PC

Recent Reviews

  1. money4me247
    Tiniest Dac/Amp Ever Adds Smooth Refinements to Overall SQ
    Written by money4me247
    Published Jun 18, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - light small sexy design, very suitable for portable usage, clean SQ w/ minimal coloration, supports iOS/Android natively, dac/amp or dac only function
    Cons - geared toward refining overall SQ aspects rather than drastically altering sound, may need to get shorter cables
    Cozoy Astrapi Review
     
    2015-06-1806.51.45.jpg
     
    1. Review unit provided by CTC Audio for loan and touring (http://www.ctcaudio.com/)
    2. Extensively tested over a period of more than one month with extensive real-world usage in portable situations
    3. Source used include Spotify Premium, Tidal Hi-fi, and an assortment of FLAC files
    4. No special “high-resolution” files above 16 bit depth and 44.1 sample rate used in my testing as I am a strong skeptic and feel confident in Nyquist-Shannon Sampling Theorem after doing my own personal blinded, volume-matched comparisons. Refer to these links here & here for more background on the subject.
    5. Primary current chain is the Schiit Bifrost Uber > Schiit Lyr 2 > HE-1000 beta
    6. My full gear profile is available HERE.
    7. This is an unpaid and uncensored review covering my own personal subjective thoughts and opinions. I am NOT a professional reviewer. As always, I hope this is an enjoyable and informative read, and remember that ymmv!
     
    Intro: Cozoy Ltd. is a relatively new company that was founded in 2014 and based in China. Their current product portfolio only includes their recently released Cozoy Astrapi portable dac/amplifier. CTC Audio is their official distributor for the United States and Canada. Link here: http://www.ctcaudio.com/products/cozoy-astrapi-dac-amplifier.
     
    I was very interested in purchasing a Cozoy Astrapi for my portable needs and contacted CTC Audio with some questions. CTC Audio was kind enough to supply me with a loaner review unit upon request. I am in no way affiliated with Cozoy or CTC Audio and this a non-professional, unpaid, and uncensored review covering my honest thoughts.
     
    Tech: The Cozoy Astrapi is a portable USB digital analog convertor with a solid state amplifier designed to work out-of-the-box with iOS and Android. The Astrapi is powered by the source device with it is connected via the included usb cable. When the volume output is maximized, it functions as a standalone dac, providing a clean line-out output to pair with another amplifier.
     
    It natively supports up to 16 bit depth and 44.1 sample rate decoding and uses Digital Sound Processing tuning algorithms during all playback. Source files higher than 16/44.1 will be played back non-natively (Cozoy recommends Onkyo HF player and Radius NePlayer).
     
    Official Specifications: (Copied from their official website)
    Bit rate: DSP engine sampling at 16/44.1, all formats playable with software support
    System power current: 10mA - 70mA max.
    Power input: 1.8V-3.3V+-10%
    Output gain level step: 3dB/step; 16 steps
    Native 16/44.1 decoding and implementation of DSP tuning algorithms
    Output varies as power input may differ, this situation exists on every kind of OS
     
    Packaging: Packaging is beautiful, but I personally couldn't care less and don’t really place much emphasis on the packaging in my reviews.
     
    2015-06-1806.27.39.jpg
    Astrapi Box
     
    2015-06-1806.28.42.jpg
    Astrapi in box with ribbon for easy removal & warranty card
     
    Build Quality & Design: I personally rate the design and build quality of the Astrapi extremely highly. Its body is fully metal and feels quite premium. There is a small clip on the back side. Adorning the two ends is the micro usb port and 3.5mm headphone jack (double as a line-out at maxed volume]. It is easy to see that Cozoy has taken extra care to place an emphasis on aesthetic appeal and build quality, which is a refreshing attitude for the inexpensive portable amp/dac market.
     
    2015-06-1806.40.23.jpg            2015-06-1806.41.47.jpg
     
    2015-06-1806.40.50.jpg            2015-06-1806.41.18.jpg
     
    2015-06-1806.42.29.jpg            2015-06-1806.42.40.jpg
     

    Weight: 10 grams measured on my kitchen scale (specially calibrated for measuring audiophile-grade equipment… & small non-audiophile edibles.)
    Dimensions* [length x width x depth]:
    not including clip: 52 mm x 15mm x 6 mm [2 in x ⅝ in x ¼ in]
    including clip: depth changes to 9 mm [⅜ inch]
    *if you do the metric to imperial conversation, you see that the metric measurements are shorter. well, the Cozy is so small it measures in between the little lines of the inches side on normal non-audiophile approved ruler. My metric measurements more accurate. That should be obvious as all scientists who measure stuff as a profession use the metric scale.
     
    In case you still didn’t understand how minuscule the Astrapi is, the AudioQuest Dragonfly which is often praised for its small form factor looks giant next to the Astrapi. The Dragonfly more than doubles the Astrapi’s weight and body thickness*!!! Let me pause for a moment for that to stick in. You can scroll down look at comparison pictures while I’m pausing. [*Note: body means excluding the metal clip; the Astrapi is still thinner including the clip]
     
    2015-06-1806.47.36.jpg            2015-06-1806.50.17.jpg
     
    2015-06-1806.48.40.jpg            2015-06-1806.49.03.jpg
     
    I did run into a rare issue where my Astrapi would drop out sometimes or fail to recognize upon first connection. This was a scarce occurrence during my month-long audition of the unit and I actually had difficulty duplicating this phenomenon, even under stress testing. May possibly be related to my phone. The connections on both ends do appear to be quite stable. If this was caused by pulling or strain rather than my phone, I do think that usage with a shorter cable or using its clipping feature will easily eliminate that.

     
    The Astrapi has a clip. I am ambivalent about it. Good clipping locations would be either on your belt or pocket or on a bag for convenience. I found the length of the stock cables made clipping to the side of my belt (so my belly isn’t in the way) to be ideal. Cable gives ample length to place the phone into your pocket and take it out without unclipping. Clipping to the inner pocket worked the best with the clip on the exterior either clipped very high or very low on the pocket so it doesn’t get in the way when I reached into my pocket.
     
    Pros in Design: solid build quality, small, lightweight, metal housing, no need to charge an internal battery, does not get hot
    Cons in Design: well, it’s small & sexy, so you might lose it or jealous audiophiles may try steal it. if you are anti-clipping, there is a clip. may be possible to try to break it off, but it is quite solidly attached. also, clipping could possibly prevent loss or theft. included cable length may not be suitable for everyone
     
    2015-06-1806.31.23.jpg
     
    Accessories: All the accessories you require to use the Astrapi are included. There are three cables all measuring 1 ft in length.
    1. Micro to USB 2.0 connection cable for computers
    2. Micro to micro USB cable for Android
    3. Micro to lightning cable for iOS (the Astrapi works natively with iOS without any additional camera connection kit/adapter)
     
    2015-06-1806.30.15.jpg
     
    No carrying case is included, but honestly the minuscule form factor of the Astrapi renders a carrying case unnecessary. Don’t really know of any portable dac/amps that include carrying cases.
     
    I think I would personally prefer much shorter cables for connecting with my smartphone to cut down on excess wire length as most portable headphones already come with ample cable length. Something super short like 3-6 inches would be ideal in my mind for the Android and iOS cables. Of course, with shorter cables, the clipping feature cannot be used at all, so their choice makes a lot of sense. The longer cable allows the phone to be taken out of your pocket without unclipping. I would recommend purchasing an additional short cable for your device of choice just to see what you prefer. With the longer cables, I just rock the clip-onto-belt method to flash my tiny Astrapi implying my corresponding high audiophile pedigree to whatever jealous audiophiles might happen to be wandering the streets.
     
    Portable Usage: Highly rated as it is extremely portable. No other option that rivals its form factor and weight. No need to recharge. Does not get hot. Extremely convenient and easy to bring around with you even when you have very limited pocket space. It is extremely well-designed for portable applications.
     
    Sound Quality:
    I posted an addendum HERE on how I approach reviewing external components. In case you skipped the long tedious testing methodology section: The thoughts written here are relative impressions based on extensive direct A/B comparisons between the Cozoy Astrapi against no external components on my laptops or my Samsung Galaxy S5. I do recommend skimming the testing methodology section to get a sense of my background and approach.
    1. Dell XPS m1530 & Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone > Combination of FLAC files, Tidal HiFi lossless, and Spotify Premium Ogg Vorbis > Cozoy Astrapi > Oppo PM-3 & AKG K7xx
    2. Please use this resource for the definitions of the audiophile terms I am using: http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary
     
    I found the Astrapi to have an extremely clean sound. No dramatic sound signature departures from set-ups containing no additional external components. This might ruin my audiophile credibility, but I will be the first to admit that I cannot hear a sonic differences between a Dell XPS M1530 laptop, Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 7, iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPad normal, or HP elitebook… so I did comparisons on whatever device was closer atm, mostly on the S5 to stimulate real-world usage.
     
    I did initially think that there was the noticeable addition of warmth. After extensive fast switching A/B direct comparisons of extremely short <10 second segments, I found it was actually not a very drastic change in overall sound signature when volume matched. Tested this further via EQing my unamplified set-up various different ways vs unEQed Astrapi and rapidly switching back and forth to see how well I could detect differences in sound signature. My conclusion was that the Astrapi did not dramatically alter the sound signature of the source or add any significant additional coloration to your chain. I do still feel there is still subtle hint of warmth underlying its sound signature throughout, but not anything dramatic. There were some subtle changes that I felt comfortable talking about after really extensive testing, but do note they are relatively minor in comparison to sound signature changes brought about by different headphones.
     
    Treble Tuning: Slight hint of additional breathiness with the Astrapi which suggests to me a slight emphasis in the upper mids. Decreased sense of edginess/sibilance so no peakiness in the 4kHz to 7kHz region. Good sense of definition to instruments so well tuned 6-10kHz region. No piercingness, so no prominent 10kHz spike. Can hear the airness and wind more prominently.Overall detailed, clean, and smooth treble. Non-fatiguing. More gentle treble tuning.
     
    I wondered if the smoothness was simply the characteristic of my PM-3 so I tested via the AKG K7xx, which I would I personally find to have a sharper and more 'abrupt' feeling to its treble presentation. I did the K7xx to sound relatively less piercing and edgy than normal. Do note that I do not think the K7xx actually sounds piercing or edgy normally, I am just talking about a subtle degree of difference. Still maintains great definition. Sound is not as 'crispy' but still maintains a very good airness. Note that the smoothness does not detract from the resolution. Smoothing of the treble response I am referring to relates to the decreasing the peakiness of the treble (not a treble roll-off) as the Astrapi has a solid sense of air and treble extension.
     
    Mid-range Tuning: While the 250-400 Hz region also does not appear to be particularly emphasized without any drastic addition of fullness to notes, there is a hint of additional body underlying the notes. Slight sense of fullness to notes compared to unamplified, but not as full-sounding as some other set-ups. Slight blur to the edge of notes that subtly enhance a smooth organic presentation. The midrange can appear a bit closer and more intimate at times, but maintains general imaging precision of the headphones. I would guess there may be a slight emphasis in the presence range with hint of intimacy to the sound. The midrange does not very get too “lush” or heavily colored with an emphasized warmth, but balances a nice musical cohesion and detail retrieval. More wet reverberant sound rather than a dry sound signature. Mid-range is has good clarity and a clean sound with realistic timbre and tone. No significant glaring flaws to my ears.
     
    Bass Tuning: Sub-bass extension of the headphones is maintained well without any additional emphasis in that region. How deep the sub-bass goes depended on which headphones I used.  Will not experience any increase in the rumbling low frequency feeling. There does appear to be a subtle addition of punchiness and warmth. I do want to note that the underlying warmth is extremely subtle and not even very noticeable in direct A/B comparisons. The extra punchiness of the bass is a bit more noticeable, but still a very small tuning change. I did think that keeps a clean high quality bass while tightening up the spacing between notes.
     
    Other Sonic Attributes: Against unamplified, the Astrapi has more warmth and additional richness to the textural detail. Notes are better defined while maintaining a good sense of body and fullness. Very good detail resolution and more resolving of low-level micro-details. Improvements in imaging precision and soundstage, most noticeably in L-R width. Nice liquid smoothing effect to the sound, removing raspiness and edginess. Better and more realistic timbre, improved textural detail, and resolves subtle tonal shifts on instruments. I personally really like to test for piano, violin, and trumpet sounds as I have personal experience actually playing those instruments. Better dynamic range with a good sense of control through sudden volume changes.
     
    Overall Sound Quality Thoughts: Very subtle refinement to overall sound signature. Nice sound quality improvements with minimal coloration. Pretty clean and clear amplification.
     
    ***Link HERE for list of notable test tracks used and sonic characteristics assessed***
     
    Direct Amplifier Comparisons:
    *******Important Notes*******
    1. Compared the performance of each amplifier against the Astrapi using the Oppo PM-3 (and K7xx).
    2. The Astrapi will most likely be primarily used in portable applications, so I feel the PM-3 is a good testing choice with a very well-balanced, highly-resolving portable headphone that is extremely competitive among the mid-tier closed category.
    3. Please remember these are my own personal subjective impressions. YMMV!!!
    *********************************
     
    2015-06-1806.46.31.jpg
     
    Against the Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2:
    MSRP: $149 - USB dac/amplifier combination (unspecified 24-bit ESS dac chip)
     
    Design: The Dragonfly is relatively larger in all dimensions and twice the Astrapi’s weight. More suitable for computers with its usb-stick design. Requires additional adapter cables to work with smartphones. Still relatively portable dac/amplifier combination. Powered by the source device and gets significantly hot.
     
    Sound: The Dragonfly has a much more dramatic change in sound signature compared to the Astrapi. Dragonfly gives a pronounced v-shaped flavor to the sound signature compared to Astrapi, and can hit with that initial ‘wow’ factor and excitement from its emphasized bass and treble region. Biggest difference is that Dragonfly’s treble sounds noticeably brighter and sharper. Dragonfly has more treble energy and brighter presentation. This will give a sense of additional clarity and definition due to its more heavily emphasized treble region. Treble is peakier on the Dragonfly while Astrapi sounds relatively warmer overall with a smooth texture to its treble. I do find Astrapi’s treble presentation more enjoyable and more linear. The Astrapi’s treble is ‘sweeter’ sounding with that extra smoothness, removing raspiness and edginess from notes. The Dragonfly has a bit of extra hardness to the edges of the notes compared to the Astrapi's smoother presentation. I do think Dragonfly improves the spacing of the notes subtly better than Astrapi. Dragonfly also has more bass impact per note, but Astrapi has a warmer overall sound. The Astrapi does have that sense hint of underlying warmth and richness, but the Dragonfly’s heavier bass emphasis, presence, and impact does also give a sense of richness and body to its notes.
     
    Other aspects of sound quality such as overall detail resolution and soundstage remained competitive with Astrapi presenting very nice sense of left to right soundstage width while Dragonfly seems to have a bit more depth. Imaging remained close as well. Dragonfly does appear to resolve textural detail better as Astrapi tends to present more organically with a subtle smoothing effect to focus on the textural shifts rather than point-by-point detail. Astrapi still has quite solid textural detail on instruments and actually sounds more balanced and realistic in its presentation to my ears. I personally really like to test for piano, violin, and trumpet sounds as I have personal experience actually playing those instruments. Their actual detail resolving abilities are quite similar, but Dragonfly increases the volume of low detail detail and noise while Astrapi keeps those elements still have a low volume level that can sometimes be hidden. Dragonfly appears to have a wider dynamic range as a result with volume peaks further accented.
     
    Overall thoughts: The Dragonfly is traditionally thought as the gold standard for small, affordable, great value dac/amplifier. Well, the Astrapi is smaller and cheaper, while being a much better option for portable usage. Sonically, I think it just depends on what you are looking for with your sound signature. The Dragonfly has a noticeable brighter sound signature and will hit you with an dramatic high energy v-shaped presentation in comparison to the Astrapi. On the other hand, the Astrapi has a smoother, more relaxed presentation that would sound more mid-centric in comparison. Both are quite highly resolving. I do personally think that the Astrapi’s sound signature is more well-balanced with a nice underlying sense of richness and liquid texture in comparison to the Dragonfly’s sharp and more abrupt presentation. Astrapi has competitive performance for its price point and excels as a portable all-in-one amp/dac solution for those requiring the most minimalist slim design. Consider the Astrapi if portability, size, weight, and small form factor as your primary concerns. More suitable for those who enjoy smooth sound that does not particularly emphasize any particular region of frequency response region with a subtle hint of warmth in their sound signature. The Astrapi offers more subtle refinements to sound quality while maintaining a good balance in the frequency response. The Dragonfly seems to focus too heavily on the treble region to give that perception of additional clarity and definition.
     
    The Dragonfly would be suitable for someone looking for something to provide initial excitement out of the box, but I personally feel it can be fatiguing after extending listening. The Dragonfly may also be a good choice for someone with a very warm amplifier or very warm headphones to help tune their sound signature. For me, the Dragonfly represents the audiophile who wants a good value entry-level all-in-one solution for primary non-portable usage with his laptop and never wants to bother upgrading or getting anything else. It is transportable with a laptop, but not as suitable for mobile usage. It is like the entry-level fix, plug it in and be done solution. I would also prefer and recommend getting a true desktop setup (even entry-level) over the Dragonfly if not requiring to be transported with a laptop if your budget can stretch further. If not, then the Dragonfly is a solid transportable pick with acceptable mobile usage if the heat and adapter cables do not bother you.
     
    Personal Pick: Cozoy Astrapi. I think it offers a better value for its price point and more practical as a portable solution. Overall sound quality improvements seem similar to me with the Dragonfly having more of an impact on the tonal presentation of the frequency response. I do want to note that I still think the Dragonfly is a great product with high performance:price ratio and would highly recommend it to those that want drastic easy-to-appreciate sonic change. The Astrapi offers more refinement rather than excitement.
     
    Against the Resonessence Labs Herus usb dac/amplifier:
    MSRP: $350 - USB dac with solid state amplifier (ESS Sabre 24 bit ES9010-2M dac chip)
     
    Design: The Herus is much thicker, wider, longer, and heavier. The Herus’ requirement for a special micro-usb-to-usb-B cable in addition to the adapter for Android/iOS makes it less unsuitable for portable usage. Its boxy design also does not stack well. Powered by source device.
     
    Sound: The Herus has an extremely brighter sound signature. Very high in treble energy as well with a crispier, edgier tonality. It is more highly resolving of micro-detail than the Astrapi with better note spacing. I do consider the Herus to stay very well-balanced, but very sharp sound. Extremely clinical-oriented presentation in my personal opinion. Herus’ treble is not as peaky as the Dragonfly with a more linear response throughout its frequency range. The Herus does provide even further refinement to sound quality attributes compared to the Astrapi, though the width of the Astrapi stays competitive. The relatively warmer sound of the Astrapi provides a good sense of presence and richness to the body of the notes, which the Herus trades off for better definition and wider spacing between notes with sharp clean abrupt edges.
     
    Overall thoughts: I do think that the Herus can be considered to be one of the most sonically capable usb stick based dac/amplifier combinations on the market today. The Herus is more suited for desktop usage, but transportable with a laptop. Not really that suitable for mobile usage. Consider the Herus is you require a stand-alone usb dac and amplifier combination and enjoy a brighter clinical presentation. I can see some people using it as their dedicated dac in a desktop chain. I do think the Herus occupies a weird price niche. If your budget stretches that far to get the Herus, I do really think that you should strongly consider a similarly priced desktop setup instead that will give you even more powerful amplification. Quite pricey for what you get though and I think there are many better performance:price options out there. However, the Herus is definitely a very highly resolving product and I can see its appeal as a ‘budget-dac’ from a brand-name company compared to some of the pricer mid-tier dacs out there.
     
    Personal Pick: Cozoy Astrapi. I actually ended up selling the Herus while demoing the Astrapi. I already have a desktop set-up and I don’t see the place for Herus for me. More of a hassle and inconvenience for portable usage and really drains my phone battery too fast for me to really want to even bother using it in that application. I also personally don’t really see why I would purchase the Herus instead of an entry-level desktop stack or cheaper usb-stick option other than brand name appeal. I actually purchased it based on certain reviews I read on the product as I was curious how it performs and I wanted to judge it for myself to see how reliable the reviewer and the website he was affiliated to was. After my experience, I no longer trust big name reviewers or so-called experts unless they do direct comparisons or some sort of measurement-based findings.
     
    I hope I am in no way implying that the Herus is a bad product. It just does not offer the performance:price tag for this type of market category (portable usb dac/amps). It also does not really seem to serve any particular product category well. Even if competing against stand-alone dacs or desktop amp/dac combos, it is hard to say that the Herus is a good deal when I can pick up a non-upgraded Bifrost for the same price point or the Magni/Modi combo for cheaper. Just my uncensored analysis of the item compared to current market offerings.
     
    Against the Oppo HA-2 portable dac/amplifier:
    MSRP: $299 - Portable solid state Class A/B amplifier with dac (ESS SABRE32 ES9018-K2M dac chip)
     
    Design: The HA-2 has a larger rectangular form rather than the usb-stick shaped options covered so far. Dimensions are 68*157*12 mm and weighing 175 grams. The HA-2 also is leather-bound with a metal chassis. High-end aesthetics and build quality similar to the Astrapi.
     
    Sound: The HA-2 is actually a bit brighter than the Astrapi, but retains a smooth non-peaky treble. The Astrapi does seem to tilt with a bit of warmth in comparison with dash of richness. The HA-2 has a better defined attack and cleaner decay as well giving wider space between notes with better defined edges. The HA-2 does not sound abrupt though or overly sharp walking that fine line between having enough treble energy and high frequency clarity, but not being fatiguing or shrill. Its frequency response is quite well balanced to my ears with very capable technical performance. Imaging and soundstage is very well done on the HA-2. I do personally feel that the HA-2 is better balanced for my tastes and has higher overall sound quality compared to the Astrapi. The Astrapi does have a bit more organic feeling to its presentation with a relaxing smooth presentation sprinkled with a hint of warmth.
     
    Overall thoughts: The HA-2 is still my personal pick for primary external amplifier/dac solution after extensive research. It has everything that I am looking with other cool add-on features while keeping a very competitive performance at an affordable price point. I’ve done the direct comparison tests against much higher priced and well-recommended options, I still consider the HA-2 to be a ‘premium’ portable amp/dac combo with competitive performance above its price point.
     
    Personal Pick: Application Specific. If just going just by sound quality alone, I would pick the HA-2. However, the Astrapi still offers relatively competitive performance with a similar well-balanced sound signature while being almost one third cheaper. If going out for a few quick errands, or going to meet some friends, or just quickly going to the gym… [hahah!! tricked you, I don’t go to the gym]... I actually grab the Astrapi. It offers that important convenience factor that most audiophile reviewers forget to mention. I don’t have to worry whether I charged its battery or go through the tedious process of strapping on rubber bands and different wires or carry anything additional heft in my pocket. The Astrapi is quick and easy without taking up any noticeable space. Still provides enough refinement to sound quality for me to remember grabbing, but so portable that it is basically invisible. I think your primary intended usage and overall budget will primarily determine which one is more suitable for your. If I was only going to purchase one portable device, I would get the HA-2. However, the Astrapi is actually the portable device I use more often. Easy of usage and convenience actually makes quite a significant large real-world difference that many reviewers never even mention.
     
    Against the Schiit Bifrost Uber + Lyr 2 desktop tube hybrid amplifier:
    MSRP: $519 + $449 - Dynamically Adaptive Class A/AB tube hybrid amplifier + (AKM4399 dac)
     
    Design: Desktop solution, not portable at all. Chassis becomes extremely hot!
     
    Sound: Fuller sound with subtle tube coloration and tube warmth with that noticeably second harmonic distortion for a “tubey” sound. I personally find the Lyr 2 to have a very well-refined balance of an engaging euphonic richness while maintaining great detail resolution and technical performance. The Bifrost Uber offers a nice subtle touch of brightness that really balances out the combination very well. Extremely good sound quality attributes including spacious soundstage, precise imaging, tight transient response, vivid sense of energy, sturdy control throughout the dynamic range, and highly resolving of low-level micro-details. Superior overall detail resolution, clarity, and definition without being too bright. Superior technical performance in all categories against the Astrapi. I do feel that the Astrapi does offer a similar overall balance to its sound signature and that is why I enjoy it. There is definitely significant improvements in realism, tonality, richness of textural resolution, fuller body to notes, and more weighty presence to the sound on the Schiit stack that is missing on the Astrapi.
     
    Overall thoughts: Not a direct competitor product. This is my primary personal set-up out of everything that I currently own. The Schiit Bifrost and Lyr 2 is a very strong performer at its price point, among one of the most competitive options in the sub-$1000 market. This combo should and does beat out the Astrapi by a significant margin. While the relative differences were smaller than I expected (since as always most reviewers tend to greatly exaggerate differences, which is actually just inherent to the process of writing about subtle differences), but there was a significant and noticeable difference. I do note similarities with the practical but beautiful design of Schiit products and the Cozoy Astrapi. I do think Schiit overall focus on sound quality over all else will prevent them from designing a similar product with such a small form factor, but the Astrapi has that industrial classiness to its look reminiscent of Schiit design.
     
    Personal Pick: Schiit Bifrost Uber + Lyr 2 in desktop applications. Cannot use in portable situations. Will probably burn a hole in your pocket and give you 1st degree burns if you tried to carry it in a custom-crafted giant-sized audiophile pocket™, but I would still totally be down to do that.
     
    Against the Woo WA7+WA7tp desktop tube amplifier:
    MSRP: $1,398 - Pure Class A transformer-coupled tube amplifier (TI PCM5102A dac)
     
    Design: Desktop solution, not portable at all. Can get quite hot. Very engaging unique design.
     
    Sound: WA7 has a significant additional warmth added to its sound signature with quite apparent but not unpleasant coloration. Often called characterized as a “rich warm gooey” or “tubey” euphonic distortion. The Astrapi does not add that extra emphasis of warmth, richness, coloration to the extreme that the WA7 does with the WA7’s euphonic distortion. Soundstage differences were difficult to ascertain. I did feel like the Astrapi had a noticeably larger L-R width, the height and depth too close to call. The more intimate presentation of the WA7 did appear to give a closer front row seat feeling to the music. Imaging more precise on the Astrapi. While the WA7 did have less note separation with a greater ‘blurring effect’ to the edges of notes, the Astrapi did also have a subtle roundness to its notes to a lesser degree. The WA7 definitely presents an extremely organic presentation with that ‘liquid’ smoothness to changes in textural patterns, but the Astrapi also captures a bit of that ‘liquid-smooth’ organic element with its presentation. The Astrapi is definitely more clinical than the WA7 though with relatively clean resolution of low-level micro-details. The WA7 does have a very good sense of micro-detail retrieval though. The WA7 still captured the micro-details, but sounded more faded into the background and swirled into the rest of the music in comparison, whereas low-level micro-details were easily to pick out on the Astrapi but still quite faint in volume.
     
    Overall thoughts: Not a direct competitor product. I find that the WA7 is a more geared for people looking for engagement and richness rather than transparency and lack of coloration. It does excel at delivering on those fronts with its heavy warm emphasis, additional liquid smoothness throughout the entire frequency response, and pleasantly colored sound signature.
     
    Personal Pick: Headphone pairing specific. I would actually generally lean more towards the Cozoy Astrapi for its cleaner presentation over the rich coloration of the WA7. The one exception is that the LCD-X sounds extremely engaging and fun on the WA7.
     
    Against the Oppo HA-1 (demo unit):
    MSRP: $1,119 - Discrete Class A solid state amplifier (ESS SABRE32 ES9018 dac)
     
    Design: Desktop solution, not portable at all. Can get slightly hot. Very appealing practical design
     
    Sound: The HA-1 does offer a significant improvement in overall sound quality. Most noticeable aspects is deeper sub-bass extension, stronger bass impact, much better note spacing, better sense of definition to notes, improved clarity, and better dynamic control with a greater dynamic range. More subtle improvements include the soundstage is wider in all directions with more precise imaging. There is also improved textural detail retrieval, improved micro-detail retrieval. The HA-1 can pick up low-level detail that the Astrapi misses. The HA-1 provides a more realistic tonality to my ears with more subtle textural details and more natural fullness, but I do still think the Astrapi offers a similar well-balanced sound signature.
     
    Overall thoughts: Not a direct competitor product. However, both products do offer a similar further refinement in sound quality while maintaining the overall sound signature of the headphones being used. The largest difference is the relative degree of difference. The increased depth of sub-bass extension and better bass quality is the most easily to notice sound quality improvements.
    Personal Pick: Oppo HA-1 for desktop application. Cannot use the HA-1 in portable situations (but that is why I own the HA-2 hahah)
     
    ***possible future additional external component comparisons (including the Liquid Carbon)***
     
    Headphone Pairings with the Cozoy Astrapi:
    *******Important Notes*******
    Tested each headphone listed on the Astrapi against the same headphone with:
    1. no amplification
    2. the Oppo HA-2 dac/amplifier
    3. the Schiit Bifrost Uber > Schiit Lyr 2 desktop tube hybrid amplifier (my personal preferred set-up for desktop usage)
    Also tested on the Samsung Galaxy S5 as the source to simulate probably real-world usage
    ***Added pairing analysis on Flare Audio R2A & R2A pro IEMs and Ether on 8/13/15***
    *********************************
     
    2015-06-1806.38.05.jpg
     
    Since I view the Astrapi’s to actually provide quite a clean well-balanced sound that is true to the headphone’s original character, I will be focusing more on whether or not I can detect clipping with the different headphones I try or if there is anything missing when I am using the Astrapi.
     
    With Bose SoundTrue In-Ear Headphones: consumer-orientated in-ear headphones
    Does not require amplification. Does not scale significantly with external components.
    +Very enjoyable pairing; no clipping; highly recommended
     
    With the Flare Audio R2A & R2Pro: single dynamic IEM
    Does not require amplification. Does scale with external components
    +Good pairing! Works quite well with no hiss
     
    This is actually my new favorite portable pairing when I am on-the-go wanting to minimize bulk. Increases resolution and adds "liquid" sense of smooth refinement to the R2A/R2Pro while keeping its quickness and overall sound signature.
     
    With Oppo PM-3: portable closed over-ear planar magnetic
    Does not require amplification. Does noticeable scale with different external components.
    +Very enjoyable pairing; no clipping; highly recommended and my most often used pairing.
     
    The Astrapi adds a bit of refinement in technical sonic attributes while maintaining the PM-3’s well-balanced sound signature.
     
    Audeze EL-8 closed: portable closed over-ear planar magnetic
    Does not require amplification. Does slightly scale with different external components.
    ~Not the best pairing (mainly due to my dislike for the EL-8’s sound signature); no clipping
     
    The EL-8 does benefit from the Astrapi’s smoothness which nicely polishes the noticeable coloration at the edges of notes in the upper-midrange and lower treble. Also helps a bit with the raspiness of male vocals and sibilance for certain female singers. For the EL-8, I personally prefer to pair it with external components with an extremely warm coloration, like the WA7. I view the EL-8 requiring extensive “tuning” to be enjoyable by me, so the Astrapi’s clean refinements is not as good a match.
     
    AKG K553 Pro: full-sized closed over-ear dynamic headphones
    Does not require amplification. Does scale with different external components.
    +Enjoyable pairing for stock earpads, +Acceptable pairing with Brainwavz earpads; no clipping; recommended
     
    The K553’s subtly emphasized brightness combined with a solid bass presence was not altered with this dac/amp. Great soundstaging and imaging kept. ***Update 6/21/15: Removed impressions based on Brainwavz velour earpads as measured to change K553 sound signature. Link HERE.*** With the stock pleather earpads, the K553 sounds very well-balanced to my ears, measures extremely well, and the Astrapi's revealing presentation very works well with it.
     
    Mr. Speakers Alpha Prime: full-sized closed over-ear planar magnetic
    Benefits from amplification. Does significantly scale with different external components.
    +Surprisingly good pairing; no clipping detected at normal listening volumes; recommended
     
    While planar magnetic headphones generally benefit from additional power, the Astrapi actually works surprisingly quite well with the Primes. Most noticeable difference is that there is a more intimate presentation on the Astrapi compared to the Lyr 2. The intimate presentation actually works quite well bringing the midrange into closer focus. The Lyr 2 has cleaner note spacing and better definition between notes. Imaging, speed, and soundstage also noticeably improved on the Lyr 2. A bit more “blurriness” to the edges of the notes of the Astrapi, but it does contribute to a very enjoyable smoothness to the sound. More mid-bass emphasis on the Astrapi compared to the Lyr 2. The Primes do noticeably scale up with nicer external components, but the Astrapi performs quite adequately.
     
    AKG K7xx (1st edition from Massdrop): full-sized open over-ear dynamic
    Benefits from amplification. Does significantly scale with different external components.
    +Enjoyable pairing; no clipping; recommended
     
    I personally think the K7xx is among the most competitive mid-tier open headphones. It does have an extremely revealing and unforgiving sound. The K7xx is highly resolving of the characteristics of external components used in the chain and requires high quality source files. I personally think that too overly warm/colored external components take away from the K7xx’s strengths. The Astrapi keeps the well-balanced sound signature off the K7xx and is a good match. The K7xx does scale up quite a bit with nicer components though.
     
    Hifiman HE-560: full-sized open over-ear planar magnetic
    Definitely requires amplification. Does very significantly scale with different external components. Able to reach listenable volumes. Acceptable pairing, but better amplifier options out there. Did not test extensively using this set-up as I feel like the HE-560 needs a dedicated amplifier to truly shine.
     
    MrSpeakers Ether: full-sized open over-ear planar magnetic headphones
    Does not require amplification. Does very significantly scale with different external components
    +Very nice pairing for portable usage. No clipping detected.
     
    The Ether is quite easy to drive. While I would recommend a nice dedicated desktop amplifier for the Ether, the Astrapi works well with the Ether adding a bit of an additional treble sparkle to my ears which is quite enjoyable.
     
    With the Audeze LCD-X: full-sized open over-ear planar magnetic headphones
    Does not require amplification. Does noticeable scale with different external components.
    +Enjoyable pairing; no clipping at normal listening volumes
     
    The Astrapi can drive the LCD-X and works very well. Noticeable improvement in detail resolution. On nicer components, there will be more bass impact and a more realistic tonality with better speed and improved dynamic range. I've also personally found improvements in treble presentation on the Schiit stack. However, the Astrapi quite a good entry-level pick for the LCD-X.The LCD-X has a very good scaling capabilities, so can possibly think about investing further on external components for it.
     
    With the Hifiman HE-1000 beta unit: full-sized open over-ear planar magnetic
    Require amplification and scales very well.
    +Can reach acceptable volume levels and sounds acceptable, would recommend investing in a nicer external component set-up for the HE-1k
     
    Overall thoughts on headphone pairings: The Astrapi maintains the sound signature of each headphone while adding some technical improvements over running directing out of the source device. Nicer external components will add further refinement, but the Astrapi is a very well-balanced dac/amp combo that should work well with any headphone as long as you already enjoy that headphone’s sound signature.
     
    Value Judgement:
     
    The Cozoy Astrapi currently retails for $129.99. As a portable dac/amplifier in the sub-$150 price category, the Astrapi faces a pretty crowded and competitive niche. However, it does have a few qualities that make it very unique from alternative options.
     
    1) The Astrapi holds the exclusive distinction of being the smallest and lightest portable dac/amplifier combination currently on the market (as far as I am currently aware of at time of posting, 6/18/15).
     
    2) The Astrapi is also one of the very few dac options that will work natively with iOS without the need of special wires (the $29 Apple Camera Connection Kit or Apple USB Camera Adapter for usage with 30 pin Connector or Lightning Connector iPhones/iPads respectively). The only other portable dac/amp combo product currently available on the market that also works without any special adapters is the much larger-sized Oppo HA-2 at $299 (which I also own).
     
    While I did initially think that it seemed slightly pricey at $129, but there are actually hardly any other dac/amplifiers combinations priced below it (portable or nonportable). Below is a list of relevant alternative market offerings.
     
    Key: Red = Cozoy Astrapi, Green = dac only, Purple = built-in USB connector staying flash-drive sized, Blue = styled like the USB-stick options but slightly larger (built-in usb connector or no internal battery), Black = larger shape (possible has internal battery)
     
    HiFimeDIY Sabre Android DAC ONLY, no amp ($30)
    HiFimeDIY Sabre U2 DAC ONLY, NO no amp ($57)
    Stoner Acoustics UD120 DAC ONLY, no amp ($69)
    Schiit Fulla (MSRP $79, not well suited for portable usage)
    Fiio E07k Andes ($89 on Amazon - MSRP $99.95)
    Cozoy Astrapi (current pricing $129.99; to my knowledge never sold at a higher price point, does not require any additional adapter cables for iOS or Android)
    Fiio E17k Alpen 2 ($139.99 on Amazon - MSRP $249.99)
    Audioengine D3 ($149 on Amazon; MSRP $189)
    Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2 ($149 MSRP)
    Meridian Explorer (first generation: $149 on Amazon, MSRP $299)
    Fiio E18 Kunlun ($159 on Amazon - MSRP $299.95)
    HRT Music Streamer III ($165.95 on Amazon; MSRP $200)
    Audioengine D1 ($169 on Amazon, geared more for desktop usage)
    HRT Microstreamer ($169.95 on Amazon, MSRP $190)
    LH Geek Out 450 (currently sold out, used at $175, MSRP unknown)
    Creative Sound Blaster E5 ($199.99)
    Leckerton UHA-4 ($199)
    LH Geek Out 1000 ( $199 on Amazon, MSRP $)
    Beyerdynamic A200p ($219.99 on Amazon, MSRP $349; unique small box shape)
    JDS Labs C5D ($249)
    HRT Music Streamer II+ ($249 on Amazon; MSRP $349)
    HRT Music Streamer Pro ($269.99 on Amazon; MSRP: $499)
    Leckerton UHA-6S MKII ($279)
    LH Geek Out 100 (MSRP $289, more for IEMs)
    Meridian Explorer 2 ($299)
    Oppo HA-2 ($299, no adapter cables required for iOS or Android)
    Sony PHA-1A ($299)
    Resonessence Herus ($350)
    HRT Music Streamer HD (379.95 on Amazon, MSRP $499)
    Leckerton UHA760 ($399)
    Resonessence Herus+ ($425)
    Fostex HP-P1 ($449 on Amazon, MSRP $799)
    Sony PHA-2 ($449.99 on Amazon, MSRP $599.99)
    iFi Audio micro iDSD ($499)
    CEntrance Mini-M8 ($599.99)
    Meridian Director ($599)
    Centrance HiFi-M8 ($699)
     
    My Overall Scoring: (as the side bar reflects averages)
    Audio Quality: 8/10
    Design: 10/10
    Quality: 10/10
    Value: 9/10
     
    Do note that I personally feel that headphones contribute to the majority of the sound quality improvements, so I always recommend to allocate budget accordingly. So I personally would recommend upgrading your headphones/IEMs until you find one you really love and no longer want to upgrade any further prior to investing too heavily into external components. It’s been my personal experience that the higher up in the price ladder I climb for external components, there is an exponential increase in cost for smaller and smaller sonic improvements. Realistically speaking, it is usually not really “worth” it to spend too much money on external components as many claims of sonic improvement are often exaggerated. The first jump from no external components to adding a dac/amp will be the largest and will generally only offer subtle refinements rather than extremely drastic changes if tuned towards a transparent neutral presentation. The Cozoy Astrapi is relatively inexpensive and delivers very nice sonic refinements while being extremely convenient. Good choice for those people who consider the performance:price ratio and want to avoid diminishing returns.
     
    Conclusion:
     
    Ounce-for-ounce, the Cozoy Astrapi delivers extremely high sonic performance in a tiny package and punches well for its category. It offers noticeable refinements to overall sound quality without altering the sound signature of each individual headphone. Its smooth presentation works well maintaining an enjoyable, non-fatiguing presentation without skimping on detail resolution.
     
    The Astrapi has an unrivaled design and it is has the best portability compared to all other competitors. Smallest form factor and lightest weight of a dac/amplifier combo that is currently on the market. It is extremely practical and convenient to use on-the-go. Ease of usage is actually quite important factor as it determines how often the device will realistically be used. I have found that my larger audiophile stacks often get left at home as they are too troublesome to carry out and about. Dealing with thick stacks, multiple wires, and rubber bands can be quite inconvenient, so I actually use the Astrapi the most out of all my other portable gear when on-the-go.
     
    This product is an extremely competitive product for audiophiles who desire an extremely small, lightweight, convenient portable option that provides a clean refinement to their portable set-up. Best suited for lower impedance headphones, but can still drive some of the less picky planar magnetic headphones. Will have better results pairing the Astrapi with a more powerful amplifier for planar magnetic headphones.
     
    I would be hesitant to recommend the Astrapi for people who are looking to "tune" their sound signature with additional external components as there is not actually very significant changes to the overall frequency response with the addition of the Astrapi. The Astrapi will not give you a “dramatic change” in sound signature which would lead to that ‘wow factor’ or excitement like the Audioquest Dragonfly. However, it will offer very enjoyable non-offensive sound signature with great refinements in sound quality. There are also higher performance options available if your budget extends higher or portability is not necessary. For audiophiles who do not care about the size of their stack or convenience, there are other options on the market that may be able to squeeze out a subtle bit more performance benefits.
     
    I highly recommend the Astrapi to pair with headphones already have a sound signature you enjoy. The Astrapi works extremely well as an entry-level all-in-one device for newbies or a complementary highly portable device for veteran audiophiles on-the-go.
     
    2015-06-1806.19.54.jpg
    My testing set-up (can see Dragonfly, HA-2, Astrapi, and numerous headphones)
     
     
    Product Link: http://www.cozoyaudio.com/
    CTC Audio (the Official Distributor for Cozoy products in USA/Canda): http://www.ctcaudio.com/products/cozoy-astrapi-dac-amplifier
    1. View previous replies...
    2. landroni
      "My conclusion was that the Astrapi did not dramatically alter the sound signature of the source or add any significant additional coloration to your chain."

      I'm a bit surprised. Theoretically I would think Astrapi is completely independent from the source. If you play 16bit/44.1kHz files, these are passed in digital form to the Astrapi which decodes them and then passes through it's own DAC (completely bypassing the source DAC), amp, and then headphone out. I can't see why it would be _altering_ the sound signature of the source...
      landroni, Jul 12, 2015
    3. landroni
      "The Dragonfly is traditionally thought as the gold standard for small, affordable, great value dac/amplifier. "

      What about the Centrance DACport? Even though a slight touch bulkier, I would have thought that in the small size DACs market they were the reference point... Did you ever get the chance to compare Astrapi and DACPort?
      landroni, Jul 12, 2015
    4. puppyfi
      I'm a little late here...
      Thanks for this wonderful review:thumbsup:
      puppyfi, Jul 27, 2015
  2. lin0003
    Solid Portable DAC/Amp
    Written by lin0003
    Published May 10, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Looks Great, Functionality
    Cons - Sounds Mediocre
    First of all I would like to thank H20Fidelity for including me on the Cozoy tour, very much appreciated. When I first saw this, I thought that it looked very impressive indeed – small and slick looking. Smaller than many USBs and something that you can easily just clip onto your pocket. Very appealing indeed. I won’t pretend to know anything, or even have heard of Cozoy before this tour, it’s not a brand that is often discussed on Head-Fi. The Astrapi certainly is near perfect in terms of appearance!
     
    astrapi-5.jpg
     
    Moving onto the packaging, it comes in an Apple style box and while minimal, looks very nice. I comes with an Android cable, an Apple cable and a charging cable. Maybe a small case would have been nice, the metal seems like it would scratch quite easily. Cozoy have got the design spot on in every aspect of the design though, like I mentioned before, this looks phenomenal and is one of the most practical devices around with the clip. And it is one of the rare DAC/amps for Apple.
     
    This worked seamlessly with my Z2 and also with an IP6. Supposedly it supports the iPhone 6S as well… Guess they must have a time travelling device too lol. My sonic tests were done on my Z2, not sure if different sources will affect the sound. Connectivity was awesome, plug and play. No setup required. Volume is controlled on your device and not the Astrapi itself. Unfortunately I cannot comment on the battery life, I never ran it until it was flat. Oh, and I do wish that the cables were maybe right angled so that they would sit better in my pocket, but it was no big deal and I didn’t find it annoying.
     
    Cozoy20Astrapi205.png
     
    Sound Quality
    Let’s jump into it – do I personally like the sound? Unfortunately I am not the greatest fan and I know that many love this device and how it sounds, but the warm signature is really just not for me. Once again, maybe this will change with different phones or a newer firmware. To me, it seemed like it was lacking detail and while I felt like overall it added more depth and realism to my Z2, I just wasn’t overly impressed by its sound.

     
    The bass is not as impactful as I would have liked but it isn’t bass light by any means. Its bass is textured, more so than my Z2 by itself, but it also felt slower. It wasn’t muddy, but the speed was just a bit too slow for me, however, don’t simply assume this is a negative aspect of the Astrapi, depending on what IEM/headphone you are using, this could actually be good. If you are using a bass light IEM, this could add some more rumble and quantity.
     
    Midrange was similarly warm and made vocals sound a tad veiled at times. I should include that most of my testing was done with a Dunu DN-2000, which is a mildly V-shaped IEM. To me,
    they lacked detail and I actually liked the Z2 better. Sorry if this comes off as very negative, but they are just not for me, I do wish that the midrange especially was tuned to be more neutral.
     
    The treble gets better. It is smooth, with no sign of sibilance at all, taking the slight edge of the DN2K, something I actually liked. The top end was reasonably detailed and while not a detail king, they did improve on the already quite decent Z2. Everything sound quite crisp with no harshness, and this is one thing that you can take away from this review – this is a warm and relaxing device, not a detail oriented one.
     
    COZOYDAC20AMP-700x700.jpg
     
    Soundstage and imaging are god, better than I expected. It expanded significantly on the small stage of the Z2 and it was a lot easier to distinguish between different instruments. This was especially evident on busy tracks. The soundstage is quite wide, but surprisingly deep. This is an area where the Astrapi really punches above its price point.
     
     
    Summary
     
    MD-6479_20150313201132_8a48ab8e8b54e499.jpg
     
    I have to stress that the Astrapi is actually a very appealing player and this is especially the case if you are using an Apply device. There are not a lot of Apple DAC/amps around this price and none to my knowledge which look as good as this. However, if you do not need the functionalities or the aesthetics of the Cozoy, I would not recommend this, especially if you are using an Android. The D-Zero is much better sounding for $10 cheaper IMO, but you could argue that I am comparing apples to oranges. While the Astrapi is tiny and beautifully crafted, the same cannot be said for the D-Zero. If you are an Apple user and you find the Astrapi a great fit for you in terms of functionality, then by all means go for it, it is a good choice. For me, it just doesn’t do quite enough to gain my overall recommendation, but it does get a 4 star because overall it is a very solid DAC/amp, considering all factors.
      H20Fidelity likes this.
  3. Xtralglactic
    A great little unit that does audibly improve the quality of sound from all devices one restarted and working properly.
    Written by Xtralglactic
    Published Apr 19, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality, small footprint, runs off the host devices power, lightweight, simple to use, audible improvement in quality, line out at max volume
    Cons - Price,connection issues with my HTC M7, TAB S 8.4,not really a big jump when used with my Ipad air 1st gen.
    Thanks to Luke (H20Fidelity) for letting me a part of the Australian leg of the COZOY DAC/Amp tour and for Igor (DJScope) for the personal delivery, no doubt due to him enjoying the unit so much that it saved on "Postage Time" quote unquote.
     
    Introduction: Simple things are attractive things. This COZOY amp certainly fits the bill. I also found it had beauty and brains to match, especially if you have a lower to mid range device. I found that this unit audibly improves the sound quality of my units, most especially the Nexus 5, which really isn't known for its audio prowess. This will just be a quick impression on this unit with my various devices.
     
    IMG_8760.jpg   IMG_8748.jpg IMG_8757.jpg
     
     
     
     
    Pairing with my Nexus 5 Lollipop updated V5.1. Nexus 5 headphone out is kinda lifeless and 2 dimensional. I downloaded Poweramp and it improve things abit but still it was "MEH". I put in PCM WAV file rips and it improved again but for me it just passed the grade. Dont get me wrong the phone itself is a pleasure to use but im not reviewing the phone here..HA! Im actually listening to Shania Twains "That don't impress me much" right now (wav file) on the headphone out. Im using phonak's and I have my bass boost eq curve applied in Poweramp and yes it does sound nice but its abit two dimensional and flat. Where is the soundstage? the dynamism? the toe tapping urge?? (scratches head). Queue the COZOY amp. Yep found it! Not that this track is the bees knees of recording and sound engineering nor is it an audiophile test track but listening through the COZOY amp just improves the clarity, the bass, her vocals seem more real and the song is just more alive, like the amp is doing its best to convey every last information on this track. Its night and day difference for me and the pairing with the nexus 5 and COZOYS and the phonak's are a saviour for me. I can now consider using the Nexus 5 as a music player as well, where previously it was just there for me to play with an unmodified android O.S. I found that I can switch between headphone out of the devices and the cozoy headphone out without interruption. I tried plugging in my phonaks in the cozoy and my BW P5's into the nexus 5 headphone out and see if it plays sound through both ends at the same time but my P5's had the only sound coming out if it so I guess it defaults to the unit when it detects a headphone plugged in...kinda was testing this to see if I can share my music with another person. I use the cozoy output while the friend uses the unit output but sadly no. 
     
    Pairing with my HTC One M7 lollipop update: The HTC M7 is a top end device a couple of years ago and this is what I plug my Phonaks into when Im out and about. currently Im listening to S2S sister (a pop song popular in Australia early 2000's) and i can definitely vouch for the M7's standard audio reproduction as im happy with its clarity, soundstage, instrument separation, and general sound presentation.  Now Queue the COZOYS and here's the first hiccup. I had to re start the unit with the Cozoy's plugged in as it didn't detect it at all. Now that its plugged in, I tried to change the volume one down from Max  (as Cozoy turns to line out when volume pot on unit is max) guess what, when i press the volume keys down, 1st press nothing happens, and 2nd press just mutes the sound. What happened?! i tested if it pauses the music or mutes it and i came to the conclusion it mutes it cause the song keeps playing in the background. Weird! Also the first 2 minutes of re-starting the phone, the playback stutters and i lose sound for a second or two. After that it seems to stabilize. I think this due to my phone not the amp itself so no biggie.
     
     
    IMG_8750.jpg
     
    Now that the COZOY is working properly, immediate improvement is SOUNDSTAGE!! and overall refinement of sound. Id say a 30 improvement over the headphone out of the unit. I can also hear more details in the music. Since S2s a girl duo, I can now audibly distinguish the two sisters when they're singing together in the chorus. So yes there is a marked improvement on my HTC M7 when its working properly. The biggest jump is still the Nexus 5 tho.
     
    Pairing with my Galaxy Tab S 8.4:  The galaxy tab s 8.4 is a pretty recent device, about 6 months old I believe and while i like the headphone out, for me, its a step below the HTC M7 so this is another perfect candidate for the COZOY DAC AMP. When I plugged it in, Poweramp chucked a spaz. The sound coming out of the Cozoy amp was not music at all but a horrible approximation of one. Thus I had to restart my galaxy tab with the Cozoy plugged and it worked!
     
    IMG_8752.jpg
     
    Now thats out of the way, Im listening to Kenny G with Chaka Khan, a jazzy rendition of Beautiful, I believe originally by Christina Aguilera. What and improvement this makes! with the COZOY and the galaxy tab s 8.4, this pairing gives me greater listening pleasure than with the HTC M7 Cozoy combo. The sound from the headphone out was ok, but nothing exciting, kinda 2 dimensional like the nexus 5 and flat dynamically even with my EQ settings on Poweramp. With the Cozoy's Chaka Khans voice becomes more lively and authoritative. There also seems to be no compression when she gets to her upper registers and when she full out belting, unlike the headphone out. Kenny G's sax doesn't get drowned out in the mix and the other instruments are more distinct, especially when everything is playing at once towards the end of the song. I can actually say this is one of my favourite pairings with the COZOY and the Phonaks.
     
     
    Pairing with my Ipad air Wifi+cell 1st gen: On my Ipad im using itunes quality downloaded music and using the equaliser paid app by Audioforge. I find this ipad to be excellent in sound quality even in headphone out. There is clarity, instrument separation, clarity and soundstage that actually satisfies me when im pluggin in my Phonaks. the song that im listening to is Eros Ramazotti's La Cosa Mas Bella, the album Eros Live. (eros is kinda the Robbie Williams of italy lol). Eros live is one of my favourite albums as its just recorded so well. It conveys the crowd, the vocals the stage, the instruments for me is such a lifelike manner that this album is where I go and listen with my favourite headphones and earphones. Also as a litmus test for soundstage since its a live recorded album.
     
    IMG_8751.jpg
     
     
    Now plugging in the Cozoy's. I tried again plugging my Phonaks in the Cozoy and the P5's in the Ipad headphone out the sound came out only on the P.5's so no sharing here. Also i found it to be less buggy with IOS. I can plug and unplug the amp and it doesn't skip a beat. Wait 5 seconds and sound will come out of the Cozoy. Im thinking this item was made more for the Apple devices as it seems to perform more smoothly.
     
    There seems to be a difference in sound presentation. Eros' vocals seem more laid back with the Cozoy and the Ipads headphone out seems like Eros is singing right in front of you, more intimate like your'e in the front row. With the Cozoy's it seems your a few rows back. Also I noticed the resolution is improved abit also with the other instruments having more room to breathe but there's not much in it. I could happily live without the COZOY on the Ipad air.
     
    Now with using the COZOY as a DAC only and paring it with MY CC BH: As I found for myself when doing this with all the devices mentioned above, I found pairing it with my CC BH was heaps better. there's an added level of energy and dynamism to all the songs that I played through it but maybe just because it was louder (Ha!). 
     
    Conclusion: The Cozoy is a well built product that fulfills its design brief, trying and mostly succeeding in being a jack of all trades with compatibility for many android and I OS devices. Perhaps the hiccups with android devices is abit of a let down in me experience but once its up and running, it provides and audible jump in quality for my devices except for the Ipad air. For me, this is better to be used as a DAC and a separate portable amp to power your headphones/earphones. But itself, I would recommend the unit if you're not happy with the sound coming out of your android or I OS device. Androids more if you have a low to mid range device.
      H20Fidelity, d marc0 and DJScope like this.
    1. DJScope
      Love your reviews man! Great job!
      DJScope, Apr 19, 2015
  4. DJScope
    A true David amongst Goliaths!
    Written by DJScope
    Published Apr 12, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound, lots of compatibility, good power, small footprint.
    Cons - Driver/connection issues, a little pricey
    Before I begin, I want to thank @H20Fidelity for providing me this review sample. I've had the Astrapi of just over a week and have not had a lot of time with it so this will be a mini review.
    I did not purchase the Cozoy Astrapi but I will not let review bias effect me and will not hold any punches when there are punches to be throw. Now let's begin!
     
     
    The Cozoy Astrapi is one of those devices that blows your mind away when you see it in real life. It is so comically small that you have to hold it in your hand before your mind can process how small it truly is. Looking at photos just does not shoot that message across at all. I know, because it happened to me. 
    I wasn't expecting much when Luke first mentioned it to me. First thing I thought to myself was this is going to be one of those el'cheap-o DSP sound cards that get thrown around the market for $10. It looks that way, at least. And I hope that you can forgive me thinking that, because I never will. This was the grossest underestimation that I probably have ever made. Let me tell you why...
     

     

     

     

    A little bit about the Cozoy Astrapi 

    COZOY Astrapi APPLE MFi Approved Digital Lighting Amplifier for Android/iOS/PC

     

    Description

    1. COZOY is a digital-to-analog converter and amplifier that provide significantly improved headphone sound quality for audio players, tablets, and portable devices.
    2. COZOY take the digital audio data stream from your preferred audio device and process and amplify it making your favorite headphones sound their best.
    3. The Astrapi is all-aluminum build and modern design.
    4. COZOY was designed for audio players, tablets and other portable devices running operating systems such as; Android, iOS and PC. 
    5. COZOY incorporates proprietary digital Sound processing and conversion along with a high-performance headphone amplifier, all within an extremely portable form factor.
    6. COZOY is designed for those who use their phones, tablets, laptops and other portable devices as their primary listening and viewing platforms and who seek the best-possible headphone or in ear listening experience for music, video, and gaming by providing improved resolution, spatiality, dynamics, and heightened realism.
    7. COZOY is compatible with all audio formats supported by portable devices
    8. COZOY’s extremely low power consumption allows for extended playing time and with its plug-and-play connectivity, eliminates any complex setups. 
    Specification

    1. Low power consumption with strong driving power
    2. Clean Line-Out activated at Max Volume
    3. Built-in DSP
    4. Software DSD
    5. External USB DAC Functionality (OSX + PC)
    6. Compatible with various Android devices through OTG
    1. Hi-resolution :24Bit-96khz 192khz
    2. Headphone output :3.5mm
    3. Impedance :16-100ohm at 1khz loading
    4. Output vrms:1.5Vrms max
    5. THD+N:0.003% ,1khz 0dbfs
    6. SNR:105Db AT 3.3V power supply
    7. Resolution :24bit/192khz sampling
    8. System power current :10mA-70mA max
    9. Power input:1.8V-3.3V+-10%
    10. Output gain level step :3dB/step ;16 steps
    11. Headphone power output :10mW max
    12. Plug type: digital lightning connector
    13. Cable length:20cm
    14. Support USB2.0
    15. Support connectors: Lightning connector .micro usb -micro usb ,micro usb-usb
    Support Models

    1. iPhone5,iPhone6/6s,iPad/iPod mini,iPod touch
    2. Android (OTG Function)
    3. PC/Laptop
    Package

    1. COZOY Astrapi DAC AMP
    2. Android Cable
    3. iOS Cable
    4. PC Cable
    Specifications

    1. System power current :10mA - 70mA max.
    2. Power input 1.8V-3.3V+-10%
    3. Output gain level step: 3dB/step; 16 steps
    4. Native 16/44.1 decoding and implementation of DSP tuning algorithms
    * Output varies as power input may differ, this situation exists on every kind of OS
     
     

    Packaging

    The Cozoy Astrapi comes in a very suspiciously Apple looking box. It's white with very subtle silver/grey writing. There is a print on every side of the box. It's not inviting or too busy. This is the kind of packaging I would've just walked past and not look twice. Some people look for different things, though.
     
    On the bottom of the box there is a "General Guidelines" or basically all the instructions you'd ever need, including the specifications and packing list. 
     
    A very nice addition is the assembly drawing, or exploded diagram, however you prefer to call it. Shows you exactly what goes into making one of these units.
     
    Inside the box is the Astrapi sitting nice and snug inside a felt covered foam block with a nice pull tab that is an awesome idea. The Astrapi is so small that you would have trouble taking it out with just your fingers. This idea was brilliant. 
     
    Underneath you get a Warranty card and you accessories are all located in the bottom compartment.
     
      IMG_4948.jpg
    The box that I got looked a bit kicked around so don't blame Cozoy or me, blame Luke [​IMG]
        ​

    Accessories

     
    As for accessories, you get everything you need. Nothing more nothing less:
    1. 1x Apple Lightning to Micro USB cable
    2. 1x Micro USB to Micro USB cable
    3. 1x Micro USB to USB long cable
     
    image004.jpg

    Design

     
    The Cozoy Astrapi is a very nice looking unit. Beautifully lazer etched lines on the machined aluminium casing, that is pin stripe finished. Indents on both side for easy grip of the unit while plug and unplugging. 
    It is super elegant and practical.
    On the back is has a very nice, low profile shirt clip which feels tight and heavy duty. But those look kind of flimsy. I have use the shirt clip to pin the unit to the cable so it doesn't dangle around. It works well and holds on very strongly.
      image006.jpg

    Compatibility

     
    I had a few compatibility issue with this particular unit. With everything I tried.
     

    Android Devices - Moto G XT1033 (5.0.2) & ASUS Nexus 7 2013 (5.0.2)

    Doesn't work as a plug and play device. To get it to work you must plug it in and restart the phone. After the phone reboots, the Astrapi is then used as the permanent sound device for you phone. You cannot make calls as the microphone does not work. But it does work for all your music and works quite well indeed. It is definitely an upgrade over the stock sound hardware in both these devices.
     

    PC - Windows 8.1 & Window 7

    This works perfectly as a plug and play device. Plug it in and off you go. 
    Only issue that there really is is that when the PC comes out of sleep or restarts the Astrapi is not recognised as a plugged in device. You must unplug it and plug it back in for it to be recognised again. A small quirk, but it's a minor issue.
      image005.jpg

    Sound

    What I tried with the Astrapi:
    1. DUNU Titan 1
    2. DUNU DN-1000
    3. Havi B3 Pro 1
    4. Takstar Pro 80
    5. Goldring DR150
     
    Because I've had so little time to get to know this little wonder I cannot go into a lot of detail on the sound. But my impressions are:
    The sound is smooth and transparent, maybe a little warm. Separation, sound stage and imaging is above par I would say.
    It paired very well with everything I threw at it, especially IEMs.
    I didn't hear any EMI coming from the PC ground or any low level hissing at all.
    Sound changes slightly depending on the source that is driving it. Higher current interfaces have better results. Eg. a 1A powered USB device/hub.
    It does fall short in power with full sized cans, but nothing major. When using things that have around 60 Ohms, the volume control does little from 50% - 100%. Volume wise it is loud enough, but it is not authoritative.
      image001.jpg
     

    Comparison to the StonerAcoustic UD110

    The UD110 is a very capable little device. But put up against the Astrapi as a DAC/amp on it's own, it go it's ***** handed to it.
    The Astrapi is not only a better looking and better built device. It (supposedly, haven't tried) works with Apple devices and Android devices. UD100 only works with Android and PC.
    The UD110 has something like 440 Ohms of output impedance, which is OK for a DAC coupled with a separate amplifier but as a standalone unit it's pretty bad. 
    The Astrapi sounds smooth and fuller than the UD110.
    The only thing that the UD110 has that the Astrapi doesn't is that it is about half the price and it plays a wide range of high resolution playback. Which quite useless when looking at the market it is targeting.
    image008.jpg

    Conclusion

     
    The Cozoy Astrapi is probably the most perfect looking portable DAC/amp I've ever seen.
    The small footprint and beautiful design makes it leagues better than the rest in practicality for easy to drive IEMs and headphones.
    Of course there are small quirks to work with, but that can possibly be ironed out with future updates.
     
    Cheers!
     
    [​IMG]
     
    image003.jpg

     
      H20Fidelity, d marc0 and twister6 like this.
  5. Baycode
    Less is More: Cozoy (Astrapi)
    Written by Baycode
    Published Mar 18, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound quality, powerfull, small, lightweight, low battery consumption, almost no heat production, no EMI, good quality cables !!!!
    Cons - Low levels of hissing with super high sensitivity iems, can’t reply a call while using with a cell phone, no USB 3.0 support...
    _BAY2776-Edit.jpg
     
    What is Cozoy Astrapi?:
    Cozoy Astrapi is a Digital Audio Convertor (DAC) and an Amplificator (AMP) built in to same device which is shorter than a regular toothpick. According to the specs Cozoy Astrapi supposed to work with; iPhone5, iPhone6/6s, iPad/iPod mini, iPod touch, Android (OTG Function) and PC/Laptop. Astrapi supports: 16 / 44.1 sampling rate, impedance of 16-100 ohm at 1khz loading and has a very low total harmonic distortion (THD+N: 0.003% ,1khz 0dbfs),  signal to noise ratio is also great (105dB at 3.3V power supply).
     
    I have learned that Shozy Alien DAP's team is behind the Cozoy Astrapi DAC/AMP!
    Alien is a a well regarded DAP for its sound quality which has no screen and minimalistic approach (only focuses on sound quality and external design).
     
    EDIT 1: I have recently learned that Cozoy Astrapi supports line-out functionality (with the volume raised up to the 10/10) !!!   I will be testing this future as well!  I have never used the device with 10/10 volume with an amp. Stay tuned!!!
    EDIT 2: Lineo-out functionality and its effect on sound quality added inside the review, please read (Edited parts are BOLDED) !!!
     
    _DSC4773.jpg
    On the bottom that little fella is the CA! I use brown leatherette Hococase covers to protect my LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy TabS.
    iPhone and Mac belongs to my wife [​IMG] I am the Android and the Windows guy [​IMG]
     
     
    A little about me:
    My age is 42 (as of this writing). I have 24 years of background in listening to music with quality headphones (I don't count the crappy equipment period) and I am a member of head-fi since 2004. I prefer neutral, natural (organic) and detailed sound with a huge sound-stage and good imaging. I am not bass or treble head. I can never tolerate sibilance and/or fatiguing highs. For further, please check my profile.
     
     
    Equipments Used as a "Source" for This Review:
    For this Cozoy Astrapi review (got from Penon Audio internet store) I have used 4 different sources and deeply tested the Cozoy Astrapi (after this I will call it as CA) with:
     
    LG G3 (D855),
    Samsung Galaxy TabS 8.4",
    Apple iPhone 6
    and
    PC/Laptop.
     
     
    CA Package and Included Accessories:
     
    _DSC4800.jpg
    Package is minimalistic and rather small like item itself. Reminds the Apple products...
    I like the thick cardboard used for this package and its general quality.
     
    _DSC4801.jpg
    On the sides it is written as iPod, iPhone and iPad but in reality it supports Android (OTG supported) and PC/Laptop.
    I believe Cozoy have to revise this information.
     
    _DSC4802.jpg
    Side view
     
    _DSC4803.jpg
    Back of the box
     
    _DSC4805.jpg
    When you remove the covering part of the box you reach the CA. It is resting in a velvet covered foam.
    The included black ribbon lid is a nice touch which eases the removing process of the CA from the resting hole.
     
    _DSC4806.jpg
    Below the black velvet foam you can reach the included accessories along with a card.
    Those accessories were hidden under a second cardboard separator which I did not include in the shot.
    Personally I prefer all my cables to be black color. The included Android and iOS (lightning) connection cables were white. The PC/Laptop connection cable (USB 2.0) is black and rather long. These 3 cables are the only accessories included with the CA.The Android and iOS (lightning) connection cables were approximately 29 cm in length (tip to tip). This length is rather too long for the desktop usage. But if you put the phone in your pocket, you can clip the CA on to your shirt/vest/jacket's pocket or collar. This way you have an easier reach to the headphone plug of the CA.
     
    _BAY2780-Edit.jpg
    The brushed aluminum body and the clip on the back of the CA body looks/feels excellent in quality! Clip seems very solidly built. It is rather "easy" to insert and remove your headphone/iem jack to/from the CA headphone plug. I believe this easy plugging design is for preventing a possible damage to the microUSB port while accidentally dropping the device and/or tangling your cord to something else. This way your headphone/iem jack can be freed from the plug without stressing the valuable microUSB or iOS connecting (lightning) port. The microUSB and 3.5mm headphone plugs are on the opposite sides. The bottom and top parts seemed to me that they are made with a silver finished plastic (in reality it looks like metal). The micro USB plug inside the body of the CA is made of full metal and looks very durable. Thus, micro USB jack sits in to its place very securely and tightly.
     
    EDIT: I have accidentally dropped my cellphone to the floor (on a carpet luckily) yesterday and the 3.5mm headphone jack freed from the plug! This way a possible damage to the more valuable microUSB port of my LG G3 was prevented!
     
    The grooves on the sides of CA makes it easy to hold and attach (prevents possible slipping issues).
     
    CA doesn't have any buttons, any modes (except the Line-out functionality at max volume), only a microUSB-in and 3.5mm stereo out ! So we are looking at a small, minimalistic approach here! Is the "Less, More"? Read on and find yourself!
     
     
    _DSC4817.jpg
    CA is very small. Compare it to the iems on the above and the credit card sized card on the bottom!
     
     
    Android Tablet Tests:
    I have used my Samsung Galaxy TabS 8.4" (loaded with Samsung 64GB microSD card, running on Android KitKat) for tablet test. I have used and made A-B'ing with the following iem/HP's:
     
    Havi B3P1, Dunu Titan 1, Sony MH1C, Meelectronics AI-M6, Koss PortaPro (75ohm resistor and Kramer modded, recabled), Beyerdynamic DT150, Philips Fidelio X2, Philips A5Pro.
     
    It will be cumbersome to write down sound differences for each of these so I prefer to write my general impressions of the sound which is reflected through all the equipments I have used. I provided specific information for some of these hp's/iem's in my writing as well...
     
    _BAY2764.jpg
     
    Compared to my Galaxy TabS (tablet) headphone out, bass section were slightly tighter and 3D positioning was slightly more precise with te Cozoy Astrapi (CA). Also I found general sound to be more neutral and refined with the CA.
     
    Synergy of CA with Beyerdynamic DT150 were great! I like this pairing the most among all of my full sized cans. I love the compatibility and driving power of CA with my B3P1 (a power hungry iem) as well. I have to say that, whatever I plug to the CA, it pairs very nicely with it. The worst pairing was with a orthodynamic headphone: Fostex T50RP. Even the addition of the DV336se amp in to the chain didn't help any for this orthodynamic!
     
    EDIT EDIT EDIT: I have tested the line-out functionality of CA. I keep my device and software volumes at MAX and this puts the CA in to the line-out mode. I have tested the line out sound quality with a tube and ss amp. I am now enjoying the sound even more. Even the Fostex T50RP sounds much better to my ears under these conditions with a tube amp. DT150 sound also benefited from the CA line-out -> 336se -> DT150 connection. Compared to non line-out mode sound of the CA, line-out mode brought slightly more detail, body and refined sound to my ears (although differences were not day night big). Especially the power hungry orthodynamics can benefit from this mode.
     
    When I connect the CA and then the GO720 -respectively- to my Samsung Galaxy TabS 8.4" tablet, I preferred the sound quality of GO720 by a small margin over the CA   -BUT-  when I listen to relatively low volume levels, I could hear the background noise through the GO720. This problem really put me off the GO720 because I generally listen between 60-75 dB. Also GO720 produces some noise or sound artifacts at the edge of the notes (noticeable even at the high volumes). I have no idea how this problem occurred. But this is only noticeable with the Galaxy TabS connection (not noticeable with LG G3 connection). The biggest advantage of the GO720 with the Galaxy TabS is: GO720 produces higher volumes at the same volume settings compared to CA. But, in the end, I tend to use CA instead of GO720 because of the aforementioned problems.
     
    _DSC4809.jpg
    SPL measurements of an iem (MH1C) fed through CA connected to Galaxy TabS. I have used a calibrated, scientific grade SPL Meter.
     
    _DSC4810.jpg
    While my MH1C connected directly to the Galaxy TabS I have to raise the volume slider of the UAPP application slightly (in order to achieve the similar sound levels).
    Please  check the slider on the right hand side of the application interface, the reverse D symbol.
     
    _DSC4812.jpg
    I have obtained approximately 83dB SPL with the GO720 compared to the CA's approx 68dB SPL at the UAPP's same (or very similar) volume setting.
    Check the SPL meter screen for further information.
     
    When I add the DV336se amp to the chain, DT150 bass earned some body, high freq smoothed out slightly and the sweet tubey sound of the DV336se introduced (only very slightly) to the general signature. Please note that I was using Psvane CV181 TII (6sn7) Classic grade tube on the front and Chatham 6as7g JAN (1958) tube on the back. Also I did apply FitzMod to my 336se (used two high quality 220mF capacitors).
     
    BTW, while doing Tablet tests (A-B'ing) with the GO720 I have accidentally blew both drivers of my Sony MH1C !!!  [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 
    GO720 is extremely powerful for most iem's and luckily I didn't wear the iems as a precaution when I first connect them with GO720. Otherwise I could have an ear damage as well -which potentially "END" this review and my hearing health- instantly... [​IMG]
     
    Conclusion 1: I prefer to use CA attached with my Galaxy TabS. And if you count that GO720 is nearly two times more expensive than CA, choosing the CA over GO720 is the clear way to go. I can advise GO720 especially for the very hard to drive headphones like orthodynamics. GO720 headphone out can easily drive my modded T50RP (with many extra power left)... Also synergy was great between the two... You don't even need to attach an amp to the chain... But if you are not using an orthodynamic headphone -although the CA specs said that it can drive up to 100 OHM's- it can drive a 250 OHM DT150 without the addition of an amp, beautifully!!!
     
     
    Mobile Phone Tests:
    I have compared headphone out (HO) of the following devices with the CA Headphone out: LG G3 (D855, 32GB + 32GB, Android Lollipop 5.0 - 3.4.0) and iPhone 6.
     
    I have to say that it is nearly impossible to tell the differences between the sound of G3 and the CA.
     
    While doing hissing tests I have used sensitive iems like Meelec AI-M6 and Dunu Titan1. With both of these iems (especially with AI-M6) I could hear noise (sounds like white noise) on the background. But the noise level was extremely low. While playing songs it was not possible to hear the noise (even on the very quiet passages). But as I stop the music my extremely sensitive ears could pick up the noise again. This was not a problem with the low sensitivity iem's like Havi B3Pro1 and headphones like Beyer DT150.
     
    I have to say that after listening to the Brandenburg Concerto N0:3 in G, BWV 1048:1 ;  Coldplay -Atlas- "From The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"  and  Gripin -Gripin- "Sensiz İstanbul'a Düşmanım" songs, my preferences were appeared as on the following: CA+G3 = LG G3 = CA+iP6 > iP6 .
     
    _DSC4764.jpg
    LG G3 and iPhone 6. CA is connected with Havi B3 Pro1
     
    _DSC4766.jpg
    Quality of the included cables are perfect!
     
    It was nearly impossible to tell the difference of the sound quality between a Lollipop updated LG G3 and CA. Although I do feel that CA delivered a tiny bit more refined sound I liked the sound through both of these devices. On the other hand iP6 headphone out (HO) delivered slightly more vivid but slightly artificial sound to me. Also the high freq region were slightly fatiguing for me while using Dunu Titan1 (with iP6 only). In comparison CA connected iP6 delivered same detail level compared to the iP6 HO, but with slightly smoother and slightly more refined (less aggressive, more mature and natural) sound. I don't prefer aggressive and bright highs. May be this also explains why I couldn't listen to prolonged time without getting ear fatigue through the Titan1 (although I like this iem's general sound signature and detail retrieval so much!).
     
    In conclusion I can say that -with some of the recent top models from the mobile phones (Android and iOS) manufacturers- adding a CA to the system wouldn't be making a "day and night difference". But if you have lower models Cozoy Astrapi can make a bigger difference. I have to say if you're going to use your cell phone or tablet on the go, CA can certainly deliver powerful sound to your full-sized headphones (like a 250 ohm DT150) and low sensitivity iem's (like Havi B3Pro1). 
     
    There is one benefit of adding CA to the system while you're driving a car: CA connection cable provides extra length to the iem/hp and thus you may be able to drive more comfortably without touching or stretching the cable unnecessarily (damn, don't drive while listening with an iem or closed hp!!!).
     
    Two biggest drawbacks while using the CA with your Android or iOS devices are: You're unable to charge your phone or tablet (because CA uses the microUSB or in other words "charging port" to transfer the data). The other drawback is, you cant transfer the sound of an incoming or outgoing call through CA. You need to unplug the CA to answer or hear a call.
     
    While comparing CA with GO720, I had to use my Anker 10.000 mAh external battery to feed the current (power) needs of the GO720 while CA was as simple as plug and play. Also I have to use UB Audio Player Pro (UAPP) as a player with the GO720. With the clumsy and heavy external battery GO720 doesn't drain my phone battery in a noticeable way but I had to carry those separate things with me which simply made the situation less practical.
     
    _BAY2795.jpg
    I have to use an external battery to feed the GO720. GO is a power sucker!!! And it also gets very very warm during use!
    Note:  On this shot I have accidentally switched to the standard audio player instead of UAPP!
     
     
    On the sound department I have to say that the CA and GO720 was very close through my LG G3. Both sounded great in every possible way except GO720 headphone out delivered slightly more punch and body on the bass section with a slightly warmer/tubey tilt to it. On the other hand, CA sounded more linear to my ears (testing done with a Dunu Titan 1).
     
    I know that many people would be interested in the hissing of both of these devices. To my ears, GO720 -after the latest firmware- keeps the hissing level in an extremely quiet level (through LG G3, with the Galaxy TabS its another story). You only sense the hissing (something like a white noise) if you attach a sensitive iem like Titan 1 (16 OHM, Sensitivity 90dB) or AI-M6  (16 OHM, Sensitivity 98dB) and if you don't play the music. With Havi B3 Pro1 you won't even hear this... With CA, hissing or background noise type and noise levels were very similar to GO720 (testing with Titan 1). Again, with a less sensitive iem like B3 Pro1 (32 OHM, 95 dB) I couldn't detect any background noise with CA. While playing the music, background noise was impossible to detect even at the most quiet volume levels with both GO720 and CA (even when used with the most sensitive iem's). So all I can say that CA is a quiet DAC/AMP but I can't say that its background is completely black. If your concern is playing the music than CA is capable of delivering the enjoyment of a noise free listening experience. You can only detect 'extremely low levels of hissing' between the music passages (or while not listening to music) and only with the sensitive iem's (and if you're listening in a very quiet environment). 
     
    I have to mention again that CA is compatible with remote control or in-line mic headsets (only delivering the sound to the headset). But you loose the "microphone" and "remote" button functions. You can hear but cannot answer a call...
     
    Conclusion 2: Out of a portable Android device, sound quality was a tie between the GO720 and CA. Both delivered good amount of power and sound quality. I can say that GO720 sounded a hair more refined to my ears with LG G3. With TabS, although the sound quality were slightly better than CA, the GO720 delievered some background noise (interestingly only while playing the music, not between the tracks) amd some sound artifacts at the edge of the notes. You want my feedback: If I have to choose one DAC/AMP, I would go with the CA because of its form factor, weight, compatibility and general sound quality. Compared to the headphone out of my LG G3 It was really hard to tell any difference. So a tie here... But I prefer the CA with an iP6 compared to the iP6 headphone out alone.
     
    PS: LG G3 never been a go-to device for me before the Android Lollipop update. With the 'stock' Android KitKat software it was sounding cooler than being natural and on the slightly thin side. Although sound-stage and separation were great. After the Lollipop update its sound quality became on a more reference level. Also LG G3 specs says that the SNR ratio is great. I think some flagship phone's sound quality are already great nowadays... This was also mentioned in the CA review of @twister6  and I do agree with him (he did compared the sound quality of the CA to the headphone out of his Samsung Note 4).
     
     
    PC/Laptop Tests:
    While listening to the Axial Ensemble "Spectrial" track (FLAC), through Beyerdynamic DT150 (a full sized, closed back, 250 OHM, dynamic driver headphone), I sense slightly airier space with CA. GO720 sound have a slightly tubey tilt to it while notes were sensed slightly bolder with slightly less airiness (in comparison). High region is slightly (a hair) smoother with GO720. But somehow GO720 managed to deliver slightly larger soundstage. In general GO720's sound is slightly (a hair) more intimate for me. But don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the music almost equally well with both of these devices. Under these circumstances, the sound quality is almost a tie between GO720 and CA (personal preferences may say the last words). While listening to "Granada" (AIFF) from Russel Watson, I enjoy the sound from the both devices equally well. But the stage was a hair more clear with CA. Almost a tie again...I truly believe that most people can't even tell the difference between GO720 and CA!! On these test conditions both devices delivered zero hissing (and/or other types of noisy sounds). I can say that DT150 have a perfect black background with both. Sound pressure levels were nearly identical with both devices. I do not need to re-adjust the volume slider while A-B'ing them (with DT150 as a headphone, media player and GOM Player as players, GO720 headphone out used only). This was a surprise for me as well, because one can easily think that the CA is inferior to GO720 for its power. Even though the CA specs says that it can be used for 16-100 OHM devices, it did great job when paired with my 250OHM DT150!!!  On the PC and other tests plenty of power left. I only used 2/10th of the volume on mobile devices (Android, iOS) and for PC tests.
     
    While listening to the Doyle Bramhall “That’s how strong my love is” I have to say that detail retrieval of CA is on par with GO720. You feel the singers voice on the center on both DAC’s but GO720 gives you slightly better soundstage depth perception. Also separation of the layers (distance between instruments or different sounds) are slightly better with GO720. In addition GO720 sounds slightly more dynamic, slightly more vivid. GO720 have a special (tubey), slightly more organic, sound compared to the CA. But I have to tell, overall differences are not huge. I have to add here that on a “blind test” I believe most of the non-audiophile listeners will have a hard time to distinguish the differences between CA and GO720. Yes, CA it is that good! 
     
    I also pushed the limits of the CA with my DT150 (250 OHM) on the PC testing. I could raise the volume up to the 10/10 without a noticeable degradation in sound and the DT150 only started to distort from the 9/10 volume (especially on the low frequencies). This may be due to the capabilities of the HP itself because I am talking about very high volume levels here... I can only listen up to 6/10 comfortably with CA while using DT150 as a headphone and PC as a source. These information may tell you the power and capabilities of this little device.
     
    Conclusion 3: This one was a tie. Both of these devices sounded great when connected to a PC. The external battery carrying situation is no more a problem when you use the GO720 with a PC. So competition is rather stiff here... So final decisions are up to the user. If I think only the compatibility along with the sound quality CA is the winner. If the power of the AMP section is more important for you then GO720 may take the lead. If the sound format compatibility is your main concern then GO720 should take the lead as well (GO720 supports up to 384 kHz / 32 bit and can decode DSD64/128.
     
     
    Comparing the CA with a DAP:
    I have used my iPod Touch 4th Gen 32GB version for the DAP comparison tests. I really like the line-out sound of my iPod Touch 4th Gen. But I don't like the sound from its headphone out thus always prefer to use its line out function. I even prefer the sound of iPod Touch 4th Gen ->Line-out -> 336SE to the GO720-> Line-out (47OHM out) -->336SE by a small margin. I am writing you these information to give an idea how much I "love" the sound of line-out of iPod Touch 4th gen.
     
    EDIT: Now the question: Is the CA better than iPod Touch 4th Gen? If I only compare the headphone out of iPod to CA, than the winner is clearly the CA. But the line-out of the iPod is a different story and it is a stiff competition (I have connected both devices to 336SE and listened through a Beyer DT150 headphone for this comparison). I have pushed both device and soprtware (UAPP music player application) volume to max. This action activates the CA line-out mode. With the line-out activated CA, the sound quality was on par with the line-out of iPod Touch 4'th Gen. I can safely say that I prefer the CA sound slightly over the iPod line out because it was slightly more refined to my ears. Also I feel that the stage was slightly bigger. It was a great pleasure to listen my albums inside my LG G3 with an audiophile sound quality through CA! A big smile were in my face all night! :)
     
    Conclusion 4: I have to say that CA connected to a tablet or a mobile phone beats the iPod 4th Gen headphone-out on the sound department. For the line-out comparisons they were close, although I slightly prefer the CA line out sound quality over the iPod touch and it is flexibility. Simply connect anything (Android with USB OTG, iOS with lightning connector and PC/Laptop) on it and you instantly have that Audiophile sound with you!
     
     
    Break Down and Evaluation of Some Factors:
     
    Value for Money:
    Although I love the sound quality, form factor, weight and compatibility I wish the unit was slightly less expensive. Some people may directly pass this one and get a Fiio X1 or Xuelin 770C DAP at the similar price or slightly lesser. But the main goal of this DAC/AMP lies beneath its small form factor and universal usage. I think it has some extremely small nano-tech components which raises the price. You have the ability to turn many many Android, iOS and PC/Laptop's to a great sounding components instantly and without hassle with CA!
     

    Love Factor:
    This term is new in head-fi (I prefer to use it). "Love factor" is very "personal taste" dependent and one should take care of this factor as a grain of salt (but if you ask me it's one of the most important factor). This factor summarizes my liking of sound quality, comfort, durability,  aesthetics, etc.
     
    My love factor is on the well above-average level for the Cozoy Astrapi! I am using it now on a daily basis!
     
     
    Burn-In (brain/device):
    CA is in the minority of the components that I have came across -up to date- which doesn't benefit from burn-in !  What you hear is what you get from the first day, first hours!
     
     

    Heating and EMI: 
    If you have one you'll already know, GO720 produces heat liken no other! It gets really warm (especially when decding DSD and/or paired with high OHM headphones). CA also produces slight heat but you need an instrument to measure it because heating is extremely low (your skin may not be appropriate to distinguish the difference of temperature between a non operating CA from a operating CA). So I can prefer to say that CA is a non-heating device. It's heat production is on the instrumental measurement level...
     
    Electromagnetic interference can end the possible use of a DAC/AMP unless you use your phone in the "Airplane" mode. So I really do care about this feature. I have to say that I couldn't detect "any" EMI while using my CA with a LG G3 or iPhone 6. It is safe to use with these devices...  You do not need to put your device in the "Airplane" mode (unless you're in a plane [​IMG] ).
     
     
    Battery Consumption:
    Once connected and operated CA starts to consume your mobile devices battery. But since the power needs are not big like a GO720 you can safely use the CA connected directly to your Android or iOS devices. According to my LG G3 tests I can say that daily 3h of CA connection/use consumed my battery approximately 20-25% more. I am happy with this result.
     
     
    Durability:
    Design seems very durable. But only time will tell how it goes. I have been using this device only for around 12 days.
     
     
    Design: 
    Cozoy Astrapi is a handy device. Its one of the biggest success lies in its form. This device is so tiny, light and small that you really wouldn’t care to carry it with you, even permanently attached with your favorite Hp/iem or device itself.
     
     
    Campatability:
    Virtually works with every Android and iOS device, PC and laptop. But you need to use the correct cable. Also your Android device must support USB OTG.
     
    You may not need an application like UAPP because according to my tests any player works with the CA on my Android devices (YMMW). But since I paid some money (I have the full version) I tend to use UAPP music player application. Also I need to mention that the new skin and interface of the UAPP is much better than the old one (recently updated, while writing my review)!!!
     
    CA accepts 4 pole 3.5mm connectors and works with them as well. But you loose the remote and microphone functionality. You only get the music to the iem. That's all...
     
    EDIT: While connecting CA to the LG G3, TabS or iPhone 6 there were 5-20 seconds of delay in order to get the sound out of the device. If you connect CA to your PC, you may need to choose it as the main (default) audio device from the Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Sound Devices  menu (interface).
     
    USB Support:
    I could only get CA working with my computers USB 2.0 port. No support for USB 3.0 port in my experience.
     
     
    _DSC4807.jpg
    4 pole connector of the Sony MH1C. CA delivers the sound through both Mic/Remote 4 pole (tested with MH1C) and Balanced 4 pole connectors (tested with KZ Acme, I do not have any idea if the connections are balanced as well).
     
     
    Hissing:
    IMO, CA is generally safe to use (doesn't produce audible hiss or background noise) with the moderate to less sensitive iem's and hp's. But with the high sensitivity iem's and hp's you may get a slight hiss while you're not playing the music. This can be a drawback especially if no music is played. While playing music and with high sensitivity iems I hear no background noise. YMMW.
     
     
    Remote Control and/or Microphone/Incoming-Outgoing Call Support: 
    NO! CA doesn't support these functions. So you have to remove the CA from your phone to answer it (tested only with LG G3).
     
    I think none of the USB DAC's currently support these functions (I might be wrong though).
     
     
    Guarantee:
     
    As of this writing I don't have no idea/information about the guarantee. But from my past experiences I have a feeling that  Penonaudio won't let me down.
     
     
    Weight and Size (including comparisons):
     
     
    _DSC4794.jpg
    CA weighted 15 g with the included Android connection (microUSB to microUSB) cable.
    I have used a 'calibrated' scientific grade balance to obtain this data.
     
    _DSC4795.jpg
    CA without the cable is only 8 grams.
     
    _DSC4797.jpg
    In comparison, GO720 with the Android/battery connecting Y cable and
    the Anker 10.000 mAh external (portable) battery weighted 279 g!!!
     
    _DSC4799.jpg
    GO720 is 33 g
     
    _DSC4813.jpg
    The length of the CA measures only 52mm which is shorter than a regular plastic toothpick with dental floss!
     
    _DSC4814.jpg
    CA is about 16mm wide and 6mm thick (without the metal clip).
    If I measure it with the metal clip it is about 9mm thick.
     
    _DSC4819.jpg
    Comparisons with a credit card size and an iem with remote/mic control (Sony MH1C).
    This device is definitely very small and lightweight. Think of a in-line remote of your iem, it has nearly the same length.
    Because of this "ergonomics", carrying the CA -attached to an iem- never bothered me at all !
     
     
    Specifications:
    1. Clean Line-Out activated at Max Volume
    2. Built-in DSP
    3. External USB DAC Functionality (OSX + PC)
    4. Compatible with various Android devices through OTG
    1. Headphone output :3.5mm
    2. Impedance :16-100 ohm at 1khz loading
    3. Output vrms:1.5Vrms max
    4. THD+N:0.003% ,1khz 0dbfs
    5. SNR:105Db AT 3.3V power supply
    6. Resolution :16bit/44.1khz sampling (all files above 16/44.1 will be replayed non-natively)
    7. System power current :10mA-70mA max
    8. Power input:1.8V-3.3V+-10%
    9. Output gain level step :3dB/step ;16 steps
    10. Headphone power output :10mW max
    11. Plug type: digital lightning connector
    12. Cable length:20cm
    13. Support USB2.0
    14. Support connectors: Lightning connector .micro usb -micro usb ,micro usb-usb
     
    Decoding and AMP Chip:
    Sorry but couldn't find any information!
     
     
    End Shot!
     
    _BAY2791-Edit.jpg
    My components are resting on a traditionally hand woven and naturally dyed Turkish carpet.
    I have found a great synergy between the DT150 (Brainwavz pleather 'memoryfoam' earpads) and CA! It can be an end game for some users.
    The sound quality and synergy between the two were that good!
     
    PS: Please notice the volume slider of the UAPP interface on the right hand side (reverse D symbol). It is nearly on the bottom. This volume level provides 65-75dB of
    sound pressure which is a preferable sound level for me at the late nite listening sessions. The power of the CA is that big!
     
    I also advise you to check my friend @twister6 's excellent review of Cozoy Astrapi here: http://www.head-fi.org/products/cozoy-astrapi/reviews/12716
     
     
    Final Words:
     
    CA sounds very linear to my ears with tight bass section and delivers airy sound with great sound-stage. Clarity is excellent! I really like its natural and refined sound. I didn't notice any "added" sibilance with it. I do prefer to use it through my computer and tablet more and more often (compared to LG G3 connection). Do I recommend this device? Of course I do! But I wish the price was a little bit cheaper. This may promote it to a more broad audience. Otherwise, this device's size, weight, sound quality and compatibility with many devices (sources) makes it an unquestionable buy.
     
     
    Notes:
    1- Most of the terminology used in this review is depending on this excellent write-up by multiple headfiers: http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary
    2- Specifications and/or color of the equipments covered by my reviews may change in the future by the manufacturer (without my knowledge) and these changes may not be reflected inside the review in the future (although I prefer to update).
     
     
    Subscribe: Baycode's Upcoming and Completed Reviews Newsfeed Page
    1. View previous replies...
    2. cocolinho
      Thanks for this great review. I have 1 question for you. When you say: Some people may directly pass this one and get a Fiio X1 or Xuelin 770C DAP at the similar price or slightly lesser
      Do you think these DAPs are better sounding to CA? Tx
      cocolinho, Apr 27, 2015
    3. edyeded
      Hi guys considering this to  pair with my iphone 6 and JH16s. the only thing is that I use spotify for my music. Anyone have any experience with it and spotify and would you recommend?
       
      Thanks
      edyeded, May 19, 2015
    4. Baycode
      @cocolinhoanyone who needs a source can get a dedicated DAP instead a DAC which is only usable with another component as a source. I used the "may" designation for that. Of course if the main reason is to get a DAC there is no better option for my experience. 
       
      @edyeded  I have used Spotify and Astrapi delivers excellent sound. My only concern is the hissing issue with the high sensitivity iem's. If your JH16 is an highly sensitive iem I advise you to pass this offering.
      Baycode, May 24, 2015
  6. twister6
    Swiss Army Knife of external audio interface!
    Written by twister6
    Published Mar 10, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - supports Android (USB OTG), iOS (Lightning), PC (USB), sound improvement, tiny design
    Cons - a bit pricy, on PC supports usb2.0 only
    This is a Review of Cozoy Astrapi Hi-Res USB OTG dac/amp.  Currently available from http://penonaudio.com/COZOY-DAC-AMP ($129.90).  I received this unit as a review sample, it was not purchased.  Also, as I just learned, Shozy team (known for a famous Alien DAP) is behind Cozoy design.
     
    Also, since Cozoy is still working on their official website, you can visit their FB page for the latest updates: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cozoy/1531647370419283
     
    In my recent review of FULLA usb dac/amp I was very clear about not being a fan of "jack of all trades" devices, but it did get a bit frustrating when that usb dongle turned out to be a "master" of only one trade connected to my laptop, and I wasn't able to get it to work with my smartphone.  The same story happened with E10k where you have to jump through hoops to connect it to your smartphone while using external power supply and splitter.  With E18, I found its sound to be less transparent and device itself to be too bulky for a pair up with smartphone.  When it comes to Beyerdynamic A200p (rebranded Astell & Kern AK10), it was getting down to a more manageable size with a true "jack of all trades" functionality, but sound was a bit on a cold digital side, footprint was not as friendly to attach to a smartphone, and proprietary cable connection to the unit was getting loose all the time.  Sooner or later we all come to a conclusion that nothing is perfect, but one company came out with the most elegant all-in-one solution I have ever seen.  In this review I would like to share with you about Cozoy Astrapi USB OTG dac/amp and how it performed in my testing.
     
    Arrived in a small and very sturdy white carton box, it has a lot of "Apple" appeal from outside with a very minimalistic labeling of the company name on the top, model name on the side, and even Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad around it.  There is also a brief info with general instructions, basic spec, list of accessories, and vague drawing of a design on the back of the box.  There was no mentioning about internal components to shed a light about the type of DAC and amp used in the design, and no mentioning about USB OTG support for Android devices or USB support for use with PC/laptop.  Usually companies like to over-exaggerate functionality of their product with marketing hype.  Instead, here it was a very modest list where I had to figure out myself from clues of lightning connector (for Apple compatibility), micro-usb to micro-usb (USB OTG for your Android smartphone or tablet), and micro-usb to usb (connection to your laptop or PC).
     
    From Penon store webpage, Astrapi Spec:
     
    1. Hi-resolution :24Bit-96khz 192khz
    2. Impedance :16-100ohm at 1khz loading
    3. Output vrms:1.5Vrms max
    4. THD+N:0.003% ,1khz 0dbfs
    5. SNR:105dB AT 3.3V power supply
    6. Resolution :24bit/192khz sampling
    7. System power current :10mA-70mA max
    8. Power input:1.8V-3.3V+-10%
    9. Output gain level step :3dB/step ;16 steps
    10. Headphone power output :10mW max
     
     
    Unboxing.
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-01_zpsbthqbzyy.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-02_zpsc85fxybl.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-03_zpsv4vc8ct8.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-05_zps6excvx7j.jpg
     
     
    Basically, these 3 cables are the only included accessories, but cables itself were of a high quality.  It was nice to see included micro-usb to usb cable, though in theory you can use any smartphone micro-usb cable for connection to your PC/laptop, while other cables had a unique design to accommodate smartphone connection.  I don't have any iDevices to test Cozoy connected to iPhone or iPad, but had no problem testing it with my Galaxy Note 4 and S5 where I assume the included micro-usb to micro-usb cable enables direct USB OTG functionality without a need for an adapter.  I was especially pleased with a solid connection of this cable to Cozoy Astrapi and my phone - nothing is more frustrating than a loose cable connection that going to affect digital audio stream.
     
    Accessories.
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-06_zpshxeewp0a.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-07_zpsxd9zee0p.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-08_zpswuud6oa9.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-09_zpsqqgq1nsq.jpg
     
     
    The moment you take Astrapi out of the foam cutout in the box, you will instantaneously fall in love with this tiny gadget.  I don't think I ever used a phrase "fall in love" in any of my previous reviews, but it's an absolutely truth when I was holding this feather light 8g stick with a dimensions of 52mm x 16mm x 6mm resembling a thumb drive.  With solid aluminum alloy housing, the design is very clean with just micro-usb port on one end and 3.5mm headphone jack on the other end.  Each end has 2 tiny screws with a rare 5-point star torx head.  The side of the body toward headphone jack has two indentations for an easy grip, very good idea since a slick aluminum finish can get a bit slippery.  Also, the back has a quality metal clip with a durable spring.  A bit puzzled at first with a purpose of that clip, I realized later how convenient it was to clip it inside of my jeans pocket with a smartphone connected to it in a pocket and with an easy access to headphone jack of Astrapi facing up.
     
    Design.
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-10_zpsrdgqquuv.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-11_zpsbtn7e14q.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-12_zpsudndnuzi.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-13_zpsmufzfeoo.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-14_zpsfmmygetu.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-15_zpsuvfl1wyr.jpg
     
     
    As I mentioned already, Cozoy Astrapi is truly a jack of all trades being able to support external USB connection to a laptop/PC, USB OTG connection to Android phones, and Lightning connection to iDevices.  Since I don't have any Apple devices, I'm just going to assume it will work as expected since I have verified it with two other connections where it worked flawlessly.
     
    Starting with a connection to my laptop, there was a little hiccup until I realized that you can only use Astrapi with USB2.0 port.  I verified it on 3 different laptops running WinXP, Win7, and Win8, and it was consistent where Astrapi wasn't recognized connected to USB3.0 port but worked without a problem connected to USB2.0.  Also, due to internal DSP chip and some protocol handshaking (I assume), I experienced a 5 second plug'n'play delay once you connect the device.  Since I have on-screen volume bar indicator enabled in my Thinkpad laptop, it was easy to see when connection was established once a volume bar came up on the screen indicating a new volume scale.  The volume adjustment in Cozoy Astrapi is based on output gain level steps with 3dB/step for a total of 16 steps.  And to make it even more interesting, once you raise the volume to the max level, HO output of Astrapi turns into LO which indicates that internal amp was disabled in favor of pure DAC output.
     
    Using my various full size and IEM headphones for testing, I was very impressed with a sound improvement over my noisy laptop HO output where Astrapi exhibited a black background and clean sound with no static interference.  I would consider sound signature to be nicely balanced with a great level of transparency.  But one enhancement that made it stand out the most was the improved width/depth of the soundstage.  The depth of staging was on the same level as E10k and FULLA, but Astrapi width was better than E10k though not as wide as FULLA.  The improvement in retrieval of details was on the same level as E10k and A200p, while FULLA was still a bit ahead of competition.  With Cozoy Astrapi you can also hear a sound gaining an extra layer of texture and improved layering/separation of instruments with some airiness effect.  Connected to my laptop, I was able to use Astrapi as an external sound card which came very handy on one of my laptops where I have a broken HO jack.  Even so I have other USB dac/amp devices, they are all too bulky while Astrapi felt like an extension to a cable.
     
    Next was a pair up test with my Galaxy Note 4, something I was really looking forward to.  Similar to connection with laptop, there is a slight delay when you connect Astrapi to micro-usb port of your smartphone.  Right away it’s recognized with a notification message of “usb device connected”, but it takes about 15-20 seconds before it gets self configured and you hear a sound from Astrapi output.  In parallel, I was still being able to use HO output of my Note 4, very convenient while switching back’n’forth for headphone sound comparison.  Consistent with laptop performance, a sound opened up with a wider and deeper soundstage, a slightly better retrieval of details, and a more linear non-distorted performance as I raised volume to the max.  Now keep in mind, I'm comparing it to the current Galaxy flagship phone, Note 4, which has an excellent sound performance to begin with even from HO.  Thus a sound improvement, with an exception of staging, was only marginally better.  This will be probably common with other brands flagship phones, but for majority of other people who use basic cheaper Android models or who use their older Android phones as DAP for streaming - Astrapi will introduce a higher margin of sound improvement.  Even with Note 4 at the top of the volume level from HO a sound was getting distorted, but with Astrapi it was not an issue!
     
    Where I found this DAC/amp to absolutely shine with a smartphone was when paired up with external amp.  Without a single doubt in my mind, a synergy of Cozoy Astrapi with either C5 or E12A was significantly greater than paired up directly from HO of the phone.  In addition to an improved and more 3D soundstage, the output power of external amp added more finesse to a sound, making it more balanced and enhanced across entire frequency range.  Also, it improved the tonality, making it more organic and smoother.  I didn't notice any difference when I raised phones volume to the max which supposed to put Astrapi in LO mode.  Either way, I found the performance to be equally great at any volume level.  Comparing to HiFimeDIY, which is Android only DAC, I found Astrapi sound performance with external amp to be on a similar level, though soundstage was better with Astrapi.  Also, I found Astrapi micro-usb cable connection to be less finicky, while HiFimeDIY always gave me issues with disconnects.
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-16_zpscgpkmqip.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-17_zpsze6t78bh.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-18_zps32urlhgf.jpg
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-19_zps3o1kvzqe.jpg
     
    FULLA, E10k, Astrapi, and HiFimeDIY
     
    cozoy_astrapi_dac_amp-20_zpso6jsfg8v.jpg
     
     
    Overall, I was actually quite happy with a fact that Cozoy Astrapi turned out to be a jack of all trades.  The convenience of this super slim and lightweight aluminum stick being able to work with any smartphone, iOS or Android, as well as Windows laptop - was simply priceless!  There was no need to use any USB OTG adapters or splitters, no need to power it up with external battery, and no need to secure it with a rubber band to keep the micro-usb cable from moving or disconnecting - it was a simple plug'n'play, always recognized by my phone.  The same with my laptop, no need to install any drivers or to configure anything - as long as you use USB2.0 port it was a simple plug'n'play.  I have tested a number of usb dac/amp devices, and each one had its strength and weakness.  None of these devices have an identical set of features where you can just focus on sound quality for direct comparison.  Instead, some have analog volume controls while others gain switch and bass boost, some might have a dedicated LO while others support both USB and USB OTG, some might only work as USB dongle with laptop while others support both Android and iOS.  Cozoy Astrapi had to sacrifice a lot of extra functionality in favor of a super small size that only has micro-usb and 3.5mm ports, and lower output power in order to be compatible with USB OTG without draining too much of smartphone battery.  As a result, Cozoy was able to accomplish not just a "jack of all trades" device, but also a design which you can consider as a Swiss Army Knife of audio interface.  It is a bit pricy at $129, but you are paying for compatibility with every phone and PC/laptop, a proprietary DSP design, and a footprint of the smallest device with external audio interface!
      money4me247, Faber65 and mrmoto050 like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. edyeded
      Hi guys considering this to  pair with my iphone 6 and JH16s. the only thing is that I use spotify for my music. Anyone have any experience with it and spotify and would you recommend?
       
      Thanks
      edyeded, May 19, 2015
    3. BruceBanner
      How does the volume compare to smartphones HO? One of my main gripes of Android (of all the android devices I have tested) is that the volume is far too low (even on max). I have had to root phones, change mixer_path file and lift the volume limitations to get proper listening volumes (around the Sansa/Cowon levels that those DAPs can put out).
      Does the Cozoy take volume higher than the HO can on your Note4 for example?
      BruceBanner, Jun 9, 2015
    4. twister6
      @BruceBanner : not significantly higher (Note 4 is damn loud to begin with), but it is higher.  The most important factor for me - at the top volume my N4 sound distorts while with Astrapi it's linear and clean all the way up.
      twister6, Jun 9, 2015

Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!