FX-AUDIO DS07 / Balanced DAC

General Information

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Latest reviews

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Affordable and transparent
Pros: + Neutral and transparent
+ Great technicalities
+ Fidelity and precision
+ Very good resolution
+ Wide soundstage
+ Not bright or clinical
+ Balanced XLR outputs
+ Color LCD display and remote control
+ Bluetooth connectivity
+ Compact and well made
+ Value for money
Cons: - Vertical orientation not for everyone
- Rather dry and lean textures
- Not that analog or organic timbre
- Horizontal soundstage
FX-AUDIO DS07

I didn't know about FX-AUDIO until HiFiGo suggested that I should test their DS07 DAC. The brand has a ten year history and except for the DS07, they also make a compact sized DAC/headphone amplifier named the DR07.

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The FX-AUDIO DS07 is a desktop DAC without a headphone amplifier. It uses a single ES9068AS DAC chip by ESS in a fully balanced configuration with five OPA1612 op-amps in a typical Chi-Fi implementation that is used by brands like SMSL and Topping. Nothing really new or innovative, just the beaten track that we have seen in numerous similar products. The device is optimized to offer excellent measurements with numbers like 125dB SNR, 120dB DR and 0.00015% THD+N. An XMOS XU216 USB receiver supports up to 768kHz/32bit, DSD512 and full MQA decoding.

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Non Audio stuff

The DS07 is a compact sized, rectangularly shaped device with a vertical orientation. Measuring just 125x80x176mm, it is taller than wide and can easily be placed at your desktop or in an audio rack near an amplifier. The chassis is made from CNC machined aluminum alloy with a matte black finish and a pattern of diagonally engraved lines at the front face. The shape reminds me of the M-series products by SMSL.

Build quality and assembly are excellent, there are only four visible screws at the back. The oversized volume control knob is made from aluminum and rotates smoothly allowing for fine adjustments.

The front panel features a 1.54” full color screen that displays sampling rate and other useful information. You can also use it to navigate through the various menus in an easy and straightforward manner by pressing and rotating the knob. You can select one of the three digital filters, digital input, analogue output or configure the screen timeout and brightness. All actions can also be performed with the aid of the included remote control.

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The FX-AUDIO DS07 supports USB, coaxial and optical digital inputs that are located at the back, together with the XLR and RCA analogue outputs. The analogue outputs are variable so you can use the device as a preamplifier to a power amp. Setting the volume level to maximum will result in a full scale output. The unit also features a built- in SMPS power supply.

Bluetooth connectivity is also supported by the means of the QCC5125 chip that supports the LDAC and aptX HD high resolution codecs.

Accessories

The FX-AUDIO DS07 comes together with a remote control, an AC cable, a Bluetooth antenna and a high quality USB cable.

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Audio stuff

For the listening evaluation of the FX-AUDIO DS07 I have mostly used the Schiit Midgard and Drop + SMSL HO150X headphone amplifiers with various headphones.

The sound quality of the FX-AUDIO DS07 is typical of similar Chi-Fi DACs and just as good as the competition. I doubt if there is a single person that can tell the difference between the DS07 and, let's say, the Topping E50 in a blind listening test.

Neutral, linear and transparent with dead silent background and stellar technicalities, the sound is crystal clear and well defined with great fidelity and precision. The sound temperature is neutral, not warm but not cold either. The DS07 is not clinical or sterile sounding but the textures are a little dry and lean, not visceral and weighty as with other more sophisticated DACs.

The bass is deeply extended with a wide dynamic range and also fast, tight and controlled. Not that full bodied or robust but it compensates with its excellent definition and layering. The mid-range is spacious and articulated with excellent separation and very satisfying resolution. The timbre is natural but not that colorful or harmonious. Still you get a realistic listening experience where instruments and voices sound as they ought to be and not paper thin or artificial.

The treble is highly energetic and sparkling with extra brilliance and luminosity but not shiny bright or sharp and piercing. This is a lively sounding DAC with plenty of airiness and excellent detail retrieval without sounding too analytical or boring. The timbre is quite natural but it doesn't have too many analogue or organic characteristics. However, digital artifacts are not that much to make for an unrealistic listening experience. The sound is bold and revealing but without any serious metallic sheen or severe digital artificiality.

The soundstage is wide and expansive with great positioning accuracy and very good separation between the performers. However, typically for DACs of this kind, it is lacking in holography and depth layering as well as in ambience.

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Comparison with the Topping E50

The FX-AUDIO DS07 has similar audio performance with the Topping E50 that costs the same amount of money. Not that surprising considering that they utilize the exact same components and architecture. Actually, the DS07 is a touch warmer and more transparent with better dynamic behavior.

The FX-AUDIO DS07 is a better value for money as it has the benefit of having XLR plugs, internal power supply, it supports Bluetooth reception and has a color LCD display. On the other hand, the Topping E50 is a little more compact and can be operated with a 5V phone charger.

Conclusion

This is yet another excellent measuring DAC with great fidelity and transparency. Neutral and linear with stellar technicalities, it is equally as good sounding as the competition and a tad better value for money. This is why it gets my warmest recommendation for anyone looking for such a DAC.

The review sample was kindly provided free of charge.

The price of the FX-AUDIO DS07 is $200 and you can buy it from HiFiGo.
Last edited:
jeromeoflaherty
jeromeoflaherty
Ichos
Ichos
This one looks good. I didn't know that they are making the matching amplifier. A nice combo set.

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