Pros: Build Quality
Storage bag included
Ultra low noise LDOs and femtosecond crystal oscillator
Slightly warm sound (typical Cirrus)
Functional button for volume adjustment and play, pause and change song
Zinc alloy case with transparent faceplate
Cons: Buttons feedback
Led just show it is on and DSD format
No Type c to USB adaptor
The Kmerj KM01 was bought with a small discount from a reseller, I’m going to be as objective as possible and being a common audio enthusiast I will use simple words in this review.
From my point of view the Dacs sound very similar to each other, or at least they shouldn’t take away or add anything to the sound.
However, also this time some small differences are easily noticeable.
I’m going to compare it with cheap dongles I own with similar prices.
Packaging? Which packaging?!!? The Kmerj KM01 comes if you are lucky in a storage bag!
Once opened inside, we find the DAC and just the Type C to type C cable (quite good quality). Nothing else is included.
Definitely well built with a sturdy body. The buttons and the switch have fine pressure feedback. They work on Android and OSX without any issue but the volume works together with the device it is connected to.
The buttons and the gain switch have excellent pressure feedback.
Although the product’s quality is still excellent, this time around you can view the mainboard naked which is a really cool feature for nerds. The glass is extremely susceptible to scratches, but overall, the shell appears to be durable while being lighter than the EPZ TP20. Only the feedback from the keys, which is also a result of their close proximity to the body, is of inferior quality.
The power of the Kmerj KM01 is identical to the EPZ TP20 as the internal motherboard is identical in all respects. My iMac cannot distinguish them when connected, so we are faced with the same hardware but with a different quality shell. So from now on the review will be identical to that of EPZ TP20.
Its power is fine for almost all headphones and iems , however compared to other dacs in my possession it definitely has more juice.
The 3.5SE port is already similar to the power of the balanced port of the Hidizs XO.
It would have been nice to have more volume steps for very sensitive headphones but actually the volume steps are so well made.
Obviously in balanced mode the power is ridiculous!
I tested it with:
KZ PR2 on 4.4 Balanced high gain and needed just 40/50% volume to get them to a really high pressure level.
HE400SE needs 80% volume on 3.5SE
Blon Z300 in 3.5mm just less than 40% volume
Whizzer He10 and HE01 on 3.5SE need less than 40% volume
Thuthear Zero needs 35% volume on 3.5SE
Philips X2HR needs like 50% volume to shine
The Dual CS43131 dac chip has a less analytical and natural sound compared to ESS however its timbre seems similar to AK chip, slightly warm.
The soundstage seems to be not affected, good layering, bass are slightly improved so pairing them to bright IEMS is the best choice.
Totally no hiss sound in both ports also in high gain mode surprised me.
This thing is a little powerful brick, it requires just 50% volume to make any IEMS sing.
Its sound is perhaps less refined than an ESS chip (Hidizs X0, F.Audio Ks01) but completely in line with the other Cirrus Logics in my possession such as FX-audio X6 and the Jcally Jm10. However in power it wins effortlessly.
Needless to say, I sense differences….there aren’t any. It is the same DAC in a different dress. They are equally good, the Kmerj KM01 has a lighter shell and therefore more comfortable to carry. If I connect both DACs to my iMac at the same time I can’t use them together as it can’t distinguish them.
We are still talking about an ESS chip which is the exact opposite of this Cirrus. The KS01 emphasizes the treble slightly while the other emphasizes the bass. If you are looking for a very cheap dac the KS01 is one of the most powerful SE I have been able to test.
vs Creative SFXi
The Creative DAC is certainly less powerful but for what it costs it offers exactly everything you need with much higher support (firmware updates + Apps). Its sound is definitely different from the classic AK4377 but you feel that Creative’s experience has added what was missing to the original AK soun
The SFXi however is very light and robust! Ideal for portability!
Who do I recommend this DAC to?
If you are an audiophile or audio enthusiast on a budget this could be a great option for your pockets.
Personally my advice is to take what costs you the least in your nation. Currently, the dual Cirrus are almost all made with the same mainboard.
I would choose this over the TP20 just for the lightness and crazy looks.
The sound is perfect and you have a lot of power to drive quite anything you want.