Questyle M12i — Mobile DAC/Amp


500+ Head-Fier
Questyle M12i.
Pros: - Surprisingly good driving power
- Clean analog, organic sound yet exceedingly technical
- Power efficient on weak USB hosts, even Apple iPhones
- Adaptive gain modes
Cons: - No independent volume adjustments
- Only comes in 3.5mm SE (not a problem for me personally)
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Simple, elegant, well build. Three years after the release of the highly successful M12, Questyle M12i is here, designed to be more friendly with Apple MFi standards, but more importantly offering refinement as well on what was already an impressive DAC/Amp of M12.

In general, M12i is surprisingly powerful for such lowly advertised power, practically standing tall when compared against over 2400mW juggernauts of BURSON Audio Playmate 2 (V7) and the stack of JDS Labs Atom DAC2/Amp2. While it can't replace the powerful desktop DAC/Amps, it does offer viable alternative to even drive Sennheiser HD600 and HiFiMan Sundara with good agility, synergy and dynamic transients' authority. I can totally use M12i away from my desktop driving these headphones.

The sound tuning for M12i is admirably natural, devoid of any hint of being metallic or sterile, as would normally be observed from ESS Sabre native tuning. M12i is exceedingly analog/organic sounding as it is competently technical to compete with the best of the best in dongle space category.

Join me here on my YouTube Channel as I unravel the wonders of Questyle Current Mode portable DAC/Amp:
Hello @OspreyAndy ,
I'm looking for a portable DAC+AMP for use with laptop and android phone.
I'll bei using 3.5mm with IEMs and headphones up to DT880 600 Ohm
RME FireFace 800 is my sound reference, it is powerful yet neutral in all regards, no HiFi enhancements anywhere, converters are AKM.
I guess what you describe as "analogue" / "natural" sound reproduction is what I'm looking for, also it's important for me to have good resolution as I'll be using it to produce & mix music.
Which one would you pick:
Colorfly CDA M1P - 75€
EPZ TP50 - 120€
Questyle M12i - 140€
I already tried FIIO KA13 but had to return it since it had weak bass (didn't sound neutral at all) and overcooked highs, despite the amazing resolution.
Even toying with the idea of just getting an M15i as it's 225€ on HiFiGO but I don't know whether the upgrade is worth it over M12i if I will basically only be using 3.5mm at the moment...
DT880 has an attached 3.5mm cable.
I often have a hard time discerning from reviews whether the device actually has better performance overall or the improvement is just on 4.4mm balanced output.
For example, I've read 3.5mm on M15 sounds worse than 4.4mm bal.