Essential Phone Audio Adapter HD - anyone tried it?
Nov 14, 2018 at 8:26 PM Post #4 of 6

jjmai

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I'm planning on picking this up eventually...I do really like my essential phone, but not so the list price.

When it is 50% ifo I'll grab one!
I know. $150 is price gouging. Can get an used LG V20 or dedicated DAC for that.
 
Nov 15, 2018 at 4:17 PM Post #5 of 6

joshnor713

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I love the idea. To bad it had to debut on a phone that is going the way of the dodo. C'est la vie.

I'm sure they won't sell many of them and the price will soon take a dive.
 
Nov 27, 2018 at 11:27 AM Post #6 of 6

Victorfabius

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Hello!

tl;dr - I like it and am leaning toward recommending it to Essential owners. It's a clear upgrade from the dongle, but it gets hot and drains the battery.

I happen to have one. Been listening to it for the past couple days.

It's like a cross between a Hiby R3/R6 and a Chord Mojo.

Holy smokes, Vic! It sounds like the Chord Mojo?

No. It doesn't.

Initial impression is that it's somewhere between the R3 and R6 than anything else. I would say that it's closer to the R6 than the R3, but time will tell. I've got a new IEM to play with, so we'll see how I feel after prolonged listening with a more familiar IEM.

It's a cross with the Chord Mojo because - on low impedance/high sensitivity IEMs - there's a times of a signal interference. You'll get that damnable buzzing that I found plagued the Mojo every now and then.

On the other hand, a higher impedance/lower sensitivity IEM will not experience these issues. CA Andromeda S? Buzzing. Flares Pro 2? None.

Reminder: only two days. I will be listening longer to see if there's a change.

Non-critical listening impressions: Better than what I had expected, honestly. A solid upgrade over the dongle. Easily matches my memory of the Hiby R3, and make me reminisce about the R6. I no longer have either device, so it's difficult to say for certain as I can not do an A/B comparison. Listened mainly to electronic ambiance (Tidal playlist: Reverie, for those who want to know). I prefer the FiiO X7 mark II over the AAHD for this music, but the AAHD is still competent and listenable. Haven't used it with my Monoprice Monolith 1060 V1 planars yet. I would be comfortable listening to the AAHD over the Sony A45 or Hiby R3 (price competitors, ok?).

Burning Question: IS IT WORTH THE PRICE?
My initial impression is maybe.
"That's not an answer, Vic."
I know, I know. Fine: If you have the Essential Phone and don't want the dongle or want a clear sonic upgrade to the dongle and don't want to carry a separate DAP, then, probably. Best I can do on two days.
It's actually really close to being worth the retail price. At $100, I'd say yes, undoubtedly. But it's 50% more than that. You can get the Topping NX4 DSD for the same price and have more utility. The AAHD is a single-device DAC. However, I think I'd rather listen via AAHD than via the Hiby R3, which I think does give you an idea of how competitive I find the DAC. If you plan on using one device and don't have a problem with the extra battery drain, then it's a tentative yes. Need more time to know and I've got papers and a program to write over the next two weeks and I may forget to revisit this. I can be fickle. You are warned.

Other things to note:

1. It gets warm/hot.
- I mean it can be startlingly warm if you're not expecting it. Will keep you warm this winter, that's for sure. I placed the phone in a breast pocket over my heart and it's kept me much warmer while I study in the cold basement.

2. It drains the battery.
- Majorly. 15-20% per hour. Good thing you can charge while you listen. However, it means judicious use when out and about for long periods.

3. Small movements can dislodge the power/break connection.
- Might want to be wary where we use the connector if we're being jostled. It doesn't take much to move it enough to break the power/connection, but it does have to be directed laterally.

4. It is incredibly thin and light.
- Unexpectedly light, I was surprised.

5. It packs some power. Some.
- More than the dongle, at least. IEMatch at Ultra for Andromeda did not require 50% power. Will have to test with the Flares later. Also IEMatch did not get rid of the interference.

6. I would use the AAHD over the Topping NX4 DSD for the Essential Phone.
- The Topping here has a very me sound. I like it a bunch (That's a lie. I like it more.) and might purchase a second one so I can get through a day at work. But, on the Essential Phone, the portability, thinness and quality of sound out win out over the Topping.

7. It's also easy to use.
- Relatively easy to use, pop in your cable, attach to phone and so long as you've upgraded to the latest firmware, you're good to go. I had no serious problems using the AAHD beyond what's already been mentioned.
 

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