Review of the NuPrime Audio Hi-mDAC portable USB DAC/amp for computer and mobile devices
Feb 7, 2020 at 3:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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NuPrime Audio Hi-mDAC Review

Jason Lim at Nuprime Audio graciously sent me a Nuprime Audio Hi-mDAC to review in advance of the release during the CanJam NYC weekend of February 15-16, 2020. This will replace the older, larger, and discontinued uDSD USB DAC - being much smaller and compatible with mobile devices as well, while still offering high quality analog and digital outputs. I have not heard the uDSD, so I cannot compare them. I did compare to some competitor’s products.

https://nuprimeaudio.com/product/hi-mdac/?v=7516fd43adaa

GENERAL INFO: MSRP $129. Measuring 5.0cm x 2.2cm x 1.2cm.

SPECS: Hi-mDAC utilizes a new chip, CS43131 from Cirrus Logic, together with a NuPrime customized low power USB communication chip.
PCM decoding up to 32-bit /384Khz.
Increased hi-fi DSD playback rate from DSD128 to DSD256.
Integrated GND-centered, Class H headphone driver.
Output level up to 2 VRMS into 600 Ω headphones (can be used as a pre-amp to feed another amp).
Frequency Response 20-20Khz +/- 0.5 dB.
Evolved performance: THD+N 0.005% at 1Khz.
S/N Ration >100 dB (20-20Khz A-weighted).
Ports: USB-C, Combination 3.5mm analog audio output and 3.5mm S/PDIF converter (PCM192 and DoP64).

Output power:
30 mW per channel into 32 ohm load
5 mW per channel into 600 ohm load

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FIT AND FINISH: The top of the Hi-mDAC has a silver tone mirror finish with the company logo. On one side are volume up and volume down buttons, with no gaps or spaces between the buttons and side of the case. The other 5 sides are all a brushed aluminum finish. There is a very fine seam where the top and bottom half of the CNC machine case come together, and the edges are flush.

The volume buttons have nice feedback, and don’t so much as click when depressed and they bounce back when released. The Hi-mDAC included USB-A to USB-C cable feels like it’s high quality, with a nice soft-to-the-touch woven fabric jacket, and not some thin cheap rubbery coating. Plugging in the USB-C cable results in a click and firm/tight engagement. The same is felt when plugging a headphone into the 3.5mm jack.

MUSIC SELECTIONS - I chose a variety of lossless music including but not limited to the following - Jack Johnson “On and On”, Dianna Krall “Live in Paris”, Ed Sheeran “X Wembley Edition”, Martin Garrix “2019 Remixed”, Camilla Cabello “Romance”, Amanda Palmer “Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead with her Magical Ukulele”, Eric Clapton and BB King “Riding with the King”, Post Malone “beerbongs & bentleys”, Taylor Swift “Reputation”, Zac Brown Band “Welcome Home”, Chris Jones “Roadhouses and Automobiles”, Billie Eilish “When we all go to Sleep, Where do we Go?” and “don’t smile at me”, Dierks Bently “Riser”, Eric Church “Chief”, Zara Larsson “So Good”, Pink Floyd “DSOTM”, Blueport Nuforce Jazz Sampler, and Timothy Seelig “Rutter: Requiem & Five Anthems”.

GEAR USED - 2014 Macbook Pro 15” on Mojave with Nuprime Audio Hi-mDAC $129, CEntrance DACport HD $149, BlueDAC $399 (similar sound to DACport HD and DACportable), iPhone 11 Pro Max with lightning cable adapter, and iPhone directly into Hi-mDAC using a USB-C to lightning data cable from Penon Audio $39. NXEars Sonata, Basso and Opera balanced armature IEMs. Westone W1, W40 and W80 balanced armature IEM. V-Moda Crossfade Wireless II, Audeze Mobius, and CEntrance Cerene dB portable over-the-ear headphones. Sennheiser HD-600 with APureSound V3 cable with 3.5mm plug, and HiFiMan HE-560 with a Moon-Audio 3.5mm Silver Dragon cable.

SOFTWARE - iTunes 12.9.5.5, Tidal app for OS X, Rogue Amoeba SoundSource. SoundSource offers additional gain via “boost” button to drive HD-600 and HE-560 louder than Mac OS X would normally allow, without distortion. It also offer a distortion free EQ if needed, and allows you to select the system source plus a different DAC/source for several different audio apps.

Nuprime suggests setting the system volume level to 100% for the best dynamic range, and then using the hardware volume buttons to adjust the listening volume, and I agree. But if you are lazy, being able to use the system volume and Macbook volume buttons to control the music in a pinch is very convenient. Certainly more convenient than with the DACport HD which disables the system volume buttons on the keyboard. When you first plug in the Hi-mDAC, both the system volume and hardware volume levels will be reduced, so that you don’t get blasted too loudly with music when you hit play.

SoundSource lets me adjust the system volume via a slider, even when a DAC/amp like DACport HD disables the Macbook volume buttons. In order to do an apple-to-apples comparison of volume settings between the Hi-mDAC and other DAC/amps, I had to max out all their hardware volumes and use SoundSource app to adjust the system volume and then note the percent of volume that they required to volume match. The Hi-mDAC has a lot of steps in the volume control, too many to easily count the steps and say “I was on step 24 of 64 while the blah blah DAC/amp had the volume knob at 20%” etc. I don’t even know how many steps it has, but it’s a lot.

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SOUND AND TONE - The Hi-mDAC has a very neutral, flat, and transparent or uncolored sound signature. I would not call it a warm sound signature, but it’s not cold either. In comparison to the CEntrance DACport HD and BlueDAC or HiFiMan R2R2000, I would say the R2R2000 sounds the warmest and most lush, and the CEntrance products are slightly warmer and punchier than the Hi-mDAC but still leaning towards neutral and transparent.

The sound and tone depends on the program material and headphones that you chose to listen with, so I tried to mix and match various amps + headphones + music, which gave me an overwhelming combination of choices to report on; but I’ll try to do my best to break it down for you here. I think that next time I will discuss all the aspects of sound with each IEM or headphone as a whole, instead of breaking it down by bass, midrange, treble, etc.

BASS - With any of the IEM that I tested, the mDAC has strong bass delivery, which is deeply extended. The bass is controlled, tight, and fast as well. It has no peaks or troughs that I noticed. But in comparison to the DACport HD, I’d say that the DACport has a little warmer and punchier sounding bass, which depending on the headphones that could be better or worse.

As above, I use Rogue Amoeba’s “SoundSource” app on my Macbook to direct sound to whichever device I wish to listen, and it also includes some preset EQ choices, like bass booster, treble reducer, etc. Using the bass booster setting with the Hi-mDAC and IEMs works very well, and and with the gain boosted with SoundSource it does not drive the amp into clipping with any of my IEM or expensive full-size headphones at normal to very loud volume levels.

But I found that my over-the-ear high-efficiency lower-cost portable headphones are more easily driven to distortion at extreme volumes, unlike the full size desktop-class headphones. But all of my critical listening was done with NO EQ unless specifically testing the amp’s ability to handle extra bass without clipping.

While playing random songs in Tidal with the NXEars 8-driver Opera IEM, Eric Church’s song “Over when it’s Over” came up, and the weight and foundation of the kick bass drum really took me by surprise - I could almost feel it in the room with me. With the same tracks, I switched to the CEntrance Dacport HD where the bass impact increased and it sounded slightly warmer - the Opera are less picky about the amp than the Sonata or Basso IEM from NXEars, and so the bass didn’t change as much with a change in amp.

I then listened to Timothy Seelig, Rutter Requiem III: Pie Jesu, and the bass of the pipe organ reaches to subterranean depths with the Hi-mDAC, with all of the IEM and even with the HD-600. While the pipe organ bass is deep and extended with HD-600, it’s bass impact on some other genres of music doesn’t impact quite as hard as it does with a more powerful amp with higher voltage swing. But with the album “Kool Cats” by Guinea Pig, the string bass with the HD-600 was very tight and punchy, and the Hi-mDAC volume with HD-600 was moderately loud and very clean all the way up to 100% system volume.

The following is almost more of a review of the over the ear portable headphones than the Hi-mDAC, but I wanted to talk about how it drives a variety of portable or transportable full-size headphones that I have readily available. I usually do not amplify these headphones, and a couple of them I usually only use via bluetooth.

The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless II is known as a bassy headphone, and with the Hi-mDAC at just 50% volume their bass is massive with the string bass on Guinea Pig “Kool Cats”. The V-MODA bass was a little too much with both the mDAC and DACport HD. With Rutter Requiem Pie Jesu the pipe organ has power and weight, but the HD-600 still had better bass quality and control than the V-MODA with the Hi-mDAC.

I usually prefer to use the V-MODA with old classic rock recordings that didn’t have a lot bass in the mastering, or to use at low volumes where I would otherwise might want a loudness control. I also have not used them in wired-mode more than 2-3 times and usually am using them with Bluetooth. But, when playing the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack and a variety of Led Zeppelin recordings via Hi-mDAC and Tidal lossless, they had good bass balance, while the DACport HD had similar bass but pushed the midrange too forward.

The CEntrance Cerene dB closed headphone was a better match for the Hi-mDAC than the V-MODA. Before burn-in the Cerene dB were a bass heavy (almost sloppy-bass) headphone, but after they were fully burned-in their bass had become tighter and more controlled. The bass still hits very hard and is a fun headphone with the Hi-mDAC and all my classic rock, electronic, jazz, and classical.

But with songs like Post Malone “Paranoid” and “Psycho” the Cerene dB bass overpowered the midrange and treble on the Hi-mDAC. Switching to the DACport HD from the same company brought the midrange up to a level closer to the bass, but at the expense of soundstage. Just switching to Eric Clapton “Unplugged Remastered” put the Hi-mDAC on top again, with a more balanced tight bass and bigger soundstage.

My Grado HF-2 had strong bass and good control with the Hi-mDAC, but the Grado HF-2 also needs to be your “low volume quiet listening” headphone with the Hi-mDAC, due to exacerbating the Grado’s inherent wall of sound and grainy treble. At low volumes there is no need for bass boost or a loudness control with the HF-2, and I was really enjoying them at 25-30% system volume (with buttons maxed out), but cringing at very high volume which occurs at only 50% system volume.

I pretty much only ever use my HF-2 with my $3000 Eddie Current ZDT amplifier which is so silky smooth and refined in the highs that I can crank up the Grados without fatigue. But, it’s a headphone that I often don’t like at high volumes, and none of my portable amps improve that (the TTVJ portable Millet Hybrid was the best with Grados, and I miss it but sold it due to the tube rush with IEM).

The last headphone I tried with the Hi-mDAC was the HiFiMan HE-560 with Moon-Audio Silver Dragon 3.5mm cable. This is a headphone that I thought likes an amp with a lot of current, and thrives on my 2 watt Schitt Audio Magni 3 amp, so I almost didn’t bother trying it. Even the manufacturer didn’t expect it to be a good match. I was really taken by surprise when the Hi-mDAC can drive the 560 to good/moderate listening volume levels, with tight, fast, and strong bass and everything else)! It didn’t seem like it was running out of current or straining at all.

This combo is even better than the HD600, and it also responds well when the SoundSource “boost” gain mode is enabled. Even with gain “boost” turned on at the same time as bass boost mode (was just as a test), the Hi-mDAC did not give up and barely got warm. I listened the rest of the time with normal gain and NO EQ, and was very impressed with string bass and pipe organ, as well as electronic music from Steven Garrix and Infected Mushroom. I liked the Hi-mDAC and HE-560 combination with just about every song that I listened to, and this was my favorite full-size headphone combination. Only a few times did I want to use the gain “boost” button.

MIDRANGE - The midrange is true and clean, transparent and uncolored, and does not add to or remove anything from the music. Any changes in sound were due to the sound characteristics of the IEM or headphones used, not due to the amp. It’s like “wire with gain”.

For example, when I was doing my NXEars review over the past week, I found that the DACport HD could make the midrange presence a little overwhelming with the 4-driver NXEars IEM or my V-MODA at very high volumes. But the Hi-mDAC did not give me this problem and the midrange was very smooth and natural, even with headphones that usually have a U-shaped frequency response.

The Hi-mDAC midrange was open and transparent with any IEM or full-size headphone I used, even the V-MODA (which had a little too much mid bloom with the DACport HD). With the Cerene dB and Hi-mDAC the midrange was not recessed, so much as the bass was sometimes boosted in relation to the midrange. But I thought the Hi-mDAC did a good job with the Cerene dB on instruments in “Kool Cats” such as saxophone and trombone (un-like with Post Malone).

With Eric Clapton “Before You Accuse Me” on the “Un-Plugged Remastered” album, the clapping to the music sounded natural and real, and not like rain on a metal roof like you get with some gear. Some people have complained that the HE-560 has a U-shaped frequency response with recessed midrange, but I didn't think the midrange was missing on these with the Hi-mDAC.

TREBLE - The treble is usually sparkly and shimmery, maybe too much so in the first 2 days before burn-in, but it settled down quite nicely after about 4 days of music through it.

After burn-in I found the treble to be very detailed and crisp, transparent and smooth, without any veil or grain (if not listening to a Grado which need tubes). Sibilance is not exacerbated with the Hi-mDAC either. It brings out the best of the treble qualities in all of my Westone IEM, Sennheiser HD-600, HiFiMan HE-560. With the Cerene dB and V-Moda Crossfade Wireless II (wired mode) I wished for a little more treble.

My Audeze Mobius sometimes felt a little bright with the Hi-mDAC at higher volumes, but I hear this a lot on the Mobius with music on my iPhone with them. I mostly use the Mobius to watch movies on my MacBook or TV via bluetooth, where it excels at 3D sound with movie and games. The DACport HD had smoother treble with the Mobius and HF-2, but the midrange became too forward so I preferred the Hi-mDAC overall, just at lower volumes with these portable headphones.

The NXEars IEM worked best with Hi-mDAC when using the upgraded pure single crystal 6N copper cable and small tips/deep insertion. Otherwise, with the silver plated copper cable they’d sound a little bright on the Hi-mDAC vs with the other amps I tried. Because of how well the Hi-mDAC works with the HE-560 on a silver cable, I’d say this was an “IEM on the wrong cable” issue, not an amp issue.

IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE - The Hi-mDAC has good soundstage and imaging, and it sounds effortless and transparent in it’s presentation. I felt that it sounded a little more open and spacious, and less intimate sounding than the CEntrance products (or R2R2000). I preferred the Hi-mDAC with my Westone W1, W40, and W80 IEM, which gave the Westone a little bigger soundstage than with the CEntrance DAC/amps.

The NXEars IEM all seem to have a little bigger soundstage regardless of amp, and paired a little better with the punchier CEntrance amps. However, the NXEars still sounded very good with the Hi-mDAC, and this is the amp that I used exclusively for the first 2-3 days of my NXEars IEM review that I posted earlier this week. This combination frequently gave me some out of head cues while listening, and a couple of times I looked around to see what was making a sound only to realize it was in the recording.

The HD-600 and HE-560 full-size desktop headphones also sounded a bit more open and spacious with the Hi-mDAC than my CEntrance amps, despite the extra power reserves of the CEntrance amps. Note - I do think the balanced 2.5mm output of my BlueDAC is more open sounding with better separation than the 3.5mm jack I was using.

POWER OUTPUT AND SYNERGY with different headphones - Gear synergy is important, and different IEM and headphones can change the sound characteristics, depending on how they interact with the Hi-mDAC’s output impedance. I do not know the output impedance, but If you don’t like the Hi-mDAC with one IEM or headphone, I say try another before giving up.

How well a headphone paired with the Hi-mDAC also depended on the source material, and while I would not listen to Post Malone “Beerbongs & Bentleys” with the Cerene dB and Hi-mDAC at high volumes, the pairing sounded great with Eric Clapton “Unplugged Remastered” or Guinea Pig “Kool Cats” at any volume.

Listening fatigue can also play a roll, and after listening to music with the Cerene dB for 2 hours straight, when I switched to Taylor Swift “Reputation” I thought that the bass was much better controlled than with something like Post Malone “Beerbongs & Bentleys” but it sounded like all the treble had disappeared. I had to take a long break after this. This did not happen with long listening sessions with my IEM or the HD-600 and HE-560, but my portable over-the-ear headphones contributed to fatigue much faster than the others.

I thought the Hi-mDAC had great synergy with Westone W1, W40 and W80. It also paired well with my V-Moda Crossfade Wireless II and Cerene dB with classic rock (or if playing anything at low volumes). In comparison to its nearest competitor, the DACport HD is a warmer and more powerful amp, and I found that the NXEars IEM sometimes had a little better synergy with the DACport HD (it was a toss up with the 4-driver Basso).

Synergy with my HD-600 and HE-560 was very good with the Hi-mDAC. I really enjoyed the combination and I only occasionally needed to max out the system volume and hardware volume buttons to get the desired volume, especially with some classical music like Rutter Requiem, or some jazz and new age tracks. If I needed more gain I could use SoundSource’s Gain “Boost” button to get more system volume with these quiet recordings.

With Jack Johnson playing “Taylor” or “Dreams be Dreams”, or Halsey playing “Finally // Beautiful Stranger” on my HD-600 or HE-560 I did not need any software gain boost, and would only set the Macbook system volume at 60% with the Hi-mDAC hardware volume buttons maxed out. With Camilla Cabello “Living Proof” or Taylor Swift “Lover”, and Zac Brown Band “My Old Man” I didn’t need more than 75% system volume with the Hi-mDAC. Even at 100% it did not break up, and I turned it back down to comfortable levels at 50-70% system volume.

With the album “Kool Cats” by Guinea Pig, as stated before, the string bass through the HD-600 and HE-560 was tight and punchy, and the volume was moderately loud and very clean at 100% system volume. I only needed to set the system volume to 75-80% to enjoy it. Hitting the SoundSource “boost” button could make this album play quite loud and clean, at volumes significantly louder than the built-in headphone jack (maybe even 6-7 dB louder, vs 3-4 dB louder with no software gain boost).

And the bass impact did not fade as the volumes got too high with the HD-600 or HE-560, like I only noticed with the NXEars Basso 4-driver IEM at extreme volumes. On the Kool Cats album with gain “boost”, the Hi-mDAC could play just as loud and clean as the DACport HD in high gain mode at max volume. But, I still did not typically need to use the SoundSource boost button, and only cranked it up to test its capabilities.

As a comparison, I tried matching sound levels with HD-600 on the Hi-mDAC vs DACport HD with their hardware volume controls at max. If I set the Hi-mDAC to 60% system volume with no gain boost, it played at the same level as the DACport HD in low-gain mode at 100% system volume. If I cranked the Hi-mDAC up to 100% with the SoundSource “boost” turned on, then Hi-mDAC was as loud as the DACport HD in high gain at max volume.

Without SoundSource, the DACport always had more power on tap than the Hi-mDAC, so I do recommend SoundSource if you plan to use desktop-class headphones at high volumes with the Hi-mDAC AND you find that the standard gain is not enough. It’s obvious that the Hi-mDAC would have more power available if it had just had a gain switch (would like to see that, but they designed this for IEM and portable gear).

At extremely high volume levels on the Hi-mDAC, it can drive ANY IEM to such high volumes that you would NEVER EVER reach that point on any typical day. In most cases I will never use more than 30-50% of the Hi-mDAC’s power with an IEM. When listening to a more demanding headphone like an HD-600 or HE-560 I would use anywhere from 30-100% of the system volume.

What surprised me was the compromise that many of my portable over-the-ear headphones offered me, with them not sounding as good as any of the IEM nor as good as the more demanding high-power full-size headphones. Granted, two of the three were Bluetooth portable headphone and were tuned for wireless. The Cerene dB are wired only and a little better than the V-MODA, and I listened to the entire Eric Clapton album tonight with them on the Hi-mDAC. But it’s still a more bassy compromise vs the Audeze Mobius that were a brighter headphone with flatter bass (so I preferred them with the DACport HD or via Bluetooth).

Very little of what I heard with these over-the-ear portable headphones was the Hi-mDAC’s fault, although the CEntrance Cerene dB do slightly improve with some program material when used with a CEntrance amp, maybe because they are from the same company. I really wish that I had the new Sennheiser Momentum Wireless to try with this amp, but maybe someday. It was too much trouble to dig out my retired Shure 840, V-MODA XS, or V-MODA M-80, but I’m thinking that those might all be a better match for the Hi-mDAC.

NOISE - I could not hear any hiss with any of the IEM used (but my ears are almost 58 years old).

PHONE COMPATIBILITY - The Hi-mDAC is compatible with the Apple USB Camera Connection Kit (CCK) to use with my iPhone 11 Pro Max. It also works quite well with the Penon Audio Silver Braided USB-C to Lightning Decoder cable. I have a similar Penon Audio decoder cable in a micro-USB to Lightning version, and that works directly with the BlueDAC and DACportable with an iPhone. The CEntrance HiFi-M8 V1 is great with a Phone, and no CCK is needed, but it’s really more of a transportable amp due to its size and weight (can’t dangle from the iPhone by a cable like Hi-mDAC). They say the Hi-mDAC works with Android devices, but I don’t own one to test that.

The Hi-mDAC volume is controlled by the iPhone system volume just like with the Macbook, and the Hi-mDAC always starts off at less than full volume on the software side and hardware buttons, so you don’t blow away your ears when you plug in (same with Macbook pro). So, after you plug it in you have a choice to turn up the system volume, or you can leave the system volume alone and turn up the volume with the hardware volume buttons first.

It seems like there are a large number of steps when pushing the physical volume buttons, and you must either press the volume up button like 20 times to get a noticeable increase in volume, or I found it faster to press-and-hold the volume button until it hit the level that I wanted and then I would let go of the button.

The iPhone > Hi-mDAC > W80 or Opera IEM was very enjoyable, for example, and sounded like an upgrade from the Apple brand Lightning to Headphone adapter (which itself is actually pretty nice). When I first tried the Hi-mDAC with iPhone before burn-in, with the CCK and a fresh out of the box NXEars Basso, it sounded a bit bright. But after everything was burned in, I tried the Hi-mDAC with the Penon Audio cable and iPhone, and this was significantly better sounding than the first time. I have not had a chance to revisit the original Apple CCK, having access to only the Penon decoder cable right now, but it should sound the same.

The Hi-mDAC is powered completely via the lightning port, and is one of the cheapest hi-res DAC/amps to work with the Apple CCK. The fact that I cannot use some of its nearest competitors, my $150 DACport HD or $99 Audioengine D3, with an iPhone had been disappointing, but now we have the solution. I do not have a Dragonfly to test, but if I recall correctly the one that would best compare with the Hi-mDAC is 2x as expensive.

The more expensive DACportable and BlueDAC from CEntrance do offer iPhone compatibility at 2-3x the price, size, and weight. However, those CEntrance amps also have noticeably more power for full-size demanding headphones on an iPhone (HE-560), due to their internal battery power supply. But not only are they larger and heavier so you can’t dangle them off the end of a cable on your iPhone, but you have to regularly charge their batteries while the Hi-mDAC does not need to be charged. You can put a Phone on a wireless charger while listening to music with the Hi-mDAC and it will run forever.

CONCLUSION - Overall I really liked the Nuprime Audio Hi-mDAC, and give it two thumbs up. I would like to get one of these for my son and a couple of friends, not just for myself.

It’s a versatile and very affordable DAC/amp that works with computers and mobile devices as well. It’s earned the “m” moniker in front of DAC, and the “Hi” for Hi-resolution. It’s very neutral and uncolored with a good soundstage, and has more than enough power for IEM and portable headphones, but it surprised me with how well it also handled some full-size headphones. Again, it’s not as powerful as a desktop amp, but more than enough to use them with a computer or phone that can’t drive them as well.

In my case, I would completely skip all my portable headphones and just use my HE-560, HD-600, or IEM with it. It’s small enough that it becomes part of your full size headphone cable when connected to a computer, and it grips the USB-C plug and the headphone plug tightly enough that it can hang off the side of your desk with a headphone plugged in and not lose the connection on either side. It’s like having a digital headphone cable.

I would also just carry the Hi-mDAC and the 6" Penon Audio Lightning-USB cable with me when I want to listen to my iPhone, instead of using the Apple Lightning-Headphone adapter or camera connection kit.

I did not test the optical S/PDIF output, but it seems like a great way to integrate one’s computer with a home theater system, or to use a computer with a high-end DAC that doesn’t have as good of a USB input. If I get a chance to test this later I will add it to the second post in this thread. Same thing if I ever dig up my V-MODA XS or M-80 to try with it, as well as other headphones. I needed to post my review now, but I will have it for a bit longer to give more impressions and comparisons over time.
 
Feb 7, 2020 at 3:08 AM Post #2 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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Feb 7th 2020 Update:

(1)
It sure does not sound like 30 mW!

It must be an error, because with the gain doubler in SoundSource the Hi-mDAC can play the HE600 and HE560 just as loud as the DACport HD. I thought that the number must have been emailed to me since it's not on their website, but I don't see that spec in any of the emails or facebook messenger thread with the NuPrime Audio Representative Jason.

I copied and pasted that number from my notes into the review, but I have no idea where it came from. So I'm confused. I don't want to edit my original review, and like to post updates in the second post, but if my numbers are way off then I'll have to do that.

(2) Feb 7th 2020 - 4PM UPDATE:

REVIEW UPDATE - MOAR HEADPHONE SYNERGY:
I was able to dig out my V-MODA XS portable headphones, as well as the older M-80, and my HiFiMan Edition-X V2. I used to have several boxes of headphones lined up against the master bedroom wall, but my wife made me move everything that I wasn't using on a daily basis to either under the bed or the basement. Most of my daily listening is with my IEM, which fill up a couple of shoeboxes.

So, when I got to trying out full-size headphones near the end of my review last night I just used what I had on hand. Being disappointed with some of the portable over the ear headphones, today I decided that I needed to try out some of my on ear portable headphones.

(A) V-MODA XS - This is quite a nice pairing, indeed! The XS have just the right amount of bass, with balanced midrange, and better treble than the Crossfade Wireless II or Cerene dB when paired with the Hi-mDAC. String bass is fast and tight, and the finger plucks and fingers brushing the strings before plucking are crisp. Saxophone and trombone are warm and rich. And cymbals hang like they should, and don't have any sheen or brightness. Piano notes seemed to float to my ears. Soundstage as expected is somewhat in the head with these portable on-ear headphones, but still slightly better than with the DACport HD.

Volume levels without distortion are insane, and it's moderately loud at only 50% system volume, and very loud at 75% system volume - no reason to go higher. 100% was painful but did not distort. My normal listening volume levels would be at 30-40% of system volume. Highly Recommended pairing. I didn't want to stop listening and move to the next headphone. This combination has rekindled my love for these tiny headphones, and I didn't recall them being this good with the DACport HD in the past.

When I was testing the Hi-mDAC with the M-80 I did have to switch to the DACport HD, to see if it helped with the M-80's slightly more aggressive upper mids and lower treble. So I also tried the XS with the DACport HD at that time. I found the XS midrange become a little more forward than I would like with the DACport HD. Going back to the Hi-mDAC it was just as good in the bass, but the midrange and treble balance was definitely better on the XS with the Hi-mDAC. And I thought the treble had better presence with the XS and Hi-mDAC.

(B) V-MODA M-80 - With the Hi-mDAC the M-80 have a little bit more bass impact and presence than the XS, but it's nice and controlled, and never too much like the other over the ear portable headphones in my original review. This makes them a lot of fun with rock, electronic, and even classic rock, plus as jazz, folk and country. Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack in lossless was better with the M-80 than the XS (better impact). And Post Malone "Paranoid" and "Psycho" had a good balance of Bass vs Midrange and Treble, and not overdone as it was with the Crossfade Wireless II or Cerene dB when amped.

Honestly, there was not much of a difference in the midrange, with maybe just a tiny bit more upper mid to lower treble presence than the XS. Despite this slight U-shaped curve, the midrange was never recessed or hollow, with rich sounding vocals and instruments like saxophone and trombone.

However, with the Post Malone songs the treble at high volumes was a little more aggressive on the M-80 than with the XS, especially when I got above 50% system volume, where normal listening was at 40% or below. So, M-80 bass is better than XS, but XS treble is better than M-80.

Volume vs settings were pretty much the same as the XS. Again, a great match with the Hi-mDAC and I recommend this pairing. I don't like that they don't fold up as tightly as the XS, so the carry case is flatter but longer and wider (bigger pancake vs smaller football).

These made me smile, but while I didn't feel the need to try another amp with the XS, the M-80 made me reach for the DACport HD, to see if the treble could be smoother, but the upper mids and treble were still a little fatiguing with the M-80 on the DACport HD (no improvement).

(C) HiFiMan Edition-X V2 - Also excellent with both the Hi-mDAC and DACport HD, just like with the HE-560, but with somewhat better efficiency and volume than the HE-560. So I did not need the software gain boost button to get very loud with the Hi-mDAC. I tended to stay below 80% on the system volume, and 100% volume was pretty loud and no fun after a minute or so.

At first I had a hard time telling which amp I was listening to, but in the end the Hi-mDAC was slightly more open and spacious, and the DACport HD was slightly more intimate and mid-forward with the Edition-X. I loved everything on the Edition-X, but they played so effortlessly loud that I could find myself creeping up in volume to enjoy the bass until it was too loud. Billie Eilish "&burn" or "Bad Guy" with Hi-mDAC had very powerful and well controlled bass, with a bit more impact than the HE-560; but also at very high volumes the Edition-X is more colored in the upper midrange and can get a little fatiguing at those very high volumes. Switching to the DACport HD did not really fix this.

Only at damaging and painfully high volume levels, with 100% system volume, gain "boost" turned on, and maxed out Hi-mDAC volume buttons, did I find that the DACport was slightly smoother sounding than the Hi-mDAC. And, the DACport HD could still go a few dB louder if I had wanted, but it was already so crazy loud that my ears started ringing worse, and I pulled the plug - literally. I never plan to spend any time at those kind of damaging volumes (over 120 dB), and even 80% volume on the Hi-mDAC without software gain "boost" the Edition-X is very loud.

Again, this was a much better combination than the portable over the ear headphones that I used in my original review, and my favorite of the three I tried today.

HiFiMan markets the Edition-X as a portable headphone because it works so well with mobile devices, and I can drive them easily with my iPhone and lightning adapter. But I consider them to be a transportable headphone that is just more versatile in regards to the gear required to drive them. I would not feel the need to look for a bigger amp than the Hi-mDAC if using the Edition-X, while I am likely to want to scale up with a desktop-class amp when using the HE-560 and HD-600.
 
Last edited:
Feb 7, 2020 at 3:14 AM Post #3 of 15

musicinmymind

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30mv ?

Seriously!!!!
 
Feb 7, 2020 at 3:31 AM Post #4 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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30mv ?

Seriously!!!!

It sure does not sound like 30 mW!

It must be an error, because with the gain doubler in SoundSource the Hi-mDAC can play the HE600 and HE560 just as loud as the DACport HD. I thought that the number must have been emailed to me since it's not on their website, but I don't see that spec in any of the emails or facebook messenger thread with the NuPrime Audio Representative.

I copied and pasted that number from my notes into the review, but I have no idea where it came from. So I'm confused. I don't want to edit my original review, and like to post updates in the second post, but if my numbers are way off then I'll have to do that.
 
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Feb 7, 2020 at 6:14 PM Post #5 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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REVIEW UPDATE - MOAR HEADPHONE SYNERGY: I was able to dig out my V-MODA XS portable headphones, as well as the older M-80, and my HiFiMan Edition-X V2. I used to have several boxes of headphones lined up against the master bedroom wall, but my wife made me move everything that I wasn't using on a daily basis to either under the bed or the basement. Most of my daily listening is with my IEM, which fill up a couple of shoeboxes.

So, when I got to trying out full-size headphones near the end of my review last night I just used what I had on hand. Being disappointed with some of the portable over the ear headphones, today I decided that I needed to try out some of my on ear portable headphones.

(1) V-MODA XS - This is quite a nice pairing, indeed! The XS have just the right amount of bass, with balanced midrange, and better treble than the Crossfade Wireless II or Cerene dB when paired with the Hi-mDAC. String bass is fast and tight, and the finger plucks and fingers brushing the strings before plucking are crisp. Saxophone and trombone are warm and rich. And cymbals hang like they should, and don't have any sheen or brightness. Piano notes seemed to float to my ears. Soundstage as expected is somewhat in the head with these portable on-ear headphones, but still slightly better than with the DACport HD.

Volume levels without distortion are insane, and it's moderately loud at only 50% system volume, and very loud at 75% system volume - no reason to go higher. 100% was painful but did not distort. My normal listening volume levels would be at 30-40% of system volume. Highly Recommended pairing. I didn't want to stop listening and move to the next headphone. This combination has rekindled my love for these tiny headphones, and I didn't recall them being this good with the DACport HD in the past.

When I was testing the Hi-mDAC with the M-80 I did have to switch to the DACport HD, to see if it helped with the M-80's slightly more aggressive upper mids and lower treble. So I also tried the XS with the DACport HD at that time. I found the XS midrange become a little more forward than I would like with the DACport HD. Going back to the Hi-mDAC it was just as good in the bass, but the midrange and treble balance was definitely better on the XS with the Hi-mDAC. And I thought the treble had better presence with the XS and Hi-mDAC.

(2) V-MODA M-80 - With the Hi-mDAC the M-80 have a little bit more bass impact and presence than the XS, but it's nice and controlled, and never too much like the other over the ear portable headphones in my original review. This makes them a lot of fun with rock, electronic, and even classic rock, plus as jazz, folk and country. Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack in lossless was better with the M-80 than the XS (better impact). And Post Malone "Paranoid" and "Psycho" had a good balance of Bass vs Midrange and Treble, and not overdone as it was with the Crossfade Wireless II or Cerene dB when amped.

Honestly, there was not much of a difference in the midrange, with maybe just a tiny bit more upper mid to lower treble presence than the XS. Despite this slight U-shaped curve, the midrange was never recessed or hollow, with rich sounding vocals and instruments like saxophone and trombone.

However, with the Post Malone songs the treble at high volumes was a little more aggressive on the M-80 than with the XS, especially when I got above 50% system volume, where normal listening was at 40% or below. So, M-80 bass is better than XS, but XS treble is better than M-80.

Volume vs settings were pretty much the same as the XS. Again, a great match with the Hi-mDAC and I recommend this pairing. I don't like that they don't fold up as tightly as the XS, so the carry case is flatter but longer and wider (bigger pancake vs smaller football).

These made me smile, but while I didn't feel the need to try another amp with the XS, the M-80 made me reach for the DACport HD, to see if the treble could be smoother, but the upper mids and treble were still a little fatiguing with the M-80 on the DACport HD (no improvement).

(3) HiFiMan Edition-X V2 - Also excellent with both the Hi-mDAC and DACport HD, just like with the HE-560, but with somewhat better efficiency and volume than the HE-560. So I did not need the software gain boost button to get very loud with the Hi-mDAC. I tended to stay below 80% on the system volume, and 100% volume was pretty loud and no fun after a minute or so.

At first I had a hard time telling which amp I was listening to, but in the end the Hi-mDAC was slightly more open and spacious, and the DACport HD was slightly more intimate and mid-forward with the Edition-X. I loved everything on the Edition-X, but they played so effortlessly loud that I could find myself creeping up in volume to enjoy the bass until it was too loud. Billie Eilish "&burn" or "Bad Guy" with Hi-mDAC had very powerful and well controlled bass, with a bit more impact than the HE-560; but also at very high volumes the Edition-X is more colored in the upper midrange and can get a little fatiguing at those very high volumes. Switching to the DACport HD did not really fix this.

Only at damaging and painfully high volume levels, with 100% system volume, gain "boost" turned on, and maxed out Hi-mDAC volume buttons, did I find that the DACport was slightly smoother sounding than the Hi-mDAC. And, the DACport HD could still go a few dB louder if I had wanted, but it was already so crazy loud that my ears started ringing worse, and I pulled the plug - literally. I never plan to spend any time at those kind of damaging volumes (over 120 dB), and even 80% volume on the Hi-mDAC without software gain "boost" the Edition-X is very loud.

Again, this was a much better combination than the portable over the ear headphones that I used in my original review, and my favorite of the three I tried today.

HiFiMan markets the Edition-X as a portable headphone because it works so well with mobile devices, and I can drive them easily with my iPhone and lightning adapter. But I consider them to be a transportable headphone that is just more versatile in regards to the gear required to drive them. I would not feel the need to look for a bigger amp than the Hi-mDAC if using the Edition-X, while I am likely to want to scale up with a desktop-class amp when using the HE-560 and HD-600.
 
Mar 4, 2021 at 12:27 AM Post #7 of 15

fallingreason

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Just picked up this DAC and I'm very impressed! The mids and highs are perfectly balanced and very musical. The bass is lighter than my usual taste, even with the somewhat bass-heavy Westone W50's, but it is very controlled and "tight". It didn't take long for me to really appreciate the overall tuning.

I've tried using it with my iPhone using a lighting > USB-C cable, but it didn't work? I guess the iPhone requires the camera connection dongle for some reason?
 
Mar 4, 2021 at 1:27 AM Post #8 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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Just picked up this DAC and I'm very impressed! The mids and highs are perfectly balanced and very musical. The bass is lighter than my usual taste, even with the somewhat bass-heavy Westone W50's, but it is very controlled and "tight". It didn't take long for me to really appreciate the overall tuning.

I've tried using it with my iPhone using a lighting > USB-C cable, but it didn't work? I guess the iPhone requires the camera connection dongle for some reason?
The Hi-mDAC works with the iPhone and Penon Audio lightning to USB-C cable in this link (I only have tried the straight cable, not the 90 degree).

Type-C to Lightning Silver-plated Cable
 
Jun 13, 2021 at 2:17 PM Post #9 of 15

Deleeh

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Hello,
I bought the good piece with initial doubts.
It is delivered as shown in the photos above.
There is still a Golden Edition that makes it available on Massdrop again and again.
Everything is the same in terms of functions, but the look is different.

My setup is designed more for mobility.
That means hotel train rides and so on.

Headphones are a pair of Emu Purpleheart.
The Dac Nuprime Hi mdac.
No smartphone but tablet once a discarded Ipad Mini and the work tablet Samsung Active.
And a Little Dot 1+ headphone amplifier.

First the sound with the Ipad.
The disadvantage is that you need the camera adapter at some point.
I had the DDHifi adapter Tc28i which unfortunately broke after a few uses.

The best settings on the iPad are when you set Loundness under Music, Equalizer.
I found this to be the better music experience, and it still is today.

The sound there is so natural, organic and also reaches deep down and remains musical enough.

I like it better on the iPad than on the Android tablet.
The sound is similar there when everything is set to normal in the equaliser settings.
However, I sometimes feel the need to adjust the settings and return to normal in the end.

On the Apple devices, the sound seems to be a bit softer and smoother for my impression.

Of course, I didn't miss the opportunity to push the Dac further.
In the car with the line-in cable and connected to the iPad, I like the sound much better than as when the iPad is connected to the car radio via Bluetooth.
Here, too, a little more depth and musical notes are more perceptible, even if the speakers are standard.

I went a step further because I'm on the road and the sound wasn't bad but not necessarily breathtaking.
I also bought an Rca to 3.5 mm cable and connected the Little Dot 1+ to it.
I have to say, I now have the Little Dot with me as standard when I travel.
Why?
It harmonises so well with the Emu Purpleheart and although the format is only 16/48 thanks to the Tidal App, it reaches its sonic limits in abundance.
The bass is crisper and deeper, the mids very well balanced and the treble as well.

Do you know that when you can't get your high-end equipment off your head at home?
It's exactly the same when you connect the Nuprime to a headphone amplifier.
That's why I often went to bed too late in the hotel and didn't want to get up in the morning.
If I did, it was because I wanted to listen to some music again.

Finally, it is worth every penny for those who want natural and musical sound.
You can also connect it to your PC at home and hide it discreetly.
But it really comes into its own when connected to a headphone amplifier.
I recommend choosing a warm amplifier because of its sound tuning.
A Topping L30 might be a bit too sharp and clinical.
My personal secret tip is hybrid amplifiers like Loxie P20, Vali 2, Xudoo, Little dot.
It is also versatile in all respects when everything is prepared in place then it is just a matter of pulling it out of your pocket and plugging it in, starting the player from your smartphone or tablet, turning up the volume a little on the Dac and having fun and enjoying.

It was worth spending the money for me, also because it is simple without any bells and whistles.
The technical values are also okay, but unfortunately they can be really developed on Roon or Audirvana when we talk about bitrate and frequency band.
On the PC, you might only be able to get 24/192 out.

I would have liked to be able to set this with an app before use or by means of battery storage.
Then it would have been even nicer.
Nevertheless, I can live with 16/48 on the move.

I have become more and more fond of it over time.
I also like the fact that when it's new it needs a bit of break-in time.
I don't know why I was a bit ambivalent at first, but the more I used it, the better it got.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 12:37 AM Post #10 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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Hello,
I bought the good piece with initial doubts.
It is delivered as shown in the photos above.
There is still a Golden Edition that makes it available on Massdrop again and again.
Everything is the same in terms of functions, but the look is different.

My setup is designed more for mobility.
That means hotel train rides and so on.

Headphones are a pair of Emu Purpleheart.
The Dac Nuprime Hi mdac.
No smartphone but tablet once a discarded Ipad Mini and the work tablet Samsung Active.
And a Little Dot 1+ headphone amplifier.

First the sound with the Ipad.
The disadvantage is that you need the camera adapter at some point.
I had the DDHifi adapter Tc28i which unfortunately broke after a few uses.

The best settings on the iPad are when you set Loundness under Music, Equalizer.
I found this to be the better music experience, and it still is today.

The sound there is so natural, organic and also reaches deep down and remains musical enough.

I like it better on the iPad than on the Android tablet.
The sound is similar there when everything is set to normal in the equaliser settings.
However, I sometimes feel the need to adjust the settings and return to normal in the end.

On the Apple devices, the sound seems to be a bit softer and smoother for my impression.

Of course, I didn't miss the opportunity to push the Dac further.
In the car with the line-in cable and connected to the iPad, I like the sound much better than as when the iPad is connected to the car radio via Bluetooth.
Here, too, a little more depth and musical notes are more perceptible, even if the speakers are standard.

I went a step further because I'm on the road and the sound wasn't bad but not necessarily breathtaking.
I also bought an Rca to 3.5 mm cable and connected the Little Dot 1+ to it.
I have to say, I now have the Little Dot with me as standard when I travel.
Why?
It harmonises so well with the Emu Purpleheart and although the format is only 16/48 thanks to the Tidal App, it reaches its sonic limits in abundance.
The bass is crisper and deeper, the mids very well balanced and the treble as well.

Do you know that when you can't get your high-end equipment off your head at home?
It's exactly the same when you connect the Nuprime to a headphone amplifier.
That's why I often went to bed too late in the hotel and didn't want to get up in the morning.
If I did, it was because I wanted to listen to some music again.

Finally, it is worth every penny for those who want natural and musical sound.
You can also connect it to your PC at home and hide it discreetly.
But it really comes into its own when connected to a headphone amplifier.
I recommend choosing a warm amplifier because of its sound tuning.
A Topping L30 might be a bit too sharp and clinical.
My personal secret tip is hybrid amplifiers like Loxie P20, Vali 2, Xudoo, Little dot.
It is also versatile in all respects when everything is prepared in place then it is just a matter of pulling it out of your pocket and plugging it in, starting the player from your smartphone or tablet, turning up the volume a little on the Dac and having fun and enjoying.

It was worth spending the money for me, also because it is simple without any bells and whistles.
The technical values are also okay, but unfortunately they can be really developed on Roon or Audirvana when we talk about bitrate and frequency band.
On the PC, you might only be able to get 24/192 out.

I would have liked to be able to set this with an app before use or by means of battery storage.
Then it would have been even nicer.
Nevertheless, I can live with 16/48 on the move.

I have become more and more fond of it over time.
I also like the fact that when it's new it needs a bit of break-in time.
I don't know why I was a bit ambivalent at first, but the more I used it, the better it got.

Thanks for the review - I still really like this little guy. It's by far the smallest and most convenient "audio upgrade" device I've tried to use in place of Apple's lightning to headphone dongle. If you really need something quite small that can fit in the little pocket of your jeans with a set of nice wired IEM (like my W80), paired with Penon Audio Lightning to USB-C adapter, this is the one to get.

I still travel with a CEntrance BlueDAC or HiFiM8 V2 when I take my laptop or backpack with gadgets and headphones to other places. But when traveling light and only with whatever fits in one's pockets, the Encore hi-mDAC with Penon Audio USB-C to Lightning cable and wired IEM is one of the only options, other than a set of lossy BT true wireless earbuds.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 12:07 PM Post #11 of 15

Deleeh

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So from the compactness point of view, it actually works.
With the camera adapter from Apple, it's short enough.
Sometimes it's not even wrong - I have enough space in the hotel and on the train I wind it up a bit, then it actually works quite well.
Of course, you're right when you're walking down the street, it can be annoying and distracting.
I'm still one of those people who want to hear what's happening on the street.😁

I forgot to mention the battery consumption.
On the Ipad or Android tablet it is within limits.
I haven't tested it, but I fully charged it and it consumed just under 10% of the battery for 1 1/2 hours of listening to music.
That's okay, but I'm sure it also depends a bit on the volume you listen to.
It may even depend a little on how many ohms the headphones have.
With the Emu Purpleheart, which has 32 ohms, everything is good and moderate.

Connected to the headphone amplifier, it will probably consume even less.
10-13 hours are definitely possible.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 5:37 PM Post #12 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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So from the compactness point of view, it actually works.
With the camera adapter from Apple, it's short enough.
Sometimes it's not even wrong - I have enough space in the hotel and on the train I wind it up a bit, then it actually works quite well.
Of course, you're right when you're walking down the street, it can be annoying and distracting.
I'm still one of those people who want to hear what's happening on the street.😁

I forgot to mention the battery consumption.
On the Ipad or Android tablet it is within limits.
I haven't tested it, but I fully charged it and it consumed just under 10% of the battery for 1 1/2 hours of listening to music.
That's okay, but I'm sure it also depends a bit on the volume you listen to.
It may even depend a little on how many ohms the headphones have.
With the Emu Purpleheart, which has 32 ohms, everything is good and moderate.

Connected to the headphone amplifier, it will probably consume even less.
10-13 hours are definitely possible.

I've never used it with my iPhone 11 Pro Max for more than 1-2 hours of music at a time, and I didn't pay attention to battery drain. I'm guessing I've used just under 10% per hour if listening only to music with the screen off, but again I never focused on that. I'll have to try to test it on battery in the next few weeks, but whenever I use it in a hotel room I have my iPhone on a compact wireless charger that I bring with me, while Hi-mDAC is plugged into lightning.

When I travel, I sometimes only bring my Westone 80 with Hi-mDAC, maybe a BlueDAC since it has a battery and would drain the iPhone less, a Sony WH-1000XM4 ANC headphone, and 1-2 pairs of true wireless earbuds. Those are usually AirPods Pro and either MTW2 or Jabra 75t - the AirPods Pro are for the superior NC and Transparency modes, as well as hands free Siri, but not for the best sound.

But on a trip to San Diego 6 weeks ago to drive a camper van back to Colorado with my eldest daughter, I only brought my WH-1000XM4, AirPods Pro, and Jabra 75t. That's it. We had to live off only 12V car power and Solar power with 3 USB for a week and 2200 miles, so I needed to conserve battery life and space. I also needed the transparency mode on all three devices to not isolate myself from my daughter nor be rude, and to hear my surroundings while on hikes at all of the national parks we visited.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 5:58 PM Post #13 of 15

Deleeh

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Yes, these are definitely consumptions you can live with.
I fully charged the iPad Mini on Sunday and listened to it for about 1 hour on the train and about 2 hours in the hotel.
Now that I just looked, I'm at 71% and it ran with all apps closed in standby mode for a good 36 hours total listening to music.
That's completely OK.

Which reminds me, since you have quite a few Bluetooth headphones.
Theoretically, if you have a Bluetooth receiver with a 3.5 mm jack, the Nuprime should also be able to connect to it when you plug it in and connect the headphones to it.
Or do you need an app to control the receiver?
If the receiver offers an app, that should actually work 🤓.
Would be cool if that were possible.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 6:22 PM Post #14 of 15

HeadphoneAddict

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Yes, these are definitely consumptions you can live with.
I fully charged the iPad Mini on Sunday and listened to it for about 1 hour on the train and about 2 hours in the hotel.
Now that I just looked, I'm at 71% and it ran with all apps closed in standby mode for a good 36 hours total listening to music.
That's completely OK.

Which reminds me, since you have quite a few Bluetooth headphones.
Theoretically, if you have a Bluetooth receiver with a 3.5 mm jack, the Nuprime should also be able to connect to it when you plug it in and connect the headphones to it.
Or do you need an app to control the receiver?
If the receiver offers an app, that should actually work 🤓.
Would be cool if that were possible.
I'm very confused about the BT question, because a BT "receiver with 3.5mm jack" as you put it would have the 3.5mm act as an output, like my Motorola receiver. By virtue of the description, it's "receiving BT" and sending the music out as 3.5mm into an amp or headphone. The Hi-mDAC also has a 3.5mm output, but you can't connect two outputs together. The only input on the Hi-mDAC is USB input, so you can't get music from the BT receiver's 3.5mm output into the Hi-mDAC.

You can feed the 3.5mm out of the Hi-mDAC into a BT transmitter, but since the transmitter is sending lossy compressed BT music, it wouldn't be worth it over just using built-in BT to send, or even using a lightning to 3.5mm dongle from Apple to feed into a BT transmitter (kinda redundant).

You use an iPhone, iPad, or Android device with an OTG cable to feed audio into the Hi-mDAC USB input (so it mimics being a USB audio source like a PC USB port), and that iPhone etc might be able to receive BT music from another source with the right app (Airfoil?). But typically these iPhones etc are used to transmit BT music, not receive it.

PS: the lightning camera connection kit is basically an OTG adapter for iPhone and iPad, while Penon Audio makes a tiny short cable with OTG built-in (they make a lightning to micro-USB and a lightning to USB-C OTG cable, I have both).
 
Mar 8, 2022 at 7:47 PM Post #15 of 15

fallingreason

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Any recommendation for a USB-C to USB-C cable to use with this device for interfacing with a Mac? I tried using a Sandisk USB-C cable that came with an SSD but it does not seem to work with the Hi-mDAC?

Does this unit require a special type of USB-C to USB-C cable? The USB-A to USB-C cable with the Apple A>C dongle works fine.
 

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