Tell me about those USB-C DAC dongles...

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by G.Trenchev, Jul 13, 2018.
  1. G.Trenchev
    Hi all,

    Haven't been to HeadFi for quite a while, nice to meet you again :).

    Recently I became interested in portable USB-C audio, particularly in those ugly(well...) dongles that provide a 3.5mm jack. To start with, I thought of them as passive adapters: somehow the idea of a DAC, amp, and possibly, a DC/DC converter fitted inside a tiny dongle did not fit in my head. Apparently, I'm completely wrong. Now I really want to gain a bit more insight, of not only what's inside, but also how it sounds. What better way than to buy one :)

    The info is really sparse, with just a few reviews that only unpack the product and say "it works". This is not very helpful. I would like to see some measurements and more user feedback. I see Ken Rockwell did something with the Apple adapter, and I found some images for the Pixel 2 adapter. But not much else.

    There seem to be 2 "audiophile" grade adapters - Musiland MU1 and Hidizs Sonata HD. The first one is known to use CS42L42, a codec with impressive specs for the size. There is a review here on HeadFI. The second one has similar specs, so probably the chip is the same. They both cost around 30 EUR (that's an ok price I guess?). Another popular choice seems to be the Pixel 2 adapter. If you have something else in mind, and/or know better models, please check in :)

    If it matters, my phone is Nokia 7 Plus. It has a 3.5mm jack, but I want to get better and louder of course. I will use my trusty KRK 8400.

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