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Tralucent DacAmp One - Introduction - Impressions Thread.

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by h20fidelity, May 6, 2014.
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  1. H20Fidelity Contributor
    About three months ago while in conversation with the owner of Tralucent Audio I was offered a demo period of their new dac/amp. Having heard Tralucent's first offering , a portable amplifier by the name of Tralucent T1, which causes quite a stir among the community receiving inspiring reviews labeled to eat up $400 amps with a reasonable $250 price tag, I was more than energetic to try this new product and quickly concurred to an audition. At the time I didn't even know what the product would look like and had very little information on DacAmp One.

    Please note: This isn't a review but more an introduction for yet another one of Tralucents new products. After spending some time with the DacAmp One I really feel it deserves it's own thread as much of the conversations about it so far had been either in the 1Plus2 or Tralucent T1 thread.

    Tralucent Website: http://www.tralucentaudio.com/shop/

    Tralucent DacAmp One:



    : Two gain modes
    : Optical in / preamp out
    : USB in / Charging
    : Battery Life 30 hours (moderate volume)
    : ESS9023 DAC
    : Up to 24/96 (16bit of course too)
    : Output Impedance - below 1ohm
    : Charge Time - 1.5 hours
    : Power Output: 95mW + 95mW
    : Impedance - 8ohm - 300ohm
    : Power Source -8.4V Li-polymer Rechargeable battery
    : Line output 1ohm


    : Tralucent DacAmp One
    : Mini USB Cable

    : 3.5 Interconnect
    : Rubber Strap (2)
    : Unlock Key
    : 8.4 Li-Polymer Rechargeable Battery
    : Optical fibre adapter
    : Device driver disc


    When the unit arrives you must install the battery yourself, there's an allen key provided which you unscrew the front plate sliding out the board. After initially placing the battery inside you simply set it up once and forget. As with any amp all charging is then done via USB cable on the rear of the amp. I will say be careful putting the battery in with your new amp, you don't won't to catch any of the components when sliding the board in or out.

    Some pictures of the front and rear:

    Dimensions: (mm) 101mm x 57mm x 20mm


    On the front you're greeted with the volume pot, input/output jacks and gain switch. One thing I noticed with DacAmp One is the blue LED power light is much calmer than the previously (overly bright) Tralucent T1 LED.

    On the back you have the optical in, USB in / charge, and two switches which switch between charging, power on/off and selecting either dac/amp mode or using the unit just a pure amp for your sources such as iPod, DX50 line out etc....

    Size comparison to Tralucent T1:


    Sound Impression:

    When first testing DacAmp One (as a DAC) the first thing to jump out at me was the refinement and resolution, DacAmp One takes on a high end timbre that I've found in other Tralucent products, a mix of resolution, timbre, detail that gives the amp a specific house sound, one that makes the entire presentation give off a unique atmosphere. Although I've found similar in Traucent T1, DacAmp One takes this to new levels, it's as strong technically as you'd ever need and really all about enjoying that high end sound.

    Overall, I find the bass a little more towards neutral than T1, seems to exchange some of the impact for extra detail and texture, extension is still excellent. Moving up the mid-range you simply cannot ignore the refinement and attention to detail, vocals like Andrea Bocelli have great depth and dynamics that mix in with the resolution.

    Compared to T1 I hear it a little laid back in presentation, not quite as aggressive (if you can call T1 that), DacAmp seems to take on it's own character which separates it from T1. Moving up the treble there's great detail and air taking on that high end timbre I keep mentioning.

    Soundstage is wider than T1 and depending on your headphone/IEM you'll really get a good grasp of a live presentation. When pairing the unit up with a pair of SHR940 (low gain) the detail extension in vocals and clarity is edging out on some of the best I've heard, I was totally blown away with some of my albums I've known for sometime hearing them in a new fashion, the kind of listening session you have which sticks in your mind.

    Popping the DacAmp into 'high gain' I'm able to drive higher impedance headphones such as the 300ohm HD600 and 250ohm Beyer DT880 without even kicking a fuss, Granted, I may need to pump the volume pot to about half way but the main concern here is driving power and how much authority the amp supports these headphones with. I can say it passes in flying colours with tight bass and no stage compression often found with underpowered headphones.

    Low impedance IEM's are really what the amp is mainly focusing on here and possibly Tralucents Ref.1 new hybrid release. Having not heard Ref.1 - I cannot say whether DacAmp One was tuned with that hybrid in mind. None the less whatever I pair up with the product just passes in flying colours, easy synergy matching is a desirable sign.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test the Optical in function, not having any sources here compatible. 

    Quick summary:

    Is it the best DacAmp I've heard? Well yes it is, I've not quite heard my Shure SHR940 in such a light before, no other gear I have here makes them sound quite like DacAmp One. My only concern with the amp is when using it as a DAC you still use battery power, it doesn't draw power from USB, I was getting about 12-13 hours doing this. More than enough time to enjoy many sessions, however I do wish the DacAmp One didn't rely on such an option. But for the sound it puts out which is second to none with that Tralucent timbre and detail extraction its a small price to pay for one of the best Dac/Amps I've heard.

    Pricing and availability:

    DacAmp One is available now with an Introductory offer of $450 USD and eventual full retail price of $499 USD.

    As the DacAmp One isn't listed on Tralucents website yet (that I could see) I believe sending off a quick email from the website will place your order. 

  2. SkyBleu
    Looks interesting. Subbed.
  3. H20Fidelity Contributor

    Some of the best refinement you'll hear from a portable Dac/Amp in my opinion. Takes IEM like T-Peos H-300 which isn't the most stable and basically corrects all its errors transforming them into something near breathtaking. A sure sign of a strong product. I've found similar when adding Tralucents cables to my RDB Mini hybrid.
  4. SkyBleu
    Very interesting. Will a tour be running for this unit? Or is it just for loaner purposes?
  5. H20Fidelity Contributor

    I believe a personal audition only this time round.
  6. HiFlight
    I should receive my DAC/Amp One and Ref. One this coming week. I will post my impressions of the pairing after exploring the various input options of the DAC/Amp.
  7. H20Fidelity Contributor

    Great, whatever impressions you can add are most welcome HiFlight, it appears not many people have tried DacAmp One yet.

    Look forward to anything you can contribute as Tralucent really deserve it for this one. 
  8. HiFlight
    I did receive both my Ref.1 and DAC/Amp One in the mail this morning. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to try out each, both separately then together. It took awhile to figure out the proper use of the DAC/Amp. Although the DAC was recognized by my Linux OS, I could get no output to feed my desktop amp. After some fiddling (and again reading the instruction sheet) I figured out that the Optical input on the back is also the DAC preamp output. The analog input is on the front next to the headphone jack.

    While I have not, as yet, tried the DAC/Amp with phones other than my Ref.1 IEM and Shure 1840, it does sound superb when driving the Ref.1's. I did compare it with my best desktop amp using the Ref.1's with both and could hear little, if any, difference. It does appear to me as if the amp is gear toward IEM's rather than full-sized cans as the volume control needed to be at about the 11:00 position when driving the Ref.1 to my normal listening level, which is not extremely high. When driving my Shure 1840's, the volume control is at about the 2:00 position for the same volume level as I used with the Ref.1.

    With regard to musical tonality and timbre, I am very pleased. Bass is deep and well-controlled, mids and highs clear and quite transparent. Imaging is accurate with good depth. The soundstage is what I would call moderately wide, but seems to depend a lot on the phones used. I suspect that the DAC/Amp One is capable of bringing out the best of any phones paired with it.

    The overall exterior appearance exudes quality, with nicely machined front and rear plates. High quality jacks are used and hold the plugs firmly. The inside is also nicely laid out component-wise and workmanship appears excellent.

    As battery power is required for USB decoding, even when outputting to an external amp or preamp, I would hesitate to recommend the DAC/Amp One as a desktop replacement DAC. Unfortunately, one cannot charge and listen at the same time.

    Given the level of overall workmanship, and the SQ of both the amp section as well as the DAC output, the DAC/Amp One should be on one's short list of portable DAC/amps.
    H20Fidelity, I've been quite interested in the DacAmp One ever since you mentioned it in the T1 thread. I've just check that thread to see if you had any new input and realised you started this thread. I've checked the website and it's not even listed yet. Is the product just in an experimental phase and not ready for the mass market? I guess I don't understand why such a promising product wouldn't be listed for purchase.
  10. HiFlight
    Pardon my stepping into the question directed to H20, but I ordered my DAC/Amp One when I ordered my Ref.1. It is in production and is a fine instrument. The DAC sounds excellent and the synergy with the Ref.1 is superb. It also sound excellent with all of my other IEM's. It takes the great performance of the the T1 amp to an even higher level.

    See my previous post for more details.
    Thanks HiFlight, I was actually hoping you'd respond too. The last set of DACs I tried were the ibasso D10 and D4; devices which I know you're quite familiar with. Would you say that the DacOne Amp is a step up from those devices. I'm interested in how you think it compares in terms of transparency, airiness, effortlessness, and resolution. Thanks.
  12. H20Fidelity Contributor

    Sorry, I don't venture to the portable amps section much as I should.

    Like HiFlight said: DacAmp One is available now by emailing Tralucent. I'm not sure why its not listed on the site, though its certainly for sale 100%

    I did mention at the bottom of my introduction though it could easily be overlooked. I'll make some adjustments.

    Fantastic sounding Dac/Amp. Great resolution, soundstage to name a few attributes.
  13. xnuthecaveman
    Just want to share, here's my portable rig - AK100 - Dac Amp One - 1plus2
    (my friend's picture)
    - very good clarity and details. excellent with 24/96 tracks (sorry for the noob impressions, not really good at it)
  14. zagtastic
    hey all.  very close to pulling the trigger on this, but was wondering if anyone had any more feedback or experience with the dac/amp one.  it looks generally very awesome, but i am having a hard time finding any additional information or reviews.  i have been e-mailing with gavin from tralucent, but i also understand that he's an employee of the company that produces the product i am attempting to research.
    just for background, i am more of a techy than a pure audiophile, but i'm trying to get into it.  i have a htc one m8 and v-moda crossfade m-100s, both of which i purchased in the last month or so.  after purchasing the cans, i decided that i would like a portable dac (and as much of an amp as i would need for the crossfades and, occasionally, beyerdynamic mmx-101s-- tho a little headroom might eventually be useful) to use with my work pc and my phone; not sure whether i would make a purchase if not at least a moderate upgrade on the sq coming from my phone-- and i understand my phone is already pretty solid here.
    key features are portability and sq/price ratio.  secondary considerations are battery life and the ability to charge while in use, tho obviously the tralucent dac/amp can't do this.
    other items i have considered are:
    cypher labs theorem
    centrance m8
    beyerdynamic a200p (rebrand of astell&kern ak10)
    ifi nano idsd
    and jds labs c5d
    i am open to other suggestions as well.  the theorem is at the very high end of my acceptable price range, but i would prefer to spend under $500 if possible.  any feedback on these (and particularly this tralucent dac/amp) is very much appreciated.  i have spent much time googling and have a decent ranking in my head, but i've been able to find almost no A-B comparisons and certainly none involving the tralucent.
    thanks much in advance.
  15. H20Fidelity Contributor
    The reason you cannot find much information on DacAmp One is because it's so new not many people have one yet. I know Gavin well enough to think any information he gave you wouldn't be marketing ploys, he cares about audio much as any other member here which in itself is a great thing because with his ears behind DacAmp One tuning you're sure to be getting one of the highest fidelity dac/amps on the market. I can understand though being hesitant without much info. Maybe we can arrange a tour for DacAmp One and get the thread more impressions.

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