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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Astell&Kern USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable Review

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Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

Sound Quality

The addition of the USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable between our source devices and the array of IEMs and Headphones significantly improves the overall quality of the audio output, particularly in the aspect of clarity, detail and cleanliness.

After all, digital-to-analogue conversion and amplifier circuits are AK’s key competencies. The USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable demonstrates just that by providing high fidelity and a low noise floor attributable to its dual DAC and dual-mono amplifier design.

Plugging the USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable to the Sony Xperia 1 II, USB Audio Player PRO automatically recognises and requests access to the device. Playing back Limit To Your Love by James Blake, what impresses is the performance. While the Sony also has a 3.5 mm headphone jack, the experience on the AK’s 3.5 mm headphone jack demonstrates what the USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable is all about.

Starting with the low-end, which kicks in at intervals throughout the track and how each bass pulse is rendered with clarity while letting one in on details, ensuring clean and rounded edges to the notes. There is that noticeable extension to the decay, which aids the smoothness on the low-end, something that I appreciate.

Similarly, the mid-range and high-end are clean, crisp and detailed with a natural coherence with the low-end. In focus, there is a slight bias toward brightness in the upper midrange, which brings the vocals forward while ensuring a balance with the instruments, caters for a more enjoyable and less fatiguing experience. On the other hand, the high-end exhibits a keen focus on the instruments lushed with details to provide that lovely sparkles to the ears.

The USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable is a hugely capable device with a balanced, smooth and spacious sonic presentation. Though it is not in the same league as AK’s line of DAPs, it is hard to ignore the quality it adds as an accessory.

Part 1: Introduction, Unboxing, Design & Build
Part 2: Usability
Part 3: Sound Quality
Part 4: Product Specifications
Part 5: Review Ratings, Summary

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