If moveable audio has been formed by something apart from advancing headphones expertise lately, it is the arrival of portable DACs – pocketable ‘intermediary’ units that join between a telephone or laptop computer and a pair of headphones to enhance sound high quality. We have had laptop-friendly AudioQuest DragonFlys and the extra versatile Audiolab M-DAC nano, for instance, and now THX (sure, that very same agency famously behind cinema audio requirements) is getting into the buyer electronics market with an identical system.
The all-new THX Onyx ($200, €210) is a dongle designed to boost the efficiency between your USB supply and your headphones or desktop audio system. You may plug it into any PC, Mac or Android system toting a USB or USB-C port, with iOS units requiring the slim Apple Lightning to USB Digicam Adapter to be suitable. On the different finish, the Onyx has been designed to drive all method of headphones – these with impedances from 22ohms to 600 – through its 3.5mm jack, by which desktop audio system can be linked.
It is the primary DAC of its variety to utilise THX’s AAA-78 amplifier expertise, which is the highest-powered configuration throughout the firm’s Achromatic Audio Amplifier design and guarantees the identical energy output as a desktop THX AAA DAC amp – simply in a a lot smaller package deal. THX says this expertise can “cut back harmonic, intermodulation, and crossover distortion by as much as 40dB”, promising a efficiency with “infinitesimally low ranges” of noise and distortion. It additionally claims this makes the Onyx as much as 5 instances extra highly effective than different related USB DACs.
That AAA expertise is bolstered by an ESS ES9281PRO DAC chip, in addition to a Grasp High quality Authenticated (MQA) renderer for taking part in again MQA laborious recordsdata and (MQA-encoded) Tidal Masters of their native high quality.
The Onyx has an all-metal physique, with LED lights to indicate the standard of file being performed by it – blue denotes 44.1kHz or 48kHz PCM recordsdata, yellow signifies pattern charges above that, whereas purple and pink show DSD and MQA indicators respectively. THX has integrated cable administration into the design in order that wires from linked headphones are saved neat and tidy, too.
THX Onyx is now accessible in the US and Europe for $200 and €210. For sure we stay up for taking it for a spin very quickly.
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