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AIYIMA DAC-A6 Review (Stereo DAC)

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 1.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 40 19.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 139 68.8%
  • Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 20 9.9%

  • Total voters
    202

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the AIYIMA DAC-A6 stereo USB DAC plus Bluetooth input and volume control. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $186.

The A6 has one of the better implementations of display/UI than most DACs:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Review stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.jpg


It is also quite responsive to volume control input. Inclusion of volume control means you can directly power a studio monitor speaker or power amplifier without the need for a preamplifier. Note however that there is no remote control so it is for desktop use mostly.

Back panel has the usual inputs and outputs:
AIYIMA DAC-A6 Review back panel stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.jpg


Note that the power supply has a blue LED which is nice in telling you it is plugged in. But may be annoying to some. Bit of tape may be useful for people in that camp.

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements
As usual, we start with our dashboard:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


Distortion is below threshold of hearing at around -118 dB. One channel though as you see in blue, has some interference. It is not grounds or mains related as I could not influence it that way. SINAD also varied a couple of dBs during operation. Still, performance is very good as it sits, landing in our excellent category:
Best stereo dac reviewed 2021.png


Dynamic range is in the same bucket:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements DNR stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


Multitone shows rather variable level of distortion, rising at both ends of the spectrum:
AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements Multitone stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


IMD test shows our old "friend," the rising of distortion in mid levels:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements IMD stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


It is not as extreme as some others I have seen.

There is slight jitter which may be a manifestation of what we saw in the dashboard:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements Jitter stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


Linearity and hence accuracy is excellent:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements Linearity stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


There is only one filter which has the correct cut-off response but not a lot of attenutation:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements Filter stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


This naturally causes a rise in distortion as frequencies go up in our wideband test of distortion+noise relative to frequency:

AIYIMA DAC-A6 Measurements THD+N vs Frequency stereo USB DAC Bluetooth.png


Conclusions
General performance of A6 is quite good. But has a bit of variability across all the tests which I wished was not there. This is countered with very nice interface, screen and inclusion of volume control. As such, I like using it more than I like looking at some of the graphs above. :)

I am going to recommend the AIYIMA DAC-A6.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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Sal1950

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I gave it a 3, Might have made 4 but the slight variability along with a lack of remote control knocked it down. :)
 

Doodski

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I gave it a 4 Great (golfing panther) because it has so many features, OLED display and decent specs for the price.
 

pma

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2. For me (postman). I do not like the fast rise of distortion with frequency. There is no need for this in 2021 and the roll-off of the filter is not the reason.
 

Lambda

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Performance is ok and its nice it has SPDIF input.
But...
Don’t like the OLED display and the mirror look face plate looks cheap.

Why is the volume scale Some arbitrary value and not in dB?

@amirm Why chose vol=97?
whats the maximum output level and performance at full volume?
 

Lambda

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What's to dislike about the OLED display? Some disadvantage?
Showing a static image they will not last very long.
With daily usage for example on the PC maybe 1-2 years before significant "burn in"
 
Last edited:

polmuaddib

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They tend to suffer from burn in with static text and images.



JSmith
In this price range, you might as well throw it away when screen deteriorates.
Don’t most of these DACs have oled displays? Topping has oled, right?
 

Koeitje

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So many dacs in the same segment nowadays; worth scratching one's head.
Which is good, because you can more easily find one that has the features or looks you want.
 

PeteL

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No remote control is a bit of a letdown IMHO.
Strange choice indeed, In 2021 especially since it doesn't have a headphone output which would imply desktop use, but here you even have BT in so you can stream from a distance but you have to walk to the thing to switch inputs, SPDIF does not really have a use on a desktop setting neither. That's just poor product definition, if you want to make a desktop only product, put a headphone amp and put USB only.
 

sarumbear

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@amirm Thank you for the review. May I ask a few questions?
  • How is the volume control implemented, analogue (pot) or digital?
  • How does the channels track?
  • If it is a digital volume control, does it affect the measurements?
 

nyxnyxnyx

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Strange choice indeed, In 2021 especially since it doesn't have a headphone output which would imply desktop use, but here you even have BT in so you can stream from a distance but you have to walk to the thing to switch inputs, SPDIF does not really have a use on a desktop setting neither. That's just poor product definition, if you want to make a desktop only product, put a headphone amp and put USB only.
having other ports besides USB is fine. I guess they struggled to find a breakthrough solution because they have to keep price low and add many features.
 
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