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Emotiva Big Ego+ Portable DAC & HP Review

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 87 69.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 32 25.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 2 1.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 4 3.2%

  • Total voters
    125

Lambda

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The mini usb type b plug says it's all.
This is desigend in the 2000s. today many dongles perform better
 

TonyJZX

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6lwrp2xhplg41.jpg


ironically they have similar dacs

the Burr Brown is now a Texas??? shouldnt be the case as the complexity from one is miles from the other...
 

Hipster Doofus

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Thank you… you hit the nail on the head with these poor equipment reviews…ita all about comparative value for me and although there is somewhat of a need for so many gadgets, poor is poor.
 

CedarX

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Do these look (almost) the same because Emotiva and Denon use the same/similar TI DAC chip? If it’s all what the chip can deliver, Emotiva did a fine implementation job at the time. But if these PCMxx chips can do better, shame on Denon for not besting Emotiva’s years-old implementation!
 

617

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Made in Tenessee though
 

peanuts2

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Made in Tenessee though
surely they say. i dont trust them. nowdays all you need to do to make it say "made in xxx" is a few simple domestic changes after pcb and chassis parts come from china.
 

hoppy IPA

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Wish I would have found this website before purchasing any Emotiva equipment. Got suckered in by a YouTuber that gives them high praise. Called them yesterday & they do not accept phone calls. You can only chat. Sometimes you gotta learn the hard way.
Happy to have found great resources now such as this to guide me on future purchases.
 

pseudoid

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Thank you again, @amirm,
Your measurements/reviews always separate the wheat from the chaff.:)
Unfortunately, the lack of relevant price-ranges in the bar-graph charts make comparisons lacking.
 

Art of sound

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Emotiva Big Ego+ USB stereo portable DAC and headphone amplifier. It was kindly sent to me by a member costs US $79.10 from company website.

View attachment 240997
For a portable product it is quite large but that also makes it a better fit for desktop use. Compared to typical dongle, you have a few more features:
View attachment 240998
It can act like a digital bridge taking USB input and converting it to Toslink optical. You can then select between it and analog line out. USB input though is the very old fashioned mini USB which tells me this design is fairly old. You also have a choice of a few reconstruction filters which is never found on this class of device.

Emotiva Big Ego+ DAC Measurements
Let's start with line out:
View attachment 240999

Disappointed to see less than 2 volt output and high distortion which dictates SINAD to be in our "red"(poor) category:
View attachment 241000
Fortunately noise is a step better:
View attachment 241001

High distortion pollutes IMD measurements as expected:
View attachment 241002
Above -20 dB you are already in cheap dongle category. Multitone distortion lands in similar spot:
View attachment 241003

Jitter is not bad compared to dongles:
View attachment 241004

Linearity is good enough for class:
View attachment 241005

Filter performance is poor seeing how it doesn't attenuate out of band spectrum:
View attachment 241007

This and high distortion translate into very poor THD+N vs frequency:
View attachment 241008

Emotiva Big Ego+ Digital Out Measurements
Running our dashboard we immediately see that the Toslink output is "bit exact:"
View attachment 241009

So you can use it as a transparent bridge from USB to Toslink.

Emotiva Big Ego+ Headphone Out Measurements
I was surprised to see so little output level:
View attachment 241010
View attachment 241011

View attachment 241012
View attachment 241013

This is partially due to low output voltage but also high output impedance. This means it can create frequency response errors in headphones that have variable impedance (all but planar magnetics). So really not a good or even a fair attempt at producing output for headphone use.

Conclusions
I like the case and transparent bridging to Toslink. Other than that, performance is simply not competitive. It is as if the company doesn't know how much the world has moved on in DAC and headphone output performance. For same or some more money you can get a much smaller dongle with far better performance such as Hidizs S9.

I can't recommend the Emotiva Big Ego+. It just doesn't have good performance and lack of output drive means you can easily hear that on many headphones. Only saving grace is the Toslink output.

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

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
In this case, SINAD shows it has a lower noise floor of 110db or even 120db but the real world multitone shows it distorts at 90db itself for the more audible 2k-3k range so i guess this one can be dunked on thoroughly
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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In this case, SINAD shows it has a lower noise floor of 110db or even 120db but the real world multitone shows it distorts at 90db itself for the more audible 2k-3k range so i guess this one can be dunked on thoroughly
If by "SINAD" you mean the FFT noise floor, that is NOT the actual noise floor of the device. FFT lowers that floor (artificially) by 30 to 40 dB depending on FFT settings. It is called "FFT Gain."
 

Art of sound

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If by "SINAD" you mean the FFT noise floor, that is NOT the actual noise floor of the device. FFT lowers that floor (artificially) by 30 to 40 dB depending on FFT settings. It is called "FFT Gain."
cool i will use FFT gain going forth. thanks for the correction. on a separate note, i recently got a couple of nest audio for 100 bucks and was trying to listen to them at 75db 1m for a couple hours and the tweeter distortion is way more annoying than the woofer distortion at 85db 1m. turning down the treble and upping the bass response made this very much pleasant for far field listening. not bad at all for portability and room filling sound.
 

audiotron

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Mini USB connector. Thanks for not recommending that garbage.
 
Last edited:

PeteL

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ironically they have similar dacs

the Burr Brown is now a Texas??? shouldnt be the case as the complexity from one is miles from the other...
Texas Bought Burr Brown a while back. They kept the name for a while for a biit of prestige. Not sure how many years ago, but it’s been many years.
 

TonyJZX

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Micro USB connector. Thanks for not recommending that garbage.
its not micro

although that circuit board looks like micro

amir's test example is clearly MINI usb

my first example of micro usb was 2007/8

so literally mini usb should be coming onto 20yrs old
 

audiotron

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its not micro

although that circuit board looks like micro

amir's test example is clearly MINI usb

my first example of micro usb was 2007/8

so literally mini usb should be coming onto 20yrs old
You are right its mini. I was designing a product back in 2009 and I was using a Molex mini USB connector and by 2011 when I was ready for production my distributors stopped supporting it for new designs and I was forced to switch to a micro USB connector instead. It sure is more durable than a micro USB
 

mglobe

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Disappointing, but also refreshing to see that there ARE meaningful differences in DAC's out there. So many test so well that it makes you wonder if they are commodities. Apparently not.
 

GaryH

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Measurable differences, yes. Audible differences, rarely.
 

fpitas

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I'm waiting for the Egoless version.
 

Jimster480

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I guess they call it big ego because the guy who made it had a big ego and that is where it ended?

In all reality this is pretty terrible considering the price. SINAD @ 141db for TOSLINK? I didn't realize it could read anything that high @amirm or is this because it is a digital signal?
 
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