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FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the FX Audio DAC-SQ3. It was sent to me by the company and sells from US $86 to $100 (latter on Amazon with Prime shipping).

The DAC-SQ3 is USB powered and comes with a remote control which is unusual in this price bracket:

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Review USB Stereo DAC.jpg


I like the large display and choice of green for data format. You can adjust the volume control using the two buttons or the aforementioned remote control.

DAC-SQ3 can also act as a digital bridge, converting USB to COX and S/PDIF:

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Review back panel coax USB Stereo DAC.jpg


FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements
The default output is about 2.3 volt so I dialed it down a notch to get to our nominal 2 volt output:

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements USB Stereo DAC.png


Hey, this is pretty good! Distortion is extremely low (below threshold of hearing) and adding noise to it, we are still in competent category:

Best budgt stereo dac review.png


best budget dac zoomed.png


Dynamic range is good:

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements DNR USB Stereo DAC.png


Overall performance though can't keep up with more expensive products:
FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements IMD USB Stereo DAC.png

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Jitter Measurements USB Stereo DAC.png


Then again linearity is pretty good:


FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Jitter Measurements Linearity  USB Stereo DAC.png


Only one filter is provided which is a decent one:

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements Filter USB Stereo DAC.png


But doesn't attenuate enough so causes THD+N vs frequency to have worse than average noise:

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements THD+N vs frequency USB Stereo DAC.png


Multitone test again shows off its low distortion:

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements Multitone USB Stereo DAC.png


Conclusions
Nice to see performance is maintained here while providing above average feature set as far as remote and volume control. You pay less and get a bit less performance.

I am going to recommend the FX Audio DAC-SQ3. It carves its own niche as far as features+performance.

----------
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/
 

GimeDsp

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That "volume" instructions on the right side though. I can tolerate the green display sections but I can't let let that slide.
 

phoenixsong

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Looks like it's got potential- hope they continue improving on it
 

Tangband

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the FX Audio DAC-SQ3. It was sent to me by the company and sells from US $86 to $100 (latter on Amazon with Prime shipping).

The DAC-SQ3 is USB powered and comes with a remote control which is unusual in this price bracket:

View attachment 158366

I like the large display and choice of green for data format. You can adjust the volume control using the two buttons or the aforementioned remote control.

DAC-SQ3 can also act as a digital bridge, converting USB to COX and S/PDIF:

View attachment 158367

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements
The default output is about 2.3 volt so I dialed it down a notch to get to our nominal 2 volt output:

View attachment 158368

Hey, this is pretty good! Distortion is extremely low (below threshold of hearing) and adding noise to it, we are still in competent category:

View attachment 158369

View attachment 158370

Dynamic range is good:

View attachment 158371

Overall performance though can't keep up with more expensive products:
View attachment 158372
View attachment 158373

Then again linearity is pretty good:


View attachment 158374

Only one filter is provided which is a decent one:

View attachment 158375

But doesn't attenuate enough so causes THD+N vs frequency to have worse than average noise:

View attachment 158376

Multitone test again shows off its low distortion:

View attachment 158377

Conclusions
Nice to see performance is maintained here while providing above average feature set as far as remote and volume control. You pay less and get a bit less performance.

I am going to recommend the FX Audio DAC-SQ3. It carves its own niche as far as features+performance.

----------
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/
This is almost at Topping D10s measurement-level plus a remote control with volume regulation to ! Very nice.:)
Combining with Apple Music high resolution , camera connection kit and you have a nice streamer with volume regulation and digital outputs.

Is the digital outputs from the device also volume controlled ?
 

ceausuc

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Nice one. It almost makes topping d10 look expensive :)
It's time for small cinese builders like FxAudio to get their hands on one of these APxxx analyzers :)
When that will happen it will be just a matter of time before they will deliver good measuring dacs at low prices and SMSL/Topping will start having some competition.
 

MarcosCh

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Hello, does anybody know if a pi could power one of these OR if one of those Y usb cables (power/data) would work?
If yes, this could be the "ultimate hat", for just a little bit more than a regular audio hat....
 

Vini darko

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Thanks for the review Amir.
How many volume steps does it have?
Is the digital output a clean conversion?
 
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sseppala

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Thank you for the review. Progress has been fast, just to think, the performance is a bit above my Benchmark DAC1 and a bit lower than the DAC3.

I would really appreciate if Amir could make the SINAD / Measured Level graph standard on all DAC reviews and perhaps extend the range to 100mV to max (about -26dB) . I think it would be especially interesting to compare these remote control models in this regard. Seeing these measurements would really ease my digital volume control anxiety.

EDIT: Just realized, that maybe this would not be completely reflective of the devices volume control, as obviously in this measurement the signal output level is controlled by the input signal of the dac. Though, in most cases they are probably the same. Perhaps a single 50mV SINAD would be better, like in the headphone AMP measurements.
 
Last edited:

audio_tony

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Hello, does anybody know if a pi could power one of these OR if one of those Y usb cables (power/data) would work?
If yes, this could be the "ultimate hat", for just a little bit more than a regular audio hat....

It's USB 2 and hence if it conforms to the USB standards, the Pi will power it with no problems.

The Pi powers my Topping D10 without any issues.
 

PeteL

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I Wish i would have Toslink/SPdif inputs and not outputs.
You have the choice of literally hundreds of models of DACs that offer Toslink and SPDIF inputs, this one is different. This one is for someone who may need a USB to SPDIF bridge, I don't see why you would feel that you need an other DAC that does the same as everyone else?

Why? its just software volume control?! adjust at the source not at the converter.

Maybe because your source may not have a remote control?
 

Tangband

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Sep 3, 2019
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This is a review and detailed measurements of the FX Audio DAC-SQ3. It was sent to me by the company and sells from US $86 to $100 (latter on Amazon with Prime shipping).

The DAC-SQ3 is USB powered and comes with a remote control which is unusual in this price bracket:

View attachment 158366

I like the large display and choice of green for data format. You can adjust the volume control using the two buttons or the aforementioned remote control.

DAC-SQ3 can also act as a digital bridge, converting USB to COX and S/PDIF:

View attachment 158367

FX Audio DAC-SQ3 Measurements
The default output is about 2.3 volt so I dialed it down a notch to get to our nominal 2 volt output:

View attachment 158368

Hey, this is pretty good! Distortion is extremely low (below threshold of hearing) and adding noise to it, we are still in competent category:

View attachment 158369

View attachment 158370

Dynamic range is good:

View attachment 158371

Overall performance though can't keep up with more expensive products:
View attachment 158372
View attachment 158373

Then again linearity is pretty good:


View attachment 158374

Only one filter is provided which is a decent one:

View attachment 158375

But doesn't attenuate enough so causes THD+N vs frequency to have worse than average noise:

View attachment 158376

Multitone test again shows off its low distortion:

View attachment 158377

Conclusions
Nice to see performance is maintained here while providing above average feature set as far as remote and volume control. You pay less and get a bit less performance.

I am going to recommend the FX Audio DAC-SQ3. It carves its own niche as far as features+performance.

----------
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/
Amirm - It would be really interesting if you could measure the digital output on the device with the volume set to:

1.= 0 db ( max )
2.= -30 dB

Is there any sampling rate conversion going on , is there higher distortion when the volume is lowered ?

Many people in this thread are asking for the same measurements.
It would be really nice.:)
 
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