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Khadas Tone2 Pro Review (DAC & Amp)

ConeyIsland

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There are reports the Tone2pro can have the digital coax be used as an output via a firmware update. I’m on the latest firmware, but I don’t see the option to change from an input to an output. Has anyone had any look getting that to work? I’m looking to use this as a DDC.
 

staticV3

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There are reports the Tone2pro can have the digital coax be used as an output via a firmware update. I’m on the latest firmware, but I don’t see the option to change from an input to an output. Has anyone had any look getting that to work? I’m looking to use this as a DDC.
Khadas said they'd add S/PDIF output via an alternative firmware, so the stock firmware would be locked to S/PDIF in and you could flash the DAC to make it S/PDIF out:
https://www.khadas.com/post/tone2-pro-spec-update-s-pdif-out-more

However, looking at the firmware section on Khadas' website, seems like they've yet to make good on their promise.
https://dl.khadas.com/firmware/Tone2/

Edit: if you need a USB to S/PDIF converter, consider the SMSL PO100.
 

Grooved

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Did firmware updates fix the weird jitter issue?
Like said, yes it's fixed, and this little thing get great measurement.
This is one I made with Multitone and Cosmos ADC:
Tone2 Pro to Cosmos ADC -123.8dB.png


However, looking at the firmware section on Khadas' website, seems like they've yet to make good on their promise.
https://dl.khadas.com/firmware/Tone2/
Yes, still waiting for that.
I believe they wanted initially to release it faster but with things like MQA decoding disabled, but that they worked on leaving all features. Now, it was about one year ago, so it's a bit long
There are reports the Tone2pro can have the digital coax be used as an output via a firmware update. I’m on the latest firmware, but I don’t see the option to change from an input to an output. Has anyone had any look getting that to work? I’m looking to use this as a DDC.
Not at this moment, still waiting this firmware. The SPDIF input works (the measurement above was made with SPDIF of Tone2 Pro -> Balanced outputs ->Cosmos ADC), but no SPDIF output yet.
 

Metrallaroja

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Tone 2 news:
Interested in this little boy, it seems it will come with a dedicated App and 1.4 software update:
1661939607178.png
 

MacCali

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Tone 2 news:
Interested in this little boy, it seems it will come with a dedicated App and 1.4 software update:
View attachment 227784
I love BT for it’s simplicity but honestly AirPlay is a phenomenal even though it is limited to cd quality.

I got 3 systems in my house and the simplicity of turning on and choosing that source as a feed is amazing.

Also considering the tone board doesn’t have airplay and also not everyone has Apple.
 

Metrallaroja

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Its done!
1663667879233.png
 

Grooved

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Just saw that this Bluetooth module has compatibility with the Tone2 Pro, and the new Tone2 (which looks the same as Tone2 Pro but XU208 instead of XU216 and no MQA support)
The Tone2 is also available as board only (like was the Tone1)

Link: https://www.khadas.com/tone2
 

dtaylo1066

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Just saw that this Bluetooth module has compatibility with the Tone2 Pro, and the new Tone2 (which looks the same as Tone2 Pro but XU208 instead of XU216 and no MQA support)
The Tone2 is also available as board only (like was the Tone1)

Link: https://www.khadas.com/tone2
Looks like no headphone amp in Tone 2. So different XU unit (who cares?), no MQA (who cares?), no headphone amp (quite a few may care). Killer introduction price! Board without enclosure is a nice offering for DIYer.

Without headphone amp how will it compare in value to similar offerings from competition?

Positives: Single end or balanced out; Hi-Rez and DSD; can control volume of line out and thus use as preamp; small form factor; presumed top-notch specs and filtering based on Pro2.

Negatives: complex knob and LED management to learn; no remote capabilities; no headphone amp; no supplied power supply, another $50 for BT.
 

Grooved

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Looks like no headphone amp in Tone 2. So different XU unit (who cares?), no MQA (who cares?), no headphone amp (quite a few may care). Killer introduction price! Board without enclosure is a nice offering for DIYer.

Without headphone amp how will it compare in value to similar offerings from competition?

Positives: Single end or balanced out; Hi-Rez and DSD; can control volume of line out and thus use as preamp; small form factor; presumed top-notch specs and filtering based on Pro2.

Negatives: complex knob and LED management to learn; no remote capabilities; no headphone amp; no supplied power supply, another $50 for BT.
That's right, I thought there was a HP preamp as the early bird price is the same than for the Tone2 Pro. I know prices have increased, but I'm a bit surprise it's the same price than was the Tone2 Pro, without such a feature.

Still this specific RCA that is great for keeping a mobile form factor, but needs specific cable to use balance connection.
Regarding the knob/led, it really looks complex for two or three days, the time your brain memorize the menu, but after that, for the few changes to be made, it's really easy to work with.
 

dtaylo1066

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That's right, I thought there was a HP preamp as the early bird price is the same than for the Tone2 Pro. I know prices have increased, but I'm a bit surprise it's the same price than was the Tone2 Pro, without such a feature.

Still this specific RCA that is great for keeping a mobile form factor, but needs specific cable to use balance connection.
Regarding the knob/led, it really looks complex for two or three days, the time your brain memorize the menu, but after that, for the few changes to be made, it's really easy to work with.
Yes, I have been very tempted to pick up a Tone2 Pro after they updated the firmware to enable volume adjustment on line out. My only debate is if I need a remote on my dac, as both of my current and old dacs have remotes.
 

tsoltan

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Yes, I have been very tempted to pick up a Tone2 Pro after they updated the firmware to enable volume adjustment on line out. My only debate is if I need a remote on my dac, as both of my current and old dacs have remotes.
maybe they can implement bt module to act like a remote for volume control. Need to wait for the public release of the app and module.
 

dtaylo1066

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Yes I heard that too.
A mobile app to control everything from your phone.

That would be sa-weeet and a solid selling proposition.

I turn 66 in a few days and can remember well the first DACs, their bulky size and incredible prices. Thirty years later we have $100 DACs that are excellent products, and for $200 one can get such features as remote control, balanced output, headphone amp, EQ and mobile apps. Pretty amazing.

Few consumer product categories in a 30 year period have seen such dramatically reduced costs while offering far superior products. But that has been the case in audio and televisions. I went on a tour of homes decades ago and a high-end show home had one of the first large plasma TV's showcased on its wall with a price tag and card of the local dealer. I think it was $22,000.

I'm an audio enthusiast but a bit of a cheapskate and a DIYer. My TinkerBoard with Volumio is a wonderful streamer at $70. My DIY SEAS two-way monitors sound fantastic and blow away some Vandersteens I have had since the 1980s. Readers here know the quality of Hypex amp modules, and my DIY Hypex amps sound great, superior to my old Bryston. My Emotiva DACs are old and soon to be replaced. I don't really see the need for a preamp at this point (I have a couple DIY units) so look for a DAC that has pre capabilities. The amount of high-quality offerings is staggering.
 

MUERETEEE

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This is not a headphone amp, it is a DAC, but if you, against my recommendations, choose to plug your high-end phones directly into it you may realize that it is indeed not an amp but a DAC -- an excellent DAC that I become to love.

I seriously needed to downsize to have something more portable which I may set up at hotels on my trips between Europa and Asia. Wow, Tone board 2 Pro is an excellent DAC and, to me, it wasn't difficult at all to learn how to operate. Both power and audio go through a single USB C cable from Raspberry PI USB 3, which reduces adapters, bricks, and cables -- good for me on the go. The annoyance is that the blue light, which indicates MQA Studio, disappears after a while. Tone board 2 Pro integrates well with Volumio3 with no additional drivers. The amp is Zen Can Signature V2 HFM.

View attachment 173871

I tried ifi xDSD Gryphon, but I did not like its amp performance and the price-performance is terrible. Along with xDSD, Gryphon I tested the ifi iDSD micro signature. It sounds lovely but has no MQA decoder. While comunting I am going to use Ifi Go Blu thou, which replaces BTR5 and E1DA 9038S G3.

View attachment 173872
Hi, i seee you had a m500 and a Gryphon, i currently have a khadas 2 AND looking for an upgrade, i have heard an m500 an feels like an upgrade , Is the Gryphon better sounding as a pure dac vs the khadas ?
 

Music1969

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I forgot how good this thing is for the price + USB powered.

Use 4.4mm balanced headphone out. It's quite cheap to find aftermarket 4.4mm headphone cables now.
 
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Guys, quick question.

I’ve bought one of these for my parents for Christmas along with a used Bluesound node to get their hifi into the current century. Any reason the Khadas isn’t suitable for being plugged into power all the time and used almost exclusively as a hifi Dac? Not headphones
 

Sokel

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Guys, quick question.

I’ve bought one of these for my parents for Christmas along with a used Bluesound node to get their hifi into the current century. Any reason the Khadas isn’t suitable for being plugged into power all the time and used almost exclusively as a hifi Dac? Not headphones
If it's built like tone1 no reason at all.
I have mine 24/7 and heavily abused (measured against worst case scenarios,tested with various PS's,etc)
 

Moderate Dionysianism

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I got the BT module about a month ago and wanted to share some impressions.

The setup and pairing is easy. It's basically plug&play and pairs smoothly with my LG V40 using LDAC. Having added the module, I switch the inputs more often, which is painful given the goofy interface. I memorized the sequence, but I still 'misclick' from time to time, changing gain or blocking the encoder instead.

The worst part for me though is that there's less volume to be had from BT than from USB. I use my T2P with a pair Yamaha HPH-MT8s. In high gain I have a fair amount of headroom via USB, but with BT I'm at max volume most of the time. Of course I'm comparing with no DSP/negative gain in the chain.


Khadas confirmed this with their own measurements. Left is USB-C from a Win11 PC, right is BT from OnePlus7 Pro:

9cc4d53442aec623ce8e60efa168e8e9b6bb0399.png
3b757a5e0ea127fe8203dbad99a413062a2f44a8.png



Question: is this a normal behavior? I use the BT/LDAC connection quite often with my D70s+THX887 stack, never noticed any drop in output, but never did proper comparative measurements either.

Here's the Khadas forum thread if youre'interested. Kudos to them for checking and investigating!
 

staticV3

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Question: is this a normal behavior?
Relatively, yes. My OnePlus 6T also limits output to -1.5dBFS unless I use a USB DAC with UAPP, to bypass the Android audio pipeline.

I don't know if that trick works with LDAC as well, but I'd say it's worth trying.

That being said, the measurements you shared indicate a 0.8dB drop in volume when using Bluetooth. That's about 6% lower perceived volume, which doesn't really match what you're experiencing.
 

Moderate Dionysianism

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That being said, the measurements you shared indicate a 0.8dB drop in volume when using Bluetooth. That's about 6% lower perceived volume, which doesn't really match what you're experiencing.
Sorry if this is a dumb question (still learning), but dB being a ratio, wouldn't it translate to a noticeable difference near the max volume? It's not like I have miles of headroom with USB, just a few more steps I'd say.

I did listen on UAPP, doesn't go any louder on BT than the Android path. The Khadas team says it's the BT decoder's fault, they will check if it can be fixed through firmware. The D70s supposedly compensates for that using some internal amplification (I'm just relaying the response from Khadas).
 
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