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Portable AK DAC Recommendations?

Roen

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#1
Requirements:
AK Chip
5V Input or Battery Powered (Or Both)
Display would be nice
Supports DSD
Balanced Out nice but not necessary
2V RMS preferred
RCA out preferred
Measures well
 

Roen

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#4
My considerations so far:
Modi 3: No Display, No DSD, everything else fine
DX3 Pro: Non-portable
Monoprice Portable: No RCA as it's a portable unit, Modi 3 measures better and is cheaper

After reading the review where @Jorj almost went deaf, I'm more than happy to strike the Monoprice Portable from the list. Though, with line out, this probably wouldn't be an issue if one exists.
 
Last edited:
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#6
Did some digging as there are not many portable DACs using AKM chips at the moment and I happened upon this, which does not seem to have been discussed much if at all on ASR:

ATC HIFI HDA-P1

AKM AK4490 EQ, selectable filters, stated 112 dB SNR, USB and optical inputs, 11-hour battery life via 3.7V/4000mAh rechargable Li-polymer battery. Looks like it's $200 on eBay.
 
Joined
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#8
The ATC is an exact copy of the Xduoo XD-05, can be found for around 200 € also.
FYI I have had terrible performance experience with Xduoo products, namely the X3 player from 2016 or 17, which clips at its max output

Even worse, X3 stock firmware has 1% pitch error (1KHz would be outputted as 990Hz)

Even worse, I waited nearly a year and not a single firmware update was released to fix this. Although I could tackle all this problem by using Rockbox firmware. I believe that no firmware update has been released for the X3 even until now. This should reflect Xduoo ignorance for being nice manufacturers.

So I'm not sure if an Xduoo design copy would be a nice option, since Xduoo themselves also seem to be ignorant with their designs. Just my 2 cents.
 

Roen

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#9
I'm more than happy to wait, maybe SMSL or some other vendor will surprise me in 2019.

Might just pick up a bare board Khadas to use at home for now
 

bravomail

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#10
if u don't find portable - try non portable with your own external battery :) to me to have another device which I need to keep charging is impossible. Tablet and phone is my max. Laptop I just use on constant power w/o battery.
 
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#11
Even worse, X3 stock firmware has 1% pitch error (1KHz would be outputted as 990Hz)
Wow, that's remarkably bad... That would render it basically unusable, IMO. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Not much middle ground for AKM devices right now, it seems.
 

Roen

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#12
if u don't find portable - try non portable with your own external battery :) to me to have another device which I need to keep charging is impossible. Tablet and phone is my max. Laptop I just use on constant power w/o battery.
I'd need a 5V device, which I currently have (Topping D50), but none from the AK side except the Modi 3.
 
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#13
I'm more than happy to wait, maybe SMSL or some other vendor will surprise me in 2019.

Might just pick up a bare board Khadas to use at home for now
SMSL Sanskrit 10th meets your definition of portable, uses the AK 4490, and measures quite well, it just requires you to use both USB ports.

On another note, I hope your commute is less crowded than mine, and if not, I'm glad I'm not on your train. Its standing room only on NJ Transit a lot of the time
 

Roen

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#15
Why AK? The DAC chip is only one component in a chain. It's possible to build a crappy DAC with any chip or build a great DAC with lots of chips.
Because I already have a good ESS DAC.

I want an awesome measuring DAC (my first requirement) that happens to use an AK implementation (second requirement).
 

Roen

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#16
SMSL Sanskrit 10th meets your definition of portable, uses the AK 4490, and measures quite well, it just requires you to use both USB ports.

On another note, I hope your commute is less crowded than mine, and if not, I'm glad I'm not on your train. Its standing room only on NJ Transit a lot of the time
I used to be a late LIRR rider. Lots of room on off peak trains.

I currently use two cables with the D50 anyway, so not a huge difference.
 

Roen

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#17
It seems like the current gen of AK4452 and AK4490 devices leave a bit to be desired, when compared to the cream of the crop 9038Q2M DAC's.

Perhaps 2019 will change things, but for now, I'm not really inclined to get anything on the market just yet.
 

Roen

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#18
Another consideration is the Grace SDAC, but in addition to the Modi 3's cons, the Modi 3 also measures better than the SDAC Standard for a similar price.

SDAC Balanced is an interesting option, has DSD support, and is still bus powered. Measurements would be nice in June 2019 once it comes out.
 

confucius_zero

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#19
The ATC is an exact copy of the Xduoo XD-05, can be found for around 200 € also.
I have the XD-05 and have been quite underwhelmed by the performance even after spending a few hundreds in opamp rolling vs a SMSL Idea or the wonderful Audioengine D3 (ak4452).... I can't quite get rid of it so I'm just waiting for the opportunity to get a Fiio K3 or a Topping NX4. The only use I have for it is hooking my cayin C5 amp to it (on passive pre-out) and listening to two headphones at the same time.

I also have the Cayin N3 (ak4490) which is amazing as a dap but for some reason is quite shit as a dac-amp.

So far the Audioengine D3 is worthy of consideration if you're looking for "akm" and "portable" in the same sentence. I'll also take a good look at the Fiio K3 too.
 

Roen

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#20
24/96 maximum sample rate with no DSD support? Pretty sure the Modi 3 will measure significantly better than the D3, sorry to say.

I make no references to size in my original post. As long as it can fit in my backpack and is around the same size as my O2, and can run off battery power, it's portable enough for me. I don't necessarily need a key.
 
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