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Review and Measurements of ELE EL-D02 DAC and Headphone Amplifier


Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Feb 13, 2016
Seattle Area
This is a review and measurements of ELE EL-D02 ebay-special DAC and headphone amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member and the balance of budget DACs he has sent me. I see this unit selling on ebay for $16 including shipping.

From over build quality and feel, this is one of the most crusty, and cheap feeling DACs I have laid my hands on. It is light, and feels like there is nothing in there. An attempt at texturing the front and back panels results in even cheaper looking:

ELE EL-D02 USB DAC and headphone review and measurement.psd.jpg

I suggest hiding it behind something if you care at all about your audiophile image! :)

Unusually this DAC has both line out and headphone output with up/down volume controls no less. Let's start with our dashboard view of line out:

ELE USB DAC dashboard line out measurement.png

"Good news" is that nothing is badly broken. The displays were stable. Bad news is that 0.7 volts of output is quite anemic for line out (2 volts is more like it) so unlikely it is able to drive your amplifiers to any decent level. Distortion levels are about 50 times worse than state of the art DACs. We are talking about 30 dB of shortfall here (rough math).

Switching to headphone output improves output voltage but nothing else:

ELE USB DAC dashboard headphone out measurement.png

A quick look at distortion versus output voltage at 300 and 33 ohm reveals the same:
ELE USB DAC distortion vs output power measurement.png

Distortion levels off at 0.1% which is quite high at 33 ohm. See Speaka USB stick DAC going way down to 0.005%

300 ohm load helps a lot but still not in the same league as the $30 Speaka DAC.

Do you really want me to tell to not buy it? I hope you did.

Let's spend a bit more money folks and get something decent. Price of a couple of CDs should not be a barrier to getting good sound.

As always, questions, comments, corrections, jokes, etc. are all welcome!
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Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Jan 26, 2018
Performance actually isn't so bad for only $16 including a headphone amplifier!
The question though is... where is the actual target market for this?
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