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Review and Measurements of Loxjie D10 DAC & HP Amp

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of Loxjie D10 USB DAC and headphone amplifier. It was kindly sent in by the company for review. The D10 costs US $129 on Amazon including Prime shipping.

Similar to other Loxjie products, the D10 comes in unusual shape and has a choice of red and blue colors:

Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Audio Review.jpg

Putting aside the very sharp corners, the overall feel is good. Usability is not though seeing how the LED indicators are the left side:

Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Front Panel Audio Review.jpg

Worst yet are the super tiny fonts as you can see (or not). And the LEDs seem to do double duty showing levels or something. I am not sure. :)

The situation gets more complicated seeing how the headphone jack is placed on the other side together with the rest of the rest of connectivity:
Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Back Panel Audio Review.jpg

The headphone jack should have been in the front at least. As it is, somehow you have to manage your cable situation.

Another odd choice is the micro USB connectors. Why? This is such a large box and so should have standard large USB type B connectors.

There is a second USB input as you see for power. I am assuming it is needed for Coax/Optical input as using it with USB didn't do anything. So you could power the unit with just the one USB jack.

Anyway, I appreciate the attempt to make a different looking unit. Some points need to be given for that.

Note that you can turn the headphone output on and off using a button for people who appreciate that.

DAC Audio Measurements
As usual, let's characterize the DAC portion separately from the headphone amplifier by measuring what comes out of the RCA line outs:
Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Audio Measurements.png


Wow, that is pretty good THD+N distortion and noise. The equivalent SINAD nicely places the D10 in the top bucket of all DACs tested regardless of price:
Best USB Audio DACs 2019 Reviewed.png


Output voltage is about 1 dB higher than we need. I dialed it down to get 2 volt but performance remained the same so I stayed with full value for the rest of the tests.

Good news extended to jitter performance:

Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Jitter Audio Measurements.png


Linearity was perfect:
Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Multitone shows some rise in distortion as frequencies go higher but still very good:
Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Dynamic range was also very good:


Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


Our hearing dynamic range is about 116 dB so we are definitely transparent here.

Any bad news? Sadly there is one:

Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier IMD distortion Audio Measurements.png


The ESS DAC chip IMD Hump attacks us with vengeance. The very good performance of the D10 otherwise makes it more pronounced than would be if say, the noise floor was higher. Such a shame that ESS did not solve this problem on their own and communicated the solution to all of their customers.

Reconstruction filter is excellent, staying flat to 20 kHz but then truncating very well at half the sampling rate of 22.05 kHz:

Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier White Noise Filter Response Audio Measurements.png


Headphone Amplifier Audio Measurements
Let's start with distortion and noise versus power using 300 ohm load:
Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Power at 300 ohm Audio Measurements.png


We generally have good noise and distortion but power is not that high.

Switching to 33 ohm shows current delivery is not so good:
Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier Power at 33 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Distortion/noise climb good bit and we lack power to even match the Topping DX3 Pro in low gain. Usage of USB power for everything likely limits performance.

Output impedance of 3.9 is decent
Best Headphone Amplifier Output Impedance Measurements.png


EDIT: Original review had the incorrect value for output impedance.

Measuring signal to noise ratio at just 50 millivolt to simulate what happens with very sensitive IEMs, we get an uninspiring number:
Loxjie D10 USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier 50 millivolt Audio Measurements.png



50 millivolt Audio Measurements.png


Headphone Amplifier Listening Tests
I started testing with Sennheiser HD-650 headphones. Here power was pretty reasonable. The sound would get bright toward the last 25% but that is probably too high a level for many people.

Next, I went the other extreme with the DROP + MRSPEAKERS ETHER CX with its DC resistance of just 22 ohm. Predictably, the bass notes completely fell apart with each beat at medium to high listening levels. Just not usable here unless you want just background music.

The situation improved a bit with Hifiman HE400i. I could get louder with these before the bass started to distort.

Conclusions
The Loxjie D10 has an innovative form factor and industrial design. It has equal pluses and minuses in practice so I let you judge that aspect. On performance front, its DAC nearly aces all of my tests, going well past its budget pricing. Unfortunately the ESS IMD Hump is there, knocking it back a step or two. Still, I think it provides a very good option for a DAC at such a reasonable price.

On the headphone front, its performance just doesn't match that of the DAC. It is good enough as a "free" option on top of a good DAC. And could be used with sensitive headphones for everyday use. Just don't expect any miracles from it.

Overall, I am going to recommend the Loxjie D10 on strength of its DAC performance and low cost.


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

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BYRTT

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#4
...Such a shame that ESS did not solve this problem on their own and communicated the solution to all of their customers...
Well said .....;)

...Reconstruction filter is excellent, staying flat to 20 kHz but then truncating very well at half the sampling rate of 22.05 kHz...
Good to see :) because it looks that real many seems to miss it.
 

restorer-john

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#5

Tks

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#6
Prime Shipped, for that price and performance. Nice deal if you want a form factor like that. Seems odd at first, but as long as your headphone wires are long enough, seems pretty cool. All metal too it seems, so that's pretty cool as well.

Leave it to ESS's moronic asses to ship chips with such a horrendous defect though -.-

Thanks Amir, and Loxjie for being open to putting your product through the proper paces.
 

Veri

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#9
Leave it to ESS's moronic asses to ship chips with such a horrendous defect though -.-
I think it's a common implementation flaw, which could have come with a warning by ESS to avoid the bug, but it's not impossible to overcome so not a chip defect per se ;)
 

THW

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#10
reeeally not sold on that form factor and especially the ergonomics but good performance otherwise.

headamp sections seems to be an afterthought though.
 

gvl

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#15
Not a shortage of well designed gear out of China. Next step for them is to figure out a way to not to pick names for their brands that sound like a name of a mythical character from a Chinese fairly tale.
 

graz_lag

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#16
I have just emailed Loxjie looking for recommendations abt. what type of board they suggest to place horizontally in order to get the best compromise in terms of stack stability and sonic performance.

IMG_20190826_090833.jpg
 

restorer-john

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#17
I have just emailed Loxjie looking for recommendations abt. what type of board they suggest to place horizontally in order to get the best compromise in terms of stack stability and sonic performance.
You could use bamboo chop-sticks horizontally across the top to create a support structure, not unlike this Chinese scaffolding, except in miniature:

1566808273020.png
 
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