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Review and Measurements of Micca OriGen G2 DAC & Amp

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of Micca OriGen G2 DAC and headphone amplifier. It is on a kind loan from forum member. The Amazon link shows the product not being available anymore but I find it on ebay for $110 or so.

The OriGen G2 is refreshingly different from the typical DAC and headphone amp. It is an elongated metal box with nice 1/4 and 3.5 mm headphone jacks:

Micca OriGen G2 USB AUdio DAC and Preamp Review and Measurement.jpg
Nice set of LEDs indicate the sample rate. The volume control has a nice feel and its position on top makes it easier to manipulate than front mounted on small enclosures.

For inputs, we have both optical Toslink and USB, the latter of which I tested for this review.

I tested the OriGen+ version a while back and it was a nightmare to install from driver point of view. Fortunately this one is UAC2 compliant so it was plug and play with Windows 10.

Let's get into the measurements and see how she does.

Measurements
As usual, I start with our dashboard view using the the front headphone output (1/4 inch) and volume set to max:


Micca OriGen G2 USB AUdio DAC and Preamp Dashboard Measurement.png


We have a healthy output voltage of nearly 5.5 volts. Noise and distortion however are quite poor. At first I thought there was something wrong with my setup until I looked up the specs and saw THD+N of 0.02%. My measurements at 0.015 is actually better than what is specified by Micca. Lowering the volume or input level did not make a material change. Unfortunately this performance puts the OriGen V2 at the bottom of my measurement pile of SINAD ratings:

Sinad.png


Very disappointing. As you can see, you can close your eye and pick any other DAC+amp I have reviewed and do better. As such, the rest of this review is abbreviated unless the owner wants to see more data.

Jitter and noise is decent although due to above, has high noise floor:
Micca OriGen G2 USB AUdio DAC and Preamp Jitter Measurement.png


It does present a nice teaching moment though. When the timing of the DAC clock gets varied by a sine wave of say 8 kHz, it will create two sidebands, one above and one below of our main tone (12 kHz) at +- 8 Khz relative to it. Hence, we can be confident here that we have a jitter to the tune of 8 kHz. This may be due to USB package noise.

I measured power at 300 Ohm relative to distortion and got this:
Micca OriGen G2 USB AUdio DAC and Preamp Power at 300 ohm Measurement.png


We have extreme flattening of the graph as levels go up because of the high noise floor of OriGen G2. Power output is decent though at 100 milliwatt with no clipping.

I am going to skip listening tests here.

Conclusions
I could not recommend the original OriGen+ DAC and headphone amplifier because my unit came with one channel not working and horrible driver install procedure. This unit did not have those problems but then substituted pretty poor measurements -- much worse than OriGen+. Needless to say, I cannot recommend it. In this crowded market, there are so many better choices. It is a sad thing because the unit comes in very good packaging at reasonable price.

As always, all questions, comments, etc. are welcome.
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amirm

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#4
Jeez. Could you measure the Optical input?
Here you go:

1538971023514.png


Strangely, the output is nearly half as much. Noise floor goes up as frequencies go down. And there is substantial random jitter to widen that 1 kHz tone skirt.
 

Sythrix

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#7
This thing is so neat and compact. It's too bad they didn't try very hard with the specs. Maybe next time.
 

Veri

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#8
This thing is so neat and compact. It's too bad they didn't try very hard with the specs. Maybe next time.
Pretty sure it used a rather outdated Wolfson WM8740 and digital input processing chips. Still, worse than expected especially the noise floor.
 

PuX

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#10
outdated Wolfson WM8740
while not new, that's a pretty good DAC, definitely would not be a bottleneck.

it's funny how Zeos and other reviewers can't tell if a DAC/amp is good or bad, even when it's this bad.
 

TimW

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#11
it's funny how Zeos and other reviewers can't tell if a DAC/amp is good or bad, even when it's this bad.
Zeos really likes this thing. I think he uses it as a USB to SPDIF adapter with every DAC he reviews, because he refuses to install USB drivers for every DAC. Maybe Amir should give him some tips on how to install and uninstall USB drivers since Amir reviews all of these USB DACs without too much complaining.

It would be interesting to see what Zeos has to say about these measurements.
 

PuX

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#13
It would be interesting to see what Zeos has to say about these measurements.
he always says all DACs sound the same, so I imagine he would say something like "even the worst DAC is better than your ears".

drivers can be a hassle, but the support is usually good for devices that have basic USB 1.1 24 bit 96 khz limit - on windows, linux and mac. especially if you use wasapi. asio usually requires a driver or wrapper like the on Amir uses (asio4all). but installing a regular driver is usually easy and should take under 15 minutes. the real problems start when drivers are old (like up to Vista and no further support, but it still might work) or buggy. my KORG DS-DAC100 works perfectly with asio, but really does not like regular windows direct sound, especially if it's in 44.1 khz frequency and I try to play a video with 48 khz sound. or a video game. best case there will be no sound, worst case windows can crash (not bsod, but still bad).
 

andreasmaaan

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#14
@amirm, one thing I seem to recall you including in the older measurements was a THD vs frequency graph. This would allow us to confirm that the levels of distortion measured on a 1KHz test tone do not increase substantially as frequency increases, which does tend to happen a bit with some DACs.

Would it be possible to include this measurement in the standard suite?

Cheers.
 

amirm

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#15
@amirm, one thing I seem to recall you including in the older measurements was a THD vs frequency graph. This would allow us to confirm that the levels of distortion measured on a 1KHz test tone do not increase substantially as frequency increases, which does tend to happen a bit with some DACs.

Would it be possible to include this measurement in the standard suite?

Cheers.
Sure. Will do.
 
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#17
I really wanted to like this unit. Really liked the form factor and its features. It's also slim enough to use as a portable device with a laptop. However, it did not sound good with anything I plugged into it including my iems. Just sounds overly compressed and muddled.
 
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