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TANCHJIM Space Portable Headphone Adapter Review

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 4 1.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 36 12.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 254 85.8%

  • Total voters
    296

amirm

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This is a review, listening test and detailed measurements of the TANCHJIM Space portable DAC and balanced headphone adapter. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $90.
Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier 4.4mm balanced review.jpg

I like the transparent window so that you can see the insides. There is an LED that lights up there when you reach the maximum volume control using the toggle buttons on the side. Speaking of those, they are some of the nicest ones I have used with very nice feel and action. You have the option of using 3.5 and 4.5mm headphone plugs. A neat, dual cable USB-C cable is provided as you see in the picture.

TANCHJIM Space Measurements
As is typical for this class of devices, the software I use to communicate with them doesn't work well so I can't run all the tests. But let's start with the dashboard that I can run:
Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier 3.5mm measurement.png

Are you seeing what I am seeing? A portable dongle producing distortion below -130 dB??? Incredible. Going balanced, the output doubles to 4 volts but it would clip so I measured it one notch lower:
Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier 4.4mm measurement.png


In another measurement I saw, it hadn't clipped so SINAD was improved. I will have to follow up with the company and understand what is going on. Using what we have puts the Space in entirely different class than other dongles, easily matching many desktop DACs:
best stereo portable dac headphone amplifier review.png



best stereo portable dac headphone amplifier review 2023.png

Noise performance is superb regardless of class!
Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier 4.4mm DNR measurement.png


As is multitone:
Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier 4.4mm Multitone measurement.png


There is tiny bit of jitter but otherwise, the response is again desktop class than any dongle:
Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier 4.4mm jitter measurement.png


The compatibility issue I have with testing causes the noise floor of these sweeps to be about 15 dB higher than they really are. So let's use them for computing max power:

Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier Power 300 ohm measurement.png


Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier Power 32 ohm measurement.png


These are very healthy numbers for a dongle. In case you have different impedance headphone, here is the sweep for that:
Fanmusic TANCHJIM Space Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier 4.4mm power vs impedance measurement.png


As seen, it gets unhappy around 12 ohm but higher than that works well. Even with 12 ohm, as long as you use an IEM or sensitive headphone, you should be fine.

TANCHJIM Space Listening Test
There just enough power to drive my power hungry Dan Clark Stealth headphone. It could do better but the last two notches on the volume control caused audible distortion. Switching to Sennheiser HD650, the Space had much easier time driving it and produced superb fidelity as long as you stayed away from the last two notches. In that regard, I think the output level was a bit lower than competing dongles that produce clean 4 volts of output.

Conclusions
First a confession: when the company reached out to me a few months ago, I had not heard of them and thought this would be a very low performing device. So I responded that I don't think it would do well. They assured me that it would and showed me measurements that were just hard to believe. They sent me a sample which unfortunately got lost. What you see here is the second sample. As you see, performance is just stunning. Use of dual DACs and excellent engineering has translated into a top of the line desktop class DAC but in a container that is the size of an America quarter! Functionality is excellent with nice tactile volume controls. And the thing manages to look attractive to boot! Other than finding out why it won't produce 4 volts, it is the most perfect headphone adapter I have tested!

It is my pleasure to recommend the TANCHJIM Space dac and headphone amplifier. I will be using it as my everyday adapter for my phone from here on!

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

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
Because of performance like this I replaced my large SMSL Dac with a Moondrop dongle hidden in my cable tray :)
 
Great performance, nice and modern design - not sure who started it but I find this "exposed PCB" design trend quite attractive. Almost double the output power of Qudelix 5K. Add DSP/EQ to next generation and I will buy 3.
 
@amirm I dont suppose they sent you the smaller SE only Space Lite too did they? That might be the default replacement for the legendary Meizu Hifi Pro if it measures as well as the SE output on this.
 
this is powered by the infamous dual CS43131

that company contact shows you the company must have tested it before on their own equipment before releasing it to the wolves
 
@amirm I dont suppose they sent you the smaller SE only Space Lite too did they? That might be the default replacement for the legendary Meizu Hifi Pro if it measures as well as the SE output on this.
I'd love to see that one tested too!
 
Wow. Very impressive. It's also great news to see that a well implemented Cirrus Chip can play in the same league with the ESS and AKM... And so cheap too. I'd like to see full dac measurments of a product using these. I assume it's not being done here because of the headphone amp in the way but looks like it can do great as a line out too, why not. After all the first measurment is unloaded, why not do the full suite of tests?
 
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I'd love to see that one tested too!
Looks great. I wonder if it works with a Lightning to USB-C adapter?
 
I own the Tanchjim Space and love it. Add a Truthear Zero Red and a 4.4 mm balanced cable and it is state of the art measurements in IEMs for less than 200 usd.

Below the measurements from L7 lab.

Thanks for testing, @amirm. Btw, did you by accident test it in low gain mode? Pressing the 2 volume buttons simultaneously switches between modes.
 
"As is typical for this class of devices, the software I use to communicate with them doesn't work well so I can't run all the tests". This however is a bit concerning. Does that suggest it's not class compliant? Is this really "typical" for dongles? It can have the best performances in the world, but if something is full of bugs in usage, it ends up staying in the drawer. Wondering what that really means in practice.
 
Thanks for the review. Bought it a couple of weeks ago and I am more than happy with it. Nice to see my impression confirmed.
 
What exactly are we lookimg at in the opening Panther Pic photo? Two pieces? And will it work with iphone? I guess a camera adapter > USBC adapter > this unit woul do it in a slightly kludgy fashion... There is a 'Lite' version which appars to be a standard 'dongle' form factor for $45... For those who don't need balanced for portable listening
 
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