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YONGSE Y01 Balanced Headphone Adapter Review

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 12 9.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 46 37.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 53 43.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 11 9.0%

  • Total voters
    122

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the YONGSE Y01 USB-C/A to balanced 4.5mm headphone dac and amplifier. It was kindly drop shipped by a member and is on sale for US $2.49 on Aliexpress.
YONGSE Y01 USB-C to Balanced Headphone Output Adapter Review.jpg

The feel of the adapter is solid with its shiny and robust case, gold connectors and soft cabling. The usual adapter to USB-A is provided which you see in my review picture.

YONGSE Y01 Headphone Dongle Measurements
Starting with our usual dashboard we see both good and bad news:
YONGSE Y01 USB-C to Balanced Headphone Output Adapter Measurement.png

Good news is the very low distortion at -110 dB, setting SINAD not much lower at 102 dB:
best balanced headphone adapter.png

Bad news is the output voltage maxing out at just 1 volt. This is just not enough to drive high impedance headphone. The main benefit of "balanced" output is differential signaling, capable of producing up to 4 volts out in competing (but much more expensive) adapters. With just 1 volt, you could go with standard 3.5mm, non balanced output.

Dynamic range is good:
YONGSE Y01 USB-C to Balanced Headphone Output Adapter dynamic range Measurement.png

But predictably, available power at 300 ohm is lower than it could be:
best headphone adapter power 300 review 2024.png


Performance is a bit better with 32 ohm load:
best headphone adapter power 33.png


Here are the sweeps:
YONGSE Y01 USB-C to Balanced Headphone Output Adapter Power 300 Measurement.png


YONGSE Y01 USB-C to Balanced Headphone Output Adapter Power 32 Measurement.png


Conclusions
At its price, the YONGSE Y01 beats typical phone dongles from likes of Apple and Google. But with balanced output, it had the potential to leave them in the dust but it didn't due to low output voltage.

I am so disappointed in low output voltage that I can't recommend the YONGSE Y01 even though for the price is pretty good.

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

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Thanks for this! It would probably be useful with low-Z headphones, but very strange to see that we only get 1V RMS output

If we used a rail-to-rail output IC running single-ended off 5V USB rails, we could expect at least 1.7V RMS, so for balanced, we could expect 3.4V - so we're looking at over 11 times more power available than what we see here.

Perhaps this was done to limit power dissipation, as we don't have much surface area to work with, by the looks of things here? In any case, this represents very good value for money on account of the low price, but I'd be happy to pay 11 times the price for 11 times the output power.
 
The question I would have is whether this dongle has enough power to drive most IEMs. Its power output is comparable to the Apple dongle at 300 ohms (3.2 vs 3.6) and 33 ohms (29 vs 33 milliwatts), so probably yes. And it's the cost of a large order of fries at McDonald's. So I can't be too hard on it.
 
The point of the balanced jack for this use-case is not really about providing more power, but rather that you don't need to switch out your IEM cable if you want to be able to use it with this kind of adapter.

I usually have a BT DAC/AMP like the Fiio BTR15 or BTR7 to listen with my IEMs which all have a 4.4mm adapter. But what if I get stuck with a flat battery? Well this device will allow me to plug directly into my phone. Useful, cheap, perfectly fine.
 
Thanks for this! It would probably be useful with low-Z headphones, but very strange to see that we only get 1V RMS output

If we used a rail-to-rail output IC running single-ended off 5V USB rails, we could expect at least 1.7V RMS, so for balanced, we could expect 3.4V - so we're looking at over 11 times more power available than what we see here.

Perhaps this was done to limit power dissipation, as we don't have much surface area to work with, by the looks of things here? In any case, this represents very good value for money on account of the low price, but I'd be happy to pay 11 times the price for 11 times the output power.
Well not if it is $10 as the above post shows. Definitely I wouldn't pay $111 because that would be more than a FiiO KA13 which is the best dongle I have found recently which is still affordable.
 
Unfortunately not $2.49. Cheapest I could find it for was $9.67 while I'm finding the Apple USB C to 3.5 MM Headphone Adaptor for $8.48 at Amazon. Maybe we should see if it's for sale on Temu?
 

Thing is, when I'm buying from someplace like Ali Express, I want to wring the very last nickel of value out of the transaction. I was actually thinking about picking one of these up myself because I thought I could use it whenever I was listening over IEM's and using my tablet while reading in bed. That way I could drive them with the tablet through a good dac and not use my phone for that purpose. And for $2.48, that seemed like a no-brainer. But at $10+, it's a nope. I expect Ali to undercut the competition price-wise, and they haven't done that here.
 
Well, that's gotta be fine for the price! $2.49!
 
Thanks for the measurements.

Its sister chip, cx31993, has the ability to vary its output depending on the power supplied.
It has the feature of continuing to function even at very low power.
It is possible that the cx31988 may also change its output and sound quality if the power supplied is increased.
 
Seems to vary with your location
Or maybe it checks your background to see if you have been good to everyone and if so, gives you a larger discount!!!
 
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