Among lovers of quality sound it is quite widely believed that listening to music you only need use a separate player and headphones, are specifically matched to him. However, the cost of such a set usually varies from about 30 thousand rubles to infinity, and for many it is too much to ask to get a sound that will not be ashamed. For such cases, was created portable DACs and headphone amplifier. Their advantage not only in price but also in size — this audiophonic less than the charging cable of your smartphone.
Not so many manufacturers are developing similar accessories typically, they release a portable player. But more interesting to see what offers in this regard directly to the smartphone manufacturer. Phones of the brand Highscreen was once very famous for its audiomonster, and today we look at one of his portable DACs — TrueSound Pro.
- DAC: ESS 9281CPRO
- Frequency range: 20 Hz – 40 kHz
- Output power: 2 x 32 mW
- Resistance: 32 Ohm
- The ratio of signal to noise SNR: 120 dB
- Resolution audio up to 384 kHz/32-bit DSD128
- Support decoding formats: PCM, DSD, MQA
- Interface (input): Type C
- Interface (output): 3.5 mm
- Weight: 5 g
The device comes in stylish minimalist packaging — on the front is a picture of the device, the back characteristics.
Everything inside is Spartan — the gadget, a small manual and warranty card. What else do you need? Headphones everyone chooses for himself (to someone in love, the other overhead), but if you put in the box the smartphone is something even science fiction.
Outwardly Highscreen TrueSound Pro looks cool, although it’s basically just a small cylinder of painted aluminum, with one end of which is placed a standard 3.5 mm interface and the other connector USB Type-C. There was a place led indicator. Assembled everything very well used fabric cable with bend protection.
Built-in battery of this device is not — powered through your computer or smartphone to which you connect, however this is not much impact on battery life (especially without connected headphones the DAC is automatically disabled). What should be noted — resolution audio up to 384 kHz, when similar devices of competitors (like the FiiO i1) it is limited to 192 kHz.
One of the advantages of the accessory is a cable. To its functionality, no complaints, and the length optimal: when you connect a headphone wire from the phone does not stretch as much as two meters, so the form factor is very good. And no need to hide the excess cable under clothing.
Sound and compatibility
To connect TrueSound Pro better IEM, and if to deal with full-sized headphones, only vysokoemkie and highly sensitive. You have to understand that it is primarily an accessory, and full audio player it will not replace, but if you want to improve sound, will be pleasantly surprised with the result.
Moreover, we managed to fit a powerful DAC in a very small device — in this he was helped by technology HyperStream DAC II QUAD. DAC ESS 9281CPRO work out on a solid five, but for me the deciding factor was the support of the MQA format. I often use it because it sounds like the track just recorded in Studio. In the case of direct conversion in MQA, the process of digitizing and decoding the transient characteristics as close as possible to the human perception of analog sound.
But even if you don’t use MQA, the sound will not disappoint. You can start even with music streaming services (Google Music, Yandex.Music and so on) to understand the difference between the sound with a portable DAC without it. By the way, have Moreover got almost the same model of TrueSound, but without the support MQA — in case you do not need it. It costs less, and looks the same. Table with a detailed comparison of the two versions can be explored below.
To listen used the following equipment:
- Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2012
- Google Pixel
- 20 Honor Pro
- Brainwavz B150
- Recording high-resolution Lossless-formats
For the test were specially selected low-cost smartphones and headphones in order to demonstrate the advantage of the budget bunch. Headphones are worn not in the traditional way, and the “BTE”, this is closer to the body there are special pads on the cable. Have such ways of wearing one big plus is if the earphones are small “sit down” they’re almost all of the auricle without any problems.
Using Highscreen TrueSound Pro sound Brainwavz B150 wasn’t like the other onedriver reinforcing the headphones, which differ in the detailed light feed. In this case, sound, on the contrary, made with a bias “in the dark” and emotional mid-range — neutral model is not exactly call.
The emphasis on bass is noticeable right away when you begin listening to headphones using the foam tips, however, even with a deep fit bass does not hit directly in the skull, everything is done moderately and not too massive — this is another advantage of the reinforcing cords of the headphones and DAC. However, about high and medium frequency manufacturer have not forgotten. If the first is clearly underlined in the first place, to balance the bass, the second “relaxed” with a relaxed flow.
It is worth to clarify two points. First, the sound will be different depending on the mobile — have Google Pixel, for example, it is more natural, and Honor with a characteristic color. Enormous role played by the headphones: ideally have a model with a resistance of 300 Ohms or 600 Ohms, the Fostex is in the Arsenal of a few such. The device itself is genre neutral and the content is not highly sensitive, so all will be happy — those who listen to music in streaming services, and lovers with MQA lossless.
Some tracks for example.
Deep Purple — Smoke On The Water. This track is very good to evaluate the ability of the device to the technical solos and piercing vocals. The voice sounds very rich, while in the background the guitar is not lost. Electronic organ gracefully complements the song, it is clearly possible to capture each instrument.
The Weeknd — Can’t Feel My Face. Again faced with very cool vocals and deep bass. Bases sounds very deep and not “buzzing”, while a lot of it, but without busting.
Rebecca Ferguson — Fine And Mellow. Graceful Blues performed by famous British singer literally causes chills to run down the skin, it is possible to analyze separately each instrument — from keyboard to saxophone.
Affordable portable DAC
This is one of the easiest ways to bring the sound from your smartphone or computer to a new level. Worth in the region of 4 000 roubles (without MQA — even cheaper), has native support for Hi-Res, DSD and MQA formats, even with a headset you can use. Well, plus do not get hot. Maybe I would like to set the adapter to standard USB (on my old MacBook Pro no Type-C), but then the price would be increased. It is seen that the Original hasn’t lost his touch and remains a strong player on the market sound.
Learn more about Highscreen TrueSound Pro