Audinst HUD-MX1

Here is a great entry level DAC from a relatively young Korean company called Audinst. DAC techonology has been improving so much, and now we can have a great sounding DAC for a very affordable price.

Sound wise, the HUD-MX1 is very good, considering the price level that it’s being sold for. It’s free from any obvious coloration and digital artifacts. Detail level is very good, although nothing to get goosebumps about. There isn’t a strong bias toward a certain frequency region, neither are any frequency bumps or spikes present. Now that may sound like a “generic” description that I could’ve copied and pasted from some other reviews, but the fact is the HUD-MX1 is a plain, uncolored DAC that simply does its job very well. While DACs with a more “audiophile” sound signature with thick bottom end and warm sound are nice, sometimes you want a more neutral DAC for pairing with a tube amp, to avoid having a sound that’s too thick or too warm.

Its dimensions are quite compact, as you can see at the photo below, positioned next to the Ipod.

The HUD-MX1 is the lowest priced stand alone DAC that has come to our test room. So far, my experiences with DACs has been limited to mostly higher end units, and frankly speaking, it’s hard to get excited about a $179 stand alone DAC. I’m still waiting to get a Nuforce uDAC, which is repotedly to be very good for $99, but the uDAC hasn’t arrived, and so I have to write this review apart from the uDAC. (I’ll defintely write a comparison between the two, once the uDAC is here). But you know what, I truly think that the HUD-MX1 is a great DAC for the price. It satisfies all the basic requirements of a good DAC, and for $179, I hardly think that you can do any better. Let me explain some more.

Audinst HUD-MX1
4.5 (90%) 2 votes

  • you suggested that getting a better amp and using this as a DAC is a good idea, I already have the Audinst but I want to get a marantz 6004 for KEF q300, how can I bypass the amp in the Audinst to just use the DAC?


    • Trent_D


  • Martin

    Hi Mike. I have Audinst mx1 and senn hd598. I’m wondering if it makes sense to buy m-stage amp to improve the sound. What do you think?

    • Martin,
      If you want to do that, something like the Bottlehead Crack amp pairs very well with the Senn headphones.

      • Martin

        Thanks for the reply. Bottlehead Crack looks really nice but unfortunately is not available in my country. I’d rather choose between m-stage and schiit asgard because they available and i have opportunity to return if not sounds good for me. No risk. So what about asgard and m-stage for mx1 and hd598? (sorry for my english)

        • The Asgard and the Matrix are both nice. I would go for the Matrix to help the HD598’s bass impact which I feel is lacking.

          • Martin

            Ok, so I probably go for matrix…but the asgard tempts me with great design and apparently more refinement sound. Tough decision 🙂 Thanks a lot for your help Mike

            • You’re welcome Martin.

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  • Will you be doing a review of the HUD-MX2?

    • Yes, I think the sample unit is on the way.

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  • Is the OPA2134 line out opamp rollable? Seems like it’s soldered down 🙁 Would it make any sense to get rid of that OPA2134 for a LME49720HA if it fits, for the line out for speakers that is?

  • Hey Mike, would you recommend the MX1 over the ODAC or Schiit Modi, comparing DACs only, no amps as I use studio monitors?

    • Sorry haven’t heard the schiit or the odac. The audinst is great though

  • NissanN1

    I’ve heard things about the mx-1 having too much gain, therefore turning the volume knob too high brings distortion. With monitors connected onto the RCA outputs, would I be able to adjust the volume to max to avoid loss of quality, if there is no distortion? If there is, would I be able to lower the volume knob without a loss of quality (does it use analog or digital volume adjustment)? Does having an external DAC with volume adjustment trump a DAC without volume adjustment SQ-wise if both have volume turned down?

  • Isua

    As you talked about Muses01 and Muses02 op-amps, do you think they would suit and improve mx1’s factory LME49860 ?

  • matthew36

    can I use a notebook pc with this dac amp combo? thanks.

    • Dave Ulrich


      • matthew36

        wow that was fast thanks for the quick reply!!!