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

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255 Comments

  • Reply April 8, 2010

    jc3064

    how would you compare the MX1 to the Pico DAC(only)?

    • Reply April 9, 2010

      Mike

      Good question.. I've had the Pico DAC/Amp for a while, and though it was very musical, it sounded fairly warm with thick bottom end and midrange. However, that sound signature may be due to the amplifier section and not the DAC section. It would be very interesting to compare the MX1 to the Pico DAC, as I think the two could be comparable. Let me see if I can find a Pico DAC to compare the HUD-MX1 to. I'm sure someone around here has one Pico DAC.

  • Reply April 9, 2010

    inyuret

    Hmm I've been thinking about the Nuforce uDac & HDP. You have the uDac coming right ? Could you compare it to this one ? Also interested with Pico DAC comparison.

  • Reply April 9, 2010

    Mike

    Hi,

    Yes, I have the uDac coming. Hopefully the HDP too, as it's also fairly high on our list. The Pico DAC shouldn't be too hard to get.

    Initially I was thinking of making a shootout between 4-5 DACs in the $200-$400 range, but looking at the DAP comparison, it's hard to go in depth if you cover that many gear at once. Perhaps I'll write several two-way comparisons instead.

  • […] impedance from 16ohm to 600ohm and so there is a wide choice of selections of headphones. Review – Audinst HUD-MX1 DAC | Headfonia Sponsored Links: innity_pub = "0aa1883c6411f7873cb83dacb17b0afc"; innity_zone = "3041"; […]

  • Reply April 10, 2010

    Mike

    Thanks! People tend to have different opinions on the same gear, but whenever I read Larry/HeadphoneAddict’s reviews, I tend to agree with a lot of his writings. I think he and I must have fairly similar ears.

    Anyway, I’m still waiting for my uDAC to arrive It shouldn’t be too hard to do a comparison of the Pico, D10, and the HUD-MX1, as soon as I’m done with the Stax SR404LE-SR404Sig-Lambda Pro review.

    🙂

  • Reply April 10, 2010

    jc3064

    Nice!! I guess you know that Headphoneaddict at Headfi has posted his comments about the Nuforce uDAC, in which he compared it against the Pico DAC and ibasso D10. With great respect,I honestly want to hear your comments (or more views) about those products too. So, i would like to see something that looks like your DAP comparison earlier on.

  • Reply April 11, 2010

    inyuret

    Cool, I'll be waiting for that.

  • Reply April 11, 2010

    SVM

    Good review and seems like a good DAC for the money.For lot of us who typically use good fullsize headphones I am curious to see some opamp rolling or recommendations that can improve the soundstage, instrument separation and add more bass punch. Seems like your impression of Hifiman HM-801 is very good, may be there are opamps that can make HUD-MX1 sound closer?

    One other aspect I would also like to know how HUD-MX1 behaves with different bit rate sources in MS-windows, or in other words is HUD-MX1 supports Bit perfect playback?

    • Reply April 22, 2010

      Feanot

      You would want a plugin like WASAPI (for foobar) that sends the music directly to the devices to get bit perfect playback.

      Nice review btw, I may just pull the trigger on these babies.

      • Reply April 22, 2010

        Mike

        Hi Feanot, thanks for the input. I use Mac, where the WASAPI is for Windows if I'm not mistaken. There is still some debate about plug-ins like WASAPI though, as in theory the plug-in itself is not 100% perfect from flaws, and may still introduce jitter aside from the Windows mixer. Besides, there is no way for most of us to check if the result is really bit-perfect, unless your DAC has a bit-perfect indicator light.

  • Reply April 12, 2010

    Mike

    Hi SVM,

    I haven't really dig into opamp rolling for the Audinst. But popular recommendations that you can try is the OPA627 or the AD825 — those two have always been popular opamps with the crowd.

    Comparing to the HM-801, I actually doubt that the HUD-MX1 can go anywhere near it. The DAC section of the HM-801 is actually quite superior, and likewise the built-in amplifier. After all, it is a $790 device.

    On your last question, I'll try to talk to my friend with a Windows machine about this, as I don't own a Windows computer.

    Cheers.

  • […] Out: OPA2134 (SMD Type) Headphone Out: AD8397 (SMD Type) Power Supply: DC 15V / 0.5A-1A Review – Audinst HUD-MX1 DAC | Headfonia Long discussion thread – Discussion thread Sponsored Links: innity_pub = […]

  • Reply April 16, 2010

    Mike

    @SVM:

    I just had a discussion with a friend regarding bit perfect playback on windows, and I think there isn't a clear answer. ASIO is a popular method for achieving supposedly bit-perfect transfer, but the reality is we never know how good ASIO does the processing of the data itself. The reason is that he did an experiment (with a DAC he built), and he prefers the sound using the Windows mixer, with minimal amount of other software running.

    I assume that the HUD-MX1 should support bit perfect, as long as the windows machine is sending bit perfect transfers. But again, people has been spending lots and lots of money on higher priced solutions and external clock devices and separate power supply circuits to get as close as possible to "bit perfect" transfer, and so in practice, an entry level DAC such as the HUD-MX1 should be more about value for dollar, rather than seeking a certain theoratical absolute standard of bit perfect.

    What I'm saying is, in simple terms, the HUD-MX1 is an entry level DAC, and while it might not provide the "perfect" data transfer, it's still fine by me as long as the music is good and my wallet doesn't bleed.

    Cheers.

  • Reply April 16, 2010

    SVM

    Mike – Thx for the insight into the windows playback. Eager for your comparison with other DACs.

  • Reply April 16, 2010

    Mike

    I'm comparing it to the iBasso D10 and the Styleaudio UD1….

    • Reply April 19, 2010

      thuantran

      Hello,

      How is this compared to the ESI Dr. DAC Prime? I mostly listen to instrumental and classical music, so I like my music to be neutral and details. This and the ESI seems to be the one to go but which one is better in sound quality disregarding their price?

      • Reply April 19, 2010

        Mike

        I don't think that the Audinst HUD-MX1 can be compared to the ESI Dr. DAC Prime. The Dr. DAC Prime is more detailed, among other things. I think the Nuforce HDP will be an interesting comparison to the Dr. DAC Prime. I'll be comparing the Audinst HUD-MX1 to the uDAC instead.

  • […] Audinst HUD-MX1 DAC 04/07/2010  |  12 Comments […]

  • Reply April 26, 2010

    Joe

    Hello,

    Thank You for an excellent review! I'm a hi-fi newbie with 32-OHM DT990 and seeking for a dac/amp, because I'm currently running from integrated sound card in my notebook. How would it compare to f.e. Topaz? Is 24/96 through USB really a big advantage? Cos many DACs do only 24/48 via USB.

    • Reply April 27, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Joe,

      I've never auditioned the Styleaudio Topaz, which is the top-of-the-line model for their brand. Just making an educated guess, the Topaz will probably be superior than the HUD-MX1. If you read this article then you'll notice that I compared the Styleaudio UD-1 (which is their entry level model) to the HUD-MX1, and though the HUD-MX1 is superior, the difference is not that far, and I would think that the HUD-MX1 would be more comparable to a mid-level Styleaudio model like the HD1V or the Emerald, rather than the Topaz.

      At this moment I do think that circuit design matters more to the sound output quality, rather than 24/48 vs 24/96.

  • Reply May 2, 2010

    theo

    great job,

    is their a noticeable sonic difference when the hud mx1 when it is usb powered only and used as a standalone dac, via the rca outs to head amp?

    thank you for another Tier 1 review.

    keep em coming ,, topaz fingers crossed

    all the best

    • Reply May 3, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Theo, I don't think I understand you properly here.

      is their a noticeable sonic difference when the hud mx1 when it is usb powered only and used as a standalone dac, via the rca outs to head amp?

      Difference to what?

  • Reply May 12, 2010

    Bouncer

    Greetings,

    Very nice and detailed review!

    Do you think it would be possible to compare this to the EF2 DAC/Amp from Hifiman?

    They are both in the same price range and it would be interesting to find out how they fare up against each other.

    Thanks

    • Reply May 13, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Bouncer,
      I'll try to find an EF2. I can probably email HeadDirect and ask them for a sample.

      • Reply May 13, 2010

        Bouncer

        Hello,

        That would be great, looking forward towards it.

        Thank you for your hardwork.

  • Reply May 20, 2010

    Joey

    Hey Mike,

    After browsing through all of our reviews plus doing some extra homework. I decided to order one of these Audinsts. Just one question: Should I hook it up with another amp to listen to the cans like K601 or HD650 or just listen to it straight out of the headphones socket?
    I also have a Bravo V2 that I’m currently using to listen to the K601. Would the sound be improved a lot wen connected to the Aundisnt compared to the Macbook pro built-in dac?

    Sorry for bombarding you but I’m really confused about the amp market atm :S

    • Reply May 20, 2010

      Joey

      *ours = yours

      • Reply May 20, 2010

        Joey

        Ahhh! our = your 😀

    • Reply May 20, 2010

      Mike

      Hey Joey, so there are two questions:

      – Should I hook it up with another amp to listen to the cans like K601 or HD650 or just listen to it straight out of the headphones socket?

      The Audinst HUD-MX1's headphone out should be have enough gain for the K601 or the HD650. It is far from the best amplifier for those cans, but for starters, I'd just plug it in and enjoy the music. When you have a better headphone amplifier, then you can hook it up to the HUD-MX1 via the line outs.

      I also have a Bravo V2 that I’m currently using to listen to the K601. Would the sound be improved a lot wen connected to the Aundisnt compared to the Macbook pro built-in dac?

      I think there may have been two questions here. The Bravo V2, and the Macbook pro's DAC.

      The Bravo V2: I have listened and reviewed the Bravo amp before (I believe it was a V1) and found it to be a great amplifier for the price. Again it's far from the best amplifier for the HD650, but it does have a good midrange, body, and good power as well. So, why don't you try it out. Compare the headphone out of the Audinst HUD-MX1 with the Bravo amp. I have a feeling that the HUD-MX1 will have better detail and clarity.

      The Macbook Pro's DAC vs. the HUD-MX1:

      The HUD-MX1 should be better than the Macbook Pro's DAC. I never really done that comparison, but just based on past experiences with other laptops, I don't think the result will be too different with the Macbook Pro. Having said that, a DAC upgrade is something that may not be easy to hear at first. Some people still can't differentiate the sound coming out of a $1000 CDP to an Ipod. It is subtler than changing a headphone say from a K601 to a HD650. But it doesn't mean that a source upgrade is just some trivial upgrade that we happen to make a big deal of. When you are very familiar with the sound of your system, a source upgrade can be a revelation. So, give the HUD-MX1 a try. If you can't notice the difference at first, keep listening to it. After a few days, try going back to your laptop DAC, and you should notice a big difference.

      Hopefully that answers your questions.

      Keep us updated. Especially on the Audinst's headphone out vs the Bravo headphone amplifier. 🙂

      • Reply May 22, 2010

        Joey

        Thanks for the advice Mike. Still waiting for the MX1 to be delivered. Will let you know my impression of the MX1>Bravo set-up and the MX1 built-in amp. I have also ordered a DIY MOSFET amp to accompany my K601. The maker of this amp has been praised a lot lately in the UK and EU headphone community. The MX1 should do it more justice than my Macbook DAC. 😀
        http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/high-spec-Mosfet-headphone-

        • Reply May 22, 2010

          Mike

          I'm just guessing here, but a DIY Mosfet amp should be much better than the HUD-MX1's internal amp.

          I'd love to hear more about that amp when you get it. 🙂

          • Reply May 26, 2010

            Joey

            probably tomorrow. I will let you know my impression of it as soon as I have a chance. 🙂

  • Reply May 27, 2010

    Joey

    Got my Aundinst today. Tried a short AB comparison between the built-in amp and my MOSFET amp. The mosfet have better instrument separation, a slightly more laid-back sound compared to the built-in. The Aundisnt DAC function is brilliant with very clean sounding. This is just the impression after 15 minutes listening. I'll probably notice more stuff later after days of listening 😀

    • Reply May 27, 2010

      Joey

      One more thing, the audinst is dead silent! There's absolutely no audible hiss on all of my IEMs, considering the hiss can be picked up even on my iPhone 🙂

      • Reply May 27, 2010

        Mike

        Hey, looks like you're really enjoying the Audinst! I'm glad you like it. I wouldn't have expected the built in amp to better a purpose built Mosfet amp, so your comments seem right on. We're discussing the Audinst @ the lounge and you're welcome to join: http://www.headfonia.com/bbpress/topic.php?id=15 🙂

  • Reply May 27, 2010

    Joey

    I tried to register but never get the password email 🙁

  • Reply June 23, 2010

    Matt

    Great review. I've been looking at the Audinst here as well as the Maverick TubeMagic D1 (http://www.mavaudio.com/). Do you have any experience with the Maverick? It's been a bit of a problem choosing between the two. I'm currently using Denon D2000s. Thanks.

    • Reply June 23, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Matt, I've used the Maverick D1 once while auditioning a headphone but other than that I'm not familiar enough with the sound to write anything about it.

      • Reply June 24, 2010

        Matt

        Gotcha. Well thanks for the quick response!

  • […] you are willing to put in a little more (well, ~$70), have a look at the Audinst HUD-MX1, I have one myself and it's an amazing DAC for the price. Buy it direct from Audinst for $179.99, […]

  • Reply August 9, 2010

    blackbird_pie

    Great review Mike! Bought this a couple of months back, listened to it almost everyday and never regretted the purchase. However, upgrade bug is biting again and I'm planning to buy a higher-end dac with optical inputs. May I know how you rate the Audinst's performance as a usb-to-optical converter? Is it worth keeping the Audinst for that function alone?

    Thanks!

    • Reply August 9, 2010

      Mike

      I've never compared the Audinst as a USB-S/pdif converter. But what I can tell you is that a lot of the newer DACs come with USB input, so I don't think you should limit your search to a toslink input DAC.

      For instance, the HRT MSII+ sells for $345, and is a great USB DAC. I'm writing a review of the MSII which sells for $145, which also does 24/96 asynchronous USB, and I'll be comparing it to the Audinst. Here is the review to the HRT MSII+ HRT Music Streamer II+ 24/96 USB DAC

      • Reply August 9, 2010

        blackbird_pie

        Hmm but it seems that USB inputs are not very well implemented in many DACs i.e. the DacMagic.

        The HRT Music Streamer series is interesting. However the lack of input options severely limits its usability to a computer system only.

        Thanks for the suggestion anyway!

        • Reply August 9, 2010

          Mike

          True, true.. the designer for the HRT Music Streamer designed this solely for the purpose of USB uses. You can check the HRT Review for a quote from him.

          I've finished the review for the HRT MS2, and going to publish it this week.

          Cheers.

  • […] tested this with a hd800 and say that it can drive it to insane volumes when on high gain mode. Headfonia Review It even better than the uDac you were contemplating on, there is a review of that as well on […]

  • […] bennysachdev is Online Fanatic Member Join Date: May 2009 Posts: 198 Audinst Hud Mx1 Reply With Quote + Reply to Thread  Bookmark  Email   […]

  • Reply August 30, 2010

    Audiophile Dac / Amp

    […] of Amps / Dacs are there and what would make them Unique? This is one which i had shortlisted:- Headfonia Review of the Audinst MX1 ch_client = "techenclave1"; ch_type = "mpu"; ch_width = 550; ch_height = 250; […]

  • Reply September 15, 2010

    Simon

    I have easy to drive headphones, Grado RS1. Would you say the benefit of using a dedicated amp like the M-Stage is worth it or would the MX1 be good enough? I always hear that grados don't show any big differences switching between good solid state amps. I'm always interested in finding the best bang per buck possible.

    • Reply September 15, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Simon, I think you would be fine with the MX-1.

  • Reply September 19, 2010

    Joejoe

    Does mx-1 have good enough amp to drive the hd650? If not, what dac and amp combo do you recommend under $400 budget?

  • Reply September 19, 2010

    Joejoe

    I want to upgrade from hd555 to hd650 and since I've never heard good amp before I'm just not sure what is good enough to make hd650 shine. I'm not an audiophile so I'm not looking for best sounding set up in the world but something that will make me satisfied and enjoy my music. Your suggestion will be much appreciated….

  • Reply September 26, 2010

    Nugra

    hei Mike, im very interested in comparing this audinst and the other carat ud-1 you reviewed. and so im thinking on getting one for myself, as i'm a noob and want an entry level setup for my musics. but the problem is it seems that i cant get those easily. even when i try to search on ebay or amazon the result is nil . all they have is maybe uDAC. any suggestions where can i find 'em? fyi, im in indonesia

    coz you write it like you could get those fancy stuff easily, im so jealous of you.

    • Reply September 27, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Nugra, it's been hard to get the UD-1, and that's why not many people have it. Last time Jaben had one unit left, and a friend took it. I don't think they've brought in any more units after that.
      The HUD-MX1 should be much easier, you can check the eBay shop. Most of these stuff were imported from overseas, as they are not available locally.

  • Reply September 27, 2010

    Nugra

    ah, you're right. ebay have stock of audinst. and by pure chance i found ud-1 on amazon japan! now how buy from that kind of website…

    thanks for the advice, Mike. and really, it looks like we must search in this kind of online shop as we dont have distributor for that kind of goods here…

    • Reply September 28, 2010

      Mike

      I'm afraid there is no way around it. Distribution is a big issue for both the manufacturer and the consumer. As a matter of fact, I think we've been reviewing more Sennheiser gears than any other brand mainly because they're easier to get around here.

  • Reply September 28, 2010

    Nugra

    i cant agree more. i just recently realized it, especially when it's about stuff from this kind of class. specialized item like this.

    but now, many thanks for you, Mike! if it wasnt because of you and your reviews, i would've been stuck with a senn connected directly to my onboard headphone output. ahahaha!

    • Reply September 29, 2010

      Mike

      Hey Nugra, good for you. I see that David has helped you with some stores in Singapore to get the Audinst!

  • Reply September 28, 2010

    David

    @Nugra: got my MX1 from here… http://audiohub.com.sg/audinst-mx1/, closer to Indonesia, at least…

  • Reply September 28, 2010

    David

  • Reply September 29, 2010

    Nugra

    you're right! thanks a bunch, David! surely will contact them when i get the money, in the meantime. i'll bookmark it

  • […] towards the rk6) I heard great things about the vdac, also this was recomended by a head-fi guy.. Audinst Hud MX1 […]

  • […] review here: Incremental Review (completed) – Nuforce uDac-2 – Head-Fi.org Community Audinst MX-1 : Audinst HUD-MX1 | Headfonia If you want something with coax / optical inputs, look at Audio-GD Sparrow (haraakiri has it) or […]

  • Reply October 15, 2010

    Simon

    Finally got the MX1 in the mail today. I'm not sure if you ever got around to opamp rolling Mike but I have the AD797 in it right now. It does sound somewhat better than the stock one in some ways but overall I think the sound is largely unaffected.

    • Reply October 15, 2010

      Mike

      Yes, there are limits to what op-amp rollings can do. The AD797 is a very good chip though. You can hold on to it and try it with some other gears.

      • Reply October 21, 2010

        Simon

        In your opinion, do you believe in opamp burn-in? Vocals sound great with the AD797 compared to the stock opamp, and I'm noticing more and more differences as I use the AD797

        • Reply October 21, 2010

          Mike

          Hi Simon, opamp burn-in is something that I have never personally examined. I think even if they do burn, the difference should be very slight.

          • Reply October 22, 2010

            Simon

            I ended up going back to the original opamp. I think they designed it to work well with the original opamp so I'll just stick to that. I don't think it was worth opamp rolling on the MX1.

  • Reply January 20, 2011

    Rosario Brozena

    I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information ,-;

    • Reply January 20, 2011

      Mike

      You're welcome, Rosario. 🙂

  • […] pair and loves them to pieces, speaks very highly of them. It would either be driven by my Audinst HUD-MX1 DAC (via Optical), or my Marantz PM4001 Amp, whichever is more suitable. I'm told that my amp […]

  • Reply February 21, 2011

    Ofek Shilton

    Hi Mike,
    i have a questions for you..
    do you think that HUD-MX1 will be good for gaming(COD BO..)?
    and what do you think about sen558 + HUD-MX1?
    because i need a good sound card for my hackintosh and HUD-MX1 support mac 🙂

    tnx

  • Reply February 21, 2011

    Ofek Shilton

    Hi Mike,
    i have a questions for you..
    do you think that HUD-MX1 will be good for gaming(COD BO..)?
    and what do you think about sen558 + HUD-MX1?
    because i need a good sound card for my MAC and PC for gaming..

    tnx

    • Reply February 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      I can’t be sure as I don’t play games on the computer. What are the requirements for a good soundcard/DAC for gaming? I think the Audinst should be pretty good.

      As for gaming headphones, I think quite a few people uses the HD558, though other also recommends the Beyer DT990 and the Audio Technica AD700.

      • Reply February 21, 2011

        Ofek Shilton

        let me be more clear..:)
        is the HUD-MX1 have delay ? or it will be the same as the onboard card?
        because i never had a USB dac/amp so i just wanna be sure before i buy…

        tnx A lot

        • Reply February 21, 2011

          Anonymous

          Sorry Ofek, I don’t think I am the right person to ask. I’m just so inexperienced in gaming.

  • Reply February 25, 2011

    meg

    can you compare the mx1 to udac-2?

    • Reply March 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      Meg,
      The MX-1 is superior.

  • Reply March 23, 2011

    Daniel

    Hi Mike,

    I was told you received a unit of Tiny Tube for reviewing. How does that stand against the Audinst MX1? I’m torn between the two and I am running it with a pair of A5s.

    • Reply March 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sure, Daniel.
      The Tiny Tube is not here yet. The article should be up in 4 weeks time.

  • Reply March 24, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hey Mike,

    I’m the daniel who asked about the Tiny Tube. Any idea when it’s arriving? I kinda have to make a quick decision between the MX1 and Tiny Tube so your input would be helpful.

    Then again, no hurries.

    Just one question, there’s a tube amp in the Tiny Tube, do you reckon I should get the MX1 if I can’t put up with the hassle of using tubes?

    • Reply March 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Daniel,
      The Tiny Tube is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, but it would take some
      time before I can write something about it.

      Personally, I don’t think tubes are that much of a hassle. But tubes
      come with a big difference in sound characteristics, and so ultimately
      it would depend on the type of tube being used and the circuit designed
      for it.

      • Reply March 24, 2011

        Daniel1703

        Yo Mike,
        Maybe you could just tell me your impression of it. I’ve been told by a friend that it’s really good. I just need to know how much better it is compared to the MX1 so that I can make a decision. The price is about the same but I tend to turn my DAC on and off rather often. Electricity in Singapore is pretty expensive too so I can’t afford to keep tubes on for prolonged periods. Plus the warranties on both products have a difference of a year (I care).

        • Reply March 24, 2011

          Anonymous

          Okay Daniel. Ask me again next week and I should be able to give you an
          impression.

  • Reply April 13, 2011

    metomurti

    Hi Mike. I am between Audinst Hud Mx-1 and Audiotrak Prodigy Cube. There is huge difference in price. But I don’t know how this price difference effects sound quality? Is audinst really better than audiotrak? Thanks.

    • Reply April 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      I havent had the chance to listen to the Prodigy Cube, sorry.

      • Reply April 13, 2011

        metomurti

        Ok then can I ask another question? Now I am using this combination:

        Macbook + Airport express + optical cable + Edifier s730 speakers with digital input.

        But I want to change some devices. How is this configuration:

        Macbook + usb cable + Audinst + Optical cable + Edifier s730 speakers with digital input.

        What do you think about this new combination? You are also a Mac user. I think that you listened music with airport express via digital out before. Is there really big difference between these two combinations? Or does it not worth to do it and spend another 180 dolars? Thanks very much.

        • Reply April 13, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well,
          My airport express died a few years ago, but while I had it I totally enjoyed it.

          Personally, I’m more into practicalities than I do into squeezing every last bit of technicalities into a system. The Airport express will give your Macbook wireless freedom. The Audinst won’t. Despite any jitter the wireless transmission may induce, I’d probably still stick to the Airport express.

          Of course that’s just my “what if”. If somehow the airport express optical interface turns out to be plain awful on the sonics, then I’d try to do it another way.

          I think if you got the Audinst, better route it this way:

          Macbook > USB > Audinst > RCA Cable > Edifier.

          I’m willing to bet that the Edifier’s digital to analog conversion is inferior to the Audinst’s WM8740 based DAC.

          • Reply April 13, 2011

            metomurti

            Hello again. After talking with you I begin to understand more clearly. Thanks a lot. After reading your last reply, I searched more. In a forum it was written like that:

            “There are 2 types of signal, analog and digital. just assume that digital is ‘raw’ one and analog is the ‘ready to use’. most PC / multimedia speakers are using analog connection, just like earphone / headphone.

            soundcard / dac or whatever it is, convert the digital (raw) to analog (ready to eat) so the speaker is ready to produce the sound. there is also speakers with digital input (i.e. Edifier S730) so it can accept both analog and digital data. if it is given analog, it will produce sound immediately, if it is given digital, the built in decoder will convert (cook) the digital data into analog data.”

            So, as you mentioned before using my speakers with a DAC like Audinst will be better.

            I have no questions more. Have a good day.

            • Reply April 13, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yep, that’s right.

              Try to find an OPA627 to go with the Audinst. Instant sound upgrade.

              http://coolfungadget.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=91

              • Reply April 20, 2011

                metomurti

                Hi again. I have a question. What do you think about the music quality of the different ports on Audinst? Is there any difference between the headphone ports or line out ports? Maybe they have different opamaps for music output? For example opa 2134 for lineout music and lme49860 for headphone music. I don’t know, I just assume.

                • Reply April 20, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  I dont think I have done that comparison, but normally the line out is more transparent but lacking punch.

  • Reply June 27, 2011

    Jason

    I have had an Mx1 for about 3 weeks and constantly get crackling noise through my DT770 pro (80 ohm), whether i am using USB power or the power adaptor. Tried a different USB cable, and all my settings are correct (100% volume in media play/laptop). Same issues as the cracklings always seem to come back.

    Any ideas?

    • Reply June 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      That is very weird Jason. I truly have no idea what’s happening there.

      Try a different headphone?

    • Reply July 6, 2011

      Zsolt Ero

      I had cracking noise when using the power adapter, I wrote them an email and they sent me a new power adapter for free with express delivery (it arrived in a few days). First, I would just power on the DAC using USB, without the included power adapter and then I would start experiementing with different USB sources. It is possible that your PC has low quality power supply which triggers this cracking noise. Try it on many PCs/laptops as you can, _only_ using the USB cable. You can find out what’s wrong this way.

      • Reply July 7, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks Zsolt.
        That sounds like a more positive experience.

    • Reply July 6, 2011

      Zsolt Ero

      I had cracking noise when using the power adapter, I wrote them an email and they sent me a new power adapter for free with express delivery (it arrived in a few days). First, I would just power on the DAC using USB, without the included power adapter and then I would start experiementing with different USB sources. It is possible that your PC has low quality power supply which triggers this cracking noise. Try it on many PCs/laptops as you can, _only_ using the USB cable. You can find out what’s wrong this way.

  • Reply July 1, 2011

    Jason

    Quite possibly the worst piece of electronic equipment i have ever purchased. terrible customer service that did not respond to my questions.

    Crackling noise has not gone away and I have tried EVERYTHING to get  rid of it…the Audinst is a piece of crap, period.

    • Reply July 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      That’s too bad.

    • Reply July 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      I don’t know what the crackling noise is all about since I’ve never
      encountered crackling noises on the two Audinst units I’ve come across.
      Likewise nobody else seems to have that problem.

      The issue with customer service is that the Korean dude who runs Audinst
      write very poor english, so that’s probably explains (though it doesn’t
      corrects) the lack of replies.

    • Reply July 3, 2011

      blackbird_pie

      do you run into any similar issues with other usb dacs? If you do then you should check your own pc as the culprit, rather than the Audinst.

  • Reply July 4, 2011

    Jrq

    After a year of enjoying HUD-mx1, I began experiencing crackling noises during volume adjustment, and, what’s worse, a silent squeaks, ocurring with irregular intervals (similar to the sounds that you hear while playing a badly scratched CD), even when I’m not playing anything. What makes me sad, is the mentioned lack of  response from the Audinst’s so-called “Support”, as I am by no means familiar with electronics. I was delighted with its performance, but it’s quite annoying that a device which costs circa $170 has a year-long lifetime and one can not count on the consumer support.

    • Reply July 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Jrq.
      These crackling noises are starting to become a big issue. Especially
      when the Audinst support is not responding in these cases.

      I’ll try to send him another email to see if he’ll respond to my email.

    • Reply July 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Email sent to Audinst. Let’s see what they say.

      So just to set things clear, the Audinst was performing great when you got it, and it only developed problems recently? 

      • Reply July 5, 2011

        Jrq

        Exactly, it all began 2-3 weeks ago. As far as “skipping CD” noises go, problem seems to be solved – it was probably USB port’s fault. After some connecting – disconnecting Audinst and other devices and switching ports, they’re gone.

        I’ve also encountered another minor issue. It’s definitely computer’s fault, but maybe someone has an idea how to fix it. When using a Lenovo N500, I set the screen to turn off after a few minutes of idleness (for example, while playing music) and all worked perfectly fine. Recently, I’ve switched to a Samsung RF711 and when its screen turns off, the sound on HUD-mx1 skips for a fraction of a second. Is there any adjustment that can be made to eliminate this skipping? It’s not a big problem, but gets annoying after some time.

        • Reply July 6, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hi Jrq,
          I can’t know for sure, but I guess with all these USB Devices, and the
          wide range of Operating systems and range of different PC hardware, we
          can’t always get a trouble free operation. I mean, take the average USB
          printer, sometimes they just decide that they don’t want to print a
          certain document that I sent to them, and I don’t know what to do on
          those situations.

          I realize it’s not an excuse for a bug, and this is one of the reason
          that I went back to recommending the Audinst and not the Yulong U100
          that I really liked — the Audinst seems to be more reliable across
          different platforms and OS.

      • Reply July 5, 2011

        Jrq

        Exactly, it all began 2-3 weeks ago. As far as “skipping CD” noises go, problem seems to be solved – it was probably USB port’s fault. After some connecting – disconnecting Audinst and other devices and switching ports, they’re gone.

        I’ve also encountered another minor issue. It’s definitely computer’s fault, but maybe someone has an idea how to fix it. When using a Lenovo N500, I set the screen to turn off after a few minutes of idleness (for example, while playing music) and all worked perfectly fine. Recently, I’ve switched to a Samsung RF711 and when its screen turns off, the sound on HUD-mx1 skips for a fraction of a second. Is there any adjustment that can be made to eliminate this skipping? It’s not a big problem, but gets annoying after some time.

    • Reply July 6, 2011

      Zsolt Ero

      It has 2 year warranty, I am sure they will replace your product. They always respond to my emails in a day, and they have sent me a new power adapter for free when mine was broken.

  • Reply July 8, 2011

    r-gun

    can it work with ipad?

    • Reply July 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      I haven’t tried it with an Ipad, sorry.

      Has anyone tried the Audinst with an Ipad?

    • Reply September 1, 2011

      Sangkeun222

      Yes it works with ipad and iphone

      • Reply September 2, 2011

        Anonymous

        How do you make it work in the Ipad and Iphone?

        • Reply September 8, 2011

          Sangkeun222

          you can find a Y cable on the internet for connecting

          • Reply September 9, 2011

            Anonymous

            I see. Yes that would work.

          • Reply September 9, 2011

            Anonymous

            I see. Yes that would work.

  • Reply July 8, 2011

    san

    hi,guys…..i have hud mx-1 nearly a year already…..
    recently, i found out a problem with it
    when i select line out and set the volume knob to full, i notice there are slight sound “leak” in both headphone out…….
    which means there is a weak signal send to connected headphone while using “line out” for speaker……….
    however, it doesn’t happen the other way around (there is no sound from speaker while headphone out selected)……..
    do any of u experience the same problem?can anyone check this with your unit?
    thanks in advance…..
    i already send an email to audinst “support” today and waiting for reply…..

    • Reply July 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      It’s always been like this on mine. With sensitive headphones you can hear something on max line out. But I think its normal, if you don’t want you can disconnect the headphone. Is is barely noticable even with headphones on, if you just leave the headphone on the desk its unnoticable.

      • Reply July 9, 2011

        san

        thank u for clarify this…….i thought it’s something new…..
        cheers…..

  • Reply August 29, 2011

    Corben

    Hi, i’m thinking of getting the audinst, but after reading all the comments, i know it has been 1 month, does the audinst still have the same issue? Mike, does your audinst work just fine?

    • Reply August 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Mine works just fine, but I’ve sold it long time ago.

      • Reply August 29, 2011

        Corben

        oh you did? sticking to fostex now?

        • Reply August 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          Not quite, just have to shuffle through the gears once in a while.

    • Reply September 1, 2011

      Sangkeun222

      I bought the mx-1 about 5month ago and it still works fine. no negative issue.

      • Reply September 2, 2011

        Anonymous

        Nice.

  • Reply September 14, 2011

    Tom

    I just bought one of these for my 2011 27″ iMac i7 which I have connected to a set of Aktimate Mini speakers.

    I could hear a weird crackling at times through the built in analog out, but its absolutely perfect through the HUD-MX1. I’m not a critical listener at all really and never use headphones, but this DAC was worth every cent 😉

    • Reply September 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sounds good, Tom!

  • Reply November 2, 2011

    Anon

    This little thing is the prettiest piece of technology I’ve ever brought.
    Also it sounds great with my k242hd.
    Having a problem with kernel streaming though.

    • Reply November 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      I’ve never found KS really reliable with any soundcards, under Win 7 WASAPI is fantastic.

  • Reply November 9, 2011

    LexTixer

    I sold off my Audinst HUD-MX1 unit. It seems not right with the boring sound stage and lack of musical & dynamic.

    Check it out guys: http://www.inearmatters.net/2011/04/impression-uber-muzik-tiny-tube-dac.html. I just got my hands on Uber muzik tiny tube DAC version 2, it has the dynamic sound stage. Rich round mid frequency, at the same time the high and low is smooth and nicely projected.

    • Reply November 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, George. Seems like you’re liking that tube midrange a lot.

      • Reply November 10, 2011

        LexTixer

        Well is small and preety promissing then Audinst, i do bring to work @ offshore for 2 months rather then bringing my AudioGD NFB12SE.
        I will give more review at this sitehttp://www.headfonia.com/uber-muzik-tiny-tube-dac/

        • Reply November 14, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks, George.

          The Tiny Tube v1 was great. Looking forward to listening to the v2 one day.

  • Reply November 30, 2011

    Cowincanada

    Hey Mike, toss up between mx1 + mstage vs asgard (can only afford either) powering HD600? mx1 +mstage i’m buying used and asgard new

    • Reply December 1, 2011

      Mike

      Go with the Asgard. That’s what I’d do. 🙂

  • Reply December 1, 2011

    tjf1

    Hi Mike,

    I’m looking for a semi portable amp/dac for my desktok/laptop in the less than 300$ range and was considering the Audinst. I’ve tried the total bithead in the past which sounded okay, but didn’t seem worth the price point in terms of overall performance. The unit would most often times be paired with a set of Audio Technica MKII’s. The sort of unfounded logic I was going with in my head was neutral sounding DAC + Heavily bass biased cans = a better combo than a biased DAC + already biased cans. I do however want to retain the favoring of lows and bass since house/electronica/dubstep/downtempo will be the flavors of music played on this rig. So what do you think? Will the Audinst get the job done for what I’m looking for, or is there something better?

  • Reply December 6, 2011

    Valena29

    I’m having a bit of trouble deciding. I currently have the Sennheiser HD 598 and was looking for a DAC/Amp solution. I’m torn between this, the audits HUD-MX1, or the Fiio E9 & E10 combo, both solutions, under $200. 

    Mike, may I ask for your opinion? 

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply December 6, 2011

      Mike

      Valena,
      I think the Audinst will pair better with the HD598. That’s what I would go with.

  • Reply December 13, 2011

    Chris

    Hi Mike,

    I have been considering many dac + amp combos as well as separate units. I have a pair of ath m50s and would like to know if this dac/amp is a good fit.I really wanted to get a music streamer II and a dedicated amp but the upfront cost is slowing me down. Is the DAC on this ok to be used with an external amp down the road? Any other thoughts on an m50 pairing? Thanks, Chris.

    • Reply December 14, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Chris,
      The Audinst is a really good buy, even now I still like to use it due to the simplicity and good sound. And yes you can pair it with an external amp later.
      It should be a good pairing with the M50.

  • Reply December 17, 2011

    Sindri1980

    Hi Mike,

    What do you think about the Matrix mini-i compared to this? I feel like upgrading my DAC, but I like the XLR outputs of the Matrix for my Adam monitors… (I need a DAC with pre-amp capabilities).
    What about that new Cambridge Dacmagic Plus? Any plans to review it in the future?

    Thanks,
    Raúl

    • Reply December 17, 2011

      Sindri1980

      Perhaps the Yulong D100? 

      • Reply December 17, 2011

        Mike

        The Dacmagic+ looks like a good solution. The quality should be superior to the Audinst and Mini-i, (based on my experience with the regular Dacmagic), and you got the XLR out too.
        I’m interested in reviewing it, but perhaps not now. Got a lot of DACs coming our way soon.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    dreamer

    Hi Mike,

    I’m glad to see you keep on mentioning & comparing HUD-MX1 in your other test gear, however, I can’t understand why you never dared to upgrading with another OPA as it is begging to be !

    Indeed, original  OPA ‘LME49860’  is quite average sounding compared to dual AD797BRZ  on adapters that can easily found on ebay for less than 20$
    To my ears, a sound improvment of almost 50% !  (no looking back)

    I’ll be happy to send you one of these OPA if thats the price to pay to have your take on this mandatory upgrade (an addendum to original article would be a must)

    your blog is king !
    regards,

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Dreamer,
      I think I have tried the MX1 with lots of other opamps including that AD797BRZ. But for comparisons I’d like to keep things stock as that’ll make the comparisons easier to relate to with other people. Because if I do the comparison with upgraded parts, then I have to do the same on all the other products too. Not very practical. 🙂

      • Reply February 11, 2012

        Anonymous

        I’m new with opamp rolling but would like to try.  I’ve some questions though:

        1. When rolling opamps on devices operating on power adapters, do I need to pay attention to the minimum voltage requirement of the opamps?
        2. In addition to Q1, does AD8620ARZ with BrownDog adapter apply to Audinst HUD-MX1?
        3. Which other opamps will you recommend (according to your taste) for Audinst HUD-MX1?

        • Reply February 11, 2012

          Mike

          Anson,
          1. Yes. Minimum and also maximum.
          2. Sorry?
          3. I tried the MX1 with some different opamps but that was a long time ago (when I did the review), and I can’t find the notes anymore.

          • Reply February 12, 2012

            Anson5

             Mike,

            Did I ask something (Q2) non-sense or was it just unclear?  I mean can the AD8620ARZ opamp (which I found on JDSLabs already pre-soldered on an adapter) be rolled onto Audinst HUD-MX1 or are they incompatible?  This may be a stupid question but I’m new to this…  Thanks.

            • Reply February 13, 2012

              Mike

              Anson,
              The op-amp should be compatible, but there is one thing to check. First you need to go find out what the range of the supply voltage of the AD8620ARZ is (google AD8620 datasheet — you should be able to find it there. It should give you a range of voltages), and you need to measure the supply voltage on the Audinst’s opamp socket to make sure that it fits the range for the AD8620.
              If that’s too difficult I can help you measure the supply voltage, but perhaps later when I’m back at home.

          • Reply February 14, 2012

            Anson5

             Mike,

            Thanks for your reply.  Datasheet shows “Dual-supply operation: ±5 V to ±13 V”.  However, I do not have the tool to measure the supply voltage on the Audinst’s opamp socket.

            Do you think AD8620ARZ or AD797BRZ is better than the stock opamp?

          • Reply February 16, 2012

            Anson5

            Mike,

            The manual says “OPAMP usable in HUD-mx1 is a stereo (Dual Type) / DIP type with operation voltage _more than_ ±12V.”

            So does that mean both AD8620ARZ (±5V to ±13V) and AD797BRZ (±5V to ±15V) are OK?

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Robert Zhang

    How would I
    Audinst > Asgard

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Robert, 
      There is a line out on the back, and all you need is an RCA-RCA cable from the Audinst to the Asgard.

      • Reply January 23, 2012

        Robert Zhang

        Mike,

        Right, however the volume knob on the audinst will still be able to control the volume level. Should the volume level be anywhere in specific when using it as a pure dac or is it subjective? Sorry, New to hifi.

        Thanks.

        • Reply January 23, 2012

          Mike

          Robert,
          Yes the volume knob controls the volume. Generally I’d max the volume level on the Audinst, but you can try other options if you think you can get a beter sound.

        • Reply January 23, 2012

          Anonymous

          Hi,

          Go to the official Audinst forum, there is a question about it and the developer says that for the best quality use volume on 100% setting with line out mode.

  • Reply January 25, 2012

    Anonymous

    Do you think that powering this guy with a DIY 15V linear regulated power supply would be a worthwhile tweak?
    I’m the CMOY building DIY type and I can build such a circuit relatively easily and cheaply but I’m unsure if it would really do much for the Audinst since it probably has internal regulation circuitry anyway.

    • Reply January 26, 2012

      Mike

      Yangorang,
      A friend of mine tried to power the Audinst with an SLA battery once. I think he reported an improvement (after all it’s clean battery power), though he also comments that the quality can be even better if not for the internal regulation.

      • Reply February 8, 2012

        Anonymous

         Thanks for your response.  It’s interesting to hear that the internal regulation is actually not helping the sound quality, but I guess I didn’t see anything too amazing in that department when I opened the Audinst up anyway.

        I’m working on a little DIY LRPS that will hopefully improve things over the stock switching power supply a bit.
        http://wp.me/s1OOFO-yzlrps

        • Reply February 8, 2012

          Mike

          Nice. The regulated power supply should help.

  • Reply January 27, 2012

    Robert Zhang

    Fact-checking please…

    I was playing with the HUDMX1 and perceived that the 24 volts from the wallwart  will NOT apply unless you plug in the wallwart first > USB. If you do USB > wallwart, the HUDMX1 will simply run from 16 volts USB even though it is plugged in to the wallwart. 

    It says to follow this procedure in the manual but I wasn’t sure the sequence really mattered until I just tried it wallwart>USB for the first time and I feel like all my headphones are being juiced much better right now.

    Can someone confirm/deny this? If false, I’m getting a serious placebo effect. If true I’d like to remind HUDMX1 owners of this subtle but significant detail. I feel like my sound got 3x better with just the 12 extra volts.

    Thanks.

    • Reply January 27, 2012

      Mike

      I will try to check that tomorrow, when I should get my 24V PSU back. Please remind me if I haven’t replied by monday.

      • Reply January 27, 2012

        Robert Zhang

        I appreciate all your hard work Mike keeping up with user comments. I’m really amazed at your quickness to respond and helpfulness. Thank you. In the meantime I will enjoy this newfound revelation whether it is real or not lol

        • Reply January 27, 2012

          Mike

          You’re welcome, Robert.

    • Reply January 27, 2012

      Anonymous

      Robert, why do you try with 24V? Audinst has a working range of 12V – 18V! The PSU supplies 15V!

      Also, plugging in and out the PSU definately makes a difference, I don’t know what did you experience! No matter how you started, when you plug in the PSU even while playing music, Audinst takes the volume down and reinitializes from the PSU source. Pull it off and it reinitializes from the USB source. Just like it’s logical.

  • Reply February 12, 2012

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike, do you think the Audinst-HUD-mx1 fit well with the HD 650? or is the Asus Xonar Essence One better? but it cost more but I can save up for that, will it imprve the sound on HD 650 if I go with the 
    Asus Xonar Essence later and have  the Audinst first?.

    • Reply February 13, 2012

      Mike

      Chris,
      The Asus seems like a higher-spec and higher performance product. But I’ve only seen it on pictures and I’ve never auditioned it.
      The Audinst makes for an okay pairing, the DAC performance is among the best for the price, but the amplifier lacks punch in my opinion. What’s your budget? Perhaps take a look at the Fiio E17, it’ll give you a punchier amp for the HD650. http://www.headfonia.com/the-upgrade-fiio-e17-alpen/

  • Reply February 26, 2012

    Deniz Yildirim

    Hey Mike, I’m looking for a DAC/Amp combo for my JH13 pro and the neutrality of this device brought about my attention. Do you think the Audinst would do justice to the JH13 Pro sonically?

    • Reply February 27, 2012

      Mike

      Well I would be more inclined to recommend a true portable device for the JH13, but if a USB DAC is what you’re looking for then the Audinst is a good one. Of course if you get a higher end DAC, you’ll get even better results, but that all depends on your budget.

  • Reply February 27, 2012

    chua9026

    gg

  • Reply February 27, 2012

    chua9026

    gg

  • Reply February 27, 2012

    chua9026

    sorry for the spam,i think need the email verify

  • Reply March 29, 2012

    Yangorang

    I took out my DMM today and checked on a few random things out of curiosity.
     
    First of all a little bit about the parts:
    REG5 – KIA278R12 – 12V LDO linear regulator part
    REG2 – 33063 DC-DC Converter Part – I’m guessing this is configured
    in some sort of voltage inverting configuration to generate the negative
    power rail
    REG3 – PHJ1 Marking – I believe this is a TPS793475DBVRQ1 part from TI which is a 4.75V LDO regulator
    REG1 – 17-33 Marking – seems to be a 3.3V regulator in SOT-223 form factor from what I’ve measured

    Now for a little analysis of the circuit:
    Ground is unified across the board and is connected to chassis, USB ground, DC jack ground, etc.

    REG3 and REG1 take power directly from the USB bus and are
    undoubtedly there to clean up the 5V from USB.  REG3 feeds into the
    analogue supply of the WM8740 DAC while REG1 feeds into the digital
    supply.  One or both of these may be powering the TENOR USB
    receiver IC as well but I didn’t check.

    REG5 does not seem to play any active role unless a power adapter is plugged in.
    Under USB only power conditions the power rails of the LME49860 opamp measured: +8.35V/-8.86V
    With the 15V stock adapter plugged in the power rails of the LME49860 opamp measured:  +11.76V/-12.91V
    With a 12V LRPS adapter plugged in the power rails of the LME49860 opamp measured:  +11.44V/-12.61V

    With the 15V stock adapter plugged in pin1 of REG5 measured 14.67V
    and pin2 measured 12.00V.  Here it’s just operating as a 12V linear
    regulator should.
    With a 12V LRPS adapter plugged in pin1 of REG5 measured 11.71V and
    pin2 measured 11.69V.  In this case it seems to be doing nothing
    essentially.

    • Reply March 29, 2012

      Mike

      Very informative, thanks!

  • Reply April 9, 2012

    GrindFreakMike

    what is the output power of this dac,i have 16 ohm phones i use now and will probaly use if i buy the audinst.

    • Reply April 9, 2012

      Mike

      Which 16 ohm headphone?

  • Reply April 13, 2012

    Shintita

    Would you recommend to get the Audinst hud mx-1 for the Sennheiser’s HD 598?
    I’m actually using my laptop, so I’m trying to figure out if this DAC/Amp would be an improvement.

    Thanks.

    • Reply April 13, 2012

      Mike

      Yes the Audinst would be a good pairing with the HD598.

  • Reply April 13, 2012

    Michał Kielan

    Hi Mike!

    I recently  bought the mx1 and am using it to drive my sr225i , which, with exchangeable opamps, gives me a very  clear, bright and forward sound. Radiohead records sound just unbelievably real on that setup! 😀
    But since I’m listening mostly to jazz and classical music I was thinking about getting some cans specially designed for these genres.

    I would like to get a warmer, fuller and more musical sound. Leaning more towards lower mid tones, with a bit more bass and slightly rounded highs. Still I’d like to keep the depth of stage, definition and fast pace – important for jazz. I just hope I don’t want the impossible! 😉

    Did some research and came up with these headphones: – Ultrasone Pro 900, – Beyerdynamic T70, – Hifiman HE-300, – Denon AH-D2000. Was also considering buying Fiio E11, if that would make an audible difference to Audinst.

    What do you think about that?
    Which one would you choose, or do you have a totally different idea altogether?

    Thanks in advance for your time and dedication.

    Regards,
    Michael

    • Reply April 13, 2012

      Mike

      Michael,
      The Pro900 and T70 is not the sort of sound you described. The HE-300 and the D2000 are more like it. Also if you have the budget, look into the SRH1840.

      • Reply April 13, 2012

        Michał Kielan

        What about the Fiio E11 – would it make a difference to Audinst Hud-mx1?
        Would you recommend any Sennheiser’s for that kind of sound?
        HD 598/600/650 ?
        Thanks.

    • Reply April 13, 2012

      Mike

      BTW I’m working on a review of the Shure SRH1440 and SRH1840 so if you can wait until next week…

  • Reply April 15, 2012

    Brian Jang

    Hi  mike !
    i have a hd 598 with audinst.and if  i get schiit asgard, would i be able to hear diff??(like $240 worth)or should i stick with just audinsts amp since hd 598 is only 50 ohm headphone ,,, pls advise me thank you

    • Reply April 16, 2012

      Mike

      Brian,
      Mostly the difference would be on bass impact. I’m not talking a basshead amp, but with the Audinst the bass is not really that punchy and that’s what the Asgard will mostly improve on.

  • Reply April 20, 2012

    tai wai

    Hi  mike!  MX1 is my first DAS and i am new to this forum.
    I am currently using the AD827SQ/883b,do you thank OPA128SM x2 would sound better?(they are $180 which is the same price as mx1) i am also thinking to upgrade the WM8740 to WM8741 do you think it is a good ideas?
    Thanks.

    • Reply April 23, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Tai Wai,
      It’s been a while since I did op-amp rolling on the Audinst, sorry.

      As for the WM8740-41 I believe they are the same except for more features on the 8741. I’d just leave it as it is.

  • Reply April 30, 2012

    thnetos

    I have the Audinst and am looking to upgrade from my ATH-AD700s to something around $300, do you have any recommendations for something that ‘gels’ with the MX1 for all kinds of music except for rap, metal and country?

  • Reply May 27, 2012

    Gadi Russak

    hi! will the audinst play nice with fa-003 clones?

  • Reply June 29, 2012

    Jongheon Park

    How would you compare Audinst with MS II?

    • Reply June 29, 2012

      Trent_D

      Read the MS II review. Mike does an in depth comparison.

  • Reply July 7, 2012

    Yark Z

    Hi Mike,

    Will it be a good choice to drive K701 with this amp? or O2? around $200 USD, any better choice? thanks for your advices!

    – Yark

    • Reply July 9, 2012

      Mike

      Yark,
      The O2 is going to be better. I would also look at the Schiit Asgard amp (check our Amplifier Recommendations).

      • Reply July 9, 2012

        Yark Z

        Hi Mike, thank you! i am reading the review for Asgard, looks great! 😉 so your suggestion is for K701 (and maybe HD650 in near future) the Asgard would be the best one among Hud-mx1/O2/C421 (under $300 amps), right? Thanks!

  • Reply July 8, 2012

    Eyal Sade

    how would you compare it VS hifiman ef2a ?

    • Reply July 9, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry never tried the EF2A unfortunately.

  • Reply July 18, 2012

    Mike

    Johannes,
    The HUD-MX1 pairs beautifully with the HD598 and is a big improvement from your Macbook Pro (I own several Macs myself).
    But the new HUD-Mini is out and I’m working on a review of it. I think this is the one everyone should get instead of the MX1.

  • Reply July 18, 2012

    Mike

    You’re welcome!

  • Reply July 22, 2012

    Anonymous

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  • Reply July 26, 2012

    KJs

    After some investigation I was just about to go for this device (I’m a producer looking for a neutral DAC/amp) over the Fiio E17, but then I noticed the HUD Mini has been released and is on offer currently. What to do??

    • Reply July 26, 2012

      Mike

      The HUD Mini is very good, but I didn’t like it with the stock op-amp. I’m going to write an email to them telling them to ship the Mini with a different stock op-amp. 😉

      • Reply July 26, 2012

        KJs

        Ok, thanks – I’ll stick with the MX1 then!

      • Reply July 26, 2012

        KJs

        Actually, one more question: my headphones are Sony MDR-7520 which I believe are almost identical to the MDR Z1000s that you reviewed. As these phones are “very good sounding even driven direct” am I going to hear much improvement over my Macbook Pro headphone output with the MX1? Thanks.

        • Reply July 26, 2012

          Zsolt Ero

          I don’t own your headphones, but the difference between any laptop’s output and even the cheapest USB DACs is huge! With the MX1 it’s gonna be night and day!

        • Reply July 27, 2012

          Mike

          Like what Zsolt Ero said, I think the MX1 will be quite noticeably better than the Macbook Pro.

          I own several Macs and to me their headphone out is pretty average. I can’t confirm if all of them are of the same quality, it’s possible if Apple happened to source a good soundcard manufacturer for your Pro, but I don’t think it’s likely.

      • Reply July 27, 2012

        Anson5

        Which stock op-amp will you request for HUD Mini?
        Will there be a review on HUD Mini?

        • Reply July 27, 2012

          Mike

          I’m asking him to provide an OPA2227 option since the difference is quite night and day to the stock one.

  • Reply August 8, 2012

    William Lim

    Help! Which one is better? Fiio E17 or Audinst HUD-Mini?? I want to buy one for use on m laptop. I was thinking HUD-mini can output to 2 headphones on the front (maybe Sennheiser HD518, Superlux668b) and RCA out to my Bravo Audio v2 Tube (AKG Q701).

    Do we really need to change the Op-Am? What is wrong with the LME version?

    • Reply August 8, 2012

      Mike

      William,
      I’m leaning toward the HUD-Mini with the opamp change. With the stock opamp, I don’t know, I just don’t get the sound. I don’t think this is me being nit-picking, but for me I won’t get the Mini with the stock opamp, but with the opamp change it’s perhaps my new favorite USB DAC/Amp on the $100+ price

      • Reply August 8, 2012

        William Lim

        Thanks Mike! I have bought the HUD-Mini and requested for the Op-Amp as well.

        • Reply August 8, 2012

          Mike

          Alright, sounds awesome!

          • Reply August 9, 2012

            William Lim

            🙂 Sway by you, I guess. Anyway, you mentioned the MUSES 8820 to be a better performer than OPA2227. Why then did you request for the OPA2227 for the new Audinst Mini?

            • Reply August 10, 2012

              Mike

              William,
              I just happen to not have the MUSES 8820 around for testing. 🙂

            • Reply August 10, 2012

              Mike

              Hey William,
              I just found the MUSES 8820 op-amp. It’s a really good performer with the HUD-Mini as well. If Audinst can sell you one, you should try to look into it.
              Briefly:
              OPA2227: more forward, fuller and sweeter mids down to the mid-bass. weaker low-bass MUSES: more laid back, more spacious, blacker background, better low bass
              I think the OPA2227 is the better all-rounder op-amp, but the Muses is the better technical op-amp.

  • Reply August 19, 2012

    Nazar Udud

    Hi Mike, Im interested in buying airmotiv 4 speakers and trying to choose a dac. At the moment between audioengine d1 and audinst hub mx1 to connect to my laptop thou in future planin to upgrade to imac where I could use toslink cable from d1 but only usb from audinst. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Reply August 20, 2012

      Mike

      Nazar,
      I don’t think you should be thinking about the interface too much, what’s most important is the sound quality.

      • Reply August 24, 2012

        Nazar Udud

        Mike thats what I meant, I wanna get best quality of it, and some ppl reckon its better sound quality via toslink, so d1 could be better? Have you heard both of them how they perform? Tnx

        • Reply August 26, 2012

          Ken Stuart

          USB can be significantly better quality than toslink, but it depends on the specific components.

        • Reply August 27, 2012

          Mike

          I’ve only heard the Audinst

  • Reply August 26, 2012

    christopherpuchta

    I’ve had the MX1 for a while now and love it to get some good sound out of my Mac!
    Any opinions on feeding the MX1 into a tube amp (and then to LCD2’s or similar)? Good/bad idea!?

    • Reply August 27, 2012

      Mike

      Sure, you can feed the signal to another amp through the line out.

  • Reply October 17, 2012

    Barjoyai

    hi Mike, I’m having this mx1 for a while now.. paired it with my audioengine 5 speakers and using yuin pk3 earphones as well. Just wanted to ask your opinion, i’m interested with JDS lab O2 amp. will it be a wise choice to feed the output with the O2 amp?

    • Reply October 18, 2012

      Mike

      Ummm.. yeah sure, what are you looking to gain?

      • Reply October 18, 2012

        Barjoyai

        I’m planning to buy full can headphone probably senn hd598 and use with it.

        • Reply October 18, 2012

          Mike

          Yes it’s a good combo, amp section is not very punchy but makes for a good compact solution with a laptop.

          • Reply October 20, 2012

            Barjoyai

            Thanks, I’ll consider that!

  • Reply November 24, 2012

    Papoom Vibhatasilpin

    Hi Mike, How is MX1 vs Fiio E10

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Trent_D

      Check out the fiio e10 review. They are compared there.

  • Reply December 2, 2012

    Ryan Yang

    Hey Mike do you think this unit alone will be able to drive 250ohm DT990? If not would you recommend an amp within $300 to pair up with. Cheers

    • Reply December 2, 2012

      Trent_D

      If it can drive the 300ohm HD800, it should be able to handle the 250ohm DT990.

  • Reply December 26, 2012

    Abdelrahman AlMahmoud

    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?

    Thanks

    • Reply December 26, 2012

      Trent_D

      yes

  • Reply January 29, 2013

    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?

    • Reply January 31, 2013

      Mike

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

      http://www.headfonia.com/bottlehead-crack-otl-addiction/

      • Reply January 31, 2013

        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)

        • Reply January 31, 2013

          Mike

          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.

          • Reply February 1, 2013

            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

            • Reply February 2, 2013

              Mike

              You’re welcome Martin.

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  • Reply March 9, 2013

    WatCult

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

    • Reply March 13, 2013

      Mike

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

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  • Reply April 16, 2013

    Akinari Kanegawa

    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?

  • Reply April 17, 2013

    Akinari Kanegawa

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

    • Reply April 17, 2013

      Mike

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

  • Reply April 30, 2013

    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?

  • Reply October 16, 2014

    Isua

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

  • Reply August 12, 2015

    matthew36

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

    • Reply August 12, 2015

      Dave Ulrich

      Sure

      • Reply August 12, 2015

        matthew36

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

  • Reply September 1, 2016

    Sunshine Cortes

    My colleagues were looking for HUD-1 earlier this week and saw a great service with lots of fillable forms . If others need HUD-1 too , here’s http://goo.gl/vNo2NQ

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