Rein Audio X-DAC: Pure German Audio
Normally we never talk much about the company making the items we review but Rein Audio is a company you probably never ever heard of, so allow me to go a bit into detail. Rein Audio was only founded in 2011 and mostly concentrated on the cable industry till they decided to use their experience to bring us the Rein Audio X-DAC. Rein Audio is presented as Pure audio as they want their audio and products to be “pure”. Therefor they handle three principles of design:
- A good design should be simple and easy to practice;
- The products should be able to replay the music accurately;
- The products should have outstanding performance and reasonable prices.
The X-Dac, measuring 190 x 220 x 65mm and weighing 2.2kg, is a fairly normal sized unit using the well-known Wolfson WM8740 DAC chips and the CS8416 (24BIT/192Khz) receiver chips that have an extremely low-jitter clock-recovery. Input methods are USB (24/96), 2 coax and optical fiber (both 24/192). The outputs are XLR balanced while the unbalanced RCA output is realized by running 2 AD797 Ultralow Distortion/Noise Op Amps. Both can be used at the same time which is very handy to feed 2 amplifiers at once. As you can see on the picture of the back plate, the X-Dac is standard set for 220V users but can be tailered by Rein to 110V.
It took Rein Audio 1 year to develop their first DAC, and only the 6th model was considered good for production. The X-DAC’s build quality is German (see lower), it feels like a tank and it looks great. The front plate is very down to basic, just two controls knobs for power and source, two green LEDS (power & USB) and basic labeling, very 2.0-ish and something I appreciate a lot. Rein preferred doing this so they could deliver more (sound)quality for the money. The weird thing is that the X-Dac was sent to me from Asia, without any cables but in a great looking box. After a double check with Rein Audio I can confirm it was actually built in Asia. They stress having several quality control procedures and they guarantee a German quality level, I can only confirm that. I wouldn’teven have noticed it at all hadn’t I checked the transport document.
Installation was very easy, it only took a few minutes to configure the Asio drivers and from the minute I hooked it up to my home system I liked the Rein Audio X-DAC, a lot. The overall impression you get when listening to the Rein X-Dac is its neutrality. It’s not dark or bright, it doesn’t focus on the bass or anything else. It just is a very neutral and detailed Digital to Analog Convertor. The sound is very clean and grain free, I could best describe it as analog sounding, in a good way. Its soundstage is pretty spacious and open and I really have no remarks to make about it at all.
Maybe it’s not the most musical DAC I’ve heard before but it for sure is the most neutral and detailed one. Lows, mids and highs are very nicely detailed and the instrumental separation and balance are great. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stating the X-Dac isn’t musical. I’m just trying to say I have heard more musical yet less detailed dacs, and both can be very enjoyable. The X-Dac has made me discover things in songs I never heard or forgot about like the touching of guitar strings, the foot tapping of the drummer or some minor “noise” made inside the recording studio. It keeps amazing me how other gear can still each time make you discover new things in your favorite music. It’s just very detailed all the way and it sounds excellent with the revealing cans like the Audez’e , T70 and the Hifiman. I guess Rein Audio was right, it really is “Pure Audio”.
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