Technology & Features
The Loxjie D40 is equipped with ESS Technology’s DAC chip named ES9068. The ES9068AS is a premium-grade DAC chip, and we’ve had the opportunity to listen to many devices equipped with this DAC chip. The D30 we reviewed in the past used this DAC chip. There is a slight difference in the D40. The D40 uses 2 of these DAC chips instead of a single DAC chip like the D30 and has a balanced topology. Loxjie also used a newly developed amplifier circuit in its all-in-one device called D40. This amplifier circuit, called PLFC, which we are accustomed to from SMSL products and even seen in the HO200 amplifier that my colleague NanoTechnos recently reviewed, aims to offer a good amount of power and clear sound.
If you’ve read my D30 review, you’ll remember that the D30 had a truly impressive DAC stage, but the headphone amp circuit was somewhat lacking compared to its rivals. In the D40, we have a very powerful amplifier circuit and it can dish out 700mW into 32 ohms. That’s enough power to properly drive most of the full-size headphones on the market.
Loxjie uses four pieces of Texas Instruments’ OPA1612, an operational amplifier chip that is critically acclaimed by industry giants. The new Loxjie D40 is a highly advanced device. The performance of both the DAC stage and the amp stage is incredible on paper. It has impressive measurements and I can say that what I hear, matches the data on paper.
We’ll discuss more details on sound in the sound section, soon.
Apart from these, the D40, like all other SMSL products, is equipped with a special low noise power supply developed by SMSL. Thanks to this power supply, the background is very clean and the noise floor is impressively low. The XU216, one of the top USB chips from XMOS, is used as the USB controller. This controller is also critically acclaimed by many companies due to its stable operation. The D40 also comes with full-MQA support. Both the USB and SPDIF inputs support MQA decoding as well as MQA-CD. All the input ports support DSD except for the coaxial and optical. Coax and optical do, however, support DoP64. The new Loxjie D40 comes with upgradeable firmware and Loxjie will release regular updates for the unit, polishing and improving the user experience.
As for wireless connectivity, the Loxjie D40 features all the up-to-date codecs, including the best one, LDAC. The D40 utilizes Bluetooth 5.0 and it has a range of 15 meters. It can be paired with your phone instantly. The process is quite straightforward, selecting the BT mode with buttons on the front plate lets you pair your phone instantly with the device.
The Loxjie D40 can be controlled with the integrated volume wheel, front panel buttons, or the included remote controller. Due to the fact that it is a quite straightforward device, it is easy to learn your way around it. It is very simple to use and access the menus and navigate through them. The remote control provides some additional features such as turning off the display with one button. It is slightly faster to use included remote control so I recommend you throw in some batteries in it and use it to navigate. The unit’s screen is pretty basic compared to what we have seen from SMSL and Loxjie before, it only displays basic info like the active sample rate and its capabilities are limited. Included remote easily gets you access to volume control, input and output options, filters, mute option, and power controls. Additionally, if you hold the input button on the remote, the device will switch to the BT mode.
On top of these, the Loxjie D40 comes with three sound color options to choose from. These have a slight impact on the sound signature of the device. There are also three different PCM filters available on the device. I am using the FL1 as it seems it is the most accurate one according to Loxjie’s measurement data on the manual. You can also adjust display brightness. For the full list of available options, you can check Loxjie’s official downloads page.
In this section, we’ll take a look at the Loxjie D40’s DAC performance. The Loxjie D30 offered incredible DAC performance for its price. So I looked forward to the D40 and it was well worth the wait. I had the opportunity to test the D40’s DAC performance in a few different ways. While the cables, active monitors, and accessories are exactly the same in the system I use in my study room, I just changed the DAC and did some A/B testing. Like other DACs equipped with the ES9068AS I’ve experienced in the past, the D40 has a transparent, detailed, and neutral sound signature. What impressed me most about the Loxjie D40 was its technical capability. From the moment I connected the DAC to my stereo speakers, I was impressed with the positioning of the instruments, the layout, width, and height of the stage. The stage is deep, wide, and feels breezy.
The instruments have plenty of air between them and are rendered realistically. The sound signature was neutral, for the most part, however, I noticed the midrange had a slightly thicker timbre, especially when you compare it to the SMSL SU-9 or the Loxjie D30. The DAC sounds dynamic, detailed, and musical at the same time, which is quite a feat at this price bracket. The D40 may be the first sub $500 USD DAC that I listened to 10 hours straight in my man cave. The bass amount, the impact, the attack, the decay, everything seems quite well-tuned. The midrange has great note-weight, listening to guitars or vocals feels quite accurate and equally satisfying. The upper mids have a good amount of energy out of my active monitors, not sharp or bright, just brilliant with good extension and air. The treble is also very impressive, it is detailed, expansive, and travels over the stage harmoniously. The stage height got me all excited as soon as there was a treble-dependant track playing from the JRiver. Overall, the DAC performance of the D40 is superb and it punches above its price class.
The review continues on Page Three, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 1: Loxjie, Loxjie D40, Packaging & Accessories, Build Quality & Design
Page 3: DAC-AMP Performance, Comparisons, Conclusion