Design & Build Quality
“I think your USB-Key isn’t working anymore, I can’t copy my files !”
If you think USB-Sized DACs are a thing of the past, the NuPrime Hi-mDAC is there to prove you wrong. Measuring 50x22x12mm, the DAC is one, if not the, smallest device we received this year. I mean, even the AirPods Pro I reviewed earlier are bigger than the mDAC!
Of course, due to its size, I had to endure a few criticisms from my friends and family. Because, whatever you may think, size matters, and you’re rarely praised for having the shortest, or the smallest one. DAC I meant.
Thankfully, the Hi-mDAC is built in a sturdy, grey-matte-finished-aluminum case. Two pieces, CNC-machined to ensure a tight fit of the board, good thermal dissipation and most of all, shielding against parasite EMI.
It’s not as polished as the Cobalt, who’s rounded edges and glossy finish gives a premium look. But, in its own way, the NuPrime’s DAC has a certain charm, thanks for the mirror-plate underlining the brand effort not to deliver just a bland, slab of metal.
As I said, the Hi-mDAC is a well-built device. There is no gap, nor loose plug, and even the small power up/down button gives a clean “click” when pressed. Also, as you can see in pictures, there are no visible screws, as I’m sure all of them have been hidden right under the mirror-plate?
In my opinion, the only flaws come from the LED, located beneath the mirror. When the DAC isn’t connected, it’s perfectly invisible. But, once you turn-on the Hi-mDAC, a small light emerges out of the blue, like a zit on a face.
All-in-all, apart from that annoying LED, the NuPrime DAC doesn’t fall short on this aspect.
The NuPrime Hi-mDAC is as simple as it can get.
On one side you have the USB-C port, to connect the DAC to a computer, smartphone or Tablet. And on the other side, you get a headphone output (3.5mm Jack). Additionally, the headphone port also works as a Digital output, thanks to a mini-Toslink switch.
Once you connect a mini-Toslink plug, the Hi-mDAC will automatically turn-off the amp section, and send a digital stream (pass-through) to your DAC.
Sadly, there is no balanced output as we’ve seen on iBasso latest portable DAC, the DC01. For those of you who’d need a small USB-DAC with balanced options, I can also suggest the EarMen TR-AMP, recently reviewed by Lieven.
Inside the box
This will be fast, you don’t get much with the Hi-mDAC.
In the box you have :
- the NuPrime Hi-mDAC
- a USB-C Cable
- a quick-start manual
Yes, this is a very, very, simple/dire bundle, so if someone ever offers you to make an unboxing video with the DAC, you better be ready to improvise.
Let’s get to the handle part, shall we?
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