NuPrime Hi-mDAC Review

NuPrime-Hi-mDAC

UI & Usage

 

 

Computer connection (PC/MAC)

Like most modern USB-DAC, the NuPrime Hi-mDAC doesn’t need any drivers on most computers. If you’re using a MAC, this is no surprise as Apple has made it a mission to ensure that every device you connect will work directly…ish.

On a Windows computer, it may depend. While my Desktop computer automatically recognized the Hi-mDAC, running Windows 10, my laptop forced me to install NuPrime’s latest driver. Once, it’s done, the DAC worked flawlessly.

Smartphone connection (iPhone/Android)

NuPrime advertised the DAC as an “ultra-compact and low power consumption” device. As some of you might have experienced, connecting a USB-Powered DAC can be trickier than connecting a battery-powered DAC.

Obviously, a smartphone cannot feed as much current as a computer through its USB port. On iOS, an annoying message appears, saying “This accessory requires too much power”. A polite way to say “What-the-f*ck are you trying to do with my port ?”.

On Android, there is no message displayed. The device simply doesn’t power on, whatever you try.

Thankfully, as promised, the Hi-mDAC didn’t draw too much power, and with the almighty Camera Connection Kit, and a USB-C OTG port, I was able to pair the DAC on almost any smartphone I own.

I say almost because some Android Players refused to recognize the DAC, but I’m pretty sure that’s more an issue with the phone than with the DAC.

DAP Connection

Last but not least, I tried to figure out if the Hi-mDAC could work with a DAP. “Why”, do you say? Simply because I can, but not only. Maybe you still have an old player which doesn’t sound as good as you remember, and connecting a USB-DAC can be a quick/cheap option to improve it.

I tried a few options, but alas, the players that worked with Nuprime’s DAC were all middle to high-end ones. Sure, the FiiO M5 could be paired, but you lose the ability to answer phone calls, which is why most people will get the M5 instead of the FiiO M6.

DAC Connection

Finally, you can use the Hi-mDAC as a bridge between your phone and a higher-tier DAC, thanks to the mini-Toslink output. All you need is a mini-Toslink cable plugged in, and the device will automatically out-stream digital data to your DAC.

Even though the DAC supports 32bit/384kHz streams, it cannot go higher than 24bit/192kHz when connected to its Toslink port, pure hardware limitation.

The article continues on Page four, after the click here

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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

    9 Comments

    • Reply April 2, 2020

      New Eve

      Any chance you can compare it to the following:

      – Cozoy Takt C 102 / USD 150
      – Ikko Zerda / USD 80

      I have all three and I *really* struggle to justify the costs of most portable DAC/Amp compared to Apple’s Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter… whether with my Campfire Audio Andromeda Gold, Jomo Audio Haka or A&K T5p 2nd gen.

    • Reply April 3, 2020

      Doktor Trychtyr

      Does it hiss with sensitive IEMs? This is my issue with iBasso DC01.

    • Reply April 3, 2020

      ZolaIII

      Well it looks like they at least didn’t exaggerated in published specs regarding SNR, it probably goes higher than specified (more than 100 dB SINAD). When someone tells how mids are elevated & crisp and clear that only means one thing, the interference shilling isn’t good but it’s pretty much the same old story for most small one’s. Aluminium ain’t good for lo frequency interference, graphite is good, silver even better. So far we didn’t see flowles CS43131 implementation, this IC is prone in picking up interference noise pretty similar to ESS one’s, but there are better ones than this with same CS43131 DAC that literally cost one third of the price. Meizu HiFi Pro DAC dongle is the best regarding power consumption, TempoTec Sonata HD Pro has better SINAD & will work with i things, both are around 45$. For a bit more money you can get a USB audio card such as Sound BlasterX G6 which does have lot of additional futures & series amplifier for portable one’s but it won’t work with mobile phones (not enough power to feed it) & suprise DAC is the same one. E1DA9038 is still among most powerful (mV) dongle sized DAC’s thanks to balanced out only & still cheaper than this. DragonFly’s are utter garbage! In the end buy something with battery and easy to fix & disassemble & put a graphite layer coating to it as you will need it.

    • Reply April 4, 2020

      Felipe Luco Navarro

      Excellent review. Thank you very much.

      Have you ever tested the Fiio BTR5?

      I’m going to buy a Sennheiser HD-600 and I would like to know if this device has enough power and sound quality for this headset!

      • Reply August 20, 2020

        james wilson

        The BTR5 has plenty of power for the HD-600. Even the Hifiman Sundaras can be driven to ear bleeding levels with the BTR5 using 2.5mm balanced. After hearing how much power it has, I now assume all modern DACs with a battery have plenty of power. Thats how shocked I was at power output. Bluetooth sound quality is best in class, but nothing like a wired DAC.

        Still love my Tempotec Sonata HD Pro though for anything except Sundaras (with a *little* bit more power, it would be my favorite for everything).

    • Reply April 9, 2020

      Sp12er

      cna it output line level output to an external amp? sometimes I’m interested with usb dingle sized dacs but they just don’t have the proper volume know I know I need.

      • Reply August 20, 2020

        james wilson

        Yes, it has line-out.

        It was very confusing in the article… to the point the author is kinda sus. Maybe English is a 2nd language. At least I hope thats why they call it a “pass thru” or say “to pass the audio to a DAC”.

    • Reply May 24, 2020

      Asta Mahendra

      Is it compatible with Samsung Galaxy S10?

    • […] even more amazed by how tiny those two little dongles appeared to be. I reviewed the EarMen Eagle, NuPrime Hi-mDAC, or even the Maktar Spectra X2, and each time I praised their compactness. But this is on a whole […]

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