NuPrime Hi-mDAC Review

NuPrime-Hi-mDAC

Specifications

 

 

For the nit-pickers and nerdy ones here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets. For all the others, you can just go to the next page to see how the unit performs.

Cirrus-Logic DAC and Custom USB Chip

The NuPrime Hi-mDAC uses a CS43131 chip from Cirrus Logic.

You can find the DAC in Cowon’s latest players, the Plenue D2 and Plenue R2. It’s a full IC that embeds a next-generation, low power audio DAC, with a high-fidelity headphone amplifier.

On NuPrime website’s, you get this full paragraph, explaining why the brand chose this chip :

” To minimize pre-echos and ringing artifacts, the CS43131 is designed with proprietary digital-interpolation filters that support five selectable digital filter responses. Filtering options include low group delay with pseudo-linear phase and a fast or slow roll-off. Volume matching of the analog output levels and channel mixing enable a seamless transition between the DSD and PCM playback paths. The onboard low noise, ground-centered headphone amplifier provides proprietary AC impedance detection to support headphone fingerprinting to provide a consistent and transparent audio experience for the end-user regardless of transducer impedances or frequency responses.”

And, if that wasn’t enough, NuPrime chose not to fit the usual XMOS chip. Instead, they made their own customized low power USB communication chip, which supports 32bit and DSD256 files. Let’s hope that translates well in terms of performances.

Battery Life and Charging

No battery, no worry.

Everyday carry

Compared to my usual players, the NuPrime Hi-mDAC is a pleasure to carry with me. It’s definitively one of of those devices that you can leave in your bag, pocket or trousers for days and just forget about it.

If connected to a smartphone, it’ll only add a few grams so there is no reason to carry one. Plus, this is one of the rare USB-Sized DACs which offer direct volume control. It’s not much, but sometimes you just want that extra dose of precision, to reach the right level of sound.

Full specs

  • Type : USB Powered DAC
  • DAC : Cirrus Logic CS43131
  • USB : customized chipset
  • Sample rate : PCM : 8Hz – 384kHz (16/24/32bits) native – DSD64/128/256
  • Outputs : 3.5mm headphone out – Optical Out (192kHz max/DSD64)
  • Input : USB-C
  • Size : 50mm x 22mm x 12mm
  • Weight : 35g
  • Frequency Response : 20Hz – 20kHz (+/- 0.5dB)
  • THD : > 0.0058%
  • SNR : > 100 dB

The article continues on Page five, 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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