The star of this week’s Picture Sunday is Audirect’s Whistle, a 32bit/384kHz or ibit 2,8 / 5,6 mHz DSD dongle for your smartphone. It’s 99$ and you can find out all about it here: Whistle DSD DAC.
UPDATE: original article included the misspelling: Audiodirect. The company is called: Audirect.
We’ve reached the point of excellence. Cozoy’s Rei and TAKT, and dongles from non-audio companies such as nextDrive, perform like champs. Sometimes, they both measure and sound better than dedicated DAPs. Sometimes they also catch the eye. Whistle reminds me of an extruded metalic onigiri. Party ready.
The brands, Audirect and nextDrive, sound like a fly-by-night sonic flea markets but both Spectra and Whistle are anything but.
Whistle is solid, easy to use, cutely named, and works with a variety of smartphones and DAPs, and comes at a great price. Finally, thanks to its angles, it won’t roll off your desk.
Tuesday I’ll write more about it, but for now I’d like to touch a few things that bother me about the market as a whole.
1. Why am I the only one to publish measurements of these things?
2. Why do companies like Audirect with a solid product use photos from user reviews to advertise their products?
3. Can we expect further products from Audirect, or is this triangle thing their first and last major debut?
4. Why don’t Apple advertise these things more?
5. Especially since courageously removing the headphone jack from their latest phones, the last question is the most interesting. Commensurate to its price, Rei performs the best. TAKT isn’t that far behind. Neither is the Spectra, and, Whistle performs admirably considering how much power it outputs for its price. Miniaturisation has come a long way. Spectra barely jitters, makes almost no hiss, and outputs a signal louder than every iPhone out there. To that it holds signal under load well. If they got their acts together, Apple and Audirect might offload a boat load of these to Christmas stockings. Unfortunately, it’s hard to sell a dongle. Regular folk are skeptical; and audiophiles would rather throw money at an expensive DAP. Why few to no reviewers publish measurement results contrasting the dongle with their smartphone begs the question: do they hold simple a priori beliefs that merely because it is sold as an audio upgrade a dongle automatically sounds or performs better than the smartphone or DAP into which it is plugged?
I’d like to know. I’ve thrown my weight behind a few products that under test conditions measure worse than the product they supposedly upgrade. It’s not always about measurable performance. But if a product measures better than an iPhone (as Whistle does), why not prove it?
Audiorect’s English-language website runs photos from reviewers, which may lead potential purchasers to conclude that those that review their stuff are shills or that the manufacturer doesn’t trust their brand. The latter may be the case, but there’s no reason it must so be.
Come Tuesday you’ll see why I think Whistle is worth it, and concurrently why I wish they worked harder on their image.