Review: Colorfly U8 – Music Inside

Menus & Play back screens

 

Top slide down menu: Flight Mode – WiFi – BT – USB DAC – System Setting – Audio Setting – Optical Output – Line Output

Bottom up menu in play screen: Equalizer – Shutdown – Gain setting – Audio Settings

Audio Settings: EQ – Play Mode – Line Output ) Optical Output – USB Mode – LR balance – Idle Shutdown – Gain Mode – DLNA – Volume Steps – Gapless – Memory playback.

System Settings: Audio settings – Wireless Network – BT – Theme selection – Font – Language – Display – Shutdown – Hot Keys – Top Bar Display – Info – Contact us

On the main playback screen your artwork will be chosen, when you swipe left if will show the lyrics if there are any and by swiping right you’ll see the play list. When there is no artwork available there is an animation of a turntable, which you can see here:

U8 Sound

The Colorfly U8 immediately reminds me of the Luxury & Precision players where music comes first. Now in this case the UI is much more user friendly but you still get a limited experience when it comes to streaming. The good thing is that the U8 performs really well when it comes to sound, and that still is the most important.

From the first note you’ll notice that the musicality level with this one is high. The U8 isn’t the most analytic and transparent player like the SP1000 in example, no, it focuses on making you enjoy your music. To achieve that Colorfly created a warmer sound with good body and impact from the bass to the mids to the treble.

The sound signature of the U8 isn’t neutral, it’s more to the warmer side, like the L&P gear is as well. You get a dark, black background with great dynamics and a really good level of detail. Separation is really good but the U8 isn’t as spacious sounding as the SP1000 or Sony WM1Z in example. You get a more intimate stage compared to the top level DAPs, but the sound stage width and depth still is very good.

Everything the U8 decodes gets a layer of smoothness over it, and the U8 at all times sounds soft, romantic and even sexy. The layering, balance and stereo imaging is really nice and this is sound which is easy to fall in love with.

Bass is full bodied and has good impact. I personally wouldn’t call this perfectly neutral bass but it’s part of the musical experience Colorfly is delivering. Bass has good quality, excellent clarity and it goes fairly low with good layering. It’s musical bass and that means it isn’t shy in delivery but it isn’t for bass heads either, it’s somewhere in between and it sits just right.

The mids are musical, well layered and dynamic. Like the bass they have good body and a smooth delivery. The vocals are somewhat more forward sounding but they at the same time are very clear and natural. The mids have great extension and dynamics

Treble is energetic and clean, clear and it has good extension and layering. Again you get a musical and smoother presentation but if not, the treble section wouldn’t have connected to the mids and bass as well as it does. Now you get the same feel and it delivers the perfect contrast to the punchy bass. Treble will never be harsh, too forward or sibilant but the energy level is out of this world. The treble section just might be the most jaw dropping part of this DAP

In general the Colorfly U8 is very musical and addictive sound wise. It’s the kind of DAP that gets your foot tapping and your head shaking. While I’m writing this I’m listening to Virtual Zone and it’s impossible to keep still. A musical master, that’s what the U8 is.

Synergy

The U8 easily handles all the IEMs I used it with, in both single ended as well as balanced mode. Never did I have to increase the player’s gain and that’s always a good sign. Because of its typical character I would advise combining it with a lighter, precise and more neutrally tuned IEM. A dark and bassy earphone might become overly thick and unnatural sounding.

At his very moment I’m listening to the Ultimate Ears Live and the bass in this combo is a bit too much for my liking, but the mids and treble section are excellent. The good news is that there’s also the EQ if you want to use the U8 with all of your favorite inears, so there’s always a possibility to increase or decrease the bass level.

Conclusion

I really like the Colorfly U8. It’s beautiful in design, has a perfect build quality and it’s easy to work with. No it’s not the perfect DAP yet  as they still need to filter out a couple of glitches with a next firmware update and why not add APK loading, but sound wise this player really checks all the boxes.

It’s hard not to love the U8’s sound signature and if you love music and want to enjoy every single note of your favorite track, then the U8 certainly is a DAP I can fully recommend you.

Sound wise this simply is an incredibly good player and if it wasn’t for the missing DAC functionality and the “no sound glitch”, this U8 would go straight on the recommended buy list. So as soon as the DAC function is here and bugs are fixed, it’s going to the list. It’s very close.

Full Specs

  • Model: Pocket HiFi U8
  • Display: 3.97 “WVGA 800*480 0.87” OLED auxiliary screen
  • Sampling rate: PCM 8KHz-384KHz DSD64-DSD512
  • Output level: unbalanced 2.1Vrms balanced 2.1Vrms
  • DAC chip: COLORFLY α (alpha)
  • DNR@600RZ: 123dBA
  • THD+N@600RZ: -110dB (0.0005%)
  • Maximum output power: 130mW
  • PEQ: supports 31 segments of +7 segment (professional mode)
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)
  • Bluetooth: V4.0 (A2DP, AVRCP)
  • Size: 110mm * 66mm * 14mm
  • Headphone interface: 3.5mm (single end ) 2.5mm (balance)
  • Native memory: 64G
  • TF Card: 256G Max
  • Battery capacity: 3300mAh

 

Review: Colorfly U8 – Music Inside
4.5 (90%) 28 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

5 Comments

  • Reply January 3, 2019

    Loganaden Balakrishna VEERAPEN

    Lieven at the start of the ‘U8 Intro’ you mentioned ‘Cayin’ instead of Colorfly – you might to correct that.

  • Reply January 3, 2019

    lantian

    Colorfly alpha is based on es9018k2m.

  • Reply January 9, 2019

    Nicolas Young

    As far as I know, colorfly uses es9028pro in testing version of U8 and es9028q2m in mass production version of U8. I tried testing version of U8 before and it sounds better than mass production one.

    • Reply January 9, 2019

      Nicolas Young

      Sorry, I made some mistakes in my comment, colorfly alpha should be es9038q2m in MP version. Colorfly’s engineers have tried different versions of es9028 and es9038 to balance sound quality and battery life.

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