Disclaimer: I purchased this DAC from a Japanese online retailer. I spent around 190$ USD plus shipping on it. Thanks to Japan’s amazing private shipping milieu, it arrived the next day. It does DSD, and has both XLR and RCA outs, and comes with a surprisingly useful piece of software called Audio Gate. All for 190$ USD. You can find out all about it here: KORG DS-DAC-100.
In case anyone is wondering, Headfonia isn’t my career. I shoot jewellery, audio stuff, alcohol, and architecture for a living. I’m a photographer, not a writer. And Headfonia, a blog dedicated to headphones isn’t a big, corporate publication with dozens of full-time writers, editors, and narrative framers on its payroll. I make mistakes in my second but best language. Lieven speaks four languages, and writes at least as good as me. We’re audio lovers running a blog, not professional writers supported by an army of grammar nazis.
But there’s a righteous wank out there that thinks we are. His name is Mike. No- not our dear founder. That guy’s pure sugar. This mike is a loop head. He’s ripe mad about my PS2000e review. Ripe, but right about one thing: I, Nathan Wright, photographer of things, write. I never said I was a great writer. And I don’t piss on people that write worse than me. At times, I ‘murder the English language’ as you, Mike, said in an English-language email that was perfect as a matter of course. And that’s okay, not everyone can cast sentences as well chosen as:
I strongly recommend you sell your Grado cans and sue the neglectful education system that allowed you to somehow graduate after developing writing skills that will only serve to murder the English language for the rest of your “career”.
Mike, I make mistakes. I do all my own editing. So does Lieven. So does Dave. So does Berkhan, and everyone else here. We’re hobbyists writing about headphones. And stylistically cool or not, we play with words, make things up, and try to have fun. Believe it or not, I had fun writing that review. I had fun writing this review. Your supercilious education and the attendant fleet of nazis behind your fingers have earned your email a special place: at the bottom of every drop-em potty I find. Where it belongs. And because I’m such a traditionalist, I’m gonna lovingly murder the English language, the bulk of which came from French, with the guillotine of another review.
The reason I purchased this bad boy was twofold: because it looks awesome; and because reviews for it from typical pass-em-stamp-em audio publications made no sense. What HiFi said the following about Audio Gate:
There are sonic benefits in doing such a conversion – there’s an increase in sonic fluidity, for example. But there are also compromises when it comes to rhythmic precision.
Later on, they say:
There’s a likable fluency about the sound and a good degree of insight.
Rhythmic precision™. Sonic fluidity™. Likable fluency™. Degree of insight™. Florid, thy given name is What. Thy surname is HiFi.
Want a good second opinion or two? Check out Amazon’s user reviews.
Want a good English moider? Look below.
Sexy shape, thy name is KORG DS-DAC-100. Sexy like something B&W dreamed up, but in conservative obeisance decided to bin. Plug-and-play perfection and clearly labelled ins and outs like a classic Leica M. Nothing could be simpler. Left and Right outputs are reverse oriented, matching your perception when sitting in front of the DAC. This makes it really easy to blind plug and unplug the proper cables. And both are pretty good performers. In fact, there’s nary measurable difference between the two.
And they are locked down tight. Neither the front nor the rear panels flex or bow when pressed. The front curves gently inward, bulging out most right behind the attenuator. Its power and sampling rate indicating LEDs are tiny, bright points. Squinting your eyes and dropping apertures turn them to cute stars. But they are bright- too bright for a sleeping room.
On the flip side, the KORG DS-DAC-100’s three feet are darling. But they don’t keep the DAC still. You’ll need two hands to push in and pull out headphone plugs. Even then, you’ll have to press hard down with one to keep the DAC from scratching up your furniture any audio gear you have directly under. This brings me to wonder about the DS-DAC-100m, which lacks the feet, and appears to sit flat on bulldog-like cheeks.
Feet like these only a mother could love.
Sound after the jump: