Disclaimer: I received the Stoner Acoustics UD120 free of charge for this review directly out of Malaysia. The UD100 they released in 2012, I bought myself.
The Stoner Story
Stoner Acoustics is located in Malaysia and it basically is one guy’s DIY project that got out of hand. I mean that in the most respectful way, what Stoner Acoustics has done over the last few years is impressive and most important it’s all for the community.
In 2012, that’s a long time ago in the audio world, I listened to my friend Erik’s UD100 at a small meet we had. At that time the UD100 was brand new and Stoner Acoustics had only just released their very first unit. After having tested it with my Violectric V200 and Bottlehead Crack at the meet, I decided to order one right away. I think it cost me $49.
And there you have it. With a minimalist and affordable design, Stoner Acoustics wants everyone to be able to enjoy better sound than that your integrated PC sound card is delivering. In 2012 most USB DACs weren’t that small and I’m pretty sure Stoner Accoustics is still making one of the smallest USB DACs on the market at this time.
Not The First
The UD120 is their latest creation but as I just said they started with the UD100 and there even was an UD110 in between. A Small overview:
Bit depth / Sampling Rate (max): 16bit / 48kHz.
USB Receiver used was the TI PCM2706 and the ESS Sabre ES9023 was the DAC chip
Bit depth / Sampling Rate (max): 16/32bit @ 32/44.1/48/88.2/96Khz
USB Receiver used was the Saviaudio SA9027 and the DAC chip changed to the TI PCM5102A
Bit depth / Sampling Rate (max) 16/24/32 Bit @ 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/(352.8/384asio) kHz
More specs below
Most of us audio lovers are never satisfied and Stoner Acoustics noticed that as well. They kept receiving suggestions and requests from UD100/110 owners wanting a higher playback resolution, more bit depth and a better case. The UD120 was born.
I for one am very happy with the new mini-jack connector. The one on the UD100 just is so fragile I fear I’m going to break it each time I connect or disconnect my 3.5mm to RCA cable.
The UD120 has these specs
-USB Audio Class (UAC) 2.0
-16/24/32 Bit @ 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/(352.8/384 asio) kHz
-Ultra Low Noise TPS7A4700 LDO
-Output Impedance at 470OHM
-Windows (Driver provided) | MAC | Ubuntu
-1 Year limited warranty
The new UD120 still is tiny. Sure it’s a little bigger than the original and yes it has like 10cm of cable connected to it but it’s still extremely portable when traveling. That being said you will most likely need an external amp to go along with that but the DAC itself is very small.
The new UD120 doesn’t look as cool any more than the yellow shrink wrapped UD100 but you do get better sound, easier connectivity and extended life time. I’ll take that over its looks every day. One thing to mention, but Stoner never made that a secret, is that the UD120 gets quite warm when it is being used. I wouldn’t even say it gets hot and you can touch it without burning yourself but it do is the warmest mini USB DAC in my possession.
I, for some strange reason, expected the UD120 to do DSD before I read anything about it but of course it doesn’t and that is more than ok. The UD120 however does even works on some Android devices but I can’t say I tried it with my Samsung S4.
Sound and much more on the next page