Mid-range is very clean sounding with the Chronos, with very nice transparency and clarity. The resolution in this area is even better than the bass to me. The definition is quite good, and the mid-range overall has good and natural tonality. The Chronos reproduces the mids effortlessly, without any congestion so I can say it plays spacious and relaxed in there.
Character-wise I think mids are neutral. There’s no colouration, so it has a reference-like presentation here. The timbre is quite realistic, although I would’ve liked a bit more body with instruments. But for a USB dongle, it’s certainly quite impressive.
The instrument separation and level of detail are also very well. There’s good resolution and mids are not recessed at all. Like I remarked, the Chronos is more like a piece of studio equipment since it plays the music lean and realistic with a technical approach. Only in the bass area is slightly boosted, mid-bass in particular. And that’s it.
High frequencies are the same as the mids in terms of presentation. There’s no addition, just the way it is. This is the most striking factor of the Chronos. Most USB dongles I’ve tried add a presentation of their own and colour the music. The Chronos doesn’t do that at tall. That also makes it a nice piece of equipment for evaluating recordings and IEMs.
Treble is nicely defined with great resolution and extension as well as separation. It sounds very natural in this area and I can’t find a weakness in terms of extension, articulation and resolution. This is a tiny USB device after all.
Highs are nicely separated with a clean background, so it’s very easy to pick up the details in the music. There’s excellent clarity here once again, with great definition and detail for a USB device.
The sound stage of the Chronos is holographic with good layering and positioning. Although it’s not incredibly wide and deep like mid-fi DAPs, it’s still quite capable. Stereo imaging is excellent for a USB dongle as it separates the instruments nicely and cleanly. Since it has good transparency and resolution as well, overall imaging quality is quite good.
The Chronos is a very controlled sounding device as nothing sounds boosted or recessed. So the presentation is nicely coherent with good consistency and balance. The device also has a very good background performance with good blackness. The separation is excellent with a studio-like presentation, so you can even do some critical listening with it.
The layering performance in particular is very impressive though if I have to repeat. Power-wise the Chronos packs good power to drive over-ear headphones such as Hifiman Deva Pro, HD660S and Sendy Peacock. Of course, those headphones really shine with a proper amplifier, but you can still listen to those kinds of gear on the go.
Violectric Chronos is the best USB dongle I’ve ever listened to. As the first-ever portable product from Violectric, this is quite a success. The Chronos has excellent build quality, simple operation, and a minimalistic design with elegance.
The sound quality is excellent and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a tiny laptop/smartphone DAC/Amp companion on the go. The price is a bit steep compared to other USB dongles, but I’m sure you’ll be surprised by the sound when you try it with your phone/PC.
If you don’t like to carry an additional DAP with you, you can get the Chronos and have an almost entry-level DAP performance in a miniature chassis.