M-Audio has announced two new DAC converters and a portable headphone amp.
The Bass Traveler is a portable headphone amplifier with two 1/8-inch headphone jacks that lets two people listen at the same time to the same signal through 16-100 ohm headphones. While many personal digital music players have a limited output for driving high-quality headphones—which may have a higher impedance, a lower passband voltage sensitivity or both—, Bass Traveler has a 2-level gain switch to boost the signal level while keeping clarity. A rotary on/off/volume control makes it easy to operate. The long-lasting built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery provides several hours of uninterrupted listening enjoyment. There also is an LED indicator for power on, battery charge and low battery indication, and battery charging is done through the micro USB port. MSRP is $29.
The Micro DAC is a USB digital-to-analog (DAC) converter with two outputs - one analog and one digital (optical) allowing (for instance) to convert the audio from your computer into a high-quality analog format without needing to carry anything larger than a flash drive. Since the sound quality available from the typical headphone jack on a portable device or coming from the standard-issue soundcard found in virtually every computer leaves a lot to be desired, the Micro DAC aims at delivering a marked upgrade in sound quality, compared to just plugging your headphones directly into your unit’s headphone jack.
The 1/8-inch analog output can be used to connect any headphones. There is a gain switch that boosts the signal level, so the user can drive even high-impedance headphones to a robust loudness level. And since virtually all high-quality audio equipment has an optical digital input, Micro DAC’s optical digital output can also drive that equipment with a pure digital signal — especially valuable since most computers do not have a digital output.
Micro DAC has a rugged aluminum housing and is USB-bus-powered. MSRP is $99.
Last but not least, the Super DAC is a USB digital-to-analog converter with stereo RCA analog outputs and both coaxial and optical digital outputs. With audiophile-grade Wolfson DAC/ADCs, the M-Audio Super DAC performs 24-bit/192kHz high-definition audio conversion over a USB 2.0 connection. Six sampling rates between 44.1 and 192kHz can be selected.
The Super DAC has a built-in high headphone amplifier with both ¼-inch and 1/8-inch jacks, for connecting any headphones directly without the need for an adapter. It also features analog stereo RCA line outs and coaxial and optical digital output connections, so as to be able to easily connect a wide array of external equipment. Once again, its digital output should allow to compensate for the lack of such connection on most computers when trying to use one with high-quality audio equipments.
Super DAC is USB-bus-powered or can use an optional AC wall adapter (not included). MSRP is $149.
More details on M-Audio's official website.