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DiDiT DAC212 converter, preamp and headphone amp

26.10.2015..
DiDiT DAC212
..

Click here for the previous test of the DiDiT DAC212 in the Mac OS environment


 

Odi et amo, used to say a famous Latin poet. That is what happened to me with this DiDiT DAC212. The first impression was one of the best piano I have ever heard. By the way, I have listened to many converters before… So, after a great Keith Jarret in CD format, I connected the DiDiT to my music server that uses the everlasting Windows 7. Here I have realized that:

  • at the time the DAC did not use Windows 7
  • in a short time DiDiT would have covered also this old operating system
  • everything was suitable for my laptop with Windows 8.1
  • it was time to update the system to Windows 10...

Now everything is OK. At the drop of a hat, the PC eats the USB drivers that we can easily find at this link. We are ready to start.

 

DiDiT Audio suggests as multimedia application Jriver, Roon Labs and Foobar 2000. I have also tested Jplay, but we will talk about it later. If you want to use Foobar, you can check this manual here. In ten minutes, you can easily configure everything.

 

The DiDiT DAC212, as you can read here in the article of our Chief Editor Castelli, besides being a DAC, is also a preamplifier and a headphone amplifier. Here, however, I will deal mainly with the DAC and the Windows environment.

 

First setup: Stat Audio Immagine loudspeakers, Musical Fidelity A 5.5 integrated amplifier and DIY Music Server with Win10 and Foobar 2000 Darkone.

These small loudspeakers in pneumatic suspensions are peculiar. They can be revelator as well as the ScanSpeak series Revelator that they use. Matched with the Musical Fidelity/DiDiT pair, we can reach the right dose of malice and refinement required by a good playback. The first one is the bad guy, while the DiDiT fixes everything up. Great scene, instruments in the right place, big soundstage and many details always at one’s disposal.

I think that the power supply of the DiDiT has been made with care and, even if someone does not like the switching solution, the outcome is remarkable, also thanks to the good filtering.

I play many tracks, not properly of audiophile quality, but there is always a great involvement. I say to myself “ok, another track and that’s it. I have too many things to do!” Nevertheless, the pleasure is so great that this last track plays for hours.

I can hear a level of extraordinary realism. With eyes closed, I am at the live event. Also with the harder musical genres and at high volume, everything is focused and with an unquestionable distortion.

 

Second setup: Vandersteen 2ce loudspeakers, Audio Research LS8 preamplifier, Adcom GFA555 power amp and laptop with Win8.1 and Foobar 2000 Darkone.

In this contest, the positive notes come from the scene, reproduced in an exemplary way, and from the depth of the soundstage, remarkable indeed. The music surrounds us from every direction. The listener is in the middle of a myriad of information. The soundstage is big. The instruments are placed with extreme precision and it is easy to detach each one of them.

The Wall by Roger Waters in a live version is really something.

You feel like a tiny little man surrounded by music and people, staring with wonder at this huge stage.

While I am writing, my terms for comparison are the M2Tech Young and the Sennheiser HDVD800 headphone amp/DAC.

What the DAC212 can add on, is a more forwarded and realistic soundstage and can go down in a more real and controlled way. From the point of view of the extension is not something astounding, but the accuracy is impeccable.

The tone of the instruments is a great approximation of how they perform in the reality and also with the most demanding ones, like the piano, you understand that the designer knows well the music and how it has to be reproduced by the DiDiT DAC212. I play big orchestra like the Cincinnati Pop Orchestra and the Dallas Wind Symphony. The bass that before was feeble, with the two woofers of the Vandersteen becomes impeccable and, most of all, without any tail. On the contrary, the high range has not a great refinement, but you cannot ask for everything, can you?

 

I have tested in both setups also Jriver and Jplay but, in the end, I think that Foobar is the best choice and it is also free. Great synergy with Windows 10, which is more performing, I believe and really interesting. On the web, you can find manuals to optimize it for an audiophile use.

 

If I had to decide on, my choice would be Windows 10 and Foobar via USB input.

 

There is no problem with the DSD files. The setting with Jriver is very simple and intuitive, more complicated with Foobar, but if you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, everything becomes easy.

 

I do not have a great experience with the headphone amp, but I can assure you that it does a good job. With the more tough headphones, the listening volume has to be lower but, in any case, there is no distortion ever.

 

Before judging the preamplifier, I wait the release of the DiDiT power amp.

 

What to improve

The display: it is peculiar but not very functional. Besides, there is no indicator to confirm that you are reproducing a DSD file. (Editor’s note – hardware function, already available on the market).

Output stage: it works well but it is improvable.

 

What I like

How it performs, how it gives back the sound message without adding or taking off anything.

The dynamics, in particular the micro-dynamics is exceptional. Many small details that come to your brain thanks to the great work made on the power supply.

No distortion at all. This is the strong point of this converter.

 

In conclusion

An interesting device, with its character. It can strive with the competitors thanks to its design and its qualities. A choice to take into account.

 

 

Official technical specifications

General & Inputs

Display: Matrix display

Switch: capacitive touch

Mains: 100-240VAC

Inputs: 2 Toslink, 2 Coaxial, USB audio input

Supported formats: PCM, DSD

Supported Sample Rates PCM: - 44.1kHz to 384Khz

Supported Sample Rates DSD, DXD: - DSD64 to DSD512, DXD352.8

Optional slot

Ambient light sensor

Aluminium remote control for basic functions

Measured Performance

THD+N: 0.00035% @ 100kOhm

Linearity: +/- 0.5dB by -115dBFS

S/N ration: 122dB (A weighted)

Output noise voltage residue: 1,5µV

Output Level: 0 dBFS: 1.9 VRMS

DC Offset: 0.1mV

Frequency Response: DC to 50kHz +/- 0.1dB DC to 90kHz -3dB

Total jitter measured at output: 48picoseconds RMS

Output: DC coupled

Output Impedance: 1.6Ohm @ 1kHz Max.

Output Current: 0.25A

Dimensions: 212mm x 212mm x 45mm (W x L x H)

Weight: 2.7kg

 

To download the Manual: click here

 

Official Italian dealer: to DiDiT High-End website

Official current price in Italy: 2,995.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Francesco Taddei’s system

 

 

 
by Francesco Taddei
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