AUNE T1 24 BIT Valve (Tube) DAC on it's way!
It arrived yesterday and.......
Aune's best to date, without a shadow of a doubt... this little beauty is just amazing. Seperate AC transformer, onboard regulation, 24 bit.....
I'll be back with pictures and a full write up in the next couple of days.... in a nutshell, this thing rocks!!!
24 BIT resolution
USB 2.0 high speed
Tube headphone amplifier
Electro Harmonix 6922 tube
Linear power supply onboard (offboard AC transformer)
High quality tube USB sound card
Win7, Win8, MAC, Ipad, Vista, WIN XP support
30 second output delay circuit
It's a beautifully built piece of kit and is so simple to operate, just plug it in, connect the USB cable to your computer and, voila!, glorious music
You can also adjust the gain by flicking a few switches on the underside of the T1 and can choose between 0dB, 10dB and 16dB.
The rear connections are Audio in, audio out, USB socket, on / off switch and power in (five core power cable socket).... the input voltage is 15V-0-15V (30V centre tapped) courtesy of a very chunky offboard transformer... far better than these awful switched mode efforts that seem to be supplied with everything these days.
Aune are really onto a winner with the T1 DAC, the photos don't do it any justice, it's a solid little lump of DAC that is both tactile and aesthetically purposeful looking... the top mounted volume knob and 6922 tube glowing on top give it such a unique look I'm not sure if it's contemporary or retro, it could be either and that's a real indication of the design quality, I love it!
The sound quality is quite simply stunning and deserves an in-depth appraisal which I will do in due course. For starters though I will be going into more detail about the appearance, the internals, the packaging, the price etc. This is one "slick" package and photos of the whole shebang will follow shortly.
Found part of my notes and are as follows:
headamp board transistors are B649 / D669
Headamp board opamps are NE5532
DAC opamp OPA2134
AC offboard transformer / no load = 18-0-18V (36VCT)
I'll have to strip her down again to get a note of all the parts.
BEAUTIFULLY built piece of DAC, absolutely top notch for the money... the pictures will paint a thousand words:
As can be seen from the above photos ^ the build quality is first class and good quality components are used throughout. The 30 second delay is quite nifty, when you switch on the valve begins to glow and you think that's it.... it's not! 30 seconds later you hear a re-assuring "click" and the valve glows a lovely shade of blue (once the protection circuit kicks in the valve lights up blue courtesy of an LED in the ceramic valve base)... certainly "looks" the part with that Electro Harmonix 6922 glowing and inviting looking but, what does it sound like?
It's taken me ages to get around to "computer as source" listening as, in the early days, it was pretty crappy.... it also involved a decent soundcard / offboard DAC / quality cables and a plethora of other things to get it to sound half decent.
Things have come on leaps and bounds since the early days but you still require a decent soundcard, an offboard DAC etc. or do you?
This is about as simple as it gets as it has everything in one box, simply plug the usb cable into a USB port on your computer, switch it on and that's you good to go.... the T1 has an onboard soundcard, DAC and headphone amplifier... that's all you need.... everything in one compact, stylish looking box.
I have been listening to the T1 with a wide variety of headphones / impedances and have also been playing about with the gain settings... I won't waffle on about the gain settings as half the fun is experimenting for yourself but I will say that every single headphone I have responds well being driven by the T1, most of them on the standard gain setting too.
The sonic signature of the T1 can be described as dynamic, spacious and with a nice crispness.... it's not "warm" and "flowing", as is usually expected from something containing a "tube", it's actually full of impact with a toenail curling bottom end.... think out of head, think 3D, think space, think layers.... the T1 doesn't so much paint a musical tapestry, it creates free flowing sonic art.... a very perky performance which is musically engaging and thrilling.... all this from one little "box" you plug into your USB port, quite incredible when you think of it.
The price $199 USD which equates to about ?27 GBP. This is not "good" value for money, this is INSANE value for money when you consider the performance, the quality of build and the top class componentry... the whole package is just class on a stick. Aune is a totally transparent company too, you are not buying from some faceless outfit, if things go wrong they offer very good after sales support / warranty... this is all part of the package which is why I have no hesitation, at all, in giving the T1 DAC a massive thumbs up!
My review could have been a lot longer, it could have gone into depth, it could have waffled, it would have probably bored you..... for 127 GBP pricepoint this DAC / headamp is unbeatable, I'll stake my "forum cred" on that statement...... It punches WAY above that pricepoint in so many ways, you've got to hear it to believe it!
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