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Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC
Harboring the best of technology and performance, the all-new EarMen Donald DAC is a high-end music device that’s developed to offer a top-notch sound output in a portable as well as desktop setup. This DAC delivers an analog output of 32bit/384kHz and offers realistic imaging with high-definition audio. If you are looking to deep dive into your MQA files, EarMen’s patented processors can help you experience high-end music playback.
Sporting the best combination of state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions, the Donald DAC is very suitable for natural and clear music listening. What makes this DAC unique is its superior separation and pronounced stereo effect while still balancing the entire frequency range. The internal circuit board consists of an XMOS 200 series USB controller and a 32-bit Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC Chip for optimal digital to analog conversion. It supports a wide range of audio formats including the highly popular MQA codec, PCM resolutions up to 384kHz, and 32 bits DXD (352.8kHz / 24-bit).
With the Donald DAC, you get an option to power it either using your computer or in a combination of the computer and an external source. If you use the external source you can experience sound with better dynamics and definition across the frequency range. You can feel the overlays of tones distinctively while the overall sound will become more impactful. For convenience, the DAC has an indicator light to show which power source is being used. While the blue light indicates the computer as the power source, red light stands for an external power source.
The Donald DAC is designed to offer powerful sound and comes in a compact and stylish design. The body is made of highly durable metal along with a glossy plastic finish that highlights the end caps and trimmed frames. It can be mounted horizontally as well as vertically and comes with a standard mounting stand. It features a standard RCA analog output and the commonly-used USB-C port for connection as well as charging. This DAC is optimally designed in European factories to meet the highest quality and performance standards.
|SUPPORTED FORMATS||PCM 384kHz/32bit, DSD, DXD, MQA Rendering|
|DAC||32 bit Cirrus Logic CS 43198|
|INPUT||USB-C – DATA/Power Supply
USB-C – External Power Supply
|DIMENSIONS||L * H * W (mm) 114 x 80 x59|
1. EarMen Donald DAC
2. Donald DAC proprietary stand
Don't sweat it, this EarMen Donald DAC comes with a 2 year warranty from EarMen that covers manufacturing defects. All products featured on Headphone Zone are backed by an original manufacturer's warranty.
Read more about EarMen's warranty in India.
"The EarMen Donald DAC is one of the better budget DAC’s out there. I enjoy a load of purity now and then and I can safely say that this DAC is something purists will like a lot."Read More
"Donald not only sounds great and musical, but it also easily outperforms many mid-fi DACs. Donald DAC is perfect when you’re starting out with the hobby."Read More
"The EarMen Donald DAC is a nice little piece that’ll sit prettily on your desk, and the sound is fine. If you’re attracted to the looks, go for it."Read More
"The EarMen Donald DAC is an excellent DAC for a hundred dollars and a great addon to an inexpensive receiver or integrated amp that doesn’t have a built-in DAC."Read More
I had decided to pick this up as a second DAC to connect directly to my computer and use for MQA and lossless streaming from Tidal. My main DAC is connected to a streamer and CD transport. For such an inexpensive component the Earmen Donald DAC is beautifully constructed and feels solid in spite of being quite light. The performance is excellent - the sound is well balanced across frequencies and there is no harshness at all which is commendable at this price. This DAC has a clean sound with good separation. If I remember correctly, the Schiit Modi has a bit more richness and tonal density while the Donald DAC has a cleaner & better separated sound. Both these DACs are excellent and the one you prefer will depend on the other components in your system and the features you need. The sound with MQA files is excellent, I do not have many DSD albums so cannot really evaluate the performance with DSD but the performance with MQA alone is good enough to justify the price you pay for this DAC.
I would say this is a genuine alternative to the Schiit Modi (though it has been a couple of years since I had the Modi in my system). The Donald DAC also supports MQA rendering and DSD which the Schiit Modi does not. In short, I would recommend this to anyone looking at a budget DAC that handles MQA and DSD.
EarMen - Donald DAC