The DACport quickly becomes a high-quality audio companion for your computer — an indispensable tool for your music to be played back in full fidelity on the road or on the desktop.
Listening through the AKG K701, I could immediately tell that the CEntrance DACport is a very good DAC/headphone amp. I could hear the air around the cymbals and the voice timber, stereo image detail and plump electric bass were all very similar in sound to my reference DACs.
The DAC and the headphone amp are quite good — even compared to more expensive separates. No AC plugs, no batteries. Just plug it in to the computer, and sit back and listen. I never take my Apple laptop anywhere without it.
The CEntrance DACport 1 is the right way to get high quality audio from a computer without all of the inherent clocking and jitter contamination. Computers are notorious for creating jitter in a digital data stream do to all of the simultaneous tasks that a computer is asked to do. CEntrance has addressed this problem by using a 24/96 USB controller chip to feed their proprietary dual stage JitterGuard™ clock management system resulting in 10ppm of low-jitter precision. With that kind of jitter performance from a 24-bit DAC and an all Class-A analog output stage, the listener gets a level of performance found only in the highest-end equipment.
Whether driving my Joe Grado hot-rodded HP-1’s or the new Shure SRH-840 headphones the sound is smooth, full and lush — with all of the detail you would expect from a truly high-end audio component.
EAN Bench Test!
USB Headphone DAC
by Bascom King
The CEntrance DACport is a nifty little device that connects to a USB port on one’s computer and drives headphones with a class A driver circuit that delivers surprisingly good sound.
Measurements were made on my lab computer that controls my AP (Audio Precision SYS-2722) measuring instrument. Various .wav files were generated and played back via the Foobar 2000 program that runs on the lab computer. The output of the DACport was run into the analyzer input of the AP for measurement.
Dynamic range was first looked at for full-scale 1 kHz test signals at 16/44 and 24/96 resolution. As is not uncommon, the two channels measured a bit differently at the higher resolutions. Results were for Lch & R-ch for the 16/44 tests, -95.7, -95.3 dBFS, and for the 24/96 tests, -114.0, -104.2 dBFS.
Next, THD was checked for a full scale 0 dBFS 1 kHz test signal run as a 16/44 .wav file both for a high impedance load (like if it was used as a DAC to drive one’s sound system) and for a 50 ohm load. The measurements are in a 22 kHz bandwidth. The unit’s volume control was fully up.
For Lch/Rch, results for the high impedance load were: 0.0028/0.0034%. For a 24/96 .wav file, results were 0.0019/0.0032%. For the 50-ohm load, results were 0.02/0.022%. See Figure 1 for a plot of how 1 kHz THD+N reduces with input level with the 50 ohm load with 24/96 data. With the volume control was set for 6 dB lower output, the full-scale input level distortion reduced to about 0.01%.
Attainable output power into the 50-ohm load was 185 mW. With an 8-ohm load, the full-scale input signal was clipping the output with the volume control fully open. With the volume control reduced to the VOC (visual onset of clipping, about 0.5% THD), the output power was about 110 mW.
Frequency response was quite flat from 20 – 20 kHz at the 44.1 kHz sample rate. For the 96.0 kHz sample rate, a plotted response is shown in Figure 2 and has an approximate -3 dB down bandwidth of about 45 kHz.
A couple of miscellaneous observations on the DACport: The overall digital input/analog output signal polarity for the DACport was non-inverting. Output impedance was about 11 ohms. All in all, very good measured performance from a small DAC/headphone amp.
Bascom King is owner and chief technician for BHK Labs in Satna Barbara, Ca.