Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Firestone Audio FireyeDA Quick Review

Firestone Audio FireyeDA Quick Review

Thanks to Firestone Audio for the sample.

Brief:  A small DAC for your desk.

Price:  €110 or about £93

Specifications:  Amplifier Structure : Class-AB amplifier, Power Structure : USB or external power supply,             Headphone Impedance : 16 ohm to 600 ohm, Equalization : Built-in bass boost function, High / Low Gain, Circuit Protection : Output short / temperature protection, Support Format : 16/24-bit, 44.1 / 48 / 96kHz, USB Chip : Tenor – TE7022, DAC Chip : Wolfson – WM8761, Main OPAmp : TI - DRV604, Audio Performance - USB power supply:(1kHz sine wave, 2Vrms output), Frequency Response (From 40Hz to 15kHz) : +0.02dB~-0.02dB, Noise Level (1kHz, A-Weighted) : -93.2dB, Dynamic Range (1kHz, A-Weighted) : 94.4dB, THD% : 0.0028%, Stereo Crosstalk : -93.3dB

Accessories:  A mini usb cable to connect and power the thing.

Aesthetics:  Reasonably attractive and discreet.

Build: Feels firm and solidly constructed.

Power:  Even on low gain it could send my HD600’s louder than I’d ever use so there is plenty of headroom in there.

Sound:  Exciting, fun, fast, and bright.  I found it to have great dynamics.  It was always ready to be as quick as you could like.  This leant itself to a very clean, crisp sounding tonality.  In the mids this was great and in the highs too but in the lows it was a bit over quick and lean.  The bass boost can whack up the volume but its felt a bit unrefined.  Too unnatural and uneven so I didn’t use it much but for bass light stuff it will add in more.  This likes to pair with something a bit warm and a bit soft like the HD515, they were a stunning combo actually.  Its Senn veil, big’ish bass with the agility of the FireyeDA and over dramatic dynamics paired perfectly.  With other things I found its exuberance a bit tiring on the ear.  Just that hint too much treble and the contrast just turned up that bit high.  It was always likeable but I found after a few hours it tired my ears and made them crave calmer, quieter songs.  Still really, really likable and entertaining.

Value:  Hmm, I wish it had a battery and a line in.  It’s a real entertainer for sure but I’m not sure who needs a portable DAC/amp but wouldn’t want to use with a portable DAP too.  Does sound fab though.

Pro’s:  Can sound just stunning, bright, dynamic and energetic.

Con’s:  Low end lean naturally and the bass boost is a bit cludgy.  Energy up top can be tiring.

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