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Onkyo Unveils Multipurpose Portable Headphone DAC/Amp

Osaka, Japan — A music-player app and portable DAC/headphone amp unveiled by Onkyo will enable Android and Apple smartphones to output high-resolution PCM and 5.6MHz DSD files in native resolution to the DAC for decoding and playback.

Onkyo described the capability as ‘‘a first for the portable audio industry.“

U.S. pricing and availability weren’t announced.

The DAC-HA300 also does double duty as a stand-alone music player via 128GB MicroSD slot, and it works as an asychronous USB DAC when connected to a laptop to play high-resolution files without the need to install drivers, the company said.

The portable device also features a switching optical/coaxial/analog input, which accepts digital signals from connected devices up to a maximum 192/24 resolution.

To play back high-resolution music stores on Android and Apple smartphones, users download Onkyo’s upgraded HF Player app, which outputs high-resolution audio in native form over Apple’s Lightning-to-USB cable and, for Android phones, through an On-the-Go cable for Android phones. The minimum required Android OS wasn’t specified.

The device features MicroUSB Type-B input and a USB Type-A input.

The HF Player app’s UI imports and presents other audio formats stored on a smartphone. It also includes a 16,384-band FIR equalizer that allows users to create and save their preferred EQ settings for specific artists, genres, or albums.
For headphone amplification, the device uses the high-end MUSES8920 op-amp, described as a discrete-quality audio component to deliver distortion of only 0.004 percent THD+N at 32 ohms. It also features discrete push-pull output stage and a selectable gain adjustment function. The DAC-HA300 will drive any headphones from low impedance in-ear models to full-size 600-Ohm open-back models, the company said.

The DAC itself is a 192kHz/32-bit TI Burr-Brown PCM1795 delivers low out-of-band noise and high resistance to jitter, the company said.

The built-in lithium-ion battery delivers about seven hours of playback time when connected to an iPhone. The battery can be recharged via USB and PC, though charging time is faster with a supplied 5-volt cable and plug.
The aluminum device features knurled volume control knob, bump protectors and positive action gain switch.

The HF Player app was launched in late 2013 as an iPhone app, and with a $9.99 in-app purchase, it brought high-resolution audio decoding to Apple smartphones. The app added FLAC, DSD, WAV and AIFF playback up to 24-bit/192kHz to Apple smartphones, which would use their internal DAC for playback through headphones. DSD-IFF and DSF formats were converted to PCM before playback. The in-app purchase also enabled selectable up-sampling from 44.1 kHz to a possible 192 kHz. High-res albums cost $15 to $20, while high-res tracks go for $3 to $4 per song.

The portable DAC and app can be used to play back high-resolution music downloaded from Onkyo’s Onkyomusic download store, which was expanded last month to the U.S., U.K. and Germany. It delivers thousands of 24-bit songs with resolutions of 44.1kHz to 192kHz high-res tracks along with millions of CD-quality 16-bit FLAC songs.