DACs

CEntrance DACMini USB DAC

ARTICLE INDEX

Introduction to the CEntrance DACMini

CEntrance is a Chicago based company with engineering in the US and Moscow, Russia, design in Holland, and manufacturing facilities in Asia but final assembly in the US . Let's just say 'multi-national'. They got their start in pro audio making microphone/guitar pre-amps with analog to digital converters, the MicPort Pro and AxePort Pro in amazingly small packages. Designed to plug inline on the microphone or guitar cord with a USB output (the units are powered by the USB connection) they provide the smallest possible recording studio, enabling musicians to plug a microphone or guitar 'directly' into a computer as if they were plugging into tape deck. Here, we review the CEntrance DACMini.

The natural extension was to go the other way with a USB powered DAC in the same small package, the DACPort. 24/96 DACs available in line level or headphone models. This product was well reviewed throughout the audiophile press. I first heard it at RMAF in 2008. The experience was disconcerting, how could this little thing, powered with that 5V, computer power supply afterthought on the USB interface sound so good? I was impressed but I'd been listening to different systems all day, maybe I was deluded, audio fatigued.

The DACMini is the latest product from CEntrance, using the same DAC technology as the DACPort but in a larger, rather beautiful package, with both headphone and line level (RCA) outputs. Inputs are via USB or S/PDIF. Analog inputs (RCA) are also provided. That latter input might make one think that the DACMini functions like a preamp but it only provides input switching, the volume knob is for the headphone output, the RCA outs are fixed at line level. The line-outs are automatically disabled when headphones are plugged in – preventing embarrassing unintended loudspeaker accompaniment for your late night listening.

CEntrance DACMini SPECIFICATIONS

  • Design: USB DAC
  • Digital Resolution: 24-bit (Also Supports 16-bit)
  • Sample Rate: USB: Up to 96kHz, S/PDIF: Up to 192 kHz
  • Interface: USB1.1 or 2.0, Driverless Local Clock: 10 ppm Precision, Immeasurable Jitter
  • Compatibility: PC, Mac, Linux
  • Nominal Output level: +6.0 dBV (RCA Analog Outputs)
  • MFR: 20 Hz - 40 kHz +0.0 dB / -0.1dB (Line or Digital Inputs)
  • S/N Ratio: (A-Weighted): 144 dB (Line Inputs); 113 dB (Digital Inputs)
  • THD+N: 0.00022% (Line Inputs); 0.001% (Digital Inputs)
  • Crosstalk: -128 dB (Line Inputs); 118 dB (Digital Inputs)
  • Output Impedance: 25 Ohms (Line Output); 10 Ohms (Headphone Output)
  • Maximum Output Power: 1.5W; +13.5 dBV (32 Ohms Load) +18.6 dBV (300 Ohms Load) +19.0 dBV (600 Ohms Load)
  • MSRP: $795 USD
  • CEntrance
  • SECRETS Tags: DAC, USB DAC