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MiddlemanOne

Seiun $40 HiRes Clarity DACs

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Hi guys,

 

Just thought to let you guys know (if you haven't already) I also came across these recently, which are ultra-cheap portable HiRes DACs for smartphones and Macs/PCs by Seiun >

 

Clarity Aura | Cyberdrive

 

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These will do PCM 24/192 and Native DSD up to 256. And at the price range (an amazing $39.99 excluding shipping) it looks like Seiun is now moving really aggressively in the HiRes and DAC market...

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The Clarity Aura DAC I had ordered recently arrived yesterday!

 

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So this is my equipment. I have an iPhone 6S, Sony NW-A15, Pono Player and Cyberdrive Seiun Player.

 

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I've been putting it through its paces...and I have to say it is JUST SO GOOD.

I was very surprised because at the price of $39 I didn’t expect the Clarity Aura to come so close that is almost overshadows the Pono Player in terms of sound quality.

 

 

Using a pair of Grado SR80es as test headphones, I put the units to the test. On the Clarity Aura, the sound was quite amazing, in that it was not only detailed but certainly had a musical quality not dissimilar to Pono. Playing Kenny G’s Songbird at 24/192 on both the iPhone and Pono, the sound and imagery was clear and detailed. Whilst the soundstage wasn’t as slightly broader or defined as Pono it was close.

 

 

Next I compared Anita Baker’s Been So Long 24/192 FLAC from her Rapture album. Testing this between the Clarity and the Pono, yielded virtually NO DIFFERENCE between the two. This was a big surprise. Both sounded fairly rounded, and balanced with strong imagery and detailed sounds. So I then tested it on the Sony, Seiun and iBasso. On the Sony, whilst the instruments, guitar and percussion was clear and fairly focused, the soundstage was a lot smaller than Pono and the Clarity Aura and the vocals had somehow become 2D, losing the sense of depth I could hear on the other two units. Having tested it before myself, the Sony is known to have a ‘glass ceiling’ in that it can’t break through its soundstage at certain pitches. I noticed this when testing Kitaro’s Aqua track a while back comparing to the Pono. Going back to the test, on the same Anita track the iBasso bass sounded less punchy overall than all the others even at the same volume, and the drums and bass sounded muddy. Then comes the Seiun. The Seiun is another surprise because, whilst it doesn’t quite sound as good as the Pono nor the Clarity Aura because it can’t seem to render high pitches well enough (they sound a little piercing at high volumes even when it has been burned in), it sounds better than the iBasso and in some ways the Sony also. However the Seiun Player does seem to exhibit some distortion on lower MP3-grade files. This I could clearly discern on Whitney Houston's Didn't We Almost Have It All at higher pitches especially crescendo. For the Anita track the Pono sounded the most rounded balanced and complete on the Pono in terms of soundstage and separation but the Clarity Aura comes a close second for quality.

 

 

In addition to testing with the iPhone 6S, I also tried the Clarity Aura DAC with my PC running the Pono Music World app. Apart from running all the files with flying colours (MP3, FLAC etc) it also played my DSD files. The biggest plus of the Clarity Aura DAC is that it can playback DSD-256 files so-called Quad-speed DSD tracks. This is a phenomenal development by Cyberdrive - and it showed on my tests and setup panel (card could run at 24-bit with 352.8kHz sample rates). I ran a couple of DSD files on my PC and it actually sounded better than my PC’s internal Realtek chipset. So all in all a great unit to have!

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Edited by MiddlemanOne

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