Dongle DACs are a hot commodity in 2022, but recognizing which one particular would make sense for you and the headphones or powered loudspeakers that you very own requires a lot more than just a swift peek at the specifications.
Questyle’s M12 Dongle DAC which I reviewed recently was the luxury Chinese manufacturer’s to start with foray into the classification and its general performance produced me understand that their extended-phrase expertise in regard to large-finish headphone amplifiers does issue.
Questyle doesn’t minimize corners and the M12 proved to be much extra capable than quite a few of its rivals the more high priced Questyle M15 is not a replacement and I was curious to see if the uptick in value placed it into the major tier in the class.
Whilst the M12 is one finished with a 3.5mm jack, the Questyle M15 presents the two one finished (through a 3.5mm port) and well balanced (via a 4.4mm well balanced port) sets of outputs.
The M15 is more substantial the the M12 but the body weight variation is negligible and neither unit is complicated to vacation with.
The M15 makes use of a metal shell on 3 sides and a glass confront so technological innovation nerds have a thing to glance at. Compared with the M12 with its automatic get switching, the M15 gives the user a handbook switch on the aspect doing away with one of the grievances leveled versus the M12.
The LED indicators of the M12 are retained with a person on either side of the USB port. On the ideal hand aspect, we have a acquire indicator with green for minimal and crimson for superior on the still left hand side we have the data indicator with inexperienced for 44.1/48kHz PCM, red for substantial sample fee PCM (88kHz to 384kHz) and DSD64/256, and magenta for MQA data files.
Much like its less high priced sibling, the coronary heart of the M15 is the ESS9281AC SOC, and like its little brother — the M15 makes use of current method amplification and bypasses the created-in amplifier in favor of a latest mode amplifier created by Questyle.
While most Dongle DAC companies use the crafted-in amplifier for simplicity, the current manner amplifier Questyle intended has decreased distortion and noise and delivers higher bandwidth than related voltage-mode amplifiers.
The M15 provides a Torex electric power management technique to enable the M15 to deliver most output power with no draining the phone’s battery excessively. I located that the M15 price tag me approximately an hour of battery life on my Samsung S21 or Iphone 13 when listening at regular volume concentrations for a period of time of 4 several hours.
The Questyle M15 is definitely not effortless on your battery it drains fewer than the Xduoo Website link 2 Balanced Dongle DAC and is approximately equivalent with the Cayin RU6 which offers some of the greatest efficiency I have listened to to day from everything in the category.
With two achieve alternatives, the M15 offers more than enough electric power to generate comprehensive sized headphones like the Meze Audio LIRIC and provides adequate finesse to manage delicate IEMs making use of the small get manner and one ended output.
Thanks to the use of the current method amplifier, the measurements seem a bit various than most I still experienced no problems driving the Beyerdynamic (600 ohms) headphones or Fostex T50RP with its low sensitivity.
The HEDD and HiFiMAN HE6 tax it heavily, but both equally can be utilised with the well balanced output in a pinch whilst neither has a ton of more headroom.
One quirk that should be highlighted is that a headphone or pair of earphones will have to be linked to the Questyle M15 ahead of it is detected by the source machine.
This design and style decision essentially makes would make excellent perception because it simply cannot be utilized devoid of a headphone related and there is no point in draining energy from the resource unnecessarily. It is still not a function you see quite generally and has led to reviews on the net screaming about faulty M12 and M15 products due to the fact conclusion users really don’t know about the characteristic.
Be confident you have a headphone or earphone connected to the M15 when plugging the USB cable into the source.
I experienced run into some driver issues with the M12 and wondered if they would rear their head as properly with the two patterns sharing the exact SOC but thankfully discovered that whichever difficulty had plagued WASAPI in Foobar experienced been healed.
I had no troubles with cutouts at all regardless of which unit I attached the M15 to. Questyle lists the M15 as becoming appropriate with Home windows 10 but I suspect more mature variations of the OS could have some issues it is some thing value checking on the Questyle web page.
What’s most placing about the Questyle M15 is the very linear and even general performance throughout the complete frequency assortment there are incredibly several dips and I was pretty taken with the amounts of depth and texture.
Bass notes are delivered with outstanding extension and influence and I recognized that as opposed to other Dongle DACs that have struggled with some comprehensive sized headphones in the small conclusion, the M15 sent a great deal of power, command, and speed.
The midrange is transparent, comprehensive, and rather crisp vocals are not extremely ripe building the M15 a very good match for warmer sounding headphones or IEMs.
The treble is also clean up, in depth, and not intense at all. It might not be the past term in treble airiness but it is in no way etched or really hard sounding with most recordings.
The soundstage with fantastic headphones can be instead vast and deep and the M15 evidently bettered its considerably less high-priced sibling and other people in that regard. Imaging is exact and I was very shocked by how well it rivaled the Cayin RU6 in that regard.
The M15 isn’t soft or sweet and it is undoubtedly not rolled off at both serious fantastic recordings will advantage from its tonal equilibrium and presentation.
The $249 Questyle M15 Dongle DAC surely belongs in the high quality course for a selection of causes create high quality, characteristic set, audio high quality, and the potential to push some rather tricky headphones.
With both single ended and well balanced outputs, two gain ranges, PCM, DSD, and MQA help, there is a lot to like about this product or service. Not every person cares about MQA but those who use TIDAL will definitely want this aspect.
Is it value the uptick in price tag over the M12?
I would advise that it rivals the Cayin RU6 and even some DAPs like the Hiby R6 and iBasso 220 which can make it a alternatively great deal at the value.
Does it make sense to shell out the further resources on the Cayin RU6 or is the Questyle M15 now the design to conquer in the category which also consists of the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt and THX Onyx.
I would suggest seeking it in advance of you pay out for just about anything else.
Where to get: $249 at questyle.com (as of April 15, 2022)