HiFace by M2tech - A juicy Italian DAC - Review by Ta-Ke

HiFace by M2tech - A juicy Italian DAC
-review by Ta-ke


My experience with M2tech products are from the audio shows, where their larger builds always look elegant in style and there is a feeling the brand always design gears in pico size, which actually fits the local lifestyle here in Asia.
Located in Pisa, Italy - it makes me curious what their other products do, and that's why I messaged our admin expatinjapan and had him loan me the formerly reviewed HiFace Dac- a DAC that packs in high specs in a very compact housing.

Hi-Face was originally reviewed on Head pie here:
https://headpie.blogspot.jp/2016/06/m2tech-hiface-24384-usb-dac-review.html


The first glance at the HiFace DAC: is it..... the same as the Head pie color scheme? Yes it is! The refreshing orange color definitely adds some marks to our impression ratings. 
The casing, as you can see, is quite a bit longer than any thumb drive you have seen. However the overall weight is very light and it isn't fragile at all. 
According to some online info the DAC is packed with dual clocks and a PCM5102 chipset from Burrbrown which supports 32/384 decoding, definitely not an outdated spec till now.


The packaging is very simple, the unit fits in a small paper box and additional info can be found on web. 
A driver is required for hi-res replay on PC and i have it pre installed, it could be easily found on the official site and allows tweaks on buffer size, for Macs it requires no driver, simply plug and play. 
If you are new to such controls, smaller buffer size is always preferable and you have to adjust it till you hear no distortion.

My sound impressions are based on my Macbook pro and desktop PC.

Not surprisingly the unit sounds quite clean and neutral alike its bigger brothers,
treble is controlled and the bass is dynamic and not shy, the output is strong and you could feel the power. 
There is little hiss on both my systems and if you bring it out to work and pair with small cans/ IEMs that are not too sensitive, the noise level should be forgiven. 
Driving power is definitely higher than expected from a USB powered device however the highs seems a bit harsh to me on the Ocharaku, it sounds better on my old GR07 with a more neutral presentation and more treble control. 
I have been switching between tracks and the unit does sound better on higher resolution recordings, some 32bit well mastered samples sound very airy and dynamic and there are no glitches playing back.


Moving on to headphone test, I have the JVC mx10 to test.
The output seems to feed the headphone pretty well, it would definitely be better to have a higher driving power but the dac plus a small amp could be the solution. 
Sound is clean and bass quantity is acceptable but there is a little bit too much treble for me, perhaps bassy headphones or smaller headphones will work better. 
I would definitely prefer adding an amplifier to the system but the clarity and quantity of bass is acceptable with the HiFace DAC alone


Overall the HiFace DAC is a fun device to use, it packs in quite a bit of power and would be able to handle high resolution files. The mobility is good and the device with high output is usable at home where you could simply plug it into your home system and link up hifi/small speakers.

The HiFace DAC is currently available for (roughly $200 - $250 USD) and you should try it out shall you be looking for the missing link between your laptops and earphones on the go!


-Ta-ke

About Author: Ta-ke
Loves to find the best pairings for his gear to make them shine, loves photography and tea


General specs (more information to be found on their website).

Hi-End Async 2.0 Audio Class USB 384/32 DAC

Connections
Input 1 x USB A type male
Output 1 x 3.5mm stereo jack socket
I/O

Standard:
Input USB 2.0 Audio Format,

Output stereo analog
Sampling Frequency
44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4khZ, 192kHz, 352.8kHz, 384kHz

Resolution
16 up to 32 bit

Output voltage:
2.0Vrms @10kOhms
Frequency response:
5-22kHz (fs=44.1kHz)
5-150kHz (fs=384kHz)
THD+N:
112dB (@ 1kHz, A-weighted)

Dimensions:
8.8(d) x 1.4(h) x 2(w)


Power Supply:
5V DC from USB bus

Temperature:
0°C to 70°C

Weight:
20gr approx.

DETAILS
Highest quality stereo analog audio up to 384kHz/32bit available on your PC, Mac, Linux computer, iPad or Android tablet.
2.0Vrms line output level, 112dB THD+N.
Very low jitter oscillators, asynchronous 2.0 Audio Class USB.
Also drives most medium- or high-impedance headphones.
Highest value-for-money.

Compact size (2x1.4x8.8cm) with hi-end performance hiFace DAC has been conceived to make hi-end equipment performance at hand to budget-conscious audiophiles, without any compromise. One hiFace DAC and a laptop, Mac Mini or even an iPad make for a hi-end music file source at the cost of a middle range digital interconnect.

The hiFace DAC includes all necessary features to be the perfect DAC for all kind of hi-fi systems: asynchronous data transfer mode on USB 2.0, compliancy to USB 2.0 Audio Class (no drivers needed for MacOS, IOS, Linux and Android), very low phase noise oscillators and last-generation conversion IC capable of 384kHz and 32 bits.

Windows users will enjoy it in Direct Sound, Kernel Streaming, WASAPI and ASIO (depending on the OS version), while Mac users will be able to take advantage from Integer mode and Direct mode.
While the hiFace DAC output is purposely designed to give its best with amplifiers’ and preamplifiers’ line level inputs, it may also be used to drive medium- and high-impedance headphones: try it with iPhone’s in-ear headphones.

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