AFUL SnowyNight Review – Prestige

AFUL SnowyNight review featured

In this review, I’m testing the AFUL SnowyNight dongle DAC. SnowyNight is the brand’s first dongle and features dual CS43198 DAC chips and onboard volume controls. It’s priced at $109.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by HiFiGo for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

AFUL SnowyNight Review – Prestige
Verdict
The AFUL SnowyNight sounds transparent and detailed and is built better than most in its price range.
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Pros
Neutral, transparent and detailed sound signature
Tight uncoloured bass
Onboard volume controls
Hardware-level volume adjustments
Exceptional build quality
Cons
Priced slightly higher than similarly specced dongles
4.5
Our Score

AFUL SnowyNight

Table of Contents
Specifications

DAC Chips: 2xCS43198.
Bitrate: 32-Bit/786kHz PCM, DSD256, DoP256.
Output Ports: 3.5mm+4.4mm.
Output Frequency Range: 20Hz-20kHz.
SNR: 125dB(3.5mm), 130dB(4.4mm)
Noise Floor: 1uV(3.5mm), 1.5uV(4.4mm).
DNR: 125dB(3.5mm), 130dB(4.4mm).
Operating Voltage Range: 4.2V~5.3V.
Output Level: 1Vrms(3.5mm, Low-Gain), 2Vrms(3.5mm, High-Gain), 2Vrms(4.4mm, Low-Gain), 4Vrms(4.4mm, High-Gain).
THD+N: ≤0.00037%.
Output Power: 140mW-300mW.

SnowyNight design

Design

My initial impression was immediate satisfaction as I grasped SnowyNight’s sleek chassis. While tactile sensations don’t impact audio quality, they play a crucial role in the overall user experience, particularly for a daily companion. The SnowyNight feels premium in the hand, surpassing its peers in build quality.

Apart from how good it feels in the hands, the design is nothing out of the ordinary. There’s a USB-C port on the top while the 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone outputs are situated on the other end.

There’s a volume rocker on the left side used to (you guessed it) adjust the volume. In addition, you can change the gain and digital filter modes by pressing or holding down both sides simultaneously.

There’s an LED in the middle of the front of the device that glows different colours denoting the current sample rate. The included USB cable exemplifies the premium vibe of SnowyNight. It’s thicker than average and has a braided fabric sheath. Inside, the cable is made from high-purity 6N single-crystal copper wire. Moreover, the cable has better shielding than its contemporaries and is more resistant to electromagnetic interference.

AFUL SnowyNight with phone and headphones

Sound

Gear used for testing includes the AFUL MagicOne, Simgot EA1000 and Sennheiser HD650. SnowyNight can output up to 300mW from the balanced jack and I found it could easily drive my HD650 in high gain with plenty of headroom to spare.

SnowyNight delivers a crisp and uncoloured sound. It’s one of the more neutral dongle DACs I’ve listened to recently and doesn’t add any extra weight in the low frequencies. If anything, SnowyNight is one of the more revealing and energetic dongles I’ve tested with the dual CS43198 configuration.

Bass notes are tight and well-defined. lending to punchy and nimble lows. The bass response is precise with clear articulation. It provides impact without without sacrificing clarity or speed.

SnowyNight delivers a midrange presentation characterized by clarity, transparency, and naturalness. It accurately reproduces the nuances and textures of vocals and instruments to create an engaging sound. Mids are neither recessed nor overly forward but strike a nice balance in the overall presentation.

AFUL SnowyNight with cable

Instruments and vocals are well-defined and separated, with a sense of depth and dimensionality. This dongle captures subtle details and nuances without colouration or distortion.

It’s in the highs where I found SnowyNight to differentiate itself the most from other CS43198 DACs. It exhibits enhanced clarity, detail retrieval, and articulation in the high frequencies, rather than the slightly softened treble I’m used to hearing from Cirrus Logic chips.

Treble notes are more sharply defined and distinct, without sounding harsh or overly emphasized. As a result, it reproduces intricate details and nuances in the upper registers, making cymbals shimmer with clarity, strings resonate with precision, and vocals retain their sparkle and airiness.

The soundstage isn’t especially wide but there’s fairly precise placement of musical elements. Instruments and vocals have distinct positions, contributing to a sense of realism and depth, enhanced by good spacing and instrument separation.

SnowyNight with phone and IEMs

Verdict

In conclusion, the AFUL SnowyNight dongle DAC impresses with its outstanding build quality, durable materials and meticulous craftsmanship. Its onboard volume controls and hardware-level volume adjustments provide convenient and precise control over audio output, enhancing its appeal.

Furthermore, the DAC delivers a detailed and transparent sound signature, faithfully reproducing the nuances and intricacies of the music. The AFUL SnowyNight stands out as an easy recommendation in the mid-tier dongle category, offering a blend of quality construction, versatile functionality, and exceptional sound performance.

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