Colorfly CDA-M2 Review

Colorfly CDA M2 review featured

In this article, I’m reviewing the Colorfly CDA-M2 dongle DAC. The CDA-M2 features dual CS43198 DAC chips and an OLED display. It’s priced at $159.

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

Colorfly CDA-M2 Review
Verdict
The Colorfly CDA-M2 enters a busy market but does it with class and great audio quality.
Add your rating here!1 Votes
Pros
Excellent bass extension
Resolving, dynamic sound
Good soundstage and imaging
Hardware-level volume control
5 digital filters
Cons
No Lightning cable included
4.5
Our Score

Colorfly CDA-M2

Features

At the heart of the CDA-M2 are dual Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC chips. The device supports up to 32bit/768kHz and DSD256. It has 2 gain modes for maximum compatibility with headphones and sensitive IEMs, along with 5 digital filter options: Fast LL, Fast PC, Slow LL, Slow PC, and Non OS (Non Oversampling Filter).

The dynamic range is rated at 130 dB and the THD+N is -114 dB. In regards to power output, the CDA-M2 delivers 125mW from the unbalanced output and 250mW from the balanced output.

CDA-M2 has a hardware-level volume control, meaning volume changes are made on the device and don’t alter the volume of your PC or mobile phone. Moreover, the device has volume memory and remembers the previously set volume level.

The OLED display has 10 brightness levels which can be adjusted in the settings, along with an adjustable display off timer.

Colorfly CDA-M2 design

Design

CDA-M2’s aluminium casing is CNC machined and polished. It’s lightweight and feels great in the hand. A USB-C port receives incoming data on one end and at the other end of the device are the 3.5mm unbalanced and 4.4mm balanced headphone outputs.

The CDA-M2 can also be used as a digital interface via the 3.5mm composite headphone and coaxial SPDIF output. This is convenient for people who wish to use the CDA-M2 with their gaming console.

On the side of the device are 3 buttons for controlling the volume and navigating the menu settings. The multi-function button on this device operates with a short press activating the OLED display and a long press navigating to the settings menu; within the settings, it facilitates cycling through options, while the volume rocker is employed to adjust values within the menu.

CDA-M2 with stock USB-C cable

Sound

Gear used for testing includes the Simgot EA1000, Sennheiser HD650 and Meze ADVAR. The CDA-M2 was connected to my PC via the stock USB-C cable and fed FLAC files with Foobar2000. I am a fan of dual Cirrus Logic DAC devices, however, as always, I aim to be as objective as possible.

The Colorfly CDA-M2’s sound is characterized by its airiness, pristine yet full-bodied notes and large soundstage. It has good bass extension, which is a treat when listening to something like the Meze ADVAR that can take advantage of it. Moreover, the bass is textured and layered with a dynamic quality that adds depth to the audio, making each beat resonate with clarity and precision.

It’s not only about clinical accuracy though; CDA-M2 strikes a balance between precision and musicality with a solid sense of rhythm and drive. It handles dynamic shifts with nimbleness and enthusiasm, showcasing its ability to deliver both technical prowess and an engaging sonic character.

Listening to the CDA-M2 reminds me of the time I spent with the Colorfly U8; its ability to navigate intricate details while preserving the emotional essence of the music sets it apart, creating a compelling synergy between analytical listening and the sheer joy of musical expression.

Another aspect of the CDA-M2 I appreciate is the way it renders treble notes—with a luminance that’s never sharp or incisive. Yet it doesn’t compromise on detail retrieval or the perception of scale. Even in the most intricate passages, the CDA-M2 manages to unravel the nuances with precision.

Colorfly CDA-M2 headpone outputs

Verdict

In conclusion, the Colorfly CDA-M2 is a compelling new option in the growing pool of dongle DACs. I appreciate its build quality and on-device volume controls. Combined with the excellent audio quality and other features, it should be on your shortlist if you’re looking to upgrade your mobile or even desktop sound.

Specifications

Dimensions: 58*25*13.5mm
Weight: ≈27g
USB Interface: Type C
Screen: 128*64 OLED
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 130dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
Dynamic Range: 130dB

Decoding Formats:
PCM 32Bit / 768kHz
DSD 256 / Native
DSD 256 1 Dop

THD+N:
-114dB@RL =600Ω,0dB/Balanced
-106dB@RL =32Ω,100mW/Balanced
-112dB@RL =600Ω, 0dB/Unbalanced
-108dB@RL =32Ω,100mW/Unbalanced

Headphone Jack:
3.5mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced

Output Level:
2Vrms @RL=600Ω Unbalanced Output
4Vrms @RL =600Ω Balanced Output

Maximum Output Power:
125mW@RL =32Ω Unbalanced Output
250mW@RL=32Ω Balanced Output

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