The FX Audio DAC-X6 is a Digital Audio Decoder and amplifier with multiple input options and a budget-friendly price.
About the company (translated with Google): Founded in 2009, we are engaged in R & D digital amplifier, audio decoder, amp, HIFI PC desktops digital amplifier, power amplifier boards, background audio systems, digital amplifier board and other products. The company is committed to cutting-edge technology products, developing the best products, the best services to meet customer demand, in the face of fierce competition, fast-changing market. we will of “quality-oriented, the credibility of the soul” of the corporate philosophy and the “rapid response, immediate action” style of work to fair and reasonable prices, good quality products, good pre-sale, sale, service, for all the friends.
Disclaimer: I purchased this product on Aliexpress from the ICAIRN Audio store. I have no affiliation with the company or the store and this review is based on my personal opinions and experience.
A quick note about me: Before we get started I’d like to point out a few things. I’m not a technical guy. So if you’re looking for numbers, measurements and a detailed breakdown of internal components you won’t find them here. What interests me when it comes to DAC/AMPs is ease of use, aesthetics, input/output options, build quality and sound (not necessarily in that order). So that means this is coming from the point of view of a non-techie end-user – the kind of person that picks something up because the specs at a glance seem okay, it has the desired connectivity and is not offensive in its construction or outward appearance. Basically this review will be in layman’s terms. With that out of the way, let’s get to it.
Packaging and accessories
The FX Audio DAC-X6 comes in a basic brown box with the company brand on the front along with “Mini Audio DAC. Your Music Dream!”
Inside is 1 x 12V power supply, 1 x USB cable and the DAC itself. The USB cable is blue in color and is of surprising quality. The power supply is fairly small and unobtrusive and can easily be tucked away somewhere.
Build and looks
I opted for the silver unit and I’m glad I did. The X6 is small – lengthwise it’s almost exactly the same size as my Galaxy Note 5 and only about an inch wider. It has a black body of brushed aluminium and a polished silver faceplate. Overall it’s a nice looking product and not necessarily what you would expect for something in this price range. Everything feels very solid. The switches are tight and the Volume knob is machined from the same aluminium. There are 4 rubber feet on the bottom to prevent marking your surfaces and hold the DAC firmly in place. The volume dial moves in increments with a tactile bump in between each notch which makes adjustments easy.
On the front panel we find (from Left to Right): the ON/OFF switch, Input select switch (Optical, USB, Coaxial), the 6.35mm headphone jack and finally the Volume knob. The faceplate is attached with 4 Allen screws that sit flush with the plate.
On the back panel are (again from Left to Right): PC-USB In, Optical in, Coaxial In, RCA Right and Left in and the DC 12V in. Each of the inputs, outputs and switches are clearly marked in white text.
Standard Input Interface: PC USB / coaxial, fiber optic (with toggle switch) Standard output interface: 6.35mm headphone output base line standard RCA connectors Line level output: RMS 2V Perfect driving 32Ω-600Ω headphones Output power: 90mw / 600Ω, 180mw / 300Ω, 450mw / 100Ω, 610mw / 62Ω, 910mw / 32Ω, 1000mw / 16Ω SNR: ≥105dB Distortion: ≤0.001% Frequency response: 20hz-20khz Adapter Voltage: 100-240ACV Machine power / adapter output voltage: Dc12V 1A above Machine dimensions: 146mm x 98mm x35mm (including protruding parts) USB-tier manufacturers in Taiwan with a stable performance VIA VT1630, high resolution, under a wide range of frequency support 44.1K-192k 24BIT 16BIT mode 44.1K-96K, Android 4.2.2 system can support OTG mode (need native system), support Apple phone tablet, etc. OTG mode, DAC part is fine CS8416 + CS4398 LPF output using OPA
Ease of use
Just plug it into your computer via the supplied USB cable or optical cable and you’re good to go. It’s that simple. There’s no driver installation required with Windows 10, just plug and play. I would assume it’s the same for W7 and W8 but haven’t tested those. The device shows up in Windows’ Playback Devices as SPDIF Interface FX-AUDIO-DAC-X6. Just select that as your default device and that’s all you’re required to do.
Note at this point that my inventory for comparison is rather limited so take this with a grain of salt. So my comparison is against the Benjie K9, Galaxy Note 5 and Sound Blaster Recon3d. Testing was done playing from Foobar2000 using .FLAC and mp3 files from my desktop computer via USB and optical connection using 2 channel, 24 bit, 96000 Hz (Studio Quality).
Music tested includes
Leudovico Einaudi – Islands, Essential Einaudi (full album flac) The Pineapple Thief – Your Wilderness (full album 320kbps mp3) Hans Zimmer – Interstellar (full album flac) Earthside – A Dream in Static (full album flac) Solar Fields – Random Friday (full album flac) Jeremy Soule – The Elder Scrolls V, Skyrim soundtrack (full album flac)
There is no audible hiss, even with very low impedance IEMS at high volume.
Testing was done with my Kingston HyperX Cloud (essentially a Takstar Pro 80) and a host of different IEMs. The bass seems to extend a bit further compared to my other sources which brings a nice fullness to the sound. Bass is fairly fast and punchy with good control that reaches deep. With the Cloud, the soundstage seemed to open up quite a bit with a bit more airiness and detail. Orchestral soundtracks bring rich tonality with string instruments and low notes on the cellos have a fantastic resonance that is really moving.
The X6 drives the HyperX effortlessly, though obviously they are still easy to drive at only 60 Ohms but the sound was noticeably improved. Acoustic guitars are crystal clear and you can hear the vibration of the individual strings. Drums are life-like with no apparent congestion. Listening to Gavin Harrison’s drums in “The Final Thing on My Mind” is a real treat with the X6. There seems to be plenty of juice left as I rarely pushed the volume knob above the 10 o’clock position and I’m looking forward to testing with some higher-end cans in the near future. I will make updates to this section when that happens.
My recently acquired Senfer 4in1 IEM also had a noticeable improvement with the X6. They’re slightly harder to drive than many of my other IEMs and the X6 seems to really bring out the life in them, particularly with acoustic guitars, high hats and an improved soundstage but let’s not forget the extra extension on the bass too.
I like the FX-Audio DAC-X6. I really do. The build and quality control is excellent. The aesthetics work well for me – I think it’s a very nice addition to my desktop and being able to easily move it around on the desk makes it so much easier when I want to change headphones. It has a host of input options, RCA outputs and a 6.35mm headphone jack.
If I had to find anything negative it would be that the white text on the silver front panel can be difficult to read depending on the lighting in the room but that’s just nitpicking. Apart from that I can’t really see any faults with the DAC-X6 when factoring in the price, which is always a major determining factor in my reviews.
For someone who’s just getting started in the audiophile world or simply wants to get a better sound than is provided by their onboard computer solution the DAC-X6 is a great entry-level product. It can be found for as little as $60-$70US and is a fantastic little unit.