FX Audio DS07 Review

FX Audio DS07 review featured

In this article, I’m reviewing the FX Audio DS07 Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) & Preamp. The DS07 features an ES9068AS DAC chip, fully balanced output and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s priced at $199.

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

FX Audio DS07 Review
Verdict
The FX Audio DS07 stands out as an affordable fully featured DAC that takes the brand into the modern era.
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Pros
Full-colour display
Balanced output
Warm and resolving presentation
Cons
Tough competition
4.5
Our Score

FX Audio DS07

In the Box
  • FX Audio DS07
  • USB cable
  • Power cable
  • Remote control
DS07 front panel

Design

I’m guessing you’ve already noticed that the FX Audio DS07 has a vertical orientation, standing taller than it is wide. The front panel has a 1.54-inch full-colour display and a multi-function volume knob nestled among etched diagonal lines. The volume knob controls the volume (obviously) and a short press mutes or unmutes the audio while a long press takes you to the settings menu.

On the rear I/O panel, we find the digital inputs, including USB, optical, Bluetooth and coaxial as well as the single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs. There’s also a power switch just above the AC input.

Needless to say, this unit serves as a DAC and preamp rather than an all-in-one solution. To utilize it, you’ll require an audio source such as a PC or CD player, along with an amplifier or powered speakers.

I’d like to briefly discuss the colour display here because I find it fantastic. Similar to the SMSL menu found on their higher-end models, it offers full functionality in an easy-to-understand manner. This stands in contrast to the more cryptic settings found on most TOPPING and some budget SMSL DACs.

From within the settings menu, you can adjust:

  • Input
  • BT rematch (re-pair)
  • Output
  • Filter select
  • Brightness
  • Dimmer
  • Reset
DS07 rear I/O panel

Internals

In charge of decoding is the ES9068AS DAC chip that supports up to DSD512 native and PCM 768kHz@32Bit audio. In addition, an XMOS XU216 chip serves as the USB interface. What might be interesting to some readers is the full MQA decoding support which Tidal users might find enticing.

DS07 has an SNR greater than 120dB and THD+N as low as 0.00015. Facilitating Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity is a Qualcomm QCC5125 chip with support for SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD and LDAC protocols. Lastly, there are 5x OPA1612 op-amps for amplification.

FX Audio DS07 with amp and headphones

Sound

I tested the DS07 using my PC as the source, along with the Topping L70 and Feliks Audio Elise.

The FX Audio DS07 DAC has a somewhat distinctive character—a blend of neutrality with a subtle touch of added warmth. It can render audio playback with a level of fidelity that is highly resolving and inviting.

Whether it’s a classical piece’s delicate nuances or a rock anthem’s driving force, the DS07 maintains a commendable balance. Instruments and vocals are presented with an impressive level of detail, allowing you to discern subtle complexities within the music.

Moreover, the DAC exhibits a good sense of rhythm, capturing the pulse and cadence of each musical passage. This rhythmic prowess lends a dynamic and engaging quality, delivering every note with precision and vitality.

DS07 with FiiO JT1 headphones

Strong separation between vocals and instruments creates a sense of depth and dimensionality and pinpoint imaging makes locating the position of each sound easy. I’d say imaging is one of DS07’s greatest strengths. Paired with some good headphones, there’s impressive width and height in the music.

The FX Audio DS07 DAC is an impressive piece of audio equipment. Playing Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”, DS07 adds spatial depth to the music, making each note feel precisely placed in a wide soundscape. The instrument separation lets you hear individual components as they come together in the song. The guitar solos are delivered with clarity and precision and the vocals are lifelike and engaging.

DS07 remote

Verdict

It’s refreshing to see an FX Audio product with such a modern and sleek design. The company has a long history of producing quality products, (like the DAC X6), which were often very utilitarian and somewhat boring in design. The FX Audio DS07, however, stands out with its genuinely contemporary functionality and stylish appearance. Beyond its looks, DS07 delivers audio performance that rivals other DACs in its price bracket. I like this DAC a lot. In fact, I’m so impressed that I’m giving it the PAR recommended award.

Recommended award

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