The THX Onyx joins a crowd of portable DAC/amps designed to be plugged into a computer or smartphone for improved on-the-go audio quality. Its $199 price locates it in the middle of the pack in terms of affordability, but when you check the Onyx’s specs, you’ll see you get quite a bit here for the money.
While most other portable DAC/ amps top out at 24-bit/96kHz decoding, the Onyx handles PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz plus DSD. It also serves as an MQA renderer to “unfold” streamed or downloaded MQA-encoded high-res music. Inside the Onyx is a ESS ES9281PRO DAC chip for digital-to-analog conversion. A second chip holds the patented Achromatic Audio Amplifier, which, according to THX, uses feed-back and feedforward error correction to reduce distortion and noise. The company specs power output at 180mW and says the Onyx drives headphone impedances from 22 to 600 Ohms—a range coveriing most cans you’re likely to pair with it.
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