Dilvpoetry DAC DT-1 Review
Pros: + Engaging and musical
+ Natural and organic timbre
+ Spacious and holographic
+ Tube mode on demand
+ DAC preamp output
+ Independent volume memory setting
+ High resolution Bluetooth
+ Remote control
Cons: – Stock tubes are a little noisy
– Tube sockets are of medium quality
– Not much potential for tube rolling
– Slightly lacking in dynamics and extension
– No fixed line output
– Single ended output is underpowered
– Questionable aesthetics
The review sample was kindly provided by Aoshida Audio free of charge and I only paid import tax and fees.
This is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
The price is $219 and you can buy it directly from Aoshida Audio.
To be honest I wasn’t aware of the Dilvpoetry brand until Aoshida Audio contacted me to suggest a review.
I don’t have any more information except that it is another audio company from China that manufactures cost effective DACs/amplifiers (a total of seven products till now) and it is distributed exclusively by Aoshida Audio.
Aoshida is well known among the community, one of leading platforms which specializes in providing audio products with guarantee of authenticity of everything they sell. They offer free shipping, lowest price guarantee, two year warranty and 50-day return policy on all products.
Product description and technical specifications
The DAC DT-1 is co-produced between Dilvpoetry and Aoshida Audio with specifications set after carefully considering user feedback and the specific needs of the market.
The DT-1 is a tube DAC/AMP utilizing one piece of the known ESS9038Q2M chip while all digital inputs are handled by the XMOS208 receiver which supports DSD512 and PCM up to 32Bit/768kHz.
The headphone amplifier uses two dual triode 6N3 tubes as the front stage to drive two pieces of the legendary TPA6120A2 current feedback class AB IC amplifier by Texas Instruments.
The headphone amplifier circuit is a completely balanced path with 4.4mm and 6.35mm output plugs.
The amplifier is quite powerful and can provide 2W/32Ω of power from the balanced output, unfortunately dropping to a mere 0.5W from the single end.
The manufacturer doesn’t specify the exact output impedance but it does disclose the headphone matching impedance between 16 to 600Ω so I guess that it is pretty low.
One extra feature is that the user can easily bypass the tube stage, by a simple button press, and use the device as a pure solid state amplifier with 6 pieces of the OPA1656IDR to handle low pass filter and preamplifier duties.
The DT-1 can also be used as a pure DAC with a variable line level output, a function that is not affected by the tube stage.
The user can choose between two output modes; line & headphone out working simultaneously or auto where the line output is active until a headphone is plugged into a jack.
The device has individual volume adjustment memory for the headphone and the line output respectively so the user will not accidentally blow the headphones.
The DAC DT-1 has USB, coaxial and optical digital inputs plus a wireless Bluetooth 5.0 CRS8675 receiver (with an external antenna) which supports the high definition codecs LDAC/aptX HD and aptX LL.
The device is powered by an external 12V power supply of typical quality.
The circuit board is clean and populated with high quality parts.
Design and build quality
The DAC DT-1 case has a trapezoidal shape and is made from aluminium with good build quality.
The unit is very compact measuring 134x168x42mm and weighing 1.15kg.
The front face has a double color scheme, half is painted black and the other is a shiny, mirror-like, surface of questionable aesthetics.
At the left side there are the two headphone plugs, then a small LCD screen and at the right side three function buttons that are made from plastic and feel quite cheap and loose.
The front screen has a blue color and it will display the input method, sampling rate and volume level.
The unit comes well packed with the two tubes, the external power adapter, the Bluetooth antenna, a high quality USB cable, a 6.35mm to 3.5mm adapter, the remote control and the instructions manual.
Batteries and RCA line cable are not included.
The unit is pretty simple in its operation, you have to install the two tubes, power on, then select the desired input and start listening to music after about fifteen minutes of waiting time for the tubes to warm up.
The tube sockets are plastic and of low quality so I would recommend handling the tubes with care.
There are no low pass filters available to select while for Windows OS the user must install the driver that can be downloaded at the Aoshida Audio website.
You can adjust the volume and select the input method with the front face buttons but you must use the included remote control in order to perform other actions like enable/disable the tube mode or switch the display off.
The Bluetooth connection is strong and stable while sound quality is very good with minimal losses thanks to the high definition codecs.
Prior to listening tests I left the DT-1 playing music for about 150 hours in order to make sure that the tubes had settled down.
For the evaluation I have used various headphones but mostly the Sennheiser HD660S / HD650, the Focal Clear Mg Pro and the HiFiMan Deva Pro.
The stock, Russian made, 6N3 tubes are a little noisy so there is a humming background noise that gets more noticed with higher sensitivity headphones.
The unit becomes dead silent when switching the tube mode OFF.
I have used this type of tube several times in the past and it has always been noisy, from highly microphonic to slightly humming at the best case.
For users who are annoyed with the noise, I would suggest immediately tube rolling to a pair of JAN GE 5670W equivalent tubes.
This is a dirt cheap replacement tube, especially if you are located in the USA, that you can have as low as $5 per piece, with great sound characteristics and very low internal noise.
A great little tube that raises the performance of the DAC DT-1 to a higher level.
Warning, the 6922/ECC88 type of tubes are not suitable for this device, even with an adapter, because the power supply can’t handle them so they must not be used under any circumstances.
Listening with the tube mode OFF
For establishing a point of reference let’s start with the tube mode OFF.
In pure solid state mode the DT-1 is dead silent with a pitch black background that helps a lot with the overall detail retrieval.
The tuning is absolutely balanced without deviating from linearity while the overall presentation is pleasant with a musical character yet not lacking in transparency and precision.
The sound is full bodied, well defined and present throughout the whole band.
Bass is extended and weighty with good layering and satisfying clarity.
Mids sound open, spacious and well articulated with natural timbre and a lifelike texture.
The treble is always smooth and controlled, quite extended, full of energy and sparkle but without brightness and harshness.
This is a surprisingly well done implementation of the 9038Q2M DAC chip with just the slightest audible digital artifacts and high frequency glare.
It is not the most resolving or treble extended DAC but for the price point it is a very capable performer not lagging too much in technical performance.
I know that there are a lot of people who are quite snobbish and sceptical of the TPA6120 IC but I do believe that when properly implemented, it is a good amplifier, something that can be said for the DAC DT-1 headphone section.
The amplifier is fast, with good timing, sufficient control and capable of convincing dynamic swings.
Of course it can’t match some discrete designs of the same category when it comes to end game macro dynamics, low level detail retrieval or authority and scale of the presentation, nonetheless it is still very good and not lacking in overall technicalities.
Power is not an issue and the DT-1 can easily drive most of the regular headphones of the market, that is of course from the balanced output since the single ended is way underpowered.
Tube mode ON
Assuming that you don’t mind the little humming background noise or you have rolled to the 5670W tubes then I strongly suggest that you use the DT-1 with the tube mode ON, after all this is the unique feature of the product.
The tube stage adds a nice touch of warmth, extra body and thickness around the notes, enhances the intensity of the sound and draws a more organic texture.
We are not talking here muddy or syrupy warmth sound nor altering the frequency response but more about overtones and even harmonics, pleasant distortion.
The only noticeable negative is the increased noise floor, which is not too severe with lower sensitivity headphones but in exchange the listener gets rewarded with a wider and more holographic soundstage.
DAC preamp mode and wireless performance
As noted above, the DAC mode is bypassing the tube and headphone amplifier stages to offer the purest possible sound.
Not much to report here other than that the sound is equally good, as described previously, and the DAC DT-1 is a good companion for desktop powered speakers.
A fixed line level output should be a welcomed option.
Regarding the Bluetooth connection mode there is the usual loss in sound quality, especially in the higher frequencies and maybe a little more than the usual, so I would suggest to stick with the wired options.
In the end
The Divlpoetry DAC DT-1 is surprisingly good sounding for the money and punches quite above the asking price.
It has a well implemented tube stage that can be used on demand, a capable headphone amplifier and good connectivity.
If you don’t mind the kitch and questionable looks and you are willing to invest some extra money to get a more silent pair of tubes then you are going to be rewarded with some seriously fun and engaging sound full of analog and organic timbre that is not easily found elsewhere at this price point.
Copyright – Laskis Petros 2022.