Tone 2 Pro

BlazeES

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#1
I've known that a few of you have been interested in DAC recommendations and I have been asked by a few inside and outside of here about specific recommendations. I don't own this one (yet...) but I'm more than casually impressed.

Apart from what this thing does on the inside, it's the interconnect options that I think some of you might find very useful & intriguing.
What this widget has that I've not seen before is a new-gen of RCA barrel connectors that accommodate balanced connections.
This company even offers the RCA to XLR cable assemblies. So in a nutshell, this thing can be connected to a computer to 'serve' up your tunes and then
interfaced with a whole host of high-end gear that demands XLR...

https://www.khadas.com/product-page/tone2pro

Check out this colorful review by Zeos of 'Z Reviews' on YouTube. This cat is about as foul-mouthed, crazy as they come but does do a lot of reviews:

 
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BlazeES

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#4
I think it's the one to buy to be honest. The performance is top-shelf for a DAC, is MQA certified which is some new kind of audiophile standard and it even accepts linear power via USB... which means it could powered by a large-ish battery pack for noise isolation purposes.

I've done a bit of research on Khadas and it appears their main gig is building up sub assemblies for OEM/ODM's that need a compact solution.
Their first gen raw board kit was easily paired with a Rasperry Pi computer-on-a-slab and I imagine it found it's way into some pretty expensive rigs.

I think this 'finished' product is just a way to spread the word and to fill a void in the market place.
 

mlucitt

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#5
Not bad for $200.00. People spend that for 1/4 of one interconnect cable nowadays...

I just don't know what to do with one of these? What functions does it provide that I need but don't already have?

I don't need a headphone amp, I built one for fun, but my laptop has a headphone jack for when I am listening to NSFW audio files.
My CD player plugs into my preamp that plugs into my WOPL, so I don't need a DAC for that.
My turntable (if I had one) is already analog, so I don't need a DAC for that.

What do I need this for? Except it is cool and everyone else wants one too...
 
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BlazeES

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#6
Not bad for $200.00. People spend that for 1/4 of one interconnect cable nowadays...

I just don't know what to do with one of these? What functions does it provide that I need but don't already have?

I don't need a headphone amp, I built one for fun, but my laptop has a headphone jack for when I am listening to NSFW audio files.
My CD player plugs into my preamp that plugs into my WOPL, so I don't need a DAC for that.
My turntable (if I had one) is already analog, so I don't need a DAC for that.

What do I need this for? Except it is cool and everyone else wants one too...
Sounds like you don't need one. Can't argue with that ... :cool:
If you don't dabble in digital file formats, then your life is complete.



So here goes on a couple of usage cases...

Lee was looking for a DAC solution he could feed into his battery powered pre-amp. Then it's a simple matter of connecting up his computer with his library of congress sized, music catalog. Bingo!

I've been looking for a DAC that is flexible and could be added to my vintage rig (1990's ...) where I can use coaxial digital connections, computer connections and headphone monitoring... and even go so far as to feed this into future XLR capable gear and/or use to grab output from various digital widgets to facilitate recording my own FLAC or DSD files, i.e. Sugar Cube immediately comes to mind.

And finally a generic usage case: A lot of computers have meh headphone outs and/or built-in audio codecs. Sound-blaster and other firms sell add-ons that are either gamer or computer realm-centric solutions... some at stupid prices. This kit can be connected to just about any computer, is unobtrusive in size and immediately provides reference audio output to headphones or gear. That usage scenario alone, with the balanced output format and internals, is worth the price of admission.
 
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Elite-ist

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#7
I subscribed to the newsletter and for product updates. What would be of interest for anyone who wants to find out the good and not so good, before committing to buying the Tone 2 Pro, read the Khadas forum posts.

Nando.
 

Bob Boyer

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#9
That is cool. May see if they think it would work with the A&K player sine it works with smartphones. Could be a really cool headphone amp first, and maybe a better DAC than is in the A&K. Curious what its dimensions are...
 

BlazeES

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#10
That is cool. May see if they think it would work with the A&K player sine it works with smartphones. Could be a really cool headphone amp first, and maybe a better DAC than is in the A&K. Curious what its dimensions are...
I suspect the A&K is going to have more 'juice' to drive more demanding loads. Just a guess based on what I've experienced with my Sony WM.

From what I've gathered, the Tone 2 Pro is probably more suited for in-ear-monitors when it's about performance, all on it's own - as a headphone amp.
With all the connectivity options, it seems more geared to be a source to high powered amps in the grander scheme of things.
 

BlazeES

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#11
Here's another review, more in line with a mothers, 'seal of approval' compared to the Zeos / Z Review above. This guy from Audio Science Review is a straight shooter. Good wealth of measurement data. And I won't go off into the weeds on what constitutes value beyond the audible spectrum, but Amir covers all the important stuff quite well. Opinions that drift into the ether of an IMD type discussion turns me off, especially when we're talking about 4th order harmonics.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/khadas-tone2-pro-review-dac-amp.20684/
 

BlazeES

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#12
Got it!

20210329_145731.jpg 20210329_145803.jpg

Red blooded Sicilians always default to anything in racing red, but I wanted the maximum contrast for the LED status ring. So black it is.
That red one looks cool as hell though ... :cool:

This thing connected up with Win 10 no probs whatsoever. Not a glitch. Immediately became a recognized audio device and switched to it without having to do a damn thing.

Tried the low/high gain setting and it appears to have plenty of juice to drive more demanding cans but in the low gain setting, it has gobs of gain for what I own - both cans & in ear monitors. (I'm a balanced connection type guy on both cans and IM's ... so I'll post more once I play around with unbalanced connections...)

People complain about the user interface (the light ring thing...) being bad and confusing. I laughed. The setting 'tree' is minimal and once you run through that list top to bottom, there's not much to commit to memory. It makes sense lickity split. Plus, I can't image a lot of folks having to delve into those settings that often.

It sounds neutral and transparent with the DSD and lossless tracks in my library. Straight away I noticed that it blows away the DAC built into my computer motherboard... by far! Also noticed with this thing at mid-volume levels is that I can hear below the noise floor of the content. Hard to explain but I compared to my Sony DAP and it's totally obvious. This thing reaches low into the space below the stage.

I hope someone out in the intewebs ether gets the required API packs to give this thing a control panel for Windows. Maybe even Khadas will come out with one. That would be a pretty simple thing to gin up, making it a complete solution for computer users and would shut down a big chunk of the dial-click wheel/LED cry babies for sure.
 
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Gepetto

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#13
Got it!

View attachment 49546 View attachment 49547

Red blooded Sicilians always default to anything in racing red, but I wanted the maximum contrast for the LED status ring. So black it is.
That red one looks cool as hell though ... :cool:

This thing connected up with Win 10 no probs whatsoever. Not a glitch. Immediately became a recognized audio device and switched to it without having to do a damn thing.

Tried the low/high gain setting and it appears to have plenty of juice to drive more demanding cans but in the low gain setting, it has gobs of gain for what I own - both cans & in ear monitors. (I'm a balanced connection type guy on both cans and IM's ... so I'll post more once I play around with unbalanced connections...)

People complain about the user interface (the light ring thing...) being bad and confusing. I laughed. The setting 'tree' is minimal and once you run through that list top to bottom, there's not much to commit to memory. It makes sense lickity split. Plus, I can't image a lot of folks having to delve into those settings that often.

It sounds neutral and transparent with the DSD and lossless tracks in my library. Straight away I noticed that it blows away the DAC built into my computer motherboard... by far! Also noticed with this thing at mid-volume levels is that I can hear below the noise floor of the content. Hard to explain but I compared to my Sony DAP and it's totally obvious. This thing reaches low into the space below the stage.

I hope someone out in the intewebs ether gets the required API packs to give this thing a control panel for Windows. Maybe even Khadas will come out with one. That would be a pretty simple thing to gin up, making it a complete solution for computer users and would shut down the dial-click wheel/LED cry babies for sure.
Nice, interesting styling on it...
 

BlazeES

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#16
I watched a few of ASR's reviews on the Topping gear. Their stuff does look excellent, even the more entry-level leaning models.
 

pennysdad

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#17
My old MacBook is a workhorse. It does everything, from playing movies [via HDMI to the TV], to music.
Most of my music files are FLAC in various bitrates. It has optical out [from the h/phone socket] which I run a 15 metre Toslink fibre optic cable, which cost AU$10, to my "Digital Optical Coax Coaxial Toslink to Analog Audio Converter Adapter RCA DAC". It cost AU$11.95 [click the pic below] .
Works GREAT! Am I being too cheap? :oops:
Being really close the amp means I can use really short leads so no real need to go balanced although I do run through some old transformers just to 'fatten' it up a bit.

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 2.36.25 am.png Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 2.23.33 am.png
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Digital...319598?hash=item1d01dd1cae:g:bqwAAOSw6~de5DFA
 

Elite-ist

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#18
I bought a Topping D-10, but I haven't patched in as I have been still using my Behringer UFO202 for a few years now without a problem.

Nando.
 
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