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Khadas announced Tone2 pro mini desktop & portable DAC


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Khadas, well known for the 99$ Khadas Tone Board DAC, has announced a sublimal successor for the beloved unit:
Tone2 Pro (Perspective)Tone2 Pro (Front)

Tone2 Pro (Back Angled)Tone2 Pro (Top)
The Tone2 pro
 

DAC + OPA1612 Op-Amps - Tone2 Pro combines the ESS ES9038Q2M with x4 OPA1612 operational amplifiers that deliver superior audio quality.

High Performance - Up to 32bit 384KHz sample rate, bit-perfect DSD512, and -118dB THD+N (line-out).

Balanced RCA - Next-generation "balanced RCA line-out" with 3-pin output, sets a new interface standard for the Hi-Fi industry.

Linear Power Supply - Tone2 Pro has a second USB-C (I2S) port that supports 5V linear power supplies for ultra clean signal-to-noise ratios.

Volume knob
It looks like the unit design is quite close to the initial ideas and demands from customer in Khadas' own support forum. In pre-sales the offer stands at 169$, later it will be available at 199$ via hifigo.

The unit deploys as well Hardware MQA Decoding through an XMOS XU216 processor for full MQA decoding, enabling next-gen "original master quality" web streaming and audio playback.
 

More information on:

https://www.khadas.com/tone2pro?cid=d71395af-d297-4468-b3b9-42735d23ae4d&utm_campaign=0ed4141f-01b2-4b2f-b13b-1106fe233dcc&utm_medium=mail&utm_source=so

 

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4 hours ago, DuckToller said:

Khadas, well known for the 99$ Khadas Tone Board DAC, has announced a sublimal successor for the beloved unit:
 

DAC + OPA1612 Op-Amps - Tone2 Pro combines the ESS ES9038Q2M with x4 OPA1612 operational amplifiers that deliver superior audio quality.

High Performance - Up to 32bit 384KHz sample rate, bit-perfect DSD512, and -118dB THD+N (line-out).

Balanced RCA - Next-generation "balanced RCA line-out" with 3-pin output, sets a new interface standard for the Hi-Fi industry.

Linear Power Supply - Tone2 Pro has a second USB-C (I2S) port that supports 5V linear power supplies for ultra clean signal-to-noise ratios.

Volume knob
It looks like the unit design is quite close to the initial ideas and demands from customer in Khadas' own support forum. In pre-sales the offer stands at 169$, later it will be available at 199$ via hifigo.

The unit deploys as well Hardware MQA Decoding through an XMOS XU216 processor for full MQA decoding, enabling next-gen "original master quality" web streaming and audio playback.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

As user of the original TB I see no real advantage to go for the new one:

 

>The THD+N seems to be not superior

>I absolutely dislike MQA and do not want to support it

>No need for a volume control at all

>Double price of the original one

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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yeah, the MQA via XMOS seems to be the new standard in the industry for the  "old" DAC chips that haven't MQA incorporated.
I flipped through many TI-BB-Dacs chips this morning but couldn't notice MQA anywhere around.
Now I've understood that the XMOS XCore XL216 programming (did not find any sign of MQA at the MF side!) may allow the MQA implementation we have seen in Topping, SMSL and now the new iFi devices. Honestly, I didn't look on MQA DACs for a while ...

I wonder what have been the incentive to develop an ESS MQA DAC chip?
If it is only a firmware question the MF may provide as well an option without MQA if the customers ask for that gently ... ;-)
I.e. the latest DAC under review here had two FW options available for the users.

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18 minutes ago, DuckToller said:

If it is only a firmware question the MF may provide as well an option without MQA if the customers ask for that gently ... ;-)

 

That might be a solution but only if you pay less for the non-MQA version. If not, you would support MQA anyway.

I simply do not want to buy any hardware with MQA, the single exception is my software player, Audirvana.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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12 minutes ago, DuckToller said:

Where is the fine line if a software that controls hardware (firmware - USB controller) can define MQA or not ?

 

The fine line is the royalties the manufacturer has to pay for MQA support which make the product more expensive for the consumer. MQA makes absolutely no sense, look at the Qobuz vs Tidal discussion, Qobuz offer high res without MQA.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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Not completely informed on the MQA royality scheme myself, though I know that iFi i.e. sold the iDSD micro BL sans MQA software , but later "enhanced" the device with the choice of 2 firmware upgrade options (non-MQA/MQA). Unsure how the royalities would have been counted for that solution ?
If it is just a FW update that makes you want to pass on devices, you may need to avoid any DACs that have XMOS as a feature, because they may get a MQA enabled firmware at some point?
I would  like to figure out if any of the MQA enabled firmware will have a negative performance issue with PCM/DSD/DXD, which is a point to fear for MQA enhanced DAC chips. A clear defined route to bypass MQA functionality may been helpful.

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4 minutes ago, DuckToller said:

Not completely informed on the MQA royality scheme myself, though I know that iFi i.e. sold the iDSD micro BL sans MQA software , but later "enhanced" the device with the choice of 2 firmware upgrade options (non-MQA/MQA). Unsure how the royalities would have been counted for that solution ?
If it is just a FW update that makes you want to pass on devices, you may need to avoid any DACs that have XMOS as a feature, because they may get a MQA enabled firmware at some point?
I would  like to figure out if any of the MQA enabled firmware will have a negative performance issue with PCM/DSD/DXD, which is a point to fear for MQA enhanced DAC chips. A clear defined route to bypass MQA functionality may been helpful.

 

IMO, it does not make sense to open a further MQA thread.

 

In the case of iFI even when the price with MQA stays the same they could improve their devices for the same amount which they pay to MQA as royalties.

 

In the case of the XMOS "update" to MQA it is up to me whether I want to do it or not.

 

There seem to be some manufacturers who use always MQA filters even when MQA is disabled.

 

Matt

 

 

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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