Amazingly Revealing

DACport and DACport LX are reference-quality, stereo 24-bit / 96kHz Digital to Analog Converters (DAC). They sound so good, they reveal the subtlest detail in your music. DACport includes a Class-A Headphone Amplifier. DACport LX is designed for people who want to use an external headphone amp. Featuring CEntrance's proprietary AdaptiWave™ 24-bit USB audio technology, JitterGuard™ clock management system, and highest dynamic range, DACport and DACport LX redefine the portable USB DAC.

 
Take the Show on the Road

DACport and DACport LX make the audiophile experience portable. Listen to pristine-quality playback anywhere - at a coffee shop, at work, or on a trip - no need to sacrifice sound quality for portability. With plug 'n play operation, both products pack a lot of features into the cigar-sized, anodized aluminum tube and set new standards in portability, convenience and sound quality.

 
   
Key Features  

Audiophile-grade D/A converter plays 24-bit/96 kHz HD music with bit-perfect accuracy.

Headphone amp designed for listening without fatigue, offers clarity, soundstage and detail.

No drivers needed. Plug 'n play operation with most laptops, nettops and music servers.

No power adapter—Both products use USB power and work anywhere you take your laptop.

DACport's 1/4-inch headphone jack drives the most advanced headphones on the market.

 
   
   
Stereophile Cover
 
 
DACport
 
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DACport
 
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For more info on
the cable, click here
 
Click on Photos below
       

 

 
 

A video of Michael Goodman describing the products at THE SHOW Newport

 

A Video Review of DACport LX from AudioHead!

 
 

Here are some pictures from CEntrance and from our customers and partners

Click an image below to open a larger version in another window.

 
 
 
 
DACport Pictures DACport Pictures DACport Pictures

DACport - all angles

DACport - close-up

DACport in use

DACport Pictures DACport LX Pictures DACport Pictures

DACport - very portable

DACport LX - convenience itself

Both units, pics by Headphonia

 
 
 

Audio Performance

 

No Drivers Required

Set up could not be easier. When you plug your DACport (or DACport LX) into a USB port on your computer, it takes over as the main sound card and is ready right away. Nothing to install, just plug 'n play!

 
         
 

True 24/96 resolution

 

CEntrance's AdaptiWave™ High Resolution USB audio technology offers true 24-bit / 96kHz audio quality. This eliminates any resampling artifacts in the OS. This is how your music is meant to be heard!

 
         
 

Bit-4-Bit Digital Audio

 

For 16-bit soundcards, Windows may downgrade 24-bit audio files to 16-bits, adding noise. DACport is a 24-bit device, ensuring that Windows sends it audio with no changes, "bit-for-bit", at all supported sample rates.

 
         
 

Precision Clock Oscillator

 

The art of digital-to-audio conversion is in the quality of the clock. CEntrance's JitterGuard™ clock management system uses military spec clock oscillators with 10ppm precision.

 
         
 

Class A Headphone Amp

 

Capacitors introduce distortion. DACport's Class-A audio circuit is direct-coupled (capacitor-free), maintaining audiophile quality all the way to the line output or the headphones.

 
         
 

18V internal power

 

DACport's advanced, low-distortion Class-A amplifier circuit runs on super-clean 18V rails (±9V, bipolar supply). Higher voltage means more headroom and more output power to drive any headphones.

 
 

Global Responsibility

 

RoHS Compliant

 

Our products are sold all over the world and we go to great lengths to ensure compliance with international regulations. DACport is RoHS, FCC and CE-compliant, which ensures safety and protects our environment.

 
         
 

Made in America

 

DACport and DACport LX are designed and assembled by CEntrance in USA. When you purchase a our products you are bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Thank you for your support!

 
 
 
DACport Vertical View
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Digital specs

 
Sample Rate 96kHz (Also: 44.1 kHz, 48kHz and 88.2kHz)
Resolution 24-bit (Also supports 16-bit)
  Connection USB1.1 or 2.0, driverless
  Communication AdaptiWave™ - our proprietary USB technology
  Local clock 10 ppm precision, 1 ps jitter
  Compatibility Any computer running Mac, PC, Linux, or iOS
   

Analog Specs

 
  Frequency Response 20Hz...40kHz +/-0.2dB
  Dynamic Range 113 dB, re +12 dBu, max gain
  THD+N 0.0018% / -95 dB (FS, 1kHz)
  Noise Floor 7 µV RMS (A-weight), max gain
  Audio Output Stereo 1/4" jack
  LX output level +6dBV
   

DACport only

 
  Headphone Amp Direct Class-A, no caps in the signal path
  Maximum Output Level 4.4 V peak / +12 dBu
  Output Power 1.5W (total), drives 600 Ohm headphones
  Output Impedance 10 Ohm
   

General Specs

 
  Input power USB bus (no external power supply needed)
  Internal power supplies ±9V, super-clean, dual analog rails
  Unit Dimensions: 4.5" (11.4cm) L, 1" (2.5cm) W, 1" (2.5cm) H
  Weight: 2.5 ounces (72 grams)
 
 
DACport with Laptop
 

One application example. For press pictures go here.

 
 

Included Accessories

Custom-designed belt clip (DACport only)
6' (1.83m) low-EMI USB cable
Protective carrying pouch made of soft felt
DACport Accessories
 

Noise Plot

DACport features an extremely quiet headphone amp. Most reviewers agree that with no audio, the output is "pitch black" (nothing can be heard in the headphones). We took an FFT plot of the steady-state noise pattern in the DACport's headphone amp. The plot clearly demonstrates why the output is perceived as "pitch black"—DACport's self-noise is just above -130dB across the most sensitive range of the audio spectum. DACport LX is even quieter. This level of noise performance is unheard of in products of this price range. Click the plot for a larger version.

 
DACport Noise plot DACport from Above
 
 
 

Suggested 24/96 Sources

DACport gives you access to the world of 24/96 music, so where do you get this music to listen to? Here are some reputable record labels, which offer high resolution files for purchase and download online. CEntrance is not affiliated with these vendors.

 
  Reference Recordings Reference Recordings First Impression Music
 

Reference Recordings

HD Tracks

First Impression Music

 

Breathe new life into your existing MP3s

Keep in mind that you don't need to run out and re-purchase your entire music collection in hi-res formats. DACport is also great with standard-resolution material, such as your existing CDs and MPs because it adds greater clarity to the music. You will never be able to go back to the built-in audio jack on your computer! With DACport, even compressed files come to life letting you hear new detail in your favorite recordings, offering wide soundstage, incredible dynamic range, extra resolution and crisp definition in all frequency bands.

 

Sound Quality Evaluations

 
 

Generic USB DAC

DACport

 

Regular USB DAC

DACport

Here is a visual representation the sound quality difference. It's really drastic... Ok, so you are considering DACport and want to make sure that all those claims of reference-quality playback are actually true. How do you know that DACport truly exceeds other portable USB DACs on the market? Well, we at CEntrance understand the challenge and are offering a 30-day money-back guarantee on your purchase. In fact, we are so confident in the sound quality of DACport that we are not afraid to give you listening tips, too. We put together some critical listening suggestions, designed to uncover the sonic differences between various products. Get a DACport and compare it to others. You will not be disappointed.

 
 

Listening Tips

In general, we recommend sticking to the material you like and know well when comparing different pieces of playback equipment. This will remove the variable of unfamiliar music.

Latin Percussion

Unless you majored in jazz or grew up in Latin America, you may appreciate a quick excursion into the wonderful world of Afro-Caribbean percussion. All of the featured instruments share a single trait - they propel the music forward with a sharp, defined, wide-band pulse. Another thread that unites these instruments is their ability to challenge the jitter performance of a Digital to Analog converter. While the bass and midrange instruments will also come forward and become more defined in a high-quality DAC, latin percussion can't be fooled - it either sounds right, or it dies in the mix to the point of being unrecognizable. So, put on some brazilian grooves or salsa music, or even smooth jazz, which is full of latin percussion. Close your eyes and answer a very simple question - "Do I want to live there?" If the music sounds right, you will want to be transported into the recording. A similar technique is used by fine art appreciators. A good painting draws you in, wants you to stay for awhile. A good D/A converter does the same. DACport is designed for hours of operation without listening fatigue.

 

Here are some music suggestions from my experience. Many people use Donald Fagen records for rich instrumental arrangements that still leave a lot of space in the music due to moderate amounts of compression (Morph The Cat, Kamakiriad, Nighfly). I would consider anything recorded by Bruce Swedien (he worked on most Michael Jackson albums). And in that same family, pretty much anything by Quincy Jones – for his immaculate taste in production quality. Look into Chuck Loeb, Fourplay, and Brian Bromberg. I would also recommend Pat Metheny's "We live Here" album, but that’s just a start… Let your ears be the judge!

 
 

A custom USB solution ensures 24/96 audio quality

None of the existing USB audio chips offer the kind of performance demanded by a critical listener. And so, the majority of the affordable USB DACs on the market are no different than a $30 sound card—they all use the same TI chip that contains a USB interface and a DAC. However, when so many functions are combined on the same chip, performance suffers. No wonder that the typical specs are so mediocre - noise is excessive and distortion is high, so tricks like upsampling are used to mask the noise. Too bad, when the noise is already there, you can't take it out. To do a USB DAC right, it's not enough to purchase an all-in-one PCM27XX chip, put it in a box and call it a product.

CEntrance USB technology

CEntrance chose a custom route and selected the TAS1020B, a USB controller that does one thing well - move USB traffic. It does not contain a DAC, it doesn't try to be a jitter authority, it's just a robust USB peripheral with a built-in microcontroller to handle digital transfers. CEntrance then invested several years perfecting its custom AdaptiWave™ code to make the chip USB class-compliant at 24/96 resolution. Class compliance ensures that the product would not require any custom drivers. Our chip is recognized by Mac, Windows and Linux systems and installs as a plug 'n play audio device. The real challenge was to fit two channels of 24/96 audio into the "thin" USB1.1 pipe, where very little bandwidth is available. CEntrance employed advanced code optimization techniques to push a lot of digital traffic through a very small data pipe.


The resulting audio quality achievement was so impressive that our solution was licensed by Benchmark Media, Empirical, Belcanto, Lavry and many other manufacturers. CEntrance does USB DACs right.

 

A portable product should fit in a pocket. Period.

CEntrance is not only skilled in software development, but also in electronics miniaturization. Since 2000 we've provided design services to the pro audio community and have developed dozens of well-known products for recording and broadcast applications. So we also did miniaturization right - DACport is shorter than a cigar and has over 200 parts inside, which do all kinds of important work -- from making high-voltage ±9V rails for the opamps, to purifying the power supplies, to cleaning up the jitter, to minimizing power consumption, to most importantly making sure that the audio performance is pleasing to the ear. DACport contains 2 gold-plated, four-layer PCBs chock-full of SMT components on both sides. While others minimize component count (and cost), which inevitably reduces performance, we did not choose that path. There are no design compromises in DACport and we can say that with confidence. DACport combines the best of both worlds - amazing audio quality and extreme portability.

 

Jitter Management - Debunking the Asynchronous Myth

Some manufacturers may lead you to believe that Asynchronous USB transfers are superior to Adaptive USB transfers. This no more true than saying that you "must" hold the fork in your left hand. If you know what you are doing, you will feed yourself with either hand.

The USB argument comes down to jitter management and goes as follows: In Asynchronous mode the device is the clock master. In Adaptive mode, the computer is the clock master. Either way works fine, if correct design principles are followed. Here is the tricky part that often gets omitted: No matter which side is the source of the clock (PC or DAC), the two devices are still connected by the USB cable and the digital data on that USB cable is always irregular because the computer is involved. Computers do many things at once and end up sending data over USB in irregular intervals, no matter who is the clock master on the bus. This irregularity causes jitter. So, there is no jitter-free solution, just like there is no dust-free house. Irregularity always creeps in and needs to be actively managed.

DACport jitter cleanup

Here is where the Asynchronous vs. Adaptive argument breaks down: In either of the two clocking schemes, jitter is present during transmission. It's inevitable and also ok, if it is properly cleaned up prior to the D/A conversion, where it matters most. Neither clocking scheme is superior and both are capable of performing well if you know how to reassemble the bits prior to the DAC. Now, how do you actually do that? There are many ways, the oldest and simplest of which is buffering. Irregular data comes in, regular data goes out. The most important part is to make sure that samples leaving the buffer on the way to the DAC are clocked accurately. DACport employs JitterGuard™, a proprietary two-stage clock management system that does just that - cleans up the jitter on the USB bus so that samples are virtually jitter-free at the D/A conversion point. The result is a natural response, crisp definition, extra resolution and wide soundstage.

 

Analog Performance

Volume control disabled

No Volume Slider

Because we don't let Windows do any processing on the audio, we also disable the Windows Master Volume Control slider. This is done on purpose to give you the most truthful audio representation with no interference from the OS. Please use the analog volume control on the DACport to control volume.

Warm to the touch

DACport has a Class A headphone amp which runs warm to the touch. Class A headphone amps consume higher power but give you lower distortion in exchange. Don't be alarmed when you pickup your DACport after a half hour of listening - it will be pleasantly warm, but not hot, so no worries.

Part choice

People often ask about the parts inside DACport. We feel that the right way to evaluate the product is by the overall sound quality rather than by part names. Consider that two designers can make two very different products using the same part. It's the overall design that matters, down to the traces on the PCB, RF coupling, shielding, grounding, biasing, powering, etc. We use special design enhancements in our products and pride ourselves in our ability to get the best quality from every part, so comparing on part names alone is useless. At the end of the day it's all about sound quality, so go ahead, get yourself a unit and listen - if you don't like it, we will refund your money.

 

Applications

DACport is ideal for travel as a portable, audiophile-quality sound card. Pack up your favorite headphones and relax – watch Blue Ray movies on an airplane, listen to hi-res music at a hotel room, at work, or in a coffee shop. DACport has been dubbed “the ideal coffee shop rig” by Jude Mansilla of head-fi.org because it transforms your portable listening experience, upgrading it to High Resolution. But Hi-Fi on-the-go is only one way to use it. DACport is equally comfortable at home, as part of a permanent audio setup.

We designed DACport’s headphone amp in such a way so you can easily connect it to an external power amplifier and a set of speakers. To do that you would need a cable with a 1/4" stereo plug on one side (same plug as on pro headphones) and a pair of RCA or XLR connectors on the other side, to connect to the amplifier. Plug in the cable and DACport becomes a high-quality USB DAC, making it possible to use it as part of a home computer audio setup. In this case we recommend turning DACport’s volume knob to the max and using external amplifier’s controls to adjust the volume (this is the best way to manage gain.) There is no danger in setting DACport’s volume level to maximum – the internal amplifier has plenty of headroom and is guaranteed to never overload, even during the loudest musical passages.

Happy Listening!

Michael Goodman, Chief Product Architect

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Press Reviews Click here to read all press reviews and customer comments

 

EQ Magazine

"My Mac connects to studio monitors, and the difference using DACport compared to the internal audio is a revelation. If you have the bucks, this is the ticket to audiophile computer playback."

 

 

 

- Craig Anderton

 
 

Stereophile Magazine

"I wholeheartedly recommend CEntrance’s DACport: A great-sounding product at a great price! Its clean, grain-free presentation with airy high frequencies provided me with hours of fatigue-free headphone listening. The CEntrance DACport demonstrates superb audio engineering in both the digital and analog domains."

 

 

 

- John Atkinson

 
 

Sound On Sound Magazine

"A very handy playback system for anyone who needs to travel light without compromising audio quality — and it could also be a perfect replacement for an audio interface for the musician who prefers to work totally ‘in the box’."

 

 

 

- Martin Walker

 
 

Playback

"DACport manages to sound like a much more expensive product than it actually is. DACport's class A amp offers sonic refinement that is a gift that keeps on giving, delivering a precise, suave and sophisticated sound that will appeal to many listeners. "

 

 

 

 

- Chris Martens

 
 

Sonic Scoop

"I was literally floored when I put on my Sony MDR-7509's and listened to a track. Detail, depth, space... There were all the details I loved in the music, down to instrument string noise and vocal rasp at the end of some of the words and the tails on the reverbs that lasted until they decayed... For music listening alone, this is a huge leap up... I would say unreservedly, buy this and match it with your best headphones and retire to a dark room to listen in bliss... If you mix or master on headphones exclusively, I give it another "must-have" rating. "

 

 

 

 

- Mark Kondracki

 
 

Hi-Fi World UK

"I was instantly struck by the amount of level available… real enthusiasm and a surprising amount of detail. CEntrance DACport can be considered a fine package, especially when it's build quality, ease of setup and use is considered… an interesting concept that is very well executed."

 

 

 

 

- TJ

 
 

Head-fi.org

"The DACport (as a DAC/amp) beats ALL the portable DAC/amps that I have had come through here for review, but some by a larger margin than others.... The DACport bass and treble extension are very good, while the mids are full and rich without becoming forward. Overall I find it to sound very balanced and refined. I liked it right out of the box and only felt it open up slightly and smooth out a little with a few hours. "

 

 

 

 

- Larry Ganz

 
 
 

Trade show Coverage

2009 RMAF

Over 3000 people were in attendance at the 2009 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest held in Denver, CO October 2-4. CEntrance showed the DACport for the first time and gave everyone a chance to listen to the first and only portable DAC/Headphone amp combo with TRUE 24/96 resolution. Read our show coverage here.

2009 RMAF

 
DACport at CES and NAMM

Over 100 thousand people were in attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We demonstrated DACport there and at the National Association of Music Mechants (NAMM), the largest North American Music show. See the photos from both shows here.

RMAFRMAF
 
 

CEntrance User Forum

CEntrance Forums

Have something to share? Want to ask a question or interact with our designers? Our User Forum is a quick and easy resource! Come in, read the FAQ, ask questions, browse what others have said - it's an open environment. The DACport FAQ is written to make it easier to find answers to the most common questions. Acees the forum here.

 

DACport Development Blog

DACport Devblog

This blog is written by Michael Goodman, our Managing Director and DACport's Chief Product Architect. Get a glimpse of the product development process and read up on the real challenges of bringing a product to life. Use the comments section to ask questions. We usually respond right away. DACport shipped on the day we promised and this blog helped by fueling the fire underneath the team's... well, desire. Read the blog here.

 

Free ASIO driver for your DACport

CEntrance Universal Driver

Download the CEntrance Universal Driver to use ASIO playback applications and achieve lower audio latencies than with native Windows drivers. This is not required for operation but some people prefer our kernel-level ASIO drivers for extra stability and bit-4-bit accuracy. The CEntrance Universal Driver supports all CEntrance products in a single downloadable file. You will always find a fresh version here.

 

CEntrance™, DACport™, AdaptiWave™, JitterGuard™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of CEntrance Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.