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
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.
Audiophile-grade D/A converter
plays 24-bit/96 kHz HD music with bit-perfect
Headphone amp designed for listening
without fatigue, offers clarity, soundstage and
No drivers needed. Plug 'n play
operation with most laptops, nettops and music
No power adapterBoth products
use USB power and work anywhere you take your
DACport's 1/4-inch headphone
jack drives the most advanced headphones on the
A video of Michael Goodman describing the products at THE
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
DACport - all angles
DACport - close-up
DACport in use
DACport - very portable
DACport LX - convenience itself
Both units, pics by Headphonia
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
96kHz (Also: 44.1 kHz, 48kHz and 88.2kHz)
24-bit (Also supports 16-bit)
USB1.1 or 2.0, driverless
AdaptiWave - our proprietary USB technology
10 ppm precision, 1 ps jitter
Any computer running Mac, PC, Linux, or iOS
113 dB, re +12 dBu, max gain
0.0018% / -95 dB (FS, 1kHz)
7 µV RMS (A-weight), max gain
Stereo 1/4" jack
LX output level
Direct Class-A, no caps in the signal path
Maximum Output Level
4.4 V peak / +12 dBu
1.5W (total), drives 600 Ohm headphones
USB bus (no external power supply needed)
Internal power supplies
±9V, super-clean, dual analog rails
4.5" (11.4cm) L, 1" (2.5cm) W, 1" (2.5cm) H
2.5 ounces (72 grams)
One application example. For press pictures
Custom-designed belt clip (DACport only)
6' (1.83m) low-EMI USB cable
Protective carrying pouch made of soft felt
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
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.
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
Regular USB DAC
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.
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.
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 thats 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 cardthey 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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 DACports 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 DACports volume knob to the max and using external amplifiers
controls to adjust the volume (this is the best way to manage gain.) There
is no danger in setting DACports volume level to maximum
the internal amplifier has plenty of headroom and is guaranteed to never
overload, even during the loudest musical passages.
"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
- Craig Anderton
"I wholeheartedly recommend CEntrances
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
"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
"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
- Chris Martens
"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
"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."
"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
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.
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
CEntrance User Forum
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
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
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.
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