Bladelius USB DAC: Rich and robust
|The Bladelius USB DAC looks like a bar of chocolate.|
Rich and robust with a creamy texture - that's how the DAC tastes, errr, sounds.
The Bladelius USB DAC came with a thumb drive containing its proprietary driver, but I discovered that it could not load onto my wife's spanking new MacBook Air.
After a few phone calls, I was told that the new Mac OS does not require any driver to work with the Bladelius USB DAC.
And so I plugged in the Furutech USB cable and connected the DAC to the Macbook Air, launched iTunes and played a few songs.
I discovered that I had more hi-res files in FLAC than WAV format and since iTunes cannot play FLAC, I had to convert some of the FLAC to WAV files using Media Monkey.
|RCA outputs and ...|
|...the USB input.|
It was connected with a pair of DH Labs Air Matrix interconnects to the Melos SHA-1 headphone amp/preamp which was connected to the Bryston 4B SST with a pair of Alphacore Silver Micropurl interconnects. Speaker cables were Kimber 12TC and speakers were the resident ATC SCM40.
With the latest Mac laptops, it was plug-and-play with the Bladelius USB DAC.
I spent some time listening to a ripped WAV version of Adele's 21 and I noted that it sounded quite smooth and detailed. I also listened to several hi-res WAV files and a couple of MP3 tracks.
As mentioned before, it sounded quite rich and robust with a pretty strong bass. While it was not as detailed, refined and spacious as more expensive DACs, it had a rather 'analogue' sound signature and would definitely be in the Ayre, Rega and Orb category.
It is also one of the few DACs at its price level that accepts 24/192 through USB and it is not out of place in a main CAS system despite its entry-level pricing.