For many older audiophiles, their “conversion moment” when they discovered the world of high-quality sound began when they heard their first piece of affordable high-performance audio gear, such as the NAD 3020 integrated amplifier. But what about today’s audiophiles with computer-based systems? Is there a new piece of kit that’s likely to lure them into the fold? I think the Audioengine D1 might just do the trick.
For $169 (street and list price) the Audioengine delivers a level of fidelity that only a couple of years ago was unthinkable for anything near its price. Along with great sound, the Audioengine also serves up a tasty feature set, all contained in a box only slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes (you do remember what a pack of cigarettes looks like, right?).
•The Audioengine D1 uses an AKM AK4396 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converter.
•Supported sample rates include USB: up to 96kHz, and optical digital: up to 192kHz at 24-bit depth.
•Built-in high-performance headphone amplifier (20 ohm to 300 ohm optimal headphone impedance).
•A built-in driver for USB connection.
•Powered by USB connection—no need for external power supply when connected to a USB source (using the optical input requires optional AC USB power adapter or connection to a computer's USB port).
•Double regulated USB power ensures that USB power variations, if any, do not affect audio output.
•Compact design for portability.
1 USB (Type B) input for connection to a PC.
1 optical digital (Toslink) audio input.
1 pair of high-quality RCA audio outputs.
Mini-jack (3.5mm) headphone output.
Illuminated front- panel on/off switch.