Calyx Coffee USB DAC (Playback 55)

Equipment+
Categories:
Digital-to-analog converters,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
|
Products:
Calyx Coffee USB DAC
Calyx Coffee USB DAC (Playback 55)

SET UP AND INSTALLATION

The Coffee claims to be plug and play, and both my ancient Dell D-620 laptop and Mac Pro Desktop computers recognized the Coffee instantly. The Apple Midi Control showed the Coffee supports 8, 16, 32, 44.1, 48, and 96 kHz sampling rates with bit depths of either 16 or 24 bits. All the playback programs I regularly use—iTunes, Amarra, Pure Music, AudioGate, and Audirvana, worked without any glitches or issues.

The Audirvana Plus playback software ($50) offered several unique features that enhanced Coffee’s overall performance. These features included the option for disabling Apple’s Spotlight indexing, Time Machine back-ups, and USB device detection while Audirvana is playing music. I noticed an immediate reduction in low-level background noise and electronic texture when these background processes were turned off. Much of my critical listening was done through Audirvana Plus because of the performance boost when mated with the Coffee.

Unlike the Audioengine D1, which uses its own internal driver, the Coffee relies on a standard operating system driver (but labeled Coffee in the audio devices list) and unlike the Audioengine D1, which occasionally was not recognized upon wake-up from sleep mode, the Coffee was rock-solid throughout the review period with no glitches, odd sounds, or other “magic moments.”

Ergonomics

The Coffee can control the playback volume via a + and – buttons on its top panel. The top also has buttons for mute, fast-forward and reverse, and skip forward and backward. Unlike DACs, which have internal circuits to

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