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Audirect Beam


The DAP is dead. Or at least it is how I wished to title this review. I strongly believe there is a place for portable DAC/Amps for a setup with streaming capabilities. This would allow one to choose the smartphone platform they like best and plug-in the necessary accessory to transform it into an portable audiophile setup. So, how close are we to this with Audirect’s Beam?

Source

iPhone XR / iOS 13.3 / VOX Music Player 2.4

IEMs

Campfire Audio Andromeda Special Edition: Gold (silicone tips, medium)

Cables

Campfire Audio Smoky Litz Cable, 3.5mm, Single-ended (stock cable)

SONGS

Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Never Going Back Again / Quality: 24-Bit 96.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Iron Maiden, Fear Of The Dark, Fear Of The Dark / Quality: 24-Bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Joni Mitchell, Blue, California / Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Nina Simone, Pastel Blues, Sinnerman (Live In New York/1965) / Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, Wish You Were Here / Quality: DSD / SACD

Plüm, You’re the one, You’re the one / Quality: 16 bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Simon & Garfunkel, Sounds Of Silence, Anji / Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Stevie Wonder, Talking Book, Superstition (Album Version) / Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Various Artists, Atlantic Jazz: Soul, Comin’ Home Baby (LP Version) / Quality: 16 bit 44.1 kHz – Stereo, FLAC

Burn-in

None

Sound

Clear, transparent, with a nice soundstage and amount of details without excess. It excels at mids and highs but can leave one with a feeling that the lows have been forgotten. The latter are controlled and precise which borders on the clinical.

Usability

Audirect ships the Beam with four well-made type-c cables to: type-c / lightning / USB / micro USB. If you think the Beam is small from looking at the pictures available online, think again: yeah, it is that small. It is also well-made. The volume dial is source-dependent which can be an issue with sensitive IEMs as they benefit from very small volume steps. I did not notice any particular drain on the battery compared with the Apple’s Lightening to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter. Speaking of which…

COMPARED WITH APPLE’S LIGHTNING TO 3.5MM HEADPHONE JACK ADAPTER

Audirect Beam
· Wider soundstage
· Clearer / More transparant

Apple’s Lightening to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter
· More intimate
· Darker / Warmer
· Has the low-end the Beam is missing

CONCLUSION

Small, versatile and powerful, the Audirect Beam DAC/Amp is good. It just is not for me. While I did not mind the added clarity, transparency and soundstage compared to Apple’s Lightening to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter, it is the lack of bass which killed the Beam for me. So for those of you who like a rumble where it is supposed to be or prefer a darker / warmer signature:

⭐⭐⭐

For those who prefer a more controlled and precise low-end which borders on the clinical in favor of a particularly clear and transparent sound:

⭐⭐⭐⭐