Lusya Fever DAC – a $25 game-changing stick

Lusya DAC

Lusya Fever DAC

Tested at $24

Sound (Line-Out)


Sound (Headphones)









  • Open and detailed sound
  • Dynamic presentation
  • Drives headphones easily
  • Insane price/performance ratio


  • Weak smartphone support

Every now and then we hear about the new product that’s supposed to change the way we look at things. While back, for example, the web community went crazy about small SMSL Idea dongle. It brought modern Sabre D/A converter chip down to the price of just $75 and everybody loved it. But ultimately, the sound was quite bright and analytical. Looking back at it today, it didn’t really bring anything new to the table. It was a decent product for the price, but in line with other decent products – adding a bit more to the budget you’d soon find better-sounding ones. Fast forward to the present, and what we have here is a small USB stick DAC from Lusya.

I purchased Lusya DAC for ~23 bucks on the Chinese shopping portal AliExpress just out of curiosity (you can find it on eBay too). Twelve days later I received a small package with a neatly packed USB dongle. The body is mostly made of aluminum with a small piece of plastic covering the top around 3.5 mm jack. It feels lighter and less premium than Dragonfly Black but it’s still quite decent, especially considering 4 to 5 times lower price tag.

The device is based around Sabre ES9018K2M D/A converter and SA9023A USB receiver. It is a plug and play affair so driver installation is not needed. File support is capped at 24 bit / 96 kHz, which is the same as Dragonfly Black and more than enough for the vast majority of people.


But let’s talk about how it actually sounds. I plugged it to my PC and connected Takstar Pro 82 – a very revealing pair of headphones. I was immediately struck by the amount of details this dongle was capable of retrieving from several tracks. My happiness only grew when I realized that the midrange body and bass notes are not lacking. Both male and female vocals were beautifully rendered and present in the mix. I found no harshness nor sibilance showing their ugly head. Bass notes struck with a sense of rhythm and speed, while the top register was airy and open. I tried cranking up the volume as far as my ears could take it and couldn’t hear any change in sound character. The sound didn’t get thinner or harsher the way SMSL Idea reacted to high volumes.

I was then curious about IEMs compatibility so I switched to a great pair of Moondrop Starfields. The sound coming from the dongle kept its qualities, there was no background hiss I could detect.


I’ve decided to give it a spin in my room setup consisting of Cyrus 8vs2 integrated amp and KEF LS50 speakers. It’s an overkill setup for sure but good for testing the limits of this small dongle. So I cranked the volume in Windows to 100% allowing the full unattenuated DAC signal. Very quickly I noticed something was wrong as noticeable distortion could be heard with some louder notes and vocal passages. I checked all of my connections twice with no help. I finally decided to decrease the volume slowly and somewhere at 75 % it did the trick. No distortions any more, just pure sound coming from the speakers. Then I returned to listening only to once again confirm the same qualities observed with headphones. It was a lively and upfront presentation, with a punchy bassline and lots of details across the board.

My room setup tends to scrutinize lesser sources but nothing wrong was really coming out of this USB stick. At that moment I really wanted to compare it to other products as I was sure this device can punch much above its price tag.


The first and logical competitor was Dragonfly Black. Attached to several of my headphones, HiFi Fever DAC kept digging more details and offering cleaner bass notes. The soundstage is just a bit wider with this DAC and Black sounds more congested. DF Black offers an illusion of greater power because its volume control gets loud sooner but when you get to really high volumes I didn’t notice Lusya Fever lacking drive. I actually prefer this slower volume behavior as it offers finer control at lower levels. Dragonfly Black always felt too jumpy and gets loud too quickly in my opinion.

UPDATE (20/03/20): Few weeks after this review I tried both with planar Hifiman HE-4XX. These are 34 Ohms cans but fairly inefficient with 93 dB/mW sensitivity. In this scenario, Dragonfly Black sounded a bit more composed and surefooted with bass notes. Fever DAC strained a bit more to control HE-4XX but didn’t embarrass itself. It seems that DF Black has a bit more grunt in terms of power, but Fever has a better DAC section.

Connected to my room setup, working as pure DAC connected to the integrated amp, Fever took a clear lead. Dragonfly’s evident lack of bass control and congested soundstage meant an easy win for the newcomer. Lusya Fever DAC simply resolves more details, offers crisper edges, and better dynamics.


The only drawback I found with this small stick is that it refused to work with my Android phones (Xiaomi Mi8 lite and Mi5). Dragonfly Black doesn’t have any problems working with these same phones. The manufacturer claims that stick can work with some phones but there is no list of supported devices so that’s left to luck. This issue took some points from the final score through lower Features score.

Once you get over the phone support part and think of it as a home-only product, things look great. I really can’t praise this DAC stick enough. Its sound quality impresses. As a pure DAC it surpasses the likes of Dragonfly Black and even FX-Audio DAC-X6 (X6 would still be my first choice for headphones due to its powerful amp). All of that for the price of drinking a few beers in the pub. There are no excuses for putting up with a muddy and unresolving sound anymore. If there was ever a time to stop using your integrated sound solution and jump the external DAC train – this is it.


D/A Converter: Sabre ES9018K2M
USB receiver: SA9023A
Output amplitude: 1.5 Vrms
Analog output: 3.5 mm
Sample ratio: 24 bit / 96 kHz
Signal to noise ratio: 93 dB
Harmonic distortion: < 0.01%
Size: 60 * 17 * 7 mm

32 thoughts on “Lusya Fever DAC – a $25 game-changing stick

    1. Ne mogu uopšte da pronađem ko ga proizvodi i koji prodavac je zvaničan, ako uopšte postoji takav.. Za sada mogu samo da kažem da sam ga ja naručio ovde:

      Pretražiću kada budem imao malo vremena pa ću linkovati trajno prodavca koji mi bude delovao najpouzdanije.

  • Pozdrav i svaka čast na testovima, pratim Vas na youtube-u.
    Što se tiče ovog dac/amp uređaja, koja je maksimalna impedansa slušalica koje može da podrži? Pitam zato što ja imam AKG K 240 MK II (55 Ohms) i interesuje me da li će moći da ”pogura” ove slušalice? Hvala na odgovoru i samo nastavite sa dobrim radom.

      Pozdrav Aleksandre i hvala na podršci! Proizvođač nigde nije dao podatke o maksimalnoj impedansi. Verujem da nema ograničenja u bukvalnom smislu, samo što neće zvučiti jednako živahno i dinamično sa “teškim” slušalicama kao sa osetljivijim. Ja trenutno nemam slušalice viših impedansi, ali imam planarne koje iako imaju 34 Oma nisu baš puno osetljive – Hifiman HE-4xx. Za njih ima taman dovoljno snage da to zvuči dovoljno glasno i korektno. Ne može da postigne dinamiku i kontrolu kao veća i snažnija pojačala (npr. Fiio K5 pro) ali se i ne bruka.

  • I’d love to see you compare this device to the XtremPro X1 (can be found on eBay).

    I think it has the “better” Sabre DAC, but it would be a good comparison still.


      Hi! I’ll look into it and see if I can maybe add it to my list.


    For a BEGINNER, which one will you recommend between this one and topping E30?


      Lusya is more than sufficient for a beginner and entry-level gear, just keep it under 75% of volume and enjoy.

  • Pingback: FX-Audio DAC-X6 MKII review - Is This A New Budget King? - iiWi reviews
  • Super review i kanal, sve pohvale!

    Mozes li mi dati svoje misljenje u vezi jednog DACa za PC(ima i ulaz za mikrofon) mozda da ga uzmes u obzir za recenziju jer je sada na velikom popustu i price/performance bi trebao biti super koliko citam online

    LogiLink UA0211

    Lijep pozdrav!


      Hvala! Izvinjavam se što neću biti od preterane koristi. Pomenuti DAC nisam čuo, a takođe ne znam nikoga ko jeste pa zaista nemam osnova davati bilo kakve utiske o njemu.


    Hey! I got the Lusya DAC based on this review, and now I’m considering upgrading. Would the IFI Zen DAC be a significant upgrade in terms of sound quality?


      If using it for headphones, no it won’t be. Consider FX-Audio DAC-X6 MKII that has much more power. It has a better amp section than Zen, and it’s cheaper. You can find a review here on the site.


    Thanks for all your reviews. I was just wondering if you could look at the big brother of this dac, the SA9226 ES9028Q2M DSD USB Decoder and see how it compares. Looks very interesting, with great specs.


    What are the odds it will work on Huawei phones. P20 pro in particular.


    Pažljivo čitajući na raznim forumima vaša zapažanja o jeftinim DAC uređajima odabrao sam Lusya Fever kao jeftino a dobro rešenje. Koristim ga na Huawei Mate 9 telefonu (koji ga je odmah prepoznao). Na slušalicama (Altec Lansing AHS502i) i aktivnim kompjuterskim zvučnicima daje zvuk odličnog kvaliteta, ravnomerno raspoređene niske, srednje i visoke tonove. Međutim, kada DAC povežem sa Denon pojačalom i pasivnim dvosistemskim MB Quart QL 20 C zvučnicima zvuk značajno gubi na kvalitetu, pre svega zbog “nestanka” visokih tonova. Znate li možda šta bi mogao da bude uzrok?
    P.S. Napomenuću da na istoj toj HiFi opremi sa raznim drugim digitalnim izvorima zvuka dobijam uravnoteženu zvučnu sliku. Navedeni zvučnici imaju titanijumske visokotonce.


      Pozdrav Filipe. Čudna situacija i ne pada mi ovako na daljinu na pamet zašto se to dešava. Prilikom mog testiranja, kada sam ga kačio na pojačalo i zvučnike, definitivno je bilo sasvim dovoljno visokih tonova. Čak i više nego kod DragonFly Black bih čak rekao da je Lusya na svetlijoj/otvorenijoj strani što se visokih tonova tiče. Još jedan poznanik mi je rekao da je za njegov ukus čak malo previše istaknut zvuk u visokim u njegovom sistemu (Sony pojačalo i Canton zvučnici). Tako da me Vaša situacija baš zbunjuje.

      Jedino što mi pada na pamet je da možda postoji neki problem u kablu 3.5mm na RCA koji koristite, ako je slučajno lošeg kvaliteta, ostvaruje loš kontakt negde i sl. Pa bih možda eto probao sa još nekim drugim kablom da vidim da li se dešava ista stvar.

      Takođe, pretpostavljam da to već znate, ali nemojte podizati Volume iznad 75% na PC-u da bi zvuk ostao kvalitetan kada se koristi sa pojačalom.


    Loved the review. Do you think it wouldn’t handle 50+ ohms headphones or 100+? I have a Sennheiser HD 560s that has 120 ohms and i’m very insecure about what type of DAC/AMP i should get. Would love something less expensive for those but after reading many posts i think that is impossible.


      120 Ohms should not be problematic if they’re not especially low in sensitivity (dB/V) and I think they’re not. That said, those Sennheiser could definitely sound even better with a more capable DAC/AMP… For example FX-Audio DAC X6 MKII


        Soo it can power it if the sensivity isn’t low compared to the impendance? (like 120ohms and 110db)

    First, Thank You!
    I would never know about this little thing if not you. Just bought one..

    My question
    (about passive speaker setup):
    Do you think by lowering volume to 75% on Windows you loose (let say 25%) of information, or get some other negatives ?
    As i understand , there is no bypass of amplifier possible on this. So signal is amplified inside this little dongle, then we lower that amplification down to 75%.. for the price it is a steal, no doubt, I just wondering if this had a potential to be even better for speakers if had amp bypass? or this makes no difference?

    thank you for showing us interesting equipment in informative and professional presentations.

    ….That’s a perfect name for “Spelling Bee” contest finals 🙂 Love it! 🙂
    All the best Srboljub!


      Hi Linas, the volume is actually controlled by the inner Sabre DAC circuitry. Windows is just sending the command to it to which level to set it. When it comes to the internal amplifier, there is no way to bypass it, by that’s not a big problem in this case since it doesn’t amplify the signal more than typical line level anyway. Basically every DAC has a small amplifier on its output (usually op-amp) that takes signal in mV from the DAC chip itself and makes it into ~2V (typical line out level).

      So, I just wouldn’t bother about it, the end result is what truly matters.


        Thanks for your answer, and so complete one.
        It makes total sense. No need to bother.
        Best luck 😉

    i have a problem with this usb dac, when i open chrome with an mp3 song playing with vlc the audio skips 4 or 5 seconds and then resumes, how can i solve? Thanks.


      That’s difficult to answer cause it might not be a problem with the DAC. Sometimes, USB and Ethernet ports share the same BUS. Try putting the DAC on a different USB port on the opposite side of that one, see if it solves the problem. I once had a similar problem with one Motherboard, but when upgraded to another one it didn’t happen again…

      Also, try finding some latency checker programs (I forgot the name of the one I used a long time ago when I was facing a similar issue) to see if everything is OK with latency in your OS – if latencies are high, any interruption of CPU can cause a glitch in a real-time audio process.


    yes, i tried latencymon but it showed no problems.


    bought for superlux hd330… i love it..would buy again but… the sound does not seem linear. bass is exaggerated..mids little low..highs little metalic. this is perfect for some models.. especially the bass gains the warmth and depth,almost like analogue tube..and this could make some headphones sound so much better. but the bass on hd330 is borderline tight and it feels like overkill with the given DAC. next time I’ll buy from Ali again,but will keep looking for something more linear


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