Looking at FX-Audio DAC-X6 which is made of thick brushed aluminum, with nice metal switches you’d never guess it costs just 70 bucks. Even more, it’s not just a DAC. You also get dedicated headphone amp with volume control that feels nice to use. On the back of the unit, we find 3 kinds of inputs: USB, coaxial, and optical. There’s a pair of RCA connectors for a line-out and power supply jack. The small power brick is supplied in the box.
So far it’s all good but what about the sound you ask. I’ll start with a line-out. I hooked it up to my amp expecting nothing special but DAC-X6 managed to surprise me. Everything is just very nicely balanced. Bass has weight but it’s also well controlled. Mid tones are clear and full while highs are nice and clear too. Sound, in general, has very decent energy and clarity to it.
Compared to some more expensive DACs you may not always hear some thinnest of the thinnest details. Let me explain that a bit more. For example, if you listen to a great recording made in a real room and there’s that fine high-frequency buzz and echo giving you the impression of space and atmosphere around music… Well, you can hear that on X6, it’s there, but some other (more expensive) DACs can light up those highest frequencies, even more, giving you just a bit more insight in that atmospheric part of the recording. Personally I don’t mind that and I actually prefer it to overly open high-end that cheap devices often resort to.
Compared to slightly more expensive Dragonfly Black, I found DAC-X6 to be more natural sounding DAC. It’s simply more composed and bass notes are better controlled. On the other hand, both Schiit Modi 3 or Loxjie D10 both offer a noticeable sound quality upgrade compared to X6.
When I hook up my AKG K92 this unit makes them thumping with music very nicely. There’s good sound-stage, a lot of details, and I never missed power. Just to put it into perspective – you don’t get this level of dynamics and sound-stage with small USB DACs like SMSL Idea, Sabaj Da2, and Da3. They’re great for in-ears, they’re OK with bigger cans, but you just don’t get the same fullness and punch as you do with X6. On the other hand, Dragonfly Black is a very close match. Small dongle from Audioqest can offer even livelier and more dynamic presentation.
DAC-X6 offers great functionality with lots of inputs and headphone amp. Sound is great too and for the price, I can’t find any serious faults. If you’re just getting into hi-fi… if you bought your first bigger headphones that just don’t sound as you hoped they would be connected to a PC… You might want to give this one a try. It’s easily good enough to be a versatile source in a decent entry-level audio system.
Update (Aug. 2020): Check out DAC-X6 MKII review
|FX-AUDIO DAC-X6 – CHARACTERISTICS|
Digital Input: USB, Optical and Coaxial