CEntrance has announced a new entry in their portable line-up that mixes wireless with high-end audio: it’s the CEntrance BlueDAC, a Bluetooth DAC and amplifier. The company is looking for funds on Indiegogo and has already reached its goal with a month left.
The CEntrance BlueDAC is a product similar to the Creative SoundBlaster E5: it is a Bluetooth DAC which can also be used as a wired device to achieve the best quality. It supports files up to 384 kHz and DSD files when using the USB cord. The amp is capable of outputting up to 1000 mW of power from the 3.5 mm and 2.5 mm balanced jack outputs. There is a 20 dB gain switch to make sure even high impedance headphones play at reasonable volumes. The DAC chip is an AKM AK4490, while the USB controller chip is a XMOS U8. Supported headphones range from 16 Ω to 600 Ω and output impedance is just 1 Ω.
CEntrance claims the BlueDAC’s “proprietary circuitry upgrades the audio quality over the phone’s headphone jack, while removing cables.” While there is no doubt that the DAC and amp chips and the circuit design are light-years ahead of those found on phones, I doubt that using Bluetooth (even with apt-X as in this case) can lead to better quality. It will surely be one of the best Bluetooth-enabled DACs out there, though!
According to the estimates, the embedded battery should allow for up to 20 hours of playback. The outer shell is 3D printed in USA and is 110 x 57 x 18 mm.
The CEntrance BlueDAC is “sold” (even though crowdfunding is not about selling goods) starting at $329 on Indiegogo. Normal price when the campaign will be over will be $560, so a $230 discount is effectively applied. CEntrance’s site mentions a $459 MSRP, though, so it remains to be seen what the real price will be. Estimated delivery date is July 2017.