It’s a first, because until now THX Ltd. was considered a company that worked with a wide variety of industry partners and served as a technology supplier. The new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier is the first consumer product available.
THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier, THX Ltd. enters the consumer segment for the first time with a portable D/A converter and headphone amplifier in a very, very compact form. Equipped with a USB-C interface, the new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier is primarily recommended for mobile devices.
THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier – cross-platform compatible
Mobile devices, in the case of the new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier this of course primarily means smartphones and tablets, whereby the USB-C interface allows it to be connected directly to devices with Google Android, while solutions with Apple iOS of course require the corresponding USB-C to Apple Lightning adapter.
The new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier can also be operated on notebooks, whereby according to the manufacturer, no additional drivers are required for Microsoft Windows 10 and certainly not for Apple macOS. An adapter for USB is included in the scope of delivery.
THX Ltd. enters new territory
As described, this is the first consumer product from THX Ltd. that is now available in the form of the THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier. Up to now, the company has been active solely as a technology supplier for a wide variety of companies, especially in the field of film, of course. After all, THX Ltd. was founded in 1983 by none other than George Lucas. For years, the focus was on certification based on its own technologies in the field of film, but gradually new categories were added, from live entertainment to consumer electronics to automotive systems.
Especially in the area of personal audio devices, the company has recently stepped up its efforts not only to license its own technologies, but also to realise them itself, such as the THX AAA Headphone Amplifier.
THX AAA Amplifier Technology
This is the basis of the new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier, whereby the abbreviation AAA stands for Achromatic Audio Amplifier, which THX Ltd. promises is currently the most advanced platform for outstanding sound quality with low power consumption. A high output power, a signal processing free of sound coloration is to be offered here. This makes it ideal for developing personal audio solutions such as the new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.
Focus on MQA
But the output stage is only one feature that the manufacturer emphasises. Special emphasis is placed on the fact that the new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier is able to process content encoded in the MQA format forced by MQA Ltd. Responsible for this is an ESS ES9281PRO DAC, which is used in the new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.
According to the manufacturer, this should allow services such as the streaming service TIDAL to exploit their full potential, as the combination of the TIDAL app and the THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier enables a complete unfold of the content encoded in MQA and the output stage based on the THX AAA Headphone Amplifier actually knows how to use the quality offered.
The new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier is able to process signals with up to 24 bits and 192 kHz, and content can also be played back in DSD. Three status LEDs, which shine in different colour combinations, indicate which data is present.
Headphones are connected via a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, which, according to the data sheet, may have an impedance of 22 ohms up to 1,000 kOhms. The output impedance of the new THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier is given as 0.25 Ohm and the output power per channel as 180 mW at 22 Ohm.
Very slim design
The THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier is made of solid metal and is very, very slim. You can easily carry it with you at all times.
The cable, which is always a weak point in such solutions, is also said to be very robust and therefore durable.
The cable can be attached directly to the housing via magnets, so that the manufacturer speaks of implemented cable management.
Getting to the point
The THX Onyx Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier is the first consumer device that THX Ltd. has brought to market. It is not really surprising that the company relies on the THX AAA Amplifier Technology, which it already supplies as a platform to several OEMs. Nor is it surprising that, once again, users who use content encoded in MQA and thus, above all, from the streaming service TIDAL, are being particularly wooed. According to the manufacturer’s promise, they will find the ideal solution for best quality here.