FX Audio DR07 - Combo DAC/Amp

Here are my opinions on the FX Audio DR07…

TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - FX Audio DR07

The FX Audio DR07 has been sent to me by HifiGo in exchange for the publication of this review. HifiGo have not made any specific comments regarding the review and I will do my best to be as unbiased as possible in my review. One thing that HifiGo do request is that I include purchase links on all platforms that I publish my review on.

The FX Audio DR07 can be found here:

HiFiGo: FX-AUDIO DR07 Dual AK4493 DAC All-in-One Headphone Amplifier — HiFiGo

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D1BZB57H/fx+audio+dr07/

Aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256806644435026.html

As always, I do not use affiliate links and the above are no exception.

Intro…

Although I just left links above to the DR07 via HifiGo, the truth is that it will have been added after putting together this review. This is because I have received this device ahead of its release and I am not even sure of when it is going to release. That also means that, while testing and reviewing this device, I have very little information on specifications and I don’t even know the price.

That actually makes reviewing something much more interesting to me, meaning that I can’t use phrases like “in its price range” or “value for money”, even though it does mean that I am not sharing all of the info. But anyway, by the time you read this review, the link will be available above and you can click on it to find out the price and specifications of this device.

So, this review is even more subjective than ever, based solely on my personal use and opinions of the DR07.

As far as FX Audio, I think anyone who checks out audio devices on Amazon will have come across them at some point, they usually make budget friendly devices that are not the cheapest you can get but are reasonably priced for what they offer (again, in this case I don’t know, but I guess it will be the same).

I have used a couple of their amplifiers in the past but haven’t used any of their headphone related products. In the cas of the DR07, it is an all in one device that offers DAC and headphone amplification, with an (unbalanced) analog output that can be used to feed other amplifiers or speakers.

Presentation…

As this is a pre production unit, I can’t really say if the packaging is what you can expect when purchasing the device.

In this case it is a fairly generic white box that does show the FX Audio branding but only shows the model on a sticker that has been added to the side.

Inside the box, there is the device, the bluetooth antenna, the power supply and a remote control. In addition to this, I received a (fairly nice) USB cable packaged separately which is from a different brand.

I am not going to comment on the packaging and presentation as I neither know if it is the retail packaging, nor the price of the device, so the packaging is irrelevant.

Build and aesthetics…

The device is completely made of metal and is fairly generic, all black, except for the front panel.

The front panel feature some white decoration, along with the brand, model and some other text also in white.

The front also features a small LCD screen (blue text on black) that is only really going to be readable from very close. There is a lot of info on such a small screen (which is also pretty bright) and the bottom line is almost impossible to read from more than 50cm away (and I have decent eyesight).

Basically the top line of the screen shows the file format and sample rate in small text, with the bottom line showing the input, volume level and gain level in even smaller text. As this device comes with a remote control, I don’t think that you will be able to see what is on the screen if you are more than an arms length away. It would have been nice if, when changing something from the remote, if the screen changed for the changes to me shown momentarily on the whole screen. It would still be small but much better than how it is now.

On the front we also get the power and input selection button to the left, a small LED idicating MQA when present, 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone outputs and nice and large (for the size of the device) volume knob that also acts as a push button.

On the back, from left to right, we get a BT antenna, USB input (type B), optical input, digital coax input, optical output, RCA’s for unbalanced analog output and a 12V DC power connection for the included PSU.

The build quality is good but I can’t say I am a fan of the aesthetics. Personally I think that the white accent makes it look cheaper than it would all black (or with a darker highlight colour) but that is just a personal thing. My only real complaint would be with the screen which tries to show too much information on such a small screen. I like having a screen but less info would have been better in my opinion.

Functionality…

As far as connectivity, the bases are covered with digital inputs, with BT, USB, Optical and Coaxial all being present, which is nice. For outputs, the unit is only single ended, which some may not like, but I would much prefer a decent unbalanced output than a mediocre balanced and unbalanced output. One thing I do like is that the DR07 has an optical output, allowing it to be daisy chained to other devices and even used as a digital to digital converter, something that I always like to have available but not many devices include.

On the front of the device we find the power button on the left, which also serves as a select button, allowing us to cycle through the various inputs. At the right of the device we get the volume knob which is also a push button. A quick press of the button will mute or unmute the unit, while a long press will bring up the gain select which is changed between low and high by turning the volume knob. A second long press (while in the gain menu) takes us to the filter selection mode, where there are 6 filters to choose from. A final long push will allow us to choose between both outputs (headphones and preamp) being always active or automatic.

That is about it as far as functionality from the device itself, quite simple.

As far as the remote is concerned, it is a generic remote with the FX Audio logo on it. It offers the same functions as on the device but with dedicated buttons. It is handy to have the remote but I wouldn’t plan on seeing the screen any further away that arms reach.

Sound…

The DR07 implements the AK4493 DAC chip, which is a chip that we have seen around for quite some time. This chip has been common in a lot of decent priced alternatives from quite a few brands over the years and allows the device to decode hi-res PCM and DSD. In this case, FX Audio has also added MQA decoding, something that I am personally not interested in but it is there if you want it.

I am not sure what is being used as far as the amplification stage of the device but it does sound rather clean and offers a sound signature that is going to be considered fairly neutral by most people. I have had it on my desk for a few weeks at the side of the iFi Gryphon and the Fosi SK02 and I have to say it seems noticeably cleaner than the latter and has less warmth than the former. Again, placing it in a fairly neutral spot.

My first plug in were the Koss KPH40, which they usually are, as they live on my desk at work and that is where I usually plug in any device for the first time. My first impressions were that they sounded fairly clean and defined, with more than enough power in low gain for me to listen at levels above my usual listening levels.

I used multiple sets of headphones and IEMs throughout the week and I have to say that the feeling was about the same with all of them. Nothing really seemed to be an issue with the DR07 but nothing really stood out either.

I had no sensation of any of my headphones being exciting on the device, yet I did not feel that anything was wrong either. It provides a neutral sound that just works and doesn’t really add any sort of flavouring of its own.

Conclusion…

I think that the DR07 is a nice simple option for those that just want something that works and covers all the bases. If you are someone who is interested in getting a certain synergy with a certain headphone, then I really haven’t found it to be the case with the headphones and IEMs I have on hand.

However, if you are someone who just wants something that works and not have to worry about it influencing your headphones with anything negative, then the DR07 is a simple device with good connectivity and a very reasonable price.

4 Likes

I got one yesterday after seeing Z’s review. I got it based on his opinion of the sound quality. I have been using a J2/AKM DAC with optical from the TV. With a Topping A70 Pro the sound was pretty harsh on some things. So I switched to a Singxer SA1. That helped a lot, but didn’t completely take out the harshness. It just made it less annoying. No remote though with the SA1. So when I watched Z’s review I figured for $169 it’s worth a shot. I put it in the system. It took some fiddling to get it to come on, but after the 3rd try it finally did. With new batteries in the remote at listening distance, 6 or 7 feet away, the remote’s signal can reach the unit. It works fine from about 12 inches away. Taking the unit out of the rack & putting it out in front of it sitting on top of the subwoofer seemed to help the remote so the volume worked. The units screen is so tiny that I can hardly read it even holding 5 inches from my eyes. I can read what im typing here on my phone just fine. Sound wise it is ok but it is not really doing any better than the SA1 did on curtailing the harshness completely out of the sound. When I put a tube buffer in the chain the sound is great. When I Bluetooth to my Bose speaker it’s good too. No harshness. So I guess I’ll just keep a tube buffer in the chain. Ive only been using optical out of my tv. I haven’t tried my BT dac yet. That’ll be another time. Anyways the thing sounds fine for $169. It doesn’t like 600ohm DT990s though. The lowest bass distorted. It does pretty good with the HD660S2. Much less distortion on the super low bass.