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Headphone amplifier can enhance audio



The illustration of the first consumer electronics titled THX is a miniature headphone amplifier that allows you to embrace the wire again

photo: Andrew Lisevsky/Gizmodo

THX is synonymous with sound and is famous for its eardrums,Tickle Deep Note Trailer Saw a movie in front of the cinema. for many years, THX works with hardware manufacturers to use its expertise in sound to improve smart phone To Laptop, Now the company is Finally released my own Consumer products: If you are willing to give up wireless convenience, then this small amp is expected to make the sound quality of the headset better.

Before we go deeper, I admit that I am by no means a fan.I am very happy to pass a pair Lightweight wireless earbuds The audio is compressed several times (during streaming, and then further compressed so that it can squeeze into the limited wireless bandwidth of the Bluetooth protocol) before it reaches my ears. But I also spent a lot of time behind the mixing board with professional studio headphones, pumping live music into my ears, and can easily hear the difference between the two.In most cases, I’m happy to prioritize convenience and have little interest in funding and obsessed with thousands of dollars in home stereo settings, but when I work from home and listen to music, I always do A pair of over-ear headphones instead of bud.

THX’s first consumer product seems to be aimed at enthusiasts only, but after trying it for $200 Agate for a few weeks, I think this is definitely an upgrade Anyone who wants to improve the earphone listening experience should consider it.But to really take advantage of the features it offers, you also need to consider serious upgrades to the headset-I mean, even on a $550 Apple laptop, it costs a lot of money. AirPods Max.

THX On​​yx is a combination of amplifier and DAC (digital-to-analog converter) designed to make the audio from a pair of headphones sound as good as possible.The headphone jack on the laptop or (older) smartphone is working As amplifiers and DACs, which convert digital audio files or streams into analog signals, and then pass them to the drivers in a pair of headphones, they do a good job for most consumer audio devices.

But your normal laptops and smartphones also use high-average amplification and DAC components to keep prices low, which may lead to the introduction of sound quality and audio fidelity when converting digital files, as well as the introduction of unnecessary noise . It may even cause a large pair of headphones to be not loud enough, because the built-in amplifier on the device simply cannot send enough power through the headphone jack.

Onyx may not be the first available headphone amplifier-audiophiles have been relying on these types of devices for years-but THX has created what may now be the most stylish and easiest to use amp/DAC available to consumers.Squeezed in the slim dongle is THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (This can increase the sound level while reducing noise and distortion) and ESS ES9281PRO digital-to-analog converter These include “integrated hardware MQA renderer”. It sounds very technical, and most consumers don’t actually need to know what this means, but MQA (on behalf of Master Quality Authenticated) is a new standard that promises to pass digital files that are still small, whose sound quality requires Better quality than CD.Streaming or downloading, and the standard has been rapidly adopted in streaming services, thus ensuring high fidelity Vocal.

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THX On​​yx is small and easy to carry, and even has a magnetic closure, so you can create a loop to help wind and organize the headphone cable.
photo: Andrew Lisevsky/Gizmodo

In easy-to-understand terms, THX On​​yx is an easy-to-use USB-C dongle (it contains an adapter for the old USB port) that provides an alternative location to plug in headphones for better sound . It can draw all the energy it needs from a computer or mobile device, and can complete everything needed to automatically provide a pair of headphones with better sound. There are no buttons to press, no dials to turn, and nothing to configure. It just works.

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You also need Apple’s Lightning to USB camera adapter to connect THX On​​​yx to the iPhone’s Lightning port.
photo: Andrew Lisevsky/Gizmodo

Although Onyx is easy to use, it does make a big compromise-you will have to embrace the wire again. The sound quality improvement it promises cannot be achieved with wireless headphones. If the smartphone you are using is an iPhone with an outdated Lightning port (which is why Apple does not use Lightning on its laptops) instead of USB-C, the situation will be even worse.According to THX, you need to combine Onyx with Apple’s $29 Lightning to USB camera adapter It can be used with the iPhone, and a dongle is added.

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THX On​​yx has a USB-C connector on one end and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the other end.
photo: Andrew Lisevsky/Gizmodo

It is not easy to restore the life of the headphone cable and dongle, but if you regularly listen to music through a pair of ear-hook or ear-hook headphones, you will immediately notice the difference when using Onyx. I tested the amp/DAC with a pair of amplifiers Sony’s excellent WH-1000XM4 headphones (The audio cable is connected), I immediately noticed that the sound is loud and full. When plugged directly into the headphone jack of the MacBook Pro, I can adjust the volume to maximum. Most of Sony’s songs don’t have disturbing sound levels, although they do start to sound as if the signal is overdriven when approaching higher levels. With THX On​​yx, I can only turn up the volume a little bit until the Sony headphones are too loud for me in the past few years, but even at these levels, the sound quality of the music does not have any compromises, and it doesn’t sound like It’s like zooming in to the limit-only my ears are listening.

However, it’s not just about getting louder. A stronger signal helps the headphones produce a more subtle and fuller sound, and has a larger dynamic range, helping to ensure that the sound you hear is closer to what the sound engineer behind the track wants you to hear.

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A set of three color-changing LEDs on THX On​​yx indicate the sound quality in four stages, from CD quality to MQA studio quality.
photo: Andrew Lisevsky/Gizmodo

If you really want to experience the full benefits of 200 USD THX y Onyx, then you will need to spend a little (or a lot) of money.Streaming services like Amazon Music HD and apps like this Hearing Like video services like Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, it provides access and playback of higher bit rate audio files. Apple Music currently does not provide higher quality streaming options, and only Spotify HiFi option recently announced, So when testing THX On​​yx, I relied on Tidal HiFi (a $20 monthly subscription and a one-month free preview), which offers many tracks in the “Master Class” Level of commitment Studio quality audio.

Onyx itself will actually let you know the quality of the track you are listening to its A set of three color-changing LEDs. Blue is CD quality or slightly higher than CD quality, yellow is high resolution, red is Direct Stream Digital (Sony and Philips used in Super Audio CD), and magenta is the highest quality track certified by MQA. I doubt that I hear a lot of different sounds when I switch between the headphone jack of MacBook Pro and THX On​​yx to Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, and when listening to the “Master” quality audio track through Tidal, my ears But effortlessly discern which is. Compared to connecting to Onyx, the music transmitted through the MBP headphone jack is significantly flatter and has a smaller dynamic range. I’m not sure if you’re using a $350 headset, whether the difference between the two is large enough, and whether you need to spend $20 a month on Tidal HiFi, but if you upgrade, it may be so.

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photo: Andrew Lisevsky/Gizmodo

Another obvious way to take advantage of a device like THX On​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ $1,000 Beyerdynamic T5 Tesla high-end headphones. nBecause my ears tasted the good life, They will never be satisfied with wireless earbuds anymore. Imagine filling the fuel tank with Zippo lighter fluid, and then refilling with jet fuel, then let the high-performance sports car make a full circle.BWhen plugged directly into the MacBook Pro, eyerdynamics still provides a better listening experience than the $350 Sony, but when plugged into THX On​​yx, T5 is equipped with a $1,000 headset to meet all your needsThe fi soundtrack sounds incredible.

Audio compression often deprives our ears of frequencies that are not sensitive to file size reduction, but with hifi digital streaming, Onyx and $1,000 headphones, you can hear everything.Blasting original Star wars Through the Tidal theme, it feels like I am sitting on the stage of the London Symphony Orchestra. I now understand the stereotype of the rich man, sitting in a luxurious leather chair and wearing a huge pair of expensive headphones. I don’t want to take BEye dynamics close.

Like many of you I often sniff at the audiophile phil, who dismisses anyone who hasn’t spent tens of thousands of dollars on audio equipment, but the truth is that even if your budget is much smaller, you can still greatly improve your listening experience. TTHX On​​yx is a good first step in this direction. Please note that this is a $200 upgrade and may make you stray on the road where you spend a lot of money. You have been warned.


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