Dilvpoetry DT-1 Tube Headphone AMP DAC Review: Lavish Your Headphones With Warm Tubey Goodness!

Dilvpoetry DT-1 Tube DAC AMP

$219.00
Dilvpoetry DT-1 Tube DAC AMP
7.3

Build

8.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Sound

7.0/10

What We Dig

  • Warm, Natural Sound
  • Nice Separation and Detail
  • Powerful Headphone Amp

What To Think About

  • No Gain Switch
  • Some Treble Roll-Off
  • Bluetooth Lacks Detail

TL;DR

The Dilvpoetry DT-1 combines a decent DAC, powerful headphone amp section, and effective tube input stage in a single box for convenience plus musicality.

Intro

Tube-based headphone amps can offer listeners a different sound profile to solid-state models. Fans of tube amps crave their tendency towards an “organic” sound that is both warm and rich. This type of amp can be a good match with Planar Magnetic headphones as it tends to take some of the edge out of the sound.

As far as headphone amps with tubes go, there are plenty to choose from, especially on Amazon. Alternatively, there aren’t many DAC/Amp combos with tubes available. Well, that’s where the product we’re looking at today comes in.

It’s called the Dilvpoetry DT-1 Tube Headphone AMP DAC, and it sells for $219 on Amazon. The company promises it to be a “high-end” DSD decoder with tube characteristics, and I’m very interested in finding out what kind of sound and power output I will get from this device. So please read on to see what I encounter during my test!

Disclaimer: This unit was sent to us by Aoshida Audio in exchange for our review. No outside input was given or promises made regarding the content contained therein.

Specs

PC-USB input sampling rate:
PCM 768KHz/32bit DSD512
Coaxial input sampling rate:
PCM 384KHz/32bit
Optical input sampling rate:
PCM 192KHz/24bit
Maximum output power (32Ω load):
2W/4.4mm ;0.5W/6.35mm
Headphone Matching Impedance:16-600ΩWorking Voltage:DC 12V
Bluetooth Version:BT 5.0
Bluetooth codec support:LDAC/APT-X HD/APT-X LL
Frequency Response:10Hz-40KHz(±0.3dB)
Distortion:0.0006%

Included Accessories:
1 × DAC DT-1 Machine
2 × Tube-6N3
1 × 6.35 to 3.5 Adapter
1 × PC-USB Cable
1 × Bluetooth Antenna
1 × Remote Control
1 × Manual
1 × Power Adapter (DC 12V/3A)

Build/Features

Right off the bat, I have to say I’m not crazy about the DT-1’s looks. The mirror finish on the front combined with the diamond-shaped buttons give me crazy 70s-80s retro vibes, and not in a good way.

That said, the all-metal chassis imparts a sturdy feel, and all the buttons and connectors seem to be well supported. Overall, there are no creaks or rattles that give me pause about the build quality.

The only thing that bothers me is the lack of protection for the tubes. I wish there were some type of small cage or something around each tube, but this isn’t a dealbreaker by any stretch.

If you’re wondering, the DT-1 is basically a hybrid tube amp, meaning it uses tubes only on the input circuit, which overlays some of the rich, full-bodied tube sound over the output signal. On the other hand, actual power output is handled by two TI TPA6120A2 headphone amp chips, which are widely used in the hi-fi marketplace.

The DAC section is anchored by an ESS ESS9038Q2M chip which supports DSD up to DSD512 and PCM up to 32-bit/768kHz. Hidizs also used this chip in the S9 Pro USB DAC/Amp we reviewed some months back. There’s no MQA compatibility.

By the way, if you plan to use the DT-1 as a DAC only, you can switch the tubes out of the circuit, sending the digital input directly to the chip and then out of the RCA output as an analog signal. This must be done via the included remote, and I could hear a relay in the unit click as I switched the tubes off.

In addition, the tubes are removable, which makes tube rolling possible. The manual suggests several replacements for the included 6N3 tubes. (here’s the list: 6H3N / 6H3N-E / 6H3N-EB / 6H3N-N / GE5670W)

On the front panel of the DT-1, there are two headphone jacks (one 4.4mm balanced and one 1/4” single-ended), along with three diamond-shaped buttons that control volume, input, and power on/off.

The power/select button also switches between “output modes,” meaning the DT-1 will automatically change between the HP out or line-out depending on which is in use or use both simultaneously.

Between the buttons and headphone jacks, there’s a small LED screen that shows the input in use, the sample rate of your music file, and the volume level.

The included remote control operates all of the above and more, as it also shuts off the display and mutes volume.

On the rear of the DT-1 is an RCA line-out, along with three digital inputs (USB, Coax, Optical). There’s also a jack for the included power adapter and a connection for the Bluetooth antenna.

Speaking of Bluetooth, the DT-1 supports a wide variety of audio codecs for wireless audio input, including hi-res codecs like LDAC, APT-X HD, and APT-X LL.

I used both the LDAC and APT-X HD connections on my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Fiio M11 Plus LTD, and I was a little underwhelmed by both the sound quality and the volume level. It could work for casual listening on an inexpensive pair of headphones, but I wouldn’t use it for critical listening.

For the most part, the feature set is excellent. I would’ve loved to see a gain control to help with volume matching for very sensitive headphones, but for the most part, everything I think a user would need is there.

You can input sound from many sources (like a TV, PC, or Streamer), which means the DT-1 can function as a digital “preamp,” sending out music to headphones and power amps. I can see this as a very nifty device in a small listening room or a bedroom. Just sit back with the remote and let the music play.

Listening To The Dilvpoetry DT-1 Tube Headphone AMP DAC

For most of my listening tests, I hooked up the DT-1 to my Envy X360 laptop using the included USB cable. I then played a lot of music from TIDAL through my reference headphones, the HIFIMAN Arya Stealth Magnet Version Planar Magnetic Headphones.

First of all, I have to say the DT-1 is quite powerful, driving the relatively hard to drive (98dB sensitivity @ 32ohms) without any problem via both the balanced and unbalanced outputs.

The Arya is a neutral pair of headphones, almost to a fault, but the DT-1 added some warm tube goodness to their sound. I loved the synergy. (I also liked it with the Dan Clark Audio ÆON Flow Closed) It made them sound rich and weighty. In addition, the bottom end was nicely extended, giving the Hifiman not just more quantity down low, but quality also.

Listening to Patricia Barber’s “Samba de Uma Nota So” from her new album “Clique,” I was impressed at the articulation of the upright bass, as it provided the foundation for this beautiful tune.

The midrange was also lavished with the warmth one would expect from tubes. I loved how Patricia’s voice, along with the accompanying guitar and cymbals, sounded so rich and natural. The trailing edges of tones were fully realized, which made the instruments come alive.

I also liked the DT-1’s depth and separation, as the mix elements were nicely focused and delineated within the soundstage. Speaking of the soundstage, it was more deep than wide, but it still gave the presentation room to breathe.

If I had any issue with the DT-1’s sound, it might be on the top end, where there was some roll-off in the upper treble. The dip at the very top made this DAC/Amp combo sound a little “dark” and closed-in at times.

That said, to me, this wasn’t much of an issue as the roll-off was so high in the audio spectrum that it didn’t remove enough information to make instruments sound dull. I found the fullness and natural timbre in the mids to be a good trade-off, one that tube fans are often willing to make.

I also noted some slight distortion on the low end when I listened to tracks with very heavy bass, but this only affected a few songs, mainly hip-hop tunes.

Overall, the DT-1 had a nicely detailed sound, and while it could’ve been a little more open, it’s quite musical and natural sounding. It meshes quite well with planar magnetic headphones, especially those on the brighter side like the Dan Clark Audio ÆON Flow Closed.

The Wrap Up

So I have to say, even though the external design is not my favorite, the Dilvpoetry DT-1 Tube Headphone AMP DAC is a solid device that combines warm, organic tube sound with a quality DAC section and powerful headphone amp.

I also like the flexibility of this device, as it lets you seamlessly move between use as a standalone DAC for use with a stereo system, or a DAC/Headphone amp combo that can power just about every headphone in your collection.

I do wish there was some type of gain control to help match the output to more sensitive headphones. I also wish the Bluetooth input was a little cleaner.

That said, if you’re looking for a quality DAC/Headphone Amp combination with some genuine tube sound, on the cheap, this product is definitely worth checking out.

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