[Review] Calyx PAT

August 11, 2015


Portable music is more mainstream than ever nowadays. Music streaming industry is blooming fast too. Smartphones are so advance and this is one of the main factor which drive the portable music trend. However the sound quality from smartphones is not satisfying because lack of details and synergy.

Calyx is product series by Korean company known as D&A, Digital and Analog Co. Ltd. Previously they were into OEM business until lately they introduced their high-end native DSD portable player Calyx M.


What is Calyx PAT?
Calyx PAT is portable DAC that can be used on smartphones, tablets and computers which bypass the internal DAC of your devices and act as an upgrade DAC enhancing music playback. PAT has minimal design with elegant build and brilliant size. The CNC cut aluminium body is super light and rigid. It has only one digital input (micro USB) and one analog output (3.5mm stereo). Calyx PAT does not have internal battery. It needs very minimal power to operate and it does not drain much power from your devices so no worries on this. Calyx PAT is very easy to use, just plug and play, no driver needed.


Calyx PAT available in 3 colors: Gold, Blue and Red. It comes in simple and small packaging. Inside the packaging there are Calyx PAT and 2  cables: Micro USB OTG and USB to Micro USB.




The Imperfections.
I personally think that Calyx PAT is a very perfect portable DAC without these 2 imperfections I am going to mention. These imperfections are very small, no big deal, I am just being picky here. Firstly the control is not working on Android devices. Anyway the control is just a plus feature, Calyx PAT still working great without control. Honestly we use device's on-screen control most of the time. The control is working on iOS and Windows OS.

The other imperfection is that Calyx Pat does not come with stock cable for Apple devices. You will need to buy the Apple Camera USB Kit in order to use the Calyx PAT with Apple devices. Besides, connecting another adapter cable will only increase the cable length and this will reduce the portability.

Inside the Calyx PAT.
I opened up one of the Calyx PAT and took some photos. Here you can see that Calyx PAT offers top notch build quality. Its circuit is quite direct and simple. It's sound is clean and without coloration.






The Sound.
Calyx PAT is entry level DAC which is designed for maximum portability and operate with minimum power. It only able to play up to 16bit 48 kHz. Please do not expect it to play DSD. Calyx PAT is the upgrade for device's in-built DAC. I tried the Calyx PAT on several in-ears and headphones with Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and iPhone 5s playing 16 bit 44.1 kHz FLAC and Apple Lossless. It benefits the in-ears more than headphones because the output power is not high and it drives the low impedance yet high sensitivity in-ears very well. The signature is slightly warmer. It gives you the presentation with more details, slightly improved synergy and slightly better sound stage. Besides, it enhances the low frequency and give more bass. Calyx PAT does bring out the details compare to in-built DAC. The improvements and enhancements are there but not very impressive that will blow you away.


For headphones, it is capable to drive low impedance portable headphones (32 Ohm). However it is recommended to pair it with an amplifier to get more synergy.


Specifications.
Power Source : USB
DAC : 16 Bit / 48 kHz
Output : 3.5 mm Stereomini, 0.8 V, 1.8 Ω
Dimension : 60 mm (H), 30 mm (W), 7.5 mm (D)
Weight : 20 g
Color : Gold, Blue, Red
Accessories : Micro USB OTG, Micro USB to USB

The Conclusion
Well, Calyx PAT definitely is a good buy for $99 (RM399) for entry level DAC if you ask me. It offers good build quality, good portability and good sound. If you are looking for entry-level DAC upgrade and you are using in-ears then I would recommend Calyx PAT to you. If you are using headphones then I would recommend you to pair another amplifier with Calyx PAT to drive your headphones to its potential. Calyx PAT is low cost, excellent sounding for the price, compatible with PC and mobile devices, such worthy product not only recommended to audiophile but everyone who appreciates good sound. Highly recommended.






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