Audirect Beam: Maybe all the portable dac/amp you need? $99USD
Audirect website: http://www.audirect.cc/
I want to thank Wood Lui for his generous offer in making the Audirect Beam available for review. All of the words are mine, and all we mutually expect is an open honest review.
Chock full of details, the Beam is a really nice DAC following in the footsteps of more expensive offerings such as the Audioquest Dragonfly, and future offerings from FiiO. An extremely hard spot to be in, Audirect jumped in with both feet, and I can openly admit that the Beam is worthy of consideration in the conversation regarding the above companies. An excellent start.
Easy to use, plug and play and with the included connectors for USB-C/USB, USB-C/USB-c and USB-C/lightning, you can connect to anything short of the older USB connections. I noticed an immediate improvement when hooked to my iPhone X, bypassing the X’s DAC. Volume control was easy (but took two clicks on the Beam to register one “notch” on the X. Play/pause and moving the volume up/down did cross paths a bit and I would pause instead of raising the volume. But, with care one can easily work that out.
Hooked to my Shanling M3s, I had complete control of the DAP, with good results. Again, the issue was with the volume increments, as to raise/lower volume on the M3s one notch required seven, yes 7 up clicks on the Beam. While not entirely tiring as I simply kept the volume on the M3s right at the point of change, to raise the volume a good bit (or lower…) required either multiple clicks on the Beam or utilize the volume pot on the Shanling. Again, the sound was good, taming the somewhat warm sound of the M3s to a more neutral presence. Good stuff, indeed.
So far this is one very nice little critter!