New from ALO Audio: the Pilot II; a dongle DAC with USB-C at one end but a 4.4mm balanced headphone socket at the other. (3.5mm terminated cables need not apply). In between, a D/A conversion and headphone amplifier circuit built around an ESS Sabre 9281ACPRO chip.
The headphone amplifier portion of the 9281 chip promises 2.2V in standard mode and 3.3V in ‘boosted’ mode whilst the DAC portion of the same chip supports PCM up to 768kHz, where all but 44.1kHz and 48kHz streams move the Pilot II’s status LED from blue to red. As do DSD streams up to 22.5MHz (aka DSD512). The presence of MQA streams is confirmed by a purple LED.
The Pilot II offers plug-n-play support for Windows 10, MacOS, Android and iOS (via a Lightning adapter). Hi-res fanciers using Android devices are advised to check in with their music playback app developer to confirm its ability to sidestep the host OS’s always-on 48kHz sample rate converter. USB Audio Player Pro and Roon ARC can. Plexamp cannot.
Further information: ALO Audio