Audirect Atom 3 Review – The Tiny Mighty
Audirect Atom 3 is the latest dongle DAC from the brand in ultra-compact size that supports high-resolution PCM and DSD signal decoding. Atom 3 houses ESS’ high-performance ES9280AC DAC chipset. Audirect has designed the Atom 3 with low-power consumption audio circuitry. It promises quality performance with low power requirements.
Don’t get fooled by the tiny size of the Atom 3, the DAC/AMP utilizes the performance of ES9280AC, a HiFi Audio DAC chip from ESS Sabre Technologies. Atom 3 with the help of this high-performance DAC chipset achieves ultra-clean output performance. It provides a high SNR of 119dB with a high dynamic range of 120 dB. Tiny in size, mighty in sound.
Audirect Atom 3 supports 32-Bit/768kHz PCM and Native DSD512 audio signals.
Atom 3 comes with premium Panasonic film capacitors in its audio circuitry.
Audirect Atom 3 supports easy connectivity with a wide range of headphones and in-ear monitors. The little device packs a punch that drives most IEMs/Headphones in the market easily. It outputs about 62mW of clean power at 32Ω of load.
With the help of a built-in low-power management chipset, the power draw of Atom 3 from the connected source device is effectively reduced. It helps the Atom 3 to deliver high-quality sound performance and generates low heat at the same time. You won’t notice the Atom 3 getting all heated up even after hours of use.
Audirect Atom 3 supports a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, and even gaming consoles. It brings you high-resolution audio performance on your Nintendo Switch. Do note that the Type-C Atom 3 is not compatible with the Apple iPad 5th generation.
- ES9280AC Pro DAC chipset.
- Ultra-low Jitter with Femtosecond Crystal Oscillator.
- PCM 32-Bit/768kHz, DSD512 signal support.
- Low power-consumption power-management chipset.
- Premium Panasonic thin-film capacitors.
- Adaptive Impedance Support (supports 16Ω-600Ω).
- Outputs Up to 62mW clean output at 32Ω.
- Supports Nintendo Switch.
- LED Format indicator.
- Output: 3.5mm Single-Ended.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz.
- SNR: >119dB.
- DNR: >120dB.
- THD+N: 0.0004%.
- Net weight: 5 grams.
- Price: $46.99
I would like to thank Shenzhenaudio for providing me with the review sample of Audirect Atom 3 DAC-AMP (non-affiliate link).
Audirect Atom 3 is a smooth-sounding DAC with almost a balanced sound profile. With adequate lower frequency, soft midrange, and non-fatiguing higher frequency response. Ideal for long listening sessions. The Atom 3 is entirely silent, with no hiss or any background noise even with low impedance and sensitive IEMs. It sounds quite neutral with no dramatic coloration to the sound, which is a very good thing as an end result.
Atom 3 is capable of producing a good amount of bass for your ears. Mid-bass is more focused than sub-bass so the rumble is low but the thump is still enjoyable. Both the quality and quantity are present in the entire lower frequency area. A good amount of texture and definition is present in the mid-bass.
The Atom 3 reaches deep on low frequencies and is very controlled on both sub-bass and mid-bass with a warm tonality. Drum kicks, bass guitar notes sounding right on the spot, no significant change compared to my desktop setup, except the amount of scaling of course, which is hard to expect from portable DAC/AMP like Fiio KA1 with 62mW(@32Ω) output power. But don’t get me wrong, Atom 3 is capable to power most of your IEMs and low-impedance headphones.
The entire midrange is smooth and natural sounding without any bass bleed. No such particular emphasis is present either in the upper midrange or lower midrange. A good amount of texture and timbre are present in the midrange which overcomes the smoothness and feels very engaging with instruments and vocals. Both male and female vocals sound a bit soft still with at least a decent IEM that softness is almost not noticeable.
Vocals continue with a natural and well-balanced sound. Both male and female vocals keep their natural tonality and instrument their life-like timbre. This is the point where I am describing the sound signature of the IEM (tested with Hidizs MS5 – 5.3Ω/104dB) and not the Atom 3. Hereby I can say that the Atom 3 does not change the sound of the earphone in a way that I can hear.
The higher frequency part has been extended nicely but not too much like other ESS Sabre chips. As a result, the higher frequency part is open and airy but no harshness is present. The non-harsh treble is very much suitable for long listening sessions. Surprisingly the sparkle is still present and adding some spice to my favorite tracks.
The treble region has a very good amount of transparency and extension with no loss of energy and air. Crisp and nuanced, without stepping into any kind of aggressive behavior. The Atom 3 also has enough air and space between instruments and vocals which leads to a good level of separation and soundstage.
Do I need to conclude? If you want a tiny form factor with a mighty sound or if you want to add the missing 3.5mm headphone output to your smartphone get the Atom 3, an easy recommendation.