Helm Audio Bolt DAC/AMP evaluation: Astounding

The ancient Greek amphitheater at Epidaurus is widely thought about the acoustic marvel of the ancient world. I would argue that the worthy (though often Sisyphean) mission for acoustic excellence is an essential part of the human spirit. Unfortunately, even with all the developments of modern-day innovation, audio quality on our most typically utilized gadgets– our mobile phones and tablets– in some way takes a rear seats.

Processing chips inside these gadgets that transform the digital signal to analog for earphones are either mediocre or totally awful. Additionally, they normally aren’t efficient in providing the power high-performance earphones require.

Including an outboard DAC or earphone amplifier to get that efficiency generally suggested compromising mobility. Thanks to Helm Audio, that tradeoff is a distant memory. Helm Audio’s Bolt DAC/AMP is a superb-sounding, ultra-portable DAC and amplifier that deciphers the complete series of today’s premier high-res audio formats for a simple $99. Continue reading why I fell for Helm Audio’s Bolt and called it an TechHive Editors’ Option.

Outstanding fit and surface

When unpacking the Helm Bolt, the very first thing you’ll see is that the bundle is Spartan. It consists of the Bolt DAC/AMP, a USB-C woman to USB-A adapter, and a top quality, self-closing bring pouch. That’s it.

Theo Nicolakis/ IDG

What’s consisted of in package.

Holding the Helm Bolt in my hands, it seemed like a premium item with superior products. The rectangle-shaped earphone input was sealed with a matte black surface and checkered quadrant that let me get a strong grip on the Bolt for plugging and disconnecting earphone jacks. Even with damp or sweaty hands, I had a positive grip. It’s a good attention to information you’ll value with extended usage. I can not comment if this impressive surface will use in time.

High efficiency in an ultra-compact type element

The heart of the Helm Bolt is the ESS Sabre 9281A Pro, a 32-bit, two-channel DAC and headphone amplifier in one. Among the crucial selling points is that the ESS Sabre DAC sports a hardware MQA renderer for MQA playback. This remains in addition to DSD, WAV, and every significant lossless codec. The Helm Bolt will support PCM sample rates as much as 384kHz. The Helm Bolt’s signal-to-noise ratio is 115dB.

I have actually checked numerous outboard DAC/AMP options throughout the years. While they have actually smitten me with their efficiency, bulk has actually been their most significant critic. Helm Bolt’s ultra-portable, versatile type element is a significant differentiator.

The Bolt DAC/AMP’s takes a hint from Apple’ Lightning-to-headphone adapter: On one end of the Bolt DAC/AMP you’ll discover a USB-C adapter and on the other a 3.5 mm input that likewise houses the Bolt’s high tech electronic devices. A braided nylon cable television links the 2 parts. Completion outcome is a simple 3.75-inches long.

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