The new mobile USB DAC was designed to be inserted in the audio transmission chain, between the player and headphone or computer. The Impacto essential elegant casing is barely larger than a cable remote control, while the digital-analog converter with built-in headphone amplifier also provides buttons for volume, play/pause and skipping tracks, allowing full control of music playback form the source device.
The technology inside the Impacto essential includes an ESS Technology's SABRE9018Q2C System-On-a Chip Sabre32 Mobile Reference DAC that is able to decrypt high-resolution audio signals up to a resolution of 32 bits and 384kHz, while this device class typically achieves maximum values of 24 bit/192 kHz. The new beyerdynamic compact USB DAC even supports DSD signals (Direct Stream Digital) of up to 5.6 megahertz, allowing users to enjoy DSD files in a simple setup.
Technically, the Impact essential is able to provide an output signal of 50 mW with 32 Ω headphones or 7 mW with more demanding 600 Ω models, with 121 dB signal to noise ratio (A-weighted), 0.002 % THD and a crucial 97 dB channel separation. Thanks to its integrated and practically noise-free amplifier, the small and extremely light DAC is ideal for use with low- and high-impedance headphones. Still, according to beyerdynamic, three icons from its current portfolio are suitable playing partners, including the present T 1 (2nd generation) reference headphone, its portable variant the T 5 p (2nd generation) and the new Amiron home Tesla high-end open headphones. All three models have jack plugs on the earcups on both sides – a requirement for connecting the Impacto essential directly.
The new Impacto essential was also design to work with all types of USB host or "USB On-The-Go" interfaces existing in computers and portable players. Three connection cables are included: the version with the larger plug (USB-A) is primarily intended for notebooks and PCs; the Micro-USB connector normally available on classic Android devices; and the increasingly used USB type C connector, already present in modern smartphones, tablets and new laptops. According to the German brand, a separate solution for Apple's Lightning connector is under way.
Once connected, the digital-analog converter handles the player’s full audio signal processing. This means that the sound quality no longer depends on the components of the playback device. Instead, the DAC converts the high-resolution music data back to analog format and amplifies it – with a precision that takes full advantage of the acoustic potential of the beyerdynamic headphones. The Impacto essential DAC also features a LED indicator to signal if the player is indeed sending high-resolution audio information.
The Impacto essential had its world première at the end of April 2017, at the Tokyo Headphone Festival, and was also demonstrated at the High End show in Munich, in May 2017. It will be now available for 329 euros in authorised specialist stores or directly on beyerdynamic's website.