pico USB DAC/Amp
Ultra-portable DAC/Amp product.
The pico Upsampling USB DAC Amplifier delivers a lot of music power for its modest size and price. Build quality is superb with a luxurious fit and finish.
The pico supports 16/44.1 and 16/48 inputs and upsamples to 24/96 with a top-spec Wolfson WM8740 DAC and quality FET op-amp output stage. The DAC works only with USB inputs and converts the signal directly to I2S then upsamples to 24-bit/96kHz with asynchronous sample rate conversion. Instead of a typical a PLL (phase lock loop) on the clock, ASRC synthesizes it’s own low-jitter clock that’s used exclusively for sampling. The jitter-prone audio signal is ported to this low-jitter sampling system yielding superior results. Asynchronous sample rate conversion refers to the standard clock and the synthesized low-jitter clock not having to be at the same frequency. The pico DAC runs off of this low-jitter clock instead of a PLL USB clock.
On the front panel there’s a 1/8" jack for headphones, a 1/8" input jack and 2-position gain control and combination power switch/volume control. There are two LEDs indicating power and charging. On the back you’ll find a pair of RCAs and a mini-stereo jack and both can be used at once. The pico has no external power supply but takes its power from the USB connection.
Imaging is enhanced because of the quieter backgrounds presenting a dynamic and detailed sound. The pico is a perfect match for your LCD-series headphones, especially when space is limited or you’re on the road. In spite of its small size the pico USB DAC/amp is a fine sounding product with superb looks and build quality.
pico USB DAC/Amp Specifications
|Device Type||Solid State|
|Battery Type||2-Cell Lithium-Polymer|
|Battery Life||~30 hours per charge|
|Recharge Time||3 hours|
|Frequency Response||20Hz-20KHz +/- 0.1dB|
|Total Harmonic Distortion||0.0009%|
|Stereo Crosstalk||>85dB @ 1KHz|
|Gain||2x/6dB or 6x/15.5dB|
|Input Impedance||50K ohms|
|Output Impedance||less than 1 ohm|
|Output Voltage||8V peak-to-peak, 2.84Vrms|
|Output Power||0.7Wrms w/ 32 ohm load|
|Inputs/Outputs||1x 3.5mm input, 1x 3.5mm headphone out|
|Chassis Dimensions||2.74 (L) x 2.0 (W) x 0.86 (H) inches|
"The new Headamp pico USB DAC/Amp was the item of most interest to me, since learning that Justin had managed to cram an upsampling DAC with a flagship D/A chip and USB to I2S all into a pocket-sized amp. Given what he has done in the past, I expected it to sound good, yet I was still surprised when a couple of tiny boards pumped headphones full of great sound in a manner consistent with (if not better than) my much larger Apogee Mini-DAC. The bass control was much better than I expected from a portable amp, and the DAC was quite impressive with a detailed, yet smooth and unfatiguing sound. I can't wait to hear some more from this little wonder. Thanks to AMB we were able to do some comparative RMAA testing of the Pico and Mini-DAC, and found the Pico performed significantly better in nearly every measurement."
- Iron_Dreamer, NorCal Regional Meet, 8/25
"The Pico was amazing, I was completely mystified as to how such a small DAC and amp sounded that good. I ran E9's and HD600's on it and was very very impressed like nearly everyone here. That thing was smaller than a freaking tomahawk, hats off to headamp!"
- ichiboy, NorCal Regional Meet, 8/25
"HeadAmp pico amp: I echo everything good that's been said about this little wonder. Absolutely a first-class achievement."
-episiarch, NorCal Regional Meet, 8/25