Tempotec Serenade iDSD review

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TempoTec has long been known for its variety of audio solutions, with excellent sound quality for a reasonable price. Serenade iDSD is no longer a new desktop DAC, but even in 2020, considering its price, it continues to surprise with the sound quality and availability.

Note that the device is primarily of interest in two things. It can be connected not only to a Windows or Mac PC, but also to any smartphone, whether Android or iOS. The second thing that distinguished this model is the presence of replaceable operating amplifiers of the DIP8 type, thanks to which you can subtly tune the sound to your own needs and taste preferences. Let’s look at everything in order.


Accessories & Packaging

TempoTec Serenade iDSD comes in a simple cardboard box, nothing unusual.

Packing Included: Serenade iDSD, USB cable (USB-A to USB-B), 9V/2A switch power supplier, user manual, product holder.


Design

The case of the device is completely made of metal without any inscriptions or marks, just a metal blank. In general, the device is quite small in size for this category of DAС, most competitors are usually twice as large, especially given that the device is equipped with an amplifier for headphones.

On the front panel there are two headphone outputs for 3.5 and 6.3 mm, a volume control and two push-button switches with LED indicator.

The left button is responsible for the active input. In fact, you will almost always use the value of U, which indicates the device is connected via USB B. It is in this mode that we connect to a PC on Windows or Mac. And with the help of an additional OTG cable, it is connected to your smartphone. This way the DAC will work with the smartphone most flexibly. You can launch streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer and etc or watch YouTube for example. The second button is responsible for switching the outputs: L – the sound will be output to the linear RCA, C – to the coaxial, P – to both headphone outputs.

On the rear panel of the device there is an power switch, a power input, two linear RCA outputs, coaxial, USB B input and standard USB.


Sound

It is worth mentioning right away that given the interchangeable operational amplifiers, the device has a very wide range of sound, in other words, you can adjust the sound for yourself by selecting a specific operational amplifier. Everything described below applies to the amplifier LM6172 that we installed instead of the standard LME49720.

High frequencies are bright and lively, here the juicy middle also helps well, all the attention goes to the percussion of the cymbals. High frequencies on Serenade iDSD transparent, detailed and very comfortable. In the middle frequencies, brightness and juiciness prevail, and the sound is transparent, which gives a better separation of the instruments.

The vocals are just great, and there is obviously a lot of air in the complex string arrangements. In any case, the strings and wind instruments on Serenade iDSD sound fascinating. The low frequency range is assertive, fast and elastic, it does not wedge and does not violate the overall picture, but rather gives new life to the other frequency ranges.

Very impressive for this DAC segment. You can listen to anything style you like. The scene is natural, with a good study in depth. The tones are easily recognizable and meticulously accurate. The DAC is also not picky about the headphones, it will warm up both light earphones and tight full sizes headphones.


Verdict

Tempotec Serenade iDSD gives great sound with accents that you can choose yourself using a variety of DIP8 amp. There are many options for use, the smartphone and PC, with an external amplifier via RCA or coaxial output. Flexibility in sound, usability, ASIO and a reasonable price, all this makes Tempotek Serenade iDSD relevant even today. We can safely recommend this DAC to purchase, you absolutely will not be disappointed in the choice in 2020.


Specifications

CPU: HiBy CPU
DAC: AKM AK4490EQ
Operational amplifier: Ti TPA6120A2 + Ti LME49720NA
Capacitors: Nichicon Line Gold Series
Output level: 300 mW at 32 Ohms and 75 mW at 600 Ohms
Sound Resolution: up to 192 kHz / 32 bit, DSD128
Headphones: up to 600 ohms
Inputs: USB Type A, USB Type B
Outputs: 3.5 mm and 6.3 mm audio jack for headphones, RCA, coaxial
Management: volume control, input selection button, output selection button
Power Supply: DC, 9V (power adapter included)
Material: aluminum alloy
Dimensions: 130 mm x 120 mm x 30 mm
Weight: 412g
OS: Windows 7,8,10; MAC OS Android iOS

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