Audioengine’s D1 Saved My Marriage
Audioengine D1 Premium 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter)
My Panasonic digital television does not have a headphone port. Why have TV manufacturers removed headphone ports from our equipment? How are people supposed to use headphones now? Why are we suddenly not interested in using them?
When I stream audio/video content from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or the iPad/iPhone, using an AppleTV or Roku box, there needs to be a straightforward way to listen with headphones without disturbing my wife reading in the living room. Audioengine’s D1 digital-to-analog converter is the solution and marriage saver.
This little USB-powered gem connects via a digital audio optical cable (not included) from a port on the rear of my TV to an identical port on the rear of the D1. I use my iPad’s USB/AC charging plug to power the D1 from its included USB cable, because my television lacks a USB port.
There is a white LED on/off switch and power indicator. A volume knob on the front of the unit adjusts the audio output to analog headphones. Listening with my lightweight Skullcandy Aviator, affordable premium over-ear headphones, the digital audio output is world class. A pair of RCA speaker outputs is also on the rear of the D1, adjacent to the Optical Input.
The Panasonic TV’s internal speakers need to be turned off using a series of actions on its remote control unit. The company’s free phone tech support agent was extremely helpful with the initial setup of the D1 using my HDMI ports. Audioengine also provides toll-free USA phone and email support.
Audioengine’s Setup Guide explains: Optical sources must be set to PCM Stereo. There was no such choice in the Panasonic’s menu hierarchy. The guide continues: The D1 optical input can accept optical streams from any optical (TOSLINK) source, such as TVs, Apple TV, DVD/BluRay players, CD players, etc. The D1 output can be connected to any gear with an analog audio input, such as powered speakers, a boom box, stereo system, etc. I tested D1 using analog powered speakers, with success.
Reminder: Turn on your TV’s internal speakers when you are not using D1, or else you will be in hot water with your other family members!
The company guarantees your music will sound better, and the results are remarkable. Audio is crisp, immersive, and full-spectrum, beyond any prior sonic experience MyMac has evaluated. Digital sound processing can introduce minor quirks that won’t affect normal listening. A 30-day trial is available, with free shipping.
I have three warnings and one bonus. The first is: D1’s headphone output is extremely powerful, so set it low and turn it up gradually until you achieve a comfortable listening level without causing ear or brain damage. The second warning is: Digital-to-analog-conversion brings to life the best and worst of the source audio, because you hear so much more. Good recordings sound great, and bad recordings don’t. Third warning is: You will find more opportunities to use your headphones for video and audio streaming, allowing you to maintain a considerate relationship with your spouse or other housemates thanks to the splendid Audioengine D1 Premium 24-bit DAC.
Bonus: The digital sound source can connect to an AppleTV both with and without the television signal, meaning you an use the HDMI input to transmit digital audio from an iPhone or iPad via AirPlay for pure listening with the Music, Pandora, and RDIO apps, as examples.