AMI Musik DDH-1 DAC/headphone amplifier

Equipment report
Categories:
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
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Products:
AMI DDH-1 DAC/Headphone Amp
AMI Musik DDH-1 DAC/headphone amplifier

AMI (Audio Music Interface)Musik is a young Japanese design, Korean build company. The compact DDH-1 is the first of two products out of the starting gates (the other being the DS5, a DSD supporting DAC for not much more than the 24/192 offering) and – if its performance is anything to go by – this is going to be a brand to watch. 

This well-built combination DAC and headphone amplifier is powered by a small in-line 12V, switch-mode power supply (not quite a wall-wart, because it connects to the wall through a two-conductor figure-of-eight power cord allowing the device to be used internationally). This meets an internal DC/DC controller to drop the internal voltage to ±10V. It’s a fairly dinky brushed aluminium box with a half-inch front panel and allen bolts holding the internals in place. A pair of micro-toggle switches drive the thing (one controls broad analogue/digital input and power, while the other fine-tunes between USB, coaxial and optical input), the four green LEDs denote sample rate (the two top ones double up for 192kHz and the lower two glow if you are at 176kHz precision), there’s a ¼” and mini-jack for headphone inputs, and a volume knob with smooth – but not that resistive – action thanks to the ALPS pot beneath. 

Over on the rear panel, there’s a switch to move between fixed and variable output (there are a pair of analogue phono outputs for those thinking this just a DAC), there’s a mini-jack line in for analogue sources, a coaxial and optical inputs, an optical output and a Type B USB 3 socket. This last is very rare at the moment, however, and the XMOS controller only supports USB 2. The advantage to USB 2 users (that’s most of us) is the connector is far more rugged and fits the Type B connector better. I don’t think this takes advantage of USB 3’s putative increased speed, though.

As might be gathered from the above, it uses the popular XMOS chipset, giving up to 24bit, 192kHz precision (from an AKM AK5386 DAC chip) through USB (a driver is provided for Windows PCs). As the USB connection draws no power,