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CS-Pro Audio CS46L41 Headphone DAC Review

CS-Pro Audio CS46L41 Headphone DAC Review

Author:Andy.EF

DAC Chip: Cirrus Logic CS46L41 & SA9302L

PCM 24bit - 384khz, SNR: 125dB/-113dB, Power: 70mWx2 32Ω, USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: Supported), Compact, 10mm, Aluminum Chassis, SPC Cable

 

Strengths:

  • Neutral organic timbre, natural and nicely bodied
  • Commanding Mid-Bass vibe and texture
  • Strong Sub-Bass seismic response, delicious
  • Great Treble and Bass extensions, on par with CS43131
  • Excellent micro details with audible nuances
  • Fast swishy treble decay, airy, rolls off fast.
  • Nicely positioned Mids with very slight forward vocals
  • Very realistic, organic, and engaging cello, piano, and strings tone
  • Super clean noise free background
  • While not razor sharp, imaging, and spatial is holographic.
  • Surprisingly light and nimble build
  • Microphone support!
  • Beautiful Blue RGB Light!

 

Weaknesses:

  • Hint of grainy upper treble textures
  • Slightly soft edged male and female vocals
  • Very marginally less coherent compared to CS43131.
  • Very “ordinary” soundstage, nothing to be wow-ed about

 

VERDICT:

CS-Pro Audio CS46L41, I chucked this Dongle with hesitation into my Shopee cart, not knowing exactly what to expect. The very reasonable price of $13 does seem tempting. Ah well it is here now with me. While not being outright stellar and mind blowing, CS-Pro CS46L41 proved to be a very solid USB Dongle DAC, my ears liking it a lot for the overall organic and mildly “warm” timbre. I would use the word warm sparingly and only do so because I have listened to many other sources that are brighter and sparkier, JM20 and FC3 for example are audibly “brighter” in contrast. There is no avoiding comparing this CS46L41 against JM20, for they are essentially from the same Cirrus Logic family and thus carried the CS DNA in them. In fact, I must confess I am beginning to develop a fondness for CS sound signature, and it is already tilting my personal favouritism from ESS Sabre that I adored so much. I was already wow-ed by the JM20, then the dual PEE51 and now this – it nailed a convincing note on my mind that the CS have a knack for balance between analytics vs musicality. I would regard CS-Pro CS46L41 as the more organic sounding version of JM20, it trades off some dry technicalities for body and dynamics. This is an extremely healthy option for users. It is not about which one is the best, it is about preference and choice.

 

CS-Pro VS JM20

  • CS46L41 offers stronger Mid-Bass and Sub-Bass
  • JM20 offers slightly better/tighter bass texture and body.
  • CS46L41 tilted towards organic timbre, JM20 less so
  • CS46L41 offers slightly livelier dynamics, JM20 colder finesse.
  • JM20 slightly refined on Treble edge cleanliness and texture.
  • CS46L41 more likely to be less sibilant compared to JM20.

 

OVERALL RATING: 80/100

Recommended Pairing: Natively bright, sparkly, and dynamic BA/DD.

 

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