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Hilidac Audirect BEAM 2SE Headphone Amp Review

Hilidac Audirect BEAM 2SE Headphone Amp Review

Author:Andy.EF

DAC Chip: ES9281C PRO (Single)

PCM 24bit - 384khz DSD128 MQA, SNR: 118 dB SNR, Power: 120 mW 32Ω, USB Type-C Male, 3.5mm SE (Microphone: Supported), Compact, 53x15x10mm, 23g, Metal Chassis, No Cable

Extensive comparison done with HiBy FC3 which uses the same DAC Chip, the two of them practically sounded the SAME – with minor nuances that separate them. So, I will only list what I heard different between the two. Refer to my HiBy FC3 impressions for the rest

 

Strengths:

  • Commanding dynamics that is slightly meatier than FC3
  • Mildly better sense of spaciousness, airiness, and imaging
  • A hair better bass decay than FC3, by a few milliseconds
  • Slightly better speed handling for amazingly fast BPM songs
  • Mildly sharper edged percussions vs FC3
  • Mildly richer texture and tone for Cello and Piano vs FC3
  • User selectable Low, Mid and High Gain
  • Out of the box support for USB C and Apple Lightning cables
  • Beautifully made braided cables + USB-A Adaptor

Weaknesses:

  • No dedicated hardware volume control
  • Coherence level just a hair lower than FC3
  • Slightly weaker SE output compared to FC3 (both High Gain)
  • Heavier built and slightly larger

 

VERDICT:

Hilidac Audirect BEAM 2SE. It was a pain for me to compare this one with HiBy FC3. They really do sound very similar – timbre and tonality are exactly similar. Only with very critical listening I was able to pick up the differences. On a very miniscule difference, FC3 remained the cleaner sounding of the two while BEAM 2SE slightly richly bodied – again VERY miniscule difference that I was able to pick up with the use of ultra-resolving Shure KSE1500. I am not surprised by this as the implementation were done with such limited real estate meaning that the core DAC will impart 90% of the sound characteristics. I believe, had them been full sized DAC/Amps, they would sound differently with different tuning (utilizing larger capacitors, power stage, Opamp etc.)

My conclusion, BEAM 2SE offer a slight advantage of being less sterile in overall contrast to the more coherent FC3 – which in turn making it more adaptable to wider pairing. However, BEAM 2SE will be better served with an already warm, organic sounding IEMs/Headphones. Pairing it with highly resolving and sparkly BA could make the overall sound less dynamic notwithstanding being exceedingly technical.

 

OVERALL RATING: 90/100

Recommended Pairing: Natively warm and dynamic headphones/earphones/magnetic planars.

 

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