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Astell&Kern HC2 Dongle DAC Takes Its Shot at Cobalt: High End Munich 2022

The $249 Astell&Kern HC2 USB-C Dual DAC dongle features two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFI DACs and a 4.4 mm balanced headphone jack.

Astell&Kern HC2 USB-C Dongle DAC with Lightning Adapter

Astell&Kern have announced their second USB DAC/Headphone amplifier which will debut at High End Munich 2022, called the HC2. The $249 Dongle DAC is designed to provide playback of high-resolution audio from your computer or mobile device.  With more mobile phone manufacturers removing headphone jacks from their devices, the Astell&Kern USB DAC Cable provides users the ability to get the best sound possible out of their mobile devices while using existing headphones they already own.

Astell&Kern HC2 USB-C Dongle DAC with MFi Certified Lightning Adapter

The Astell&Kern USB DAC Cable features two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFI™ DACs which supports native playback of high-resolution audio up to DSD256 and 32bit/384kHz PCM.

The dual CS43198 DACs are paired with an independent analog amplifier, designed to provide true audio playback so you can feel the live, warm and clear sound as intended, without distortion. This is made possible based on years of Astell&Kern’s expertise in AMP design.  Although it is a small and simple cable type external DAC, the company says it can sufficiently drive high impedance headphones with a 4Vrms output level.

Astell&Kern HC2 USB-C Dongle DAC 4.4mm Headphone Jack

The Astell&Kern USB DAC cable features a USB-C connection, which can be found on the latest Android-based smartphones and Windows and Mac computers.  Since the USB DAC Cable draws power from the playback device it is connected to, there is no need for a separate charger.

The USB DAC Cable supports any headphone or earphone with a 4.4mm balanced connector.

Astell&Kern HC2 USB-C Dongle DAC with Lightning Adapter Connected

An official MFi certified USB-C to lightning adapter insures compatibility with iOS-based lightning port devices.  

A dedicated app for detailed volume adjustment of the HC2 will be released soon for Android devices. The new Android app will also be compatible with the PEE51 USB-C DAC after a future firmware update. 

The HC2 will be certified Roon Tested pending completion of the testing and certification process by Roon Labs. 

Price & Availability

The HC2 USC-C Dual DAC Cable will be available at authorized Astell&Kern dealers in the US and Canada in June 2022 for $249.

For more information:

Related reading: Best Dongle DACs

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ORT

    May 13, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    By the Belly of the Bhudda! “Roon” tested?! For what is essentially a dinky cell phone amp?! Really?!

    This Roonatic stuff is highlarious! “OOOooOOOooo…My dongle is RomperRoon smurtified!” How faptastic is that?

    fAd Copy ALERT! Roon is right down there with MQA. I canna fathom how low the Charlatans of Roon with go but a phone dongle has to be ground level so I suspect they will be breaking out the shovels next. frAudiophiles will wax off over this sort of thing because they “hear” better than anyone including themselves. Talk about playing Audio Limbo. Hey! Wait!

    The “Roon Limbo”…Call the patent office and then…Get Chubby Checker on the line, NOW!

    Oh, and my Android phone (Motorola) has a cell phone jack and a MicroSD slot plus 256 gig of on-board memory. The bestest thing about it is, it ain’t R³.

    Romper Roon Ready. That goes ³ for me and mine.

    As always, all errors are there because I am neither a professional writer (like the good folk of Ecoustcs) or a brofessional typist (e.g., the shills at Stereopile or that idiot Darko). I am just a toad that enjoys music and the equipment that brings it to me. And the writers.

    For those that would whine, “If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all”? I think this dongle is nice enough to buy for those interested in such a thing and especially so since I did not see any thing referencing The FARCE (MQA), but the entire Roon ASSociation is laughable to those that think, rather than feeeeeeeeeeeel.

    Maybe Roon can get Amber Heard to be their Sellebrity spokestress…If the poo fits, she’ll sell it. Roonatics, LOL!


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