NuPrime Hi-mDAC Review by HEADFONICS

– Michael Piskor, headfonics.com

“…No question about it, this NuPrime Hi-MDAC has the best build quality in a small form factor DAC that I’ve ever seen…and dang, I own so many and have reviewed so many….

Our Verdict
Gods honest, I am so tired of the larger DAC’s that claim to be portable but are the size of small bricks. These little DAC’s are the future and I want these companies to push the boundaries of what is possible.
The Hi-mDAC is the first I have heard that is actually very musical, enjoyable on a tonality viewpoint and that offers a slick sense of style in the physical dynamic impact area of the listening experience.
By that, again, I mean it sounds smoother and easier to listen to than most other small DACs. The tradeoff is that it is quite chunky and much bigger than the others, but still, it is petite. And it has decent power! To see a budget tiny DAC performs well with demanding planars such as the Dan Clark Audio Aeon Flow is impressive.
Of course, it does not power it as well as a good desktop amp, but for a casual walk, or sitting outside somewhere, doing the dishes and cleaning the house with this Hi-mDAC in your pocket? I cannot complain when I look at the bigger picture.
We have come far with these little guys and I am happy to keep this in my pocket for the duration of my day, at least, until my phone dies and cannot power the DAC anymore.”

NuPrime Hi-mDac review: mini USB DAC as spartan as it is packed with audiophile qualities

– Guillaume Fourcadier, on-mag.fr

“…The NuPrime Hi-mDAC sound is a great little blend of power and detail, all without getting aggressive. The soundstage is not disproportionate but surprisingly coherent, carried by a rather neutral or even slightly brilliant signature. Unless you come across a monster headset like the Hifiman Susvara or an extremely high impedance headset, the Hi-mDAC can power all headsets or almost without a hitch…”

NuPrime Hi-mDAC Review

– NanoTechnos, headfonia.com

“…
Hi-mDAC achieved something quite remarkable. First and foremost, it drives my Audeze LCD-3 and gives me “commanding bass” as stated on the website. Where the Sennheiser HD-800S felt a little cramped last time, the Audeze sounds quite the opposite with a wide sound-stage and delightful lows….

The Hi-mDAC is fast and precise, at any level of volume. The layering is impressive, the sound feels natural, effortless and I think NuPrime really did a good job in term of tuning. This isn’t a DAC that’ll wow you right off the batch, on the contrary, the more you’ll listen to it the more you’ll get to love it.

Tonality
Highs : clean and transparent. The Nuprime achieves a good job there, with a good amount of air. Trebles are precise, never harsh and with the right headphone, you’ll get a level of comfort that I wouldn’t believe possible a few years ago. It’s never dry, never sibilant, never boring. Very impressive!

Mids : excellent layering and great spaciousness. The mids blends perfectly with the rest of the spectrum. The soundstage is excellent, sometimes astounding until you reach the highest level of volume. If so, the mids tend to fall behind the highs and lows, giving us an odd V-Shap signature. Still, this is only if you really push the DAC to its limit.

Lows : fast and powerful. Bass is impressive, very impressive. Usually, this is where small DAC falls short, but this is never the case with the m-DAC. It’s fast, powerful and with a good headphone, you’ll be rewarded by deep, tight, toe-tapping bass. Plus side, it never oversteps on the other frequencies…”

NuPrime ‘Evolution One’ Mono Power Amplifiers

– John Ransley, Totally Wired Limited

“…The Evolution Ones are giving us the best of sound quality attributed to Class A or tubes – the fluidity, ease and open nature, yet eliminating the downsides of heat, power consumption, noise and compromised long term reliability. They bring the best of solid state – high power, exceptional bass control and an astonishing frequency range…”

NuPrime Evolution One 單聲道後級擴大機

– 林治宇, u-audio.com.tw

“…以阿格麗希演奏蕭士塔高維奇的第一號鋼琴協奏曲為例,第一樂章前段弱音的鋪陳就顯得頗具張力,輕重對比鮮明,鋼琴觸鍵的重量感明確,尤其是背景幫襯的弦群綿密如織,起伏連貫,快慢有致,讓人感覺音樂處處暗藏機鋒。隨後的強奏EVO One表現得輕鬆寫意,迅速帶起熱烈的激昂感,音場結構井然有序,彷彿再複雜的場面都在掌握之中。我還聽到不僅鋼琴觸鍵的重量感優異,顆粒飽滿,而且小號兼具密度與金屬光澤,穿透力十足。更棒的是,音場下盤既穩且沉,低頻層次豐富之外,更因為主奏鋼琴的音像凝聚,顆粒形體清晰,伴奏聲部在後方層次分明,更凸顯主奏與樂團主從地位的分別。就是這樣的條理分明,顯示EVO One處理複雜音樂更駕輕就熟,性能更為卓越…”

NuPrime Evolution One Monoblock Amplifier

– Neil Gader, theabsolutesound.com

“..Class D generally has never gotten the love it deserves. However, the performance of the Evolution One largely undercuts those preconceptions and redefines what it means to be a top-tier monoblock amp in 2019.
..the Evolution One allowed music to unspool effortlessly without electronic affectation.
Transients were naturalistic (more on this later), and there’s was no indication of etch or grain in the upper octaves…
Key to the Evolution One’s performance was the finesse it exemplified reproducing inner detail. That could be Brubeck’s touch on the piano keys, Ringo’s brushes playing off the skin of a snare, even the tick of a flat-pick on Chris Thile’s bluegrass mandolin—pretty much any pattern of single notes played by an individual or a section of players. A great amplifier needs more than just a low noise floor, it also has to have the responsiveness and speed to reproduce the ever-changing gradations of energy emanating from each instrument or combo. These are not elements that we necessarily isolate in our minds, but the transient and microdynamic surprises are what spark our ears to attention. Such attributes define the “live” experience for this listener.

Images were so unwaveringly stable that they could have been applied with crazy glue…
Today I see no sonically valid reasons to raise an eyebrow at Class D amplification. In short, it’s high time that audiophiles park their biases at the door. In its Evolution One, NuPrime, in grand fashion and with musicality to burn, has laid to rest the argument that Class D is somehow intrinsically inferior to traditional Class A/AB. Every amp, regardless of letters of the alphabet, needs to be judged on its musical merits, not its topol- ogy. That’s always been what the high end is about. My recommendation couldn’t be more enthusiastic. Evolution really does improve the breed.”

NuPrime Evolution One Power Amplifier

– CHRISTIAAN PUNTER, hifi-advice.com

“…Naturally, there were many more implementations using ICE and Pascal modules that I have not used in a controlled environment but judging from what I heard at shows, it seemed that class D would never be it for me. Then I heard the NuPrime ST-10 using proprietary class-D circuitry and it changed everything. The ST-10 does not sound like a typical class-D amp at all. It has bass control and heft easily as good as the best Pascal amps I heard, a natural timbre even better than that of many class AB amps and while its transparency and resolution could be better and its treble lacks fluidity and air, the amp has such magnificent PRaT and makes for such a lively and engaging performance that you quickly forget about that. …
…The Evolution Ones were used in several scenarios, both using my own systems as well as in two friends’ systems and a pattern soon emerged. Wherever they were used, they were like chameleons, always refrained from editorializing the sound. These amplifiers really are as neutral as they come…
The Evolution Ones sound crisp and clear yet richly textured and timbrally natural, with excellent focus and a reach-out-and-grasp solidity to objects within the soundstage along with a level of lifelike purity and directness that is quite rare. The amps do not rose-tint of otherwise beautify the sound in any way which does make their performance highly dependent on the recording quality. These are reference amplifiers for those who wish to hear precisely what is in their recordings.”

NuPrime Audio Evolution STA Power Amplifier

– Dick Olsher, theabsolutesound.com

“…First up was the Fleetwood Sound De Ville loudspeaker, a fairly benign 8-ohm bass-reflex load. Several sonic characteristics became evident rather quickly. First was the exceedingly low noise floor. Backgrounds appeared to be eerily quiet, more so than with the average solid-state amp and, obviously, without the tube-rush noise that I’ve become accustomed to. Second, resolution of low-level detail was superb. In particular, violin vibrato was exquisitely resolved with the sort of timing precision I’ve only experienced from far more expensive amps. But what surprised me the most was the Evolution STA’s ability to flesh out a believable depth perspective. In fact, the soundstage was exceptionally transparent, wide, and deep, with believable image focus. So now I’m thinking to myself, can a Class D amp really dish out this sort of imaging? And then it got even better. Micro dynamics were served up with emotional expressiveness. Orchestral crescendos were unfurled with tremendous power and control. And bass lines were punchy and tightly defined. It began to occur to me that this amp was going to be difficult to criticize.
……
This scenario was much different than that presented by, say, a single-ended triode amp, whose distortion spectrum is rich in even harmonics and as a result dominates a system’s voicing. The NuPrime proved to be the total opposite. In this respect, it turned out to be a reference tool by
providing a truthful sonic snapshot of upstream components.
……
Next in line was the Innersound Isis 3.5 hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker. This load has proven to be problematic for some Class D amplifiers due to its capacitive impedance and 2-ohm minimum through the upper octaves. Again, there was nothing of significance to criticize. ……..As you would expect from an electrostatic midrange and treble, transients were supremely well controlled, while the bass range was reproduced with control and full extension.
Finally, it was time for the Analysis Audio Omega. This quintessential planar speaker, an Apogee look-alike, has been a staple in my reference system for many years. It’s a 4-ohm nominal load, though it dips to around 3 ohms and demands a lot of current. In this context the NuPrime was able to generate a panoramic soundstage and believable depth perspective. Its level of micro dynamic finesse, purity of tone, resolution of individual voices in a complex mix, and rhythmic drive kept me listening late into the night.
……
The NuPrime Evo STA caught me by surprise. I didn’t expect any amp at this price point, let alone a Class D amplifier, to be capable of such exquisite musicality. Mated with a compatible speaker load, it is deserving of an enthusiastic endorsement. It will not be leaving my system any time soon.”

NuPrime Evolution STA stereo power amplifier

– CHRISTIAAN PUNTER, hifi-advice.com

“…For my first listening, the Evolution STA was positioned on top of the CH A1.5, connected with the stock power cable, just like the A1.5, as the only exception in my system.

The Evolution STA sounds marvellously energetic, expressive, and utterly coherent with immense neutrality but without tipping over into leanness or coolness. The amp is also very linear and quite detailed but not revealing to the point of being analytical, let alone clinical. First and foremost, it paints the complete musical picture while sounding nothing like your typical Class-D amplifier.
Between the CH and the NuPrime, certain key aspects have certainly noticeably shifted, but on the surface of it, and in an absolute sense, there is not very much to indicate that we just switched from a 31 K amplifier to one costing only 5 K. Honestly, it was more like switching from one high-end amplifier to another, invoking differences catering more to taste than to absolute quality. For instance, the Big Swiss amp remains the King of resolution and refinement. But to offset this, the NuPrime actually overshadows the CH in a couple of areas.

The Evolution STA’s bass really is sublime and reminiscent of that of the Analog Domain M75, AVM Ovation A8.3, and Anthem STR. It is full-size, unrestrained, rock-solid, full-bodied, and weighty, but not in a thick, enriched, or loosely gripped manner as it can be with many powerhouse amplifiers, such as I feel is the case with certain Bryston amplifiers such as the 4B cubed. By the same token, the Evolution STA most definitely does not have the kind of bass that you’d expect from a Class-D amplifier, far from it actually. I have always found the bass from ICEpower, Pascal, and NCore amplifiers to be a little on the lean side, but as I found with the ST-10, NuPrime blissfully deviates from this pattern. It’s deeply saturated and full-bodied yet fast, articulate, and nimble.

The amp sounds very much of one piece and its midrange follows the superbly well-balanced foundation in all parameters. Just like the bass, the midrange is concrete, clean, open, and expressive, without sounding lean or being devoid of saturation or harmonics. I’d go as far as to say that this is one of the best and most supremely neutral midrange performances that I have heard.

A surprising strong suit of the Evolution STA is the soundstaging. In this area, the amp miraculously performs on par with the CD A1.5, providing a wide, deep, and room-filling stage with strong focus and depth.

The Evolution STA is extremely neutral but never lean or clinical. What it does magnificently well is to lend weight, body, and saturation to instruments, and vocals alike, and with plenty of warmth if needed, but without ever tipping over into mushiness or ever sounding colored in any way. This amplifier sounds full-bodied and it can certainly sound smooth, warm, or romantic but only if the recording dictates it. It will not overlay the music with any added softness or warmth of its own.”

NuPrime DAC-10H DAC/Pre and ST-10 Power Amplifier

– Steven Stone, theabsolutesound.com

DAC-10H
“……Within their product categories the DAC-10H DAC/preamp and ST-10 basic power amplifier are priced at the lower mid-level, yet they both deliver a level of performance that could be considered exemplary regardless of their cost. The DAC-10H has the capabilities, sound, and feature set that should keep it current for a number of years, while the ST-10 produces a level of sound quality that unless you absolutely must have more power output capabilities, will make “upgrading” to anything but a far pricier and more powerful amplifier more of a sideways proposition than an upward one…
…As it is a relatively new firm, NuPrime has yet to develop the reputation and visibility of more venerable audio companies. But given the quality of its first three products, the IDA-16, DAC-10H, and ST-10, it’s hard not to predict that NuPrime will be a force to be reckoned with now and in the future…”

ST-10
“…over the years I’ve reviewed and used plenty of digital power amplifiers from Bel Canto, Wyred4Sound, April Music, and others, and I appreciate what a well-designed model can bring to a system. And it happens that the ST-10 is the best digital power amplifier I’ve heard to date…

…Within their product categories the DAC-10H DAC/preamp and ST-10 basic power amplifier are priced at the lower mid-level, yet they both deliver a level of performance that could be considered exemplary regardless of their cost… “