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Enermax Unveils DreamBass AP001 USB Audio Device

Enermax Unveils DreamBass AP001 USB Audio Device

With the ever-shrinking laptops of today, space constrains mean that each component on the logic board has lesser board space, as is the case with audio. The cylindrical capacitors and FETs on PC motherboards are reduced to weaker surface-mount ones to conserve board space, on laptop logic boards. Audio quality takes a beating. Hence there’s a sizable market for USB audio devices that provide better audio for laptops. Enermax’ entry into it is the DreamBass AP001, a 2-channel USB audio device. It is designed to look like a vacuum tube that gives it a classy analog amp look.

In reality, it is completely digital. At the heart of it is a VIA VT1620A USB 2.0 2-channel HD audio CODEC, which provides stereo output with 24-bit resolution and 96 kHz sample-rate. It has a signal-noise ratio of 80~90 dBA, which is not much of a departure from most laptops’ HDA CODECs, if it isn’t for the MOSFET-based amplifier circuit packed into the DreamBass AP001, that’s capable of 80Hz/+6dB Bass. The device features a 3.5 mm stereo jack and mic input. Enermax also has a variant called the AP001E, which includes earphones that have 10 mm drivers, 95 dBA SNR, and 32 ohm impedance. The DreamBass AP001 is priced at 3,280 JPY (US $43); the AP001E goes for 3,980 ($52.2). It could be a good investment if you think your laptop’s audio sounds like a greeting card.

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