Musiland MU2 USB Type-C to 3.5mm DAC/AMP Adapter Review
Musiland Electrical Co. Ltd is a well-known manufacturer of computer audio equipments like USB sound cards, PCI sound cards, external stereo decoders, etc. and is located in Beijing, China.
I would like to thank Musiland for providing me this sample via Penon Audio for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Musiland or Penon Audio beyond this review and these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.
The Musiland MU2 USB Type-C to 3.5mm DAC/AMP adapter is available on Penon Audio for 69,00 USD under the following purchase link;
Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/musiland-mu2-type-c-to-3.5mm.html
The Musiland MU2 is a small USB Type-C (digital) to 3.5mm (analog) adapter with built in Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) and Amplifier which is specially designed for Android interface devices. It uses the highly integrated, low-power digital processor SUPERDSP230, with standard 3.5MM headphone interface.
The device comes in small black cardboard box, which contains the following items;
- 1 pcs of Musiland MU1 USB Type-C to 3.5mm DAC/AMP adapter
- 1 pcs of USB Type-C to USB adapter
Design and Build Quality:
The #Musiland MU2 is a relative small USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter with built in DAC and Amplifier for Mobile Phones.
The main body is made of metal and has 3 physical buttons for volume up/ volume down and gain functions (the M button).
There is also a small led light indicator that lights up when you connect it to your Android device or PC. The led indicator is flashing if you play a DSD file; if not there is a PCM conversation in progress and the light stops flashing.
There is a 3.5mm single ended headphone out on the adapter.
The USB Type-C male connector is connected the main body with a low profile cable which has a white rubber coating.
All in all, the general build quality of the MU2 adaptor is pretty good for this price tag.
- Digital Input Interface : USB Type-C
- Analog Output : 3.5mm Single Ended
- DAC : CS43130M
- THD+N : less than -120dB (0.0001%)
- Output Power : 2x80mW/32Ω
- Line output : 1.4V RM5
- Impedance : up to 300 Ohm Headphones
- Length : 12,7cm
The Musiland MU2 is a relative small device with some nice hardware specs. The MU2 has 3 physical buttons for hardware volume control and a button (M button) for a three-level analog amplification gain adjustment: 0.5v 1v 1.4v RMS. The Musiland MU2 has no battery which means that it needs the power of the source which is less than 100mA (according to Musiland Specs).
The Musiland MU2 supports mainstream media software’s and is compatible with third party applications such as USB Audio Player Pro and supports sampling rates up to 384 KHz.
a) Cirrus Logic CS43130M Digital to Analog Converter:
The CS43130 inside of the Musiland MU2 is a 32-bit resolution, stereo audio DAC that supports up to 384-kHz sampling frequency with integrated low-noise ground-centered headphone amplifiers. The advanced 32-bit oversampled multibit modulator with mismatch shaping technology eliminates distortion due to on-chip component mismatch.
Proprietary digital-interpolation filters support five selectable filter responses with pseudo-linear phase and ultralow latency to minimize pre-echo and ringing artifacts. Other features include volume control with 0.5-dB steps and digital de-emphasis for 44.1-kHz sample rate
CS43130M Block Diagram
b) SuperDSP230 processor:
The SuperDSP230 processor inside of the Musiland MU2 is a heterogeneous dual-core digital audio processor, which includes ARM processor and floating-point audio DSP processor, which is connected by MP-BUS. SuperDSP230 can be regarded as a highly integrated, low-power version of SuperDSP210, mainly for Android and IOS mobile product applications, compatible with WIN10 and MAC, Linux product references, but does not support WIN7 and ASIO applications.
c) Supported Sampling Rates:
- Support 16, 24, 32Bit, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, 384kHz
- Support DSD64 and DSD128 hardware decoding
The Musiland MU2 supports the plug-and-play feature, which works with Android devices with USB Type-C port. Apple Computers (MAC) and PC’s are also supported but you need to use the USB Type-C to USB 2.0 converter to plug your MU2 adapter to those devices.
e) Driving power & Hissing:
The headphone output power of the MU2 is 2x80mw at 32ohms according to Musiland specs and can drive up to 300 ohm headphones with a transient current of up to 300mA and has a relative clean background.
Equipments used for this review:
- DAC’s : Musiland MU2, Hidizs Sonata HD
- USB Source : Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Dell 5521 Laptop
- IEM’s : BQEYZ KB100, Campfire Audio Comet
- Earbuds : Penon BS1 Official, Simphonio Dragon2+
- Headphones : Soundmagic P22C, Audio-Technica ATH-M50
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Spotify)
- London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Minor Empire – BulbulumAltinKafeste (Spotify)
- Leonard Cohen – You Wnt it Darker (Spotify)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- Future Heroes – Another World (Tidal Hi-fi)
- Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
The tonality of the Musiland MU2 is slightly warmer than neutral, but don’t get me wrong, the warmth is not the as high as you can hear from a Hifiman HM603/HM801 device. The bass is relative powerful, while the midrange is musical and the treble shows a soft character.
Please note that the Musiland MU2 is an entry level DAC/AMP that means, all my comments about the sound quality are in consideration of this price range. The burn-in period for the Musiland MU2 was for about 75-80 hours.
The subbass quantity of the Musiland is quite high while the extension is moderate and the depth is on a good level. The speed and depth of this area is suitable for most genres, form electronic music to metal where speed and extension is an important performance factor.
When it comes to the midbass performance, I can say that the Musiland MU2 shows a powerful midbass presentation with good emphasis. The midbass are smooth and musical in its tonality and pleasant to listen. Instruments such are showing as cross drums are fast; while bass guitars are slightly warm an thick in its tonality.
The general bass performance of the Musiland MU2 is in terms of speed and control pretty successful, especially for this price range. There are also no negative remarkable negative situations such as mixing or veiling of the bass.
The midrange presentation of the Musiland MU2 is musical, fairly clear and transparent. The lower midrange shows good depth and warmth, without to be too dry or too thin in tonality. Therefore male vocals have a musical and pretty natural presentation without to show any annoying hollowness, the transparency and definition is on a good level.
The upper midrange of the Musiland MU2 is mildly pronounced and controlled. This tuning is avoiding the occurrence of sibilance and harshness of the voice of female vocals. Female vocals are sounding pretty transparent and clear and showing also a musical and emotional presentation.
The Musiland MU2 has a slightly warm and musical tonality where almost all instruments, form guitar to violins are very natural in its presentation. The guitars are light warm and quite clean. The violins are slightly bright and warmish in tonality without any remarkable sharpness and sibilance.
Upper Midrange and Treble:
The upper midrange region of the Musiland MU2 is slightly warm, soft and fairly controlled. It is not to upfront or laidback and shows a pretty good balance. The detail level is not the highest of a DAC I have listened before in a price range between 50 – 100 USD but is otherwise on a quite acceptable level.
The best thing about the upper midrange presentation of the MU2 is the control and smoothness that doesn’t shows any sharpness or over brightness.
The emphasis and the extension in the upper midrange for female vocals and instruments such as violins, pianos and flutes is at a moderate level, but there is a lack of extension and emphasis for musicality, which is otherwise sufficient for pleasant listening.
The treble range of the Musiland MU2 is not very bright, it is a bit warmish and slightly thick in tonality, which helps to make the overall presentation controlled and pretty musical. The airiness of the treble is on an average level that is enough for a fairly detailed and clean presentation.
The lower treble range (presence) is emphasized and shows a pretty good extension. The upper treble range (brilliance) is less emphasized and shows a shorter extension which is a result of a slightly roll-off in this frequency region.
Instruments such as cymbals showing a slightly warm and thick tonality, while hi-hats are laid back but enough pronounced. The crash cymbals have an average treble quantity and sharpness, while the hits are presented in a fairly controlled way.
The Musiland MU has a wide enough stage for a fairly precise instrument separation. The stage has an average width and the depth of the stage is higher than those of the width and shows a moderate quantity of air between instruments.
Hidizs Sonata HD versus Musiland MU2
The Hidizs Sonata HD has a pretty neutral and bright tonality compared to the warmer prsentation of the Musiland MU2.
The Musiland MU2 has more subbass amount and depth than the Sonata HD, which lacks some depth. The Musiland MU2 has also a stronger / greater midbass presentation, while the Hidizds Sonata HD is slightly faster and tighter in the bass department.
Both of those DAC/AMP cables are capable to produce a clean midrange presentation. The lower midrange of the Musiland MU2 shows more depth and sounds thicker than those of the Hidizs Sonata HD, which makes it more successful with male vocals. The upper midrange of the Sonata HD is more pronounced and neutral compared to the softer and more controlled presentation of the MU2. The female vocal presentation of the Sonata HD is slightly more transparent, detailed and shows better extension.
Both the Musiland MU2 and the Hidizs Sonata HD are showing an successful treble performance and airy presentation. The Musiland MU2 has a slightly warmer and thicker tonality, while the Hidizs Sonata HD is sharper and brighter in this area. The lower treble range of the MU2 is more pronounced and shows better extension, while the Sonata HD has more upper treble brilliance and extension.
Both cables have a soundstage that is suitable for a fairly precise instrument placement. The main difference in is that the Hidizs Sonata HD has the wider stage, while the Musiland MU2 is superior in terms of soundstage depth.
The Musiland MU2 is a nice option for those who are searching for a small but powerful DAC/AMP for their Smartphone / Mobile phone or android tablet, which features hardware volume buttons, adjustable gain and DSD support and that offers a significantly improvement in sound quality.
Pros and Cons:
- + Overall Sound Quality
- + Power (amplification) for the Size
- + Plug and Play capability with Android devices
- + Hardware Volume Buttons
- + DSD Support
- – No built-in battery means that the battery of your source is being discharged
- – A bit heavier than traditional DAC/AMP adapters