TempoTec MARCH III – M3 Review
TempoTec MARCH III – M3 Review
TempoTec Corp. is established by a group of audiophiles in order to develop and produce portable and stationer HiFi audio devices such like headphone amplifier, desktop HiFi Players and DAC’s and Portable Audio Players like the V6 that I will now review for you.
The MARCH III aka M3 is the companies latest Desktop USB & Bluetooth DAC/Amplifier that is equipped with an AK4493SEQ DAC Chip and 4x OPA1688 Op-amps. The MARCH III Supports up to PCM 32 bit/768kHz, DSD512 and MQA 8X in USB DAC Mode and Codec’s like LDAC, AAC, SBC in Bluetooth DAC Mode.
I would like to thank TempoTec for providing me the MARCH III as review sample. I am not affiliated with TempoTec beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The MSRP price for the TempoTec MARCH III – M3 is about 129.99 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package & Accessories:
The TempoTec MARCH III came in a black box with some product related brandings on its surface.
This box contains the following items/accessories;
- 1 x TempoTec MARCH III Desktop USB & BT DAC/Amplifier
- 1 x USB A to USB Type-C cable for file Data transfer Cable
- 1 x USB A to USB Type-C cable for Charging cable
- 1 x Charring Adapter/Plug (EU or US depending your purchase)
- 1 x User Manual & Warranty card
Design & Build Quality:
The TempoTec MARCH III is a relative small desktop type USB DAC & Bluetooth DAC/Amplifier that measures just approx 8.5cm*10cm*3.4cm. The devices has a robust CNC machined metal body with a black finish that has several input/output and control interfaces on the front and rear side of its body, while the sides of the device do have a curved shape.
On the front of the MARCH III – M3 are the 3.5mm Single Ended & 4.4mm Balanced outputs, a multi functional knob, a small OLED screen and 3 button.
The 3.5mm Single Ended and 4.4mm Balanced output do offer a pretty good impression in terms of durability.
The multifunctional knob acts as a volume wheel and power on off button.
The OLED screen is a nice addition that gives information about the Volume, Codec, Working Mode (USB or Bluetooth) Gain and Bass status.
Right below the OLED screen are three (3) buttons, the MODE, GAIN and BASS button.
At the rear side of the MRACH III are two screws, the 1x USB Type-C port for DC5V Power Input, 1x USB Type-C Data Input, the Bluetooth antenna interface, the RCA Left/Right outputs and the Optical and Coaxial inputs.
The overall build quality of the TempoTec MARCH III meets my expectations from a devices at this price level.
- Model : TempoTec MARCH III aka M3
- DAC : AK4493SEQ
- AMP : 4x TI OPA1688
- SNR : -116db 3.5mm SE / -118dB 4.4mm BAL
- THD+N : 0.001 % 3.5mm SE / 0.0009% 4.4mm BAL
- Output Level : 2Vrms 3.5mm SE / 4.Vrms 4.4mm BAL
- Crosstalk : 73dB 3.5mm SE / 120dB 4.4mm BAL
- Impedance : 0.3Ω 3.5mm SE / 0.3Ω 4.4mm BAL
- Output Power : 310mW @ 32Ω 3.5mm SE / 630mW @ 32Ω 4.4mm BAL
- PCM Support : up to 32 bit/768kHz
- DSD Support : DSD64/128/256/512 (Native)
- MQA Rendering : up to 8x unfolding
- USB In/Out : USB Type-C (Data/USB DAC/USB Audio
- Digital Inputs : USB Type-C, SPDFI/Coaxial, Optical
- Analog Outputs : 3.5mm Single Ended,4.4mm Balanced, RCA
- Bluetooth Standard : BT 5.2
- Bluetooth Distance : up to 30 meters
- Bluetooth Codec’s : LDAC (990kpbs), SBC (328kpbs), AAC (256kpbs)
- Dimensions (W*H*D) : 8.5cm*10cm*3.4cm
DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) & Amplification:
The TempoTech MARCH III – M3 is equipped with Ashai Kasei’s AK4493SEQ Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC), which is a modern 32-bit Chip supports the companies VELVETSOUND™ Technology. The AK4493SEQ used inside the MARCH III is a power efficient DAC that supports PCM up to 32 bit/768kHz, Native DSD up to DSD512 and MQA Rendering up to 8x unfold.
The TempoTec MARCH III – M3 comes with both a 3.5mm Single Ended and a 4.4mm Balanced output interface that do offer a pretty low SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) of -116dB over the 3.5mm SE and -118dB over the 4.4mm BAL out. The THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion) is approx 0.001% over the 3.5mm SE and 0.0009% over the 4.4mmm Balanced output.
The MARCH III – M3 is a powerful DAC/Amplifier that is equipped with 4x OPA1688 Op-amps. Moreover the device comes with a Gain button in order to adjust the Gain to use the 3.5mm SE & 4.4mm BAL outputs with Sensitive IEM’s or more demanding Headphones. 3.5mm Single Ended output is able to deliver an output power of up to 310mW @ 32Ω, while the 4.4mm Balanced out is even more powerful with 630mW @ 32Ω.
FPGA Digital Technology:
The TempoTec MARCH III – M3 digital clock part is used a high-precision active crystal oscillator and FPGA (AP24390), oscillator provides a stable clock source, and FPGA is used to remove phase noise. After so many years of audio product design experience, we have found that phase noise has a greater impact on sound quality than accuracy.
The TempoTec MARCH III – M3 comes with a Bluetooth 5.2 SoC that supports BT codec’s such like LDAC (990kpbs), SBC (328kpbs) and AAC (256kpbs). The antenna that is located at the rear side of the MARCH III offers a Bluetooth operating distance up to 30 meters that is fairly stabile.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- DAC/AMP : TempoTec MARCH III – M3
- IEM’s : TempoTec IM05, FiiO FH7S
- Headphones : HiFiMAN Edition XS, Moondrop Void
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B.B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The TempoTec MARCH III shows a fairly neutral and natural overall sound profile as a DAC/Amplifier at this price range. The tonality is slightly warmer than neutral, which is a common coloration for devices that do use an AK4493SEQ DAC Chip. The lower frequency area is produced with a good level of authority, while the midrange is shown with a good sense of clarity and resolution. The treble range on the other hand offers a decent grade of airiness and sparkle, while the technical performance of the device meets my expectations from a product at this price level.
This review has been written after a burn-in period of 50 hours. My sound experience below are mainly based over the 4.4mm Balanced output paired with In-Ear Monitors like the FiiO FH7S, TempoTec IM05 and headphones like the Moondrop Void and HiFiMAN Edition XS.
Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage & Imaging:
The TempoTec MARCH III shows a low amount of coloration in the lower frequency region, while it doesn’t sounds overdone. The subbass area of the device is produced with an efficient sense of depth and extension. The quantity and intensity of this area was pretty decent when I have listen to instruments such like an electro guitar or to percussions. The midbass region of the TempoTec MARCH III sounds pretty smooth and impactful, without to have negative conditions such like a midbass hump or mixings while listen to a wide variety of earphones and headphones. The midbass region of the device is in general impactful and entertaining, while the speed and control is one of the highlights in this area. The bass button is something I do avoid since it overshadows the decent performance of the device in this area.
The midrange of the TempoTec MARCH III sounds clean, transparent and pretty detailed for a product at this price range. The device shows a slightly coloration in this area, which is reflected in form of s tad of warmness produced in the lower midrange area, which is a general cheater of devices that do use a in an AK4493SEQ DAC Chip.Male vocals are produced with a nice sense of fullness and clarity that was pretty audible with the Moondrop Void and FiiO FH7S. Female vocals on the other hand are transparent and musical and are shown with a bit more resolution and realism compared to male voices.The instrument presentation of the MARCH III – M3 is pretty transparent and natural. Instruments such like guitars and violas do sound fairly realistic and detail retrieval, especially when paired with Headphones like the HiFiMAN Edition XS or FiiO FH7S.
The upper midrange of the TempoTec MARCH III – M3 is nicely pronounced and gives the overall presentation, especially female vocals a clean and lively tonality without to show any remarkable over-sharpness or sibilance with all earphones and headphones I have tested the device. For example; the presentation of woodwinds such like side flutes and clarinets or strings like violins and guitars are fairly detailed along with an efficient level of extension.
When it comes to the treble range I can say that the TempoTec MARCH III – M3 shows an adequate sense of presence and brilliance in this area. The lower treble region sounds in general pretty smooth and is pretty successful in terms of clarity and definition. The upper treble region doesn’t shows any remarkable sharpness, while it offers an efficient grade of airiness and extension. The treble range is not super detailed but meets my expectation from a product at this price level.
The TempoTec MARCH III – M3 has a relative realistic soundstage atmosphere that shows a fairly precise placement and separation of instruments and vocals when paired with earphones like the FiiO FH7S and TempoTec IM05, especially when paired with the HiFiMAN Editions XS open back headphone. The soundstage has a moderate sense of depth and wideness.
The TempoTec MARCH II – M3 is a desktop type entry level DAC/Amplifier that can be paired both wired and wirelessly with a wide variety of that device, which offers a decent sound performance for a quite affordable price. I have enjoyed pretty the neutral and natural overall sound profile of the device that has shown a good synergy with all earphones and headphones that I have used with it.
Pros & Cons:
- + Natural & Detailed Overall Presentation
- + Works both Wired & Wirelessly
- + Lots of Input & Output Options
- + Good Value for its Price
- – Bass Button makes the sound muddy
- – Needs to be powered from a 5V DC source (can’t powered with a Tablet or Smartphone)
Thank you for the Read!