Colorfly CDA M1 portable decoding headphone amp review

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Portable decoding amp devices are commonly known as “Little Tail” by enthusiasts, and they are also the most popular category in the portable HiFi market recently. For Colorfly, one of the Chinese player manufacturers, it also officially launched its first little tail product —— CDA M1.

Colorfly CDA M1

This product is positioned at $90, a mid-range price among similar products, featuring a 3.5+4.4mm dual headphone jack. From the current point of view, this product is still a unique product in this price range. After all, the only product with the same configuration in this price range is the FiiO KA3. Most of other similar products choose the 3.5+2.5mm headphone jack configuration in order to ensure a smaller size.

Colorfly CDA M1

However, for portable decoding amps, the 4.4mm interface has obvious advantages in balancing the headphone interface, and there are more users. As for the extra size, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve had this product for a while now and it’s one of the most listened to recently.


More feature-oriented exterior design

My first impression of the Colorfly CDA M1 was its appearance. Compared with the same small square box design of similar products on the market, Colorfly CDA M1 adopts a relatively rounded design. Although the overall volume is slightly larger than that of similar products, as mentioned above, this has no influence and is still controlled in the size of a disposable lighter.

Colorfly CDA M1 Colorfly CDA M1 Colorfly CDA M1

In terms of interfaces, the CDA M1 is equipped with two headphone jacks, a 3.5mm single-ended jack and a 4.4mm balanced jack, and the other end of the fuselage is a type-c data jack. Supports linking between iPhone and Android devices. On the side of the fuselage are two small volume buttons. In addition to adjusting the volume, the user can also adjust the output gain by pressing two buttons at the same time.

Colorfly CDA M1

The accessories are relatively simple, except for the decoding amp, it is a short data cable of type-c to type-c. Although it supports Apple’s Lightning interface, the cable needs to be purchased separately by the user at present, and Colorfly will also launch the corresponding IOS device cable in the near future.


Reference device and playback APP

For the portable decoding amp, the reference source device is my Huawei Mate 40 PRO mobile phone. Headphones mainly refer to Sennheiser HD25, QDC VX and QDC Solo.

Colorfly CDA M1

For APP selection, in addition to the commonly used QQ music. I mainly use FiiO Music APP and USB Audio Player PRO. The former can directly listen to local files and bypass the SRC of the Android system, while the latter can directly bind my own Tidal and Qobuz accounts to listen, and can also bypass the system’s SRC in the state of streaming media. Apple devices use Apple Music directly.

In terms of music, I choose my daily main classical music and some popular music albums.


Good voice full of surprises

Colorfly CDA M1 still brought me a lot of surprises after the sound, divided into several differences.

First of all, the sound style of this portable decoding amp is not like the usual sound style of the Colorfly player. What used to be the Colorfly player was an open, detailed, huge soundstage. But at the same time, it is also a calm voice style. And this CDA M1 is more of a product with a little warmth and energy. Compared with the previous Colorfly player, the sound style of CDA M1 may be more able to make those consumers who do not have a lot of appreciation experience feel the excellent sound quality performance. I think that’s what Colorfly thought at the beginning of this product’s sound tuning. But this sound doesn’t sound low-class, it’s the sound style I prefer. Because the details of the sound and the sound field are still not bad, and its strong sense of dynamics and energy, as well as the low-frequency atmosphere, are too outstanding in the same positioning products.

Colorfly CDA M1

The second surprise is that it is a product that has almost no change in the sound of high and low gain, at least I can’t hear any change when switching the output gain. Maybe many audiophiles are accustomed to the fact that different gains have different sound requirements or even think that this should be the case. However, it is not. Maintaining the same sound quality and style under different gains should be the condition of an excellent equipment, but it is extremely difficult to achieve this condition. The Colorfly CDA M1 can maintain the same sound style and quality whether driving the QDC VX with low gain or driving the Sennheiser HD25 with high gain. In this regard, in many expensive equipment, I don’t remember it happening.

So combining the above two points, Colorfly CDA M1 has a good interpretation ability for all kinds of music. Especially for pop music, I believe that everyone’s pursuit of sound is more unified, and this will be a good sound source that can never be wrong when listening to pop music. For classical music, if you are a loyal fan of the freshness and openness of Colorfly, then CDA M1 may not satisfy you. But if you are like me, a user who prefers a warm and thick sound style, then the sense of hearing brought by the style of the Colorfly CDA M1 may not be considered by many entry-level players.


Summary

There are more and more portable decoding amps, and various price points are emerging one after another, and the price range of $90 is definitely a red sea. For this product category and price point that I am not optimistic or expected, there is no doubt that the Colorfly CDA M1 has brought me a great surprise.


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