THX Ltd. Throws More Than Their Hat Into The Dongle DAC Market With Onyx

That’s right, that THX. The Onyx is the company’s first consumer electronics device and it joins a spate of recently revealed, and reviewed, dongle DACs.

The THX Onyx is powered by a THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA™), which employs patented feed-forward error correction that nulls conventional distortion mechanisms to reduce harmonic, intermodulation, and crossover distortion by up to 40dB, coupled with the ESS ES9281PRO DAC. Like most dongle DACs these days, the Onyx sports a USB-C input and 3.5mm Headphone output, and there’s an included USB-C to male USB-A adapter for use with iOS devices when paired with the Apple Lightning Camera Adapter (come on Apple, get with the USB-C program!).

The Onyx supports MQA, so Tidal users can enjoy the full unfold of MQA-encoded music, and PCM resolutions up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD to DSD128. For MQA, I’ll let THX take over:

For MQA, the app (Tidal, UAPP, etc) acts as MQA decoder and outputs a partially unfolded 88.2/96 kHz, 24-bit output. (In MQA applications like this when Decoder/Renderer are separated, the MQA protocol ensures audio sample rate and bit depth is always decoded and normalized to 88.2/96 24-bit for transport regardless of whether the source is 44.1k Master, 88.2k Master, 96k Master, 176.4k Master, etc.). The THX Onyx ES9281 receives the standard 88.2/96 kHz 24-bit, then finishes the unfold, then 8x upsamples it within the DAC to 705.6/768 kHz before digital-to-analog conversion.

The Onyx is wrapped in a CNC-machined metal chassis and is available today for US$199.99.


Input Type: USB-C or USB (via included adapter)
Output Type: 3.5 mm analog jack
Headphone Impedance Range: 22-1000 Ohms
Output Impedance: 0.25 Ohms
Dynamic Range: 118 dB
Quality (THD+N, 1kHz): -110 dB
Output Power (Per ch, 22 Ω, <1% THD+N): 180 mW
MQA Playback: Yes
Headset Mic Support: Yes (Use with iOS products is for media consumption only, no call or mic functionality.)
USB & DAC Config: ESS ES9281PRO
AMP Config: THX AAA-78
Compatible Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows 10, and Mac (USB-C to Lightning adapter not included)
Accessories: USB-A Male to USB-C Female Adapter

Company Website: THX