Aurender Flow DAC/Amp
Aurender Flow DAC/Amp
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Product Description
As powerful as it is compact, the Aurender Flow DAC/amp pumps out an impressive 380 mW at 32 ohms. The high-end specs are headlined by an ESS9018K2M DAC chip and an mSATA slot for up to 1 TB of additional music storage Read More

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ronengeller
1
Nov 19, 2020
Does this work with iOS 14.2?
JGriego
54
Nov 21, 2020
Yes, flawlessly on Mac, iPad and iPhone.
TK33
12
Nov 12, 2020
Any updates on when this is expected to ship? Ordered Oct. 11.
TK33
12
Nov 14, 2020
Tracking info received.
Whitedragem
158
Nov 8, 2020
Wowsers; how much of an upgrade can this make to ‘high end kit’? HUUUUGEE (“Massive” for those using translators) !! A system is only as good as its weakest link.. and if we used the plumbing analogy of pipes/bandwidth; the constricting part limits the total output. I have a lot of nice audio kit. Of practical use to anyone reading this post: I have decades of training with regards to audio equipment, mostly from passion and hobby interests and ‘getting “it” right’, to having been in sales selling the kit, and as a pro installer. I have given many many years of assistance in helping others ‘achieve THAT sound’, and that has given opportunity to play with more setups than I could care to count. My takeaway is that if the speaker placement and room control isn’t right, then a lot of upstream effort (think expensive electronics) can be greatly compromised. Putting aside the playback environment then, is the task of finding a system synergy that allows transparent musical playback. Now obviously we can use headphones and that gets the ‘room tuning’ part of the equation mostly sorted.. (we buy headphones for the sound type we seek), we then just have to make sure everything works well together. As an example- I have some Bowers and Wilkins / B&W headphones that have a fairly low impedance, and in order for them to be controlled properly and put out the sound INTENDED BY THE DESIGNERS, they need careful amplification matching to sound right. This isn’t about having an amplifier ‘loud enough’, this is about if the amp doesn’t control them right, their bass gets bloomy and over emphasised. It took a trial of many amps to get one that could control such a tricky headphone and make it really shine. Same thing with some Beyerdynamics ‘Tesla driver’ headphones, that needed a sound signature and a control that could tame some of the high frequency. (Chord Hugo to the rescue) Most people will accept some basic truths if they can experience these claims. Many will just agree with basic premises as sound principles or ‘scientifically accepted’. Of course the world is a large place, there are a lot of combinations of kit/equipment and we all perceive sound subjectively, and have differing tool quality (ears/hearing) and training (knowledge of how to test for change) in how me might come to our conclusions. I see many examples the internet over where people prefer vastly worse equipment BECAUSE of the equipments failings; eg that louder sound from a compressing circuit being perceived as better, which happens in mid range equipment a lot, when the equipment starts to do a decent job at recreating space and air, and ‘recessing the stage/creating a proper 3D sound stage’- it isn’t in your face sound that some will mistake as better, if they didn’t know which was actually more true to the recording... Lots of times where people A/B test and walk away believing that the cheap stuff is better. (I am alright with that; enjoy the savings!) Really it is about whatever makes you happy, it is YOUR hobby after all. What gets me a bit annoyed is when people repeat limited understanding of others as fact. (eg digital is zeros and ones and therefore cables don’t matter as a classic example; it might not matter to the majority of the planet: 99% not owning equipment good enough to know, or not knowing which sound is actually better, or not knowing what to look for to reveal the differences. Heck a small three piece band poorly recorded and mastered might sound very similar/the same whether in MP3 format or super hi resolution, but a full scale orchestra well recorded..?) Audio is too subjective for most of the science that is applied to it to be of practical use. Of course scientific principles have evolved audio, but nowadays the ‘spec sheet’ (science) part is so easy to manipulate... I learned this when I downgraded my first bought amplifier (120Watts of sound/could do surround/10 band graphic equaliser and as high end as the electronics store could sell me) to a lesser unit by the spec sheet (35Watts of sound, vastly less specs for all the important numbers that mattered, yet....) that sounded so much more musical and enjoyable. This was reinforced x10 when I bought an entry level Musical Fidelity XA1 preamp/amp.. it is the lowest in the Musical Fidelity lineup, and it had pathetic numbers when comparing spec sheets vs high end established (mainstream/mass market) products; yet flogged them so admirably for actual musicality. We are all ‘white belt’ martial artists when it comes to shopping for products (we think we know something, but really we just know enough to really get ourselves hurt), spec sheets are generated by manipulating the products to achieve the numbers consumers presently seek out. An easy example that comes to mind that will clear up what I am pushing for in my opening contemplation here.. (stick with me this is building to something, but in order for my thoughts to have weight it might be handy to see from whence they come...) Consumers knew that IPS (in plane switching) LCD screens were better that VA or TN panels for colour response. Consumers started to ask for IPS screens (which accounted for less than 5% of the retail market), believing, truly, they had better colour. So manufacturers started to make cheaper IPS screens (pairing them with 6bit colour chips that would ‘guess their way up to 16 million colours’, (16.2million), vs 8bit panels that ruled the market prior, which offered 16.7 million colours native. 16 million is a nice number, they both offered it, and now consumers could buy affordable IPS panels. Except they were not what the pundits wanted, which was ‘great colour’ response. Its the same for any audio metric.. If a product is built from the ground up to hit certain numbers, it will.. (it might just not be very musical, and as musicality is ‘subjective’ (not measurable), and spec sheets are objective (scientific), the science actually catches us consumers out.... Why does this matter? _________________________________________________________________ People actually think that the Aurender Flow is overpriced and outdated. It may have been overpriced at some point, or at full retail price if sold today.. but at a Drop price, it is a high end product, likely well beyond the capabilities of most pundits existing systems (epecially if bought ‘by the spec sheet’ believing all sorts of audio truths to be myths, and that the same DAC chip in a phone is going to sound the same as that DAC chip implemented in a digital audio player designed for high end audio playback. The phone needs it for bullet points to gain sales, the audio part needs it to actually sell well.. (who is likely to make the DAC chip sound good?) I give an example of a CS (Cirrus Logic) DAC chip, a CS4398, in use in an entry level mass market Creative E5 (a real MacGuyver of a product), and in a high end Questyle QP1R; they both have ‘some aspects’ of the CS4398 sound, but to say that the same chip used in the Questyle, albeit much better implemented,.. sounds WORLDS APART. Takeaway point #1: Do not believe that because a phone has a particular hi end DAC chip in it, that it sounds musical or ‘hi quality’. (4x the same DAC chip only makes it better than ‘other phones’ and really bolsters that SPEC SHEET, yes?) Takeaway point #2 A single DAC chip well implemented is better than multiple chips poorly used So my motivation to write this stems from hearing a well implemented circuit (a questyle QP1R) used exclusively as a transport, and how much it flogs so many other, cheaper, products to do the same task. As a transport? As a transport it is bypassing Digital to Analogue conversion, and just passing the digital information (zeros and ones) to an external unit, a downstream decoder.. in this case an old Proceed AVP2 (a 20 year old DAC) preamp. The much greater control of the zeros and ones it passes is so obviously appreciatable. I literally had to tone my subwoofer down quite a few decibels the bass information was THAT much more.. This is versus a high end CD player, and other mid tier DAPS.. Now, the better zero and ones it passes are also of benefit to the internal DAC chip inside that DAP, quite honestly the same DAC chip I have heard (in a range of products) is amazing the way it is implemented in this unit. If I was buying based on spec sheets I WOULD NEVER KNOW THIS! Now for the record, the Aurender Flow outclasses the product I have been playing around with and it costs substantially less. The part I have been toying with has been replaced in the market by a successor a few years ago, and the pricepoint was jacked up 180% because it fit in that price bracket.. (actually holds its own pretty well with stuff 2x-4x the price),.. so getting an Aurender Flow for peanuts vs a flagship unit by a competitor that might not give much more in terms of actual sound quality, makes it an Audio Bargain!! Which sounds oxymoronic to say that a DAP that costs 10x a budget part is actually exceptional value. I have experienced first hand that a lesser part than the Aurender Flow (based on comparison reviews I have been reading) is the first transport I have had that equals my old TEAC P700 or even my highly upgraded (18x massive blackgates and a superclock 2 mod) Denon DCD-S10, considered one of the worlds best transports/DAC combos (consumer level). My jaw dropped when hearing the difference (and again, this was a part that performs below this Aurender Flow), and this is all stuff that ‘by the spec sheet’ isn’t revealed. Of course all zeros and ones are read from files and passed impeccably so by modern technology irrelevant of the price point involved (sarcasm intended).. The massively better quality that these same ‘by the spec sheet’ parts offer was so much so that the relatively confined front to back soundstage on some Hifiman planars was fixed instantly, even when using offboard DACS whose characteristics hadn’t changed.. just having high quality ‘HiFi’ parts do their task, as designed not for lowest price, rather choosing ‘best sound’. There is an old saying ‘you get what you pay for’. These Aurender Flows might cost more than entry level mass market products (which will get five star ratings based entirely on their price bracket), but what they can offer to someone who is actually spending money on their audio hobby with the intention to buy ‘better sound’, the Flow really is a product to keep and will always find a place to be used, as stuff that costs less will just be rotated out for ‘the next best thing’. Buying right in the first instance is a cost saving, (poor people cannot afford to buy cheap things) and in this case, this is REALLY HIGH END.. I’d take it over the next generation of parts that don’t cost more than the Flows ORIGINAL ASKING PRICE. For Drops asking, these are a real bargain. Buy with confidence. Line out into your car: will have better soundstage and instrument placement, smooth dynamics (unless the music demands otherwise), clearer vocals, and MUCH MORE to hear in every track played through it. It is always fun finally hearing a background lyric in a song (previously smothered), or an extra instrument in the mix. A part like this makes a persons entire music catalogue worthy of a relisten, just don’t mix the MP3s in with the hi res and hit random.
tonso
8
Nov 21, 2020
I just can't believe that someone would put this amount of text content praising some product for free.
Whitedragem
158
Nov 22, 2020
Tonso; awesome observation. I post all over the interweb ‘for free’, but do so for drop due to the nontoxic community here found. I used to set up and/or run bulletin board systems (dial up networking days), and have watched the evolution of the internet. Circa 2005 it changed (we all had internet in our pockets), and by 2007 even 16 year olds (aka ‘little Johnnys’) would pip in with their wealth of knowledge trying to educate everyone that their cheap phone was better than flagships, quoting a whole bunch of stuff that they may not have understood. I love the diversity of viewpoints that can be found on the internet, and the wisdom that this can bring. The founding fathers of massdrop, now drop.com, actually realised how great forum ‘communities’ were, and no doubt this year many more have discovered the benefits that come with belonging to something, remotely, that is a community. Think about what you might do for your community... My partner and I are not beyond pulling over and helping an elderly person who we might see in midsummer ‘moving their lawn’. In a world were many are only concerned for profit, finding a place where people are about something more is special. Of all the respective internet boards I have participated, some becoming toxic over time as their demographic shifted in age, I find the Drop community ONE OF THE BEST (if not, THE BEST). Would I give them my time for free- absolutely. Why? Many reasons (!),.. but sometimes it is just because I have time to spare, and have a rant to share. I am all about consumer ethics, and more so ethics in general. Drop being a non commercial entity (it is by definition of offering a store, but I suggest you research how it came about and what its’ motis operandi / rasion d’etre is) and you might see that creatives here collaborate for the betterment/benefit of all. My family has some Meze99 headphones that were reinvigorated by Drop (sexy BLACK). They would never have turned up in my local classifieds at a brilliant pricepoint if Drop hadn’t ‘made them so’. The many ways, direct and indirect, that Drop gives to me make it an easy place to consider giving my time back to. I know this might read like an ad, and I suggest you assess why I would go to bat for anybody, let alone ‘a store’. I have bought from Drop, I have assessed their customer service channel. I have had comments direct from key Drop members (encouraging posts that assist the community). I feel at home here, I feel I have friends here. Now if I am willing to help a complete stranger, imagine what I am willing to do for a friend! Kudos to you for contemplating the point. I agree... Why? I love Drop and the Drop community.
glymao
6
Oct 9, 2020
So I'll leave this post here in case anyone else encounters this bug. My unit ordered in June had arrived not working and you can see my previous post here. This was going to be my endgame dac so I was quite frustrated. The unit is not recognized by my XPS 15 laptop, only enters charging mode and does not play audio. I attempted a lot of diagnostic work and eventually settled down on an obscure and unexplained bug that affects how XMOS drivers interacts with specific motherboards, under newer windows builds; people speculate that it is caused by the built in USB audio 2.0 drivers on newer versions of Windows 10 conflicted with XMOS, resulting the latter being unable to be installed. To better explain this, when Flow was designed it was not plug-and-play and required a driver; this driver was developed by XMOS, whose drivers were used by many other high end DACs. Once the driver is downloaded, it required to connect to the device to activate both the device and the driver at the same time. But newer versions of Windows has built-in USB audio 2.0 drivers and it considers the Flow to be plug-and-play and overrides XMOS, resulting in the driver being unable to be activated. On the other hand, the Flow cannot be used without some form of software acknowledgement. Hence, the device bugs out. Unfortunately since the Flow was discontinued before the bug became a thing, and it was so obscure that each affected model only had one or two instances that it never gathered anyone's attention. But I am certain everyone online had been talking about the same bug; people's new computers either rejected all USB 2.0 dacs, or XMOS based devices suddenly dropped dead after an update. I went to return the item although it meant losing $90 in tariff/taxes. It got returned back to me at US customs, and when I was preparing for a reshipment I realized I had an old thunderbolt adaptor. And it worked on Thunderbolt. Which is strange because it is routed through adaptor that still terminates at a type a female port, so my limited knowledge in software ran out by this point. I am not sure if it will run off regular type-c connection although I did order a cable off aliexpress so I'll update when it comes. I tested it for a day and so far it works as expected. I have not tested msata yet, but anyway I'll cancel my refund request.
(Edited)
Ztzx
0
Sep 14, 2020
Maybe 4.4mm output on next model
5nooze
9
Aug 13, 2020
Dang do you guys think this dac/amp is coming back anytime soon??
JuanStep
128
Sep 15, 2020
here it is
glymao
6
Aug 13, 2020
Pretty sure my unit is DOA.Cannot establish a connection with any computer, and I attempted self-dianosis before concluding that Aurender's provided drivers for Windows was broken.
JGriego
54
Aug 14, 2020
Have you tried a new USB 3.0 cable? I wish it came with nicer cables out of the box, so I just replaced my cables and it works flawlessly! It worked with the stock cables as well, they are just cheap cables.
glymao
6
Aug 15, 2020
I did do some basic diagnostics on the unit, and I did try another cable. The unit refuses to be detected and the driver does not show up on device manager. Later I read that it is probably the xmos driver being incompatible with windows 10 in later builds (post 2018).
Asatiir
56
Aug 11, 2020
Is there a reason to get it if I already have a DAP? Genuine question, I'm just curious and like the way it looks.
carboncarousel
27
Oct 8, 2020
I would say that outside of looks, and other arbitrary minutiae, there is probably no reason to buy this DAP.
Whitedragem
158
Nov 18, 2020
yes. unless your DAP is worth considerably more than the Aurenders initial asking price, you would probably end up putting an M2 inside it and using it as your DAP. As a DAC/Amp it will kill most DAPs for sound quality (maybe not features). As a transport it would kill many DAPs (ie loaded with music).. I wrote a post above where I had started toying with a DAP halfway to the quality of the Aurender, and my halfway upgrade smashed my high end FIIO to bits with regards to sound quality.
amir61
4
Aug 9, 2020
I got terrible support from Drop on my SMSL SU-8. The manufacturer in contrast, gave me great support and replaced my unit. I Highly recommend you to buy it directly from the manufacturer and not do it through Drop. Maybe few $ more but you will have support and warranty.
fmulderme
1
Jul 20, 2020
Where does it ship from? I am now in India, and I wonder how i could get it shipped here, and how long it would take.. and maybe customs?
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Tonso; awesome observation. I post all over the interweb ‘for free’, but do so for drop due to the nontoxic community here found. I used to set up and/or run bulletin board systems (dial up networking days), and have watched the evolution of the internet. Circa 2005 it changed (we all had internet in our pockets), and by 2007 even 16 year olds (aka ‘little Johnnys’) would pip in with their wealth of knowledge trying to educate everyone that their cheap phone was better than flagships, quoting a whole bunch of stuff that they may not have understood. I love the diversity of viewpoints that can be found on the internet, and the wisdom that this can bring. The founding fathers of massdrop, now drop.com, actually realised how great forum ‘communities’ were, and no doubt this year many more have discovered the benefits that come with belonging to something, remotely, that is a community. Think about what you might do for your community... My partner and I are not beyond pulling over and helping an elderly person who we might see in midsummer ‘moving their lawn’. In a world were many are only concerned for profit, finding a place where people are about something more is special. Of all the respective internet boards I have participated, some becoming toxic over time as their demographic shifted in age, I find the Drop community ONE OF THE BEST (if not, THE BEST). Would I give them my time for free- absolutely. Why? Many reasons (!),.. but sometimes it is just because I have time to spare, and have a rant to share. I am all about consumer ethics, and more so ethics in general. Drop being a non commercial entity (it is by definition of offering a store, but I suggest you research how it came about and what its’ motis operandi / rasion d’etre is) and you might see that creatives here collaborate for the betterment/benefit of all. My family has some Meze99 headphones that were reinvigorated by Drop (sexy BLACK). They would never have turned up in my local classifieds at a brilliant pricepoint if Drop hadn’t ‘made them so’. The many ways, direct and indirect, that Drop gives to me make it an easy place to consider giving my time back to. I know this might read like an ad, and I suggest you assess why I would go to bat for anybody, let alone ‘a store’. I have bought from Drop, I have assessed their customer service channel. I have had comments direct from key Drop members (encouraging posts that assist the community). I feel at home here, I feel I have friends here. Now if I am willing to help a complete stranger, imagine what I am willing to do for a friend! Kudos to you for contemplating the point. I agree... Why? I love Drop and the Drop community.