eCoustics Reviews CMA Fifteen

eCoustics Questyle reviewQuestyle has proven to be one of the unsung heroes of the next generation of Chinese high-end audio manufacturers and a brand that many in the Head-Fi community hold in high regard. 
The CMA Fifteen are made out of heavy gauge (10mm) anodized 6063 Aluminum alloy with a rather striking matte black finish. This is much heavier than most pieces of audio gear and is done to help reduce resonance and stabilize the ground.    
Questyle choses to use current amplification for its headphone products as it eliminates the typical shortcomings of the voltage amplification model and allows the original signal to travel from the output of the DAC to the transducer unchanged.  
The CMA Fifteen is extremely clean and detailed sounding with enough power to drive most of my collection of headphones on low gain including heavy hitters like the first generation Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD800, and 600 ohms AKG 240s. None of those headphones could trip the CMA Fifteen up which says a lot about the design of the amplifier.
I was immediately taken by the dynamic range and wonderful tonal balance of the CMA Fifteen; piano notes had so much body and impact which I really didn’t expect. Switching to the Audeze LCD-3 on low gain mode, Mussorgsky’s Great Gate of Kiev demonstrated just how effortlessly the CMA Fifteen can go from dead silence to roaring crescendos without any form of congestion or a collapse of the soundstage.
Horns can be difficult for some headphones depending on the amplifier, but the T1/CMA Fifteen combination had texture, decay, body, and more than enough detail to make this recording come alive without any hardness on top. I found it be extremely clean sounding with excellent detail retrieval — but not at the expense of tonal color which is pretty amazing.
I’ve heard a few other ESS DACs that could compete with the CMA Fifteen’s sound quality but all were nearly double its asking price. If you’re in the market for a really high-end DAC/Headphone Amplifier, the Questyle CMA Fifteen needs to be at the very top of your audition list.
W. Jennings, eCoustics, February 2022

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