*Audirect has since updated the packaging. Those photos following my unboxing.
The Output impedance is <1ohm which means its friendly with multi driver BA IEMs.
With my Apple Macbook pro I found benefits such as no hiss when using the Whistle, whereas when I used the headphone jack of the Macbook I experienced hiss.
The Macbook pro already reproduces decent sound...to a point. The Whistle takes it quite step further in terms of resolution, smoother, more body, greater separation, sound stage is increased and my overall listening experience was certainly more pleasurable. More lively and engaging.
For Macbook I found I didn't need to install any drivers for the Whistle to function.
Windows computers running Windows 10 don't need a driver so I have been told. Windows 7 needs drivers installed.
At US$99 it is one of the lowest priced dac/amps out there on the market.
With no need for a CCK for idevices it makes it simple to use.
Its small form and lightweight body means it is easy to carry and use.
The Audirect Whistle is a very affordable DAC/amplifier that can complement many an existing system.
I wish I had an Audioquest Dragonfly (Black) to compare with, as they both retail for the same price.
One thing that puts the Audirect Whistle in good company (Cozoy REI, CEntrance DACportable to name a couple...) is that it doesn't require an Apple CCK to function.
The Cozoy REI has more smoothness, detail, separation and subtlety, the CEntrance DACportable has more power, detail and low end body. But the price differences are quite wide and distant between them and the Audirect Whistle so that is to be expected.
The Audirect Whistle has that clear, (slightly) highs focused signature often associated with Sabre Dac devices.
The effect is one of increased clarity and transparency, more noticeable with analytical listening or longer sessions. It is not a strong change in that it does not possess any coloring to be easily heard, but more of its intended aim to clean up, concentrate and contain the musical reproduction.
I think a better lightning cable would improve clarity, detail and overall sonics. When used with the lightning cable that comes with the Cozoy REI the experience improves in thats its smoother and richer. (Yes, yes. I know its all 1s and 0s and that it shouldn't make a difference....buuuut....).
Red or Black? I chose red so I could find it easier. ;)
Don`t expect to use this with a low end set of earphones and have them magically transformed, I really noticed the Whistles performance with the Andromeda, less so in the budget to just below the mid fi bracket.
(With the ipod touch).
Its hard to say whether its the DAC or the AMP, or the DAC and the Amp combined making the difference. As we know a bit of extra amplification itself can do wonders.
That it eliminated the hiss (with my macbook) might be a major appeal point for some.
perhaps this might be replicated on other devices also? Smartphones etc...I don't know.
I would have liked to have more variety of sources at my fingers to test the Whistle more, in particular smartphones that have poor quality music playback.. at an uneducated and untested guess the Whistle might help - using my macbook as an example.
Not included is a Micro USB to USB-A cable for use with a computer, but I think we all have a few of those at home.
*The Whistle new batch will have a better sound quality, because the capacitor at the "COG" level will be improved.
Overall the Audirect Whistle comes in at a decent price, my regret is I don`t have the Dragonfly black to compare with. It does produce a pleasing effect in that the music has more body and it adds a fullness to the music, also it gives a smoother and less fatiguing experience.