VE Megatron DAC Review – Kaon’s Finest Gladiator

VE Megatron DAC on a man's hand

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Current testing methodology is v1.2

Release Date
23 May 2022
Weight
156 g
Size
76 x 22 x 110mm

The VE Megatron is a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that can also act as an amplifier. 

It’s from the Malaysian audio brand, Venture Electronics. I recently reviewed the VE Monk Plus and if you’ve read that, then you’d know what this brand is capable of delivering at affordable prices.

Best Value

VE Megatron DAC

Powerful DAC/amp for $50.

5/5
Price Range: $
Brand: Venture Electronics
VE Megatron DAC

TL:DR;

The Megatron is a portable DAC/amp from Venture Electronics.

It has a robust build quality with a silver metallic finish. It’s light to carry but heavy enough to stay in place.

It can power your IEMs, demanding headphones, and planar headphones, since they’re tailored for driving them.

The noise floor is very silent but will be audible on sensitive IEMs and, at times, hybrids but may vary in degree per unit. It gives extreme clarity and oomph to the sound while ensuring that your equipment is never underfed.

With its sound, power output, and portability, the VE Megatron is a demonstration of great inexpensive gear and how far Hi-Fi can achieve even at lower priced brackets.

The Specs

  • DAC/AMP Chip:  ESS9018K2M
  • Output(s):  3.5mm SE+ 2.5mm TRRS+ 4.4mm TRRRS + Line Out. THD+N 0.0095% (3.5mm), 0.021% (2.5mm & 4.4mm), 0.01064% (Line out)
  • Output Power:  170mW @32 Ohms (3.5mm),300mW@32 Ohms (2.5mm & 4.4mm)
  • Input:  USB Type-C
  • Audio format support:  24bit/96khz PCM

What’s in the Box?

  • VE Megatron DAC
  • USB-C cable and adapter
  • 4 x silicone rubber feet
  • Free VE Monk Plus

Stuff I like

  • Neutral signature
  • Powerful amplification
  • Robust build quality and clean aesthetic
  • 5V phone charging port
  • Amazing value

Stuff I like less

  • None

Comparable products to consider

HiBy FD1 DAC
HiBy FD1 DAC

The HiBy FD1 is a portable DAC that offers great clarity and a good timbre for just around $50.

First Impressions

I experimented with using different types of IEMs with the Megatron to ascertain their nature with such a powerful source. 

I’ve found out that a lot of cheaper IEMs were very sensitive and had an audible hiss to them.

IEMs with hybrid drivers also had an audible hiss but to a lower degree. 

The peaks on hybrid IEMs became erratic and sounded loud and peaky when driven by the Megatron. As such, single dynamic driver IEMs on the $20 bracket and up did quite well with no such reactions as hissing. 

The Megatron is a powerhouse of a DAC/amp and was able to make my planar headphones come to life with their natural forward sound. 

Underpowering planars or higher impedance headphones always lead to the music sounding more distant or fainter in volume. 

The Megatron, with its massive output, was able to push my HE400SE to its natural sound at about 70% volume, while my Shanling M3X Ltd. couldn’t do at its single-ended output at 101mW@32ohms. 

Overall, the display of power was impressive and the VE Megatron left me very satisfied and happy.

Build Quality

The VE Megatron has a rather light body despite its substantial and well-built shell. 

It features a single aluminum body that houses all its components and a nice silver finish with accent linings on each of its sides. There’s no flex with all of its inner components and overall, I’m very pleased with the organization of all of its ports. 

It’s easy to carry and will virtually take up almost no space in a bag. Its build quality is superb, especially at the $50 mark. 

VE Megatron DAC Ports
VE Megatron DAC multiple ports | Make Life Click

Sound Quality

The VE Megatron has an ESS9018K2M DAC and is described by Sabre as an industry-standard performing DAC with unprecedented dynamic range and low distortion capabilities. 

It’s tuned to be extremely neutral sounding. 

The presentation is very open, transparent, and somewhat bright. Based on my experience, it does a good job of balancing out the warmth in bass-elevated IEMs. 

The bass is very deep with its oomph. It feels like you’re interacting with the low end more than just plainly listening to it. The mid-bass has good speed and presents you with that tactile and engaging kick. 

The midrange is neutral with almost no coloration to my ears. It sounds full and yet light, and it renders both male and female vocals quite well with either register not sounding thin. 

I find its presentation refreshing and clean but I miss the warmth of the likes of my Shanling M3X. 

The treble is smooth-sounding and doesn’t seem to peak erratically, which renders high notes brilliantly with great shimmer and pleasant timbral tonality. 

Technicality-wise, the VE Megatron does well. 

The transient response is on-point and can remain distinct in the soundscape. The soundstage has good width that’s intimate while it has more depth that makes the headspace resound more spaciously. 

The imaging performs well and you’re able to place instruments on the spread pretty easily. The layering is also good and allows space for sonics to breathe and meld together in a very organic way that doesn’t sound congested or cramped. 

Overall, I’m more than pleased with the signature and technicalities of the Megatron at its price.

VE Megatron DAC
Minimalist design with a rectangular aluminum chassis | Make Life Click

Bass

The VE Megatron’s sub-bass can reach really good depth but is surprisingly linear. 

If you use an open-back headphone, the Megatron will reflect that with no hesitation, meaning there’s no bass boost. 

The thing with the Megatron throughout is that it’ll just present what you’re giving it as flat as possible, but it’ll inject it with copious amounts of power to boost the performance. 

On the sets that have elevated bass, the sub-bass sounds authoritative and boomy, to a very bewitching and immersive degree. 

On sets that are light on the sub-bass extension, the bass is provided with great oscillation and texture to suffice for its rumble. 

The mid-bass on the Megatron is fast and has great dynamism to it. It gives a kick that’s very tactile and feels like a booming thump in your chest. 

Overall, the bass presentation on the Megatron is quite enjoyable and presents a lot of immersion and engagement to the listener. 

Midrange

The midrange on the Megatron is flat-out neutral, at least to my ears. They don’t sound colored by any warmth and they fall on the brighter side of the spectrum. 

I often find myself missing some of the warmth in the midrange but it’s not to say that the midrange lacks musicality – it’s just that I have more affinity to a warm type of tuning. 

The lower midrange is clear and has good energy, often presenting itself to be full sounding with a balanced and wispy tonality. 

The upper midrange is sparkly, presenting the mids with more forwardness. It sounds energetic and splashy but it can become sibilant or piercing. 

VE Megatron DAC Bottom
Back of Megatron DAC | Make Life Click

The overall midrange is neutral, articulate, and bright, plus it gives a very flat uncolored listening experience that’s eloquent and transparent.

Treble

The treble has good extension even up to its uppermost region. It renders transients to be very crisp and life-like in their timbre. 

It also performs well with resolving macro and micro details while delivering attack and decay with good swiftness and accuracy. 

The extension on past the presence region has also made the treble very spacious and open-sounding. I find it surprising at times that the width changes based on songs but generally, I find the depth to be more open than the width. 

Overall, the treble is smooth but it remains to be brilliant without causing any sibilance or treble nausea. 

Conclusion

Overall, the VE Megatron DAC will generally handle most IEMs well with no audible noise floor but this isn’t the case for sensitive IEMs. 

I’ve found that hybrids and cheaper IEMs are the most susceptible to the audible hiss, with some sets more manageable than others. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
VE Megatron DAC

The Megatron packs a solid 170mW on a 32ohm load in its single-ended output while offering a walloping 300mW on its balanced 2.5 and 4.4 output.  

The level of power of using the Megatron is different from using standard DAC dongles or even DAPs – after all, it’s made to animate stubborn headphones to their full capacity and potential.

What I hear the Megatron does sound-wise is that it increases the dynamic range while drastically lowering the volume you need to crank up for you to hear your music. 

I often find myself in awe that I can drive my IEMs at 6% volume while I’m quite satisfied that it can bring my HE400SEs to life at 70% volume on its single-ended output. To my ears, it sounds very natural and on the brighter side of neutral. 

It’s truly a spectacle of a gladiator in Kaon’s arenas, worthy to lead the Decepticon cause. Oops wrong, Megatron. 

At the end of the day, the VE Megatron is an impeccably neutral-sounding monolith of power that has incredible amplification, especially – and I repeat, especially for the price.

VE Megatron DAC Front
VE Megatron DAC
Sound Quality
Build Quality
Value for money
5

Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)

This post was last updated on 2024-06-07 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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