THX has announced the launch of its first ever consumer electronics device in the THX Onyx DAC, which aims to ensure high-quality sound from a range of devices.
The company – founded by George Lucas don’t you know – were a staple on DVDs and Blu-rays, often popping with its trademark ‘deep note’ introduction. We haven’t seen the presence of THX quite as much in recent years, but with the Onyx it looks set to kick start a new consumer-facing path for the company.
The THX Onyx caters for listening to music, watching films, streaming and playing games, with the aim of bringing “undiluted sound” to the audio experience. With its USB-C connection it can be connected to Android smartphones (iPhones will need the Lightning adapter) to improve audio quality when used with wired headphones. They’ll also work with headsets, (non-wireless) earbuds or when connected to desktop speakers.
The design is rather sleek, sporting an all-metal CNC-machined body with the iconic THX logo emblazoned in 3D on top. The Onyx features THX’s AAA-78, which according to THX, matches the power of the desktop AAA DAC/amp in a much smaller form factor.
AAA stands for Achromatic Audio Amplifier and while that sounds like plenty of jargon, its purpose is to deliver the highest fidelity possible with low levels of noise, while reducing “harmonic, intermodulation, and crossover distortion” by up to 40dB for a less fatiguing listening experience. Incorporating the AAA-78 will also enable maximum output power for improved dynamic range and greater sound pressure level. You may want to dial down the volume once the THX Onyx gets in its groove.
Also integrated is an ESS ES9281PRO DAC, and it can render Master Quality Authenticated recordings (MQA). That’ll enable transmission of music in the way the artist intended, with the Onyx DAC/amplifier performing the second ‘unfold’ to unpack the data within the file. MQA is supported by the Tidal streaming service, so if you want to hear the Onyx at its best when streaming music, you may want to consider a Tidal subscription.