Questyle CMA Fifteen Headphone DAC/Amp: Built-in ES9038Pro and Four Current Amplifiers

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, Questyle has released the flagship DAC/headphone amplifier as well as the Questyle CMA Fifteen preamp. The name and circuitry of the novelty continued the ideas of the previous flagship – CMA Twelve.

The Questyle CMA Fifteen has an updated version of the DAC: now it is the leading ES9038Pro chipset from ESS – a 32-bit 8-channel device working with resolutions up to 32bit/768kHz PCM or with native DSD512. In addition, the new product supports full MQA decoding.

Questyle CMA Fifteen

All this is assembled in a fully balanced circuitry, and the analogue part of the novelty is implemented using Questyle proprietary technologies with current amplification. This is logical, since the analog outputs of the DAC are also built in this way. In total, Questyle CMA Fifteen uses four of the same discrete amplifier circuits. According to the Questyle, they adapt perfectly to almost any impedance.

Via USB (with USB-C priority), the Questyle CMA Fifteen supports UAC 2.0 and connects to computers running Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, as well as Linux, Mac OS and more. Also, CMA Fifteen is ready to work with smartphones that support OTG audio output.

Questyle CMA Fifteen

Onboard Bluetooth module with LDAC is ready to accept resolutions up to 24bit/96kHz. Digital S/PDIF in optical and coaxial versions accept the maximum allowed 24bit/192kHz. There are also a couple of analog RCA inputs that were not available on the CMA Twelve – so the Questyle CMA Fifteen can be used as a pre-amplifier as well. The outputs are both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA connectors.

Headphone outputs in three versions – unbalanced 6.35mm, balanced 4.4mm or 4-pin XLR – are located on the front panel. Questyle CMA Fifteen boasts better THD + noise than 0.0003% for 300 ohms or 0.001% for 32 ohms.

Questyle CMA Fifteen

The body itself is made of 10mm aluminum sheets, with a machining tolerance of ± 0.02mm – so the manufacturer has insured against unnecessary vibrations. Size: 330x200x55mm.

In the US, the Questyle CMA Fifteen costs $2,400.

Questyle CMA Fifteen Specifications

AC Input: 100-120V / 220-230V (switchable)
Power Consuming: <30W
Size: 330*200*55mm (Jacks are not included.)
Digital Input:
USB x 2 (Including a high-priority USB Type-C interface and a USB Type-B interface.)
PCM: 44.1khz-768kHz/32bit
DSD: Native DSD 512; DOP DSD 256
MQA: Full / Core decoder
USB input supports UAC 2.0. It supports Win XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10, Linux, MAC OS and other operating systems. It also can be connected to smartphones supporting OTG audio output.

Note: Windows system under Win10 will need to install the ASIO driver developed by Questyle. Win10 system supports DOP DSD 256 without installing the driver, and supports Native DSD 512 with the driver installed.

Optical Input x 1:  PCM: 44.1kHz~192kHz/24bit
Coaxial Input x 1:  PCM: 44.1kHz~192kHz/24bit
Bluetooth Input x 1: SBC, AAC, LDAC (At the highest level of 96kHz/24bit, 990kps/909kps)
Analog Input: RCA x 1,  2Vrms standard level

Headphone Amplifier Output Interface:

6.35mm standard headphone jack  x1
4-PIN balanced headphone jack    x1
4.4mm balanced headphone jack   x1

Note: You can set High/Standard bias through the BIAS switch on the front panel of the headphone amplifier, and set Standard/Low gain through the four Gain switches on the bottom of the headphone amplifier.

Pre-Amp Output Interface:

XLR  x 1
RCA  x 1     

Note: The output level can be set by Standard/Studio switch and volume can be controlled by ADJ/FIX switch on the rear panel.

Pre-Amp Output Specs

Max Analog Output Amplitude:
RCA: 2V (Standard), Studio mode output up to14dBu
XLR: 4V (Standard), Studio mode output up to 20dBu
RCA: 0.0004%  
XLR: 0.0003% 
Frequency Response: ±0.2dB (DC-22kHz)@48kHz/24bit)

RCA: >116dB  
XLR: >119dB

Headphone Amplifier Output Specs

Max Output Power:
6.35mm: 188mW @ 300Ω  1.5W @ 32Ω
4.4mm balanced / XLR 4-PIN balanced: 765mW @ 300Ω  2W @ 32Ω


<0.0003% @300Ω
Frequency Response: ±0.2dB (DC-22kHz)@44.1kHz/24bit


6.35mm: >117dB
4.4mm balanced / XLR 4-PIN balanced: >120dB

Leave a Reply