THX, a company best known for bringing high fidelity audio and video to movie screens. But the company has also worked with consumer electronics companies to bring THX certification and/or tuning to home theater and audio products as well as laptops headphones, and more.
Now THX is launching its first consumer electronics device that will be sold directly to consumers. The THX Onyx is a $200 HiFi DAC (digital to-analog converter) for phones, laptops, and other devices with USB-C ports.
The audio accessory features an ESS ES9281PRO digital audio converter, THX AAA amplifier technology, and an MQA )Master Quality Audio) renderer for high-quality audio when streaming from TIDAL or playing lossless audio files from a local device.
Designed to connect to any device with a USB-A or USB-C port, the Onyx sits between your headphones and your phone, tablet, laptop, or other device in order to offer high fidelity audio.
And since the DAC, amplifier, and other hardware is in the device itself, THX says you can use the Onyx with Android, iOS, Windows 10, or Mac devices without the need to install any drivers or apps… although the company notes that iOS users will need to pick up a separate USB-C to Lightning adapter since you don’t get one in the box. When used with an iOS device, the Onyx is also only for listening – phone calls from plugged in headsets aren’t supported.
The THX Onyx is a gadget that will most likely only appeal to audiophiles. Most casual smartphone and laptop users are perfectly happy listening to music or podcasts over a pair of cheap Bluetooth headphones or even the built-in speakers on their devices. But if you’re the sort of person who drops hundreds of dollars on HiFi headphones, the THX Onyx could help you use them with devices you already have.
And it’s noteworthy that after nearly forty years in the audio business, the Onyx is the first consumer product from Onyx. Then again, the company was acquired by gaming hardware company Razer a few years ago, so maybe it’s not that big a surprise to see THX take this turn.