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Questyle CMA Twelve

Digital-to-analog converter (DAC)/headphone amp/preamp

Item # 213CMATWLV

Discontinued item

Item # 213CMATWLV

Product highlights:

  • desktop/component digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with built-in class A headphone amplifier
    • preamp mode with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs for connection to an outboard power amp or self-amplified speakers
  • aircraft-grade aluminum chassis helps control temperature and minimizes vibration
  • toroidal power supply provides clean, robust power to the advanced audio circuitry
Audio performance features:
  • four groups of patented current mode amplifiers
    • class A BIAS control system for driving even the most demanding headphones
    • compatible with headphones with 32-600 ohms impedance
  • high-performance AKM VERITA AK4490 32-bit/384kHz digital-to-analog converter for precise playback of digital music files
    • high-res audio playback, including PCM-based files up to 32-bit/384Hz and DSD256
    • asynchronous USB technology for reduced timing jitter and better sound on USB input
  • 1 USB Type-B for connection to a computer
  • 1 S/PDIF digital inputs
  • 1 optical digital (Toslink)
    • If connecting to a TV, please make sure you can select "PCM" output in its audio menu. This DAC is not compatible with Dolby® Digital signals.
Preamp Outputs:
  • S/PDIF digital output
  • 1 pair balanced stereo XLR audio outputs
  • 1 pairs of RCA stereo outputs
Headphone outputs:
  • 1 balanced 4-pin XLR output
  • 1 balanced 4.4mm headphone outputs
  • 1 unbalanced 1/4" headphone jack
File compatibility:
  • Type B USB input supports up to 32-bit/384kHz resolution for PCM; up to 256 for DSD
  • S/PDIF input supports up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution for PCM
  • Toslink optical input supports up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution for PCM
General info and Specs:
  • front-panel LED display indicates the file format currently playing
  • front-panel switches for power, function, and bias control
  • back-panel control switches for matching voltage with connected gear
  • clock-calibrated volume knob
  • total harmonic distortion: 0.0005% (300 ohm)
  • max power output:
    • 247mW @ 300 ohms; 900mW @ 32 ohms (1/4" headphone jack)
    • 825mW @ 300 ohms; 2W @ 32 ohms (balanced headphone jack)
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >112dB (RCA), >109dB (XLR)
  • 13"W x 1-7/8"H x 7-7/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # CMA Twelve

What's in the box:

  • D/A Converter with headphone amplifier (black)
  • 5' AC power cord (3-prong IEC plug)
  • Wireless remote control
  • User's Manual
  • USB Driver (on mini-CD)
  • Test Report
  • Warranty Card

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<< >>

More details on the Questyle CMA Twelve

Mark G.

Product Research


Overview: The CMA Twelve is Questyle Audio's flagship DAC/headphone amplifier. Featuring Questyle's patented Current Mode Amplification (CMA) technology, the CMA Twelve can drive your headphones to a high level with a minuscule degree of distortion for an exceptional listening experience. The headphone amp features S/PIDF, optical, AEB/EBU (XLR), and USB inputs, and offers balanced and unbalanced pre-amp and headphone outputs. It also has a 5 GHz Wi-Fi receiving unit for wireless live streaming. The CMA Twelve comes with a convenient wireless remote.

Headphone Amplifier Section: The CMA Twelve is built with four groups of pure Class A Current Mode Amplifiers which achieve an ultra-low distortion level of 0.0005% and ultra-wide bandwidth up to DC-80kHz (+0, -3dB). The CMA Twelve features the new 4.4mm balanced headphone connector, as well as a balanced XLR-4 output, and a 1/4" (6.35mm) standard unbalanced headphone jack. Gain Control switches on the bottom of the chassis provide the perfect driving power for different headphones (32- to 300-ohm). The switches can be set to "Standard" or "Low." The unit's impressive technical performance together with its warm and powerful sound make the CMA Twelve comparable with high-end headphone amplifiers that are much more expensive.

Note: You cannot connect to more than one headphone jack at a time.

Preamplifier Section: Using the front panel switch, you can switch the Questyle CMA Twelve to be used as a preamplifier to drive a separate power amp or powered speakers. The unit is equipped with unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (XLR) outputs. At the Standard output setting (14dBu), the output level is 2.549V (RCA) and 5.084V (XLR). When switched to Studio (20dBu), the maximum RCA output level 4.475V and the maximum XLR output level is 8.887V, which can meet the requirements of most power amplifiers for output level. The preamp output can be set to fixed (at maximum output level) or variable via a switch on the rear panel.

AKM AK4490 DAC: The Questyle CMA Twelve utilizes a high performance AKM AK4490 DAC that supports 2ch stereo 16- to 32-bit/44.1-384kHz PCM files; Native DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256, and DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 of DoP format from the USB input. From the SPDIF, optical, and AES/EBU inputs, the DAC supports 44.1-192kHz/16-bit to 24-bit PCM.

Switchable BIAS Control: The front panel has a 2-way switch for setting the BIAS Control to Standard or High. BIAS Control's high setting is similar to the Turbo mode of a car, providing additional output for driving high-impedance headphones or speakers to bring out their full capabilities.

True DSD (Direct Stream Digital) Technology: True DSD technology is one of the core patented technologies of Questyle Audio. It processes DSD signals without any PCM conversion and provides True DSD audio, which is fundamentally different from DoP and Native DSD. When the system processes DSD signals, all the digital filters as well as digital volume control are bypassed, strictly following the standard processing of SACD playback.

USB-B Port for Computer Audio Streaming: The Questyle CMA Twelve is outfitted with a USB-B port for connecting your Windows PC or Mac computer. It supports playback of 2ch stereo 16- to 32-bit/44.1-384kHz PCM files; as well as Native DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, and DoP64, DoP128 music files. The unit is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 using the included USB Driver on CD-ROM. It also supports Linux and Mac OS 10.5.7 or later without any additional USB Driver. The Questyle CMA Twelve bypasses the inferior DAC in your computer and utilizes its own high performance AKM AK4490 DAC for exceptional sound quality from your computer's digital music library.

Optical & Coaxial Digital Connectivity: The Questyle CMA Twelve features one optical (toslink) digital input, one AES/EBU (XLR) input, one coaxial (RCA) digital input, and one coaxial (RCA) digital output. The digital inputs and output support 2ch stereo 16- to 24-bit/44.1-192kHz audio files (not compatible with Dolby Digital or DTS).

5GHz Wireless Receiving: The CMA Twelve is compatible with Questyle's 5GHz Wireless Audio System that offers the stable wireless transmission of high-end audio. The CMA Twelve can pair with Questyle Audio's Super Hub SHB2's built-in wireless transmitter for a high-end wireless audio experience. The 1-3/8" x 1" antenna housing protrudes approximately 7/16" from the rear panel.

Aircraft-Grade Aluminum Chassis: The Questyle CMA Twelve is precision-constructed by Foxconn, Questyle's manufacturing partner, to avoid sound-degrading resonance. It is built with 10mm-thick, aircraft-grade Aluminum 6063 panels that are high-precision machined to a tolerance of ±0.02mm. The aluminum chassis efficiently dissipates heat, and keeps the internal temperature at 45°C (113°F) for best stability and maintaining the pure Class A performance.

Wireless Remote Control: The included remote provides control for many aspects of the operation of the device. The infrared remote is compatible with many Questyle products, so not all of the buttons will function with the CMA Twelve. With the remote, you can control the power on/off, volume up/down, mute, and source selection. The remote is approximately 2" wide, 6-11/16" long, and 15/16" high, and is powered by 2 AAA batteries (not included).

Switchable Voltage: The CMA Twelve has a switchable power supply, so it can be used with 110V (100-120V) or 220V (220-230V)systems.


Headphone Amp Section
Gain 8.6dB (2.7 Standard)
-1/4dB (0.85 Low)
Max Output Power

1/4" Headphone Jack:
247mW @ 300 ohms
1W @ 32 ohms

Balanced Headphone Jack:
825mW @ 300 ohms
2W @ 32 ohms

0.00070% @ 100mW power output; 300 ohms
0.00167% @ 50mW power output; 32 ohms

Signal-to-Noise Ratio 112dB, non-weighting
Frequency Response (0dBFS, 24-bit/192kHz) DC - 20kHz (+0, -0.4dB)
DC - 80kHz (+0, -3dB)
Headphone Outputs 1/4" (6.35mm) unbalanced
XLR-4 or 4.4mm balanced
DAC and Pre-Amp Output Section
Signal Types S/PDIF Input/Output:
PCM 44.1k to 192k / 16-bit to 24-bit
PCM: 44.1k to 384k / 16-bit to 32-bit
DSD Native:
DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
DSD of DoP: DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
Operating Systems to Match USB Output Windows XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Win 10, Mac OS, Linux (supporting UAC 2.0)
Digital Input/Outputs S/PDIF (RCA) input and output
Optical input (Toslink)
AES/EBU input (XLR)
Analog Outputs Balanced XLR (1 pair)
Unbalanced RCA (1 pair)
Max Analog Output Amplitude

Standard (14dBu):
XLR: 5.084V; RCA: 2.549V
Studio (20dBu):
XLR: 8.887V; RCA: 4.475V

Analog Output THD+N (Studio 20dBu) RCA: 0.00115% min
XLR: 0.00085% min
Analog Output Signal-to-Noise RCA: >109dB
XLR: >112dB
General Specifications
Voltage 100-120V or 220-230V switchable
Power Consumption < 30W
Dimensions Width 12.9375", Height 2.202", Depth 10.75"
Weight 7 pounds

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