Pros: Full, dynamic sound, deep tight bass
Cons: None at this price (apart from no usb)
I've owned quite a few of the modern mid price offerings available including Dacmagic, Vdac, Rdac and an earlier Beresford.
I'm not one for hyperbole at all but I've been smiling all day listening to this after giving it an overnight run in. (it came the next day after ordering from homehifi.co.uk) I've got it hooked up to my Audio GD amp via coaxial input through a musiland Spdif converter.
Such a big, full dynamic sound, deep impactful bass without any sign of wool or looseness. A treble that sparkles without any hardness. The mids are deep and clear with very good separation. Soundstage is realistic and free. My HE500's are really showing off, especially in the mids. They have opened up even more with this dac.
Trying the headphone section and it is pleasing. I can see some loving it, however I feel there is a touch too much bass. It's good bass, but just a tad too much for my preference. If I were using the K702's I feel it would be a perfect match. I've read that the HD800's sound good on this too. (of course I haven't burned this section in yet)
No USB. So I've knocked a star off haha. I don't particularly want a usb function but I know plenty who would.
The Rdac is the only one that could compete with this, I love the Rdac's musicality and natural sound. It doesn't wow you with dynamics it lets you sink into the music. However... The BM seems to have the edge on dynamics and control without losing the real timbres. Some dacs can wow you with false dynamics but this is not the case here. Its just so clear and real.
Overall, this really is a no brainer, I know for a fact that I will have to spend at least four times the amount I paid for this to get something that could be better.
Edit. Next day and I've been giving the headphone out section some quality time. My HE500's are really warming to it, more so than my LCD2's. The big bass was a little intrusive with the audeze. It actually has such an engaging sound with the very deep and impactful bass because there is also a very crisp top end to match. I'm trying to decipher if there is any sign of recession in the mids but I don't think there is. I've just never heard dynamics like that. Wow that bass! Concentrating on the treble for signs of sibilance with a great but bright recording and all I'm hearing is a free extension without any signs of hardness but clearly brighter than my Audio gd amp. It's hard to explain, but the overall impression I'm getting is of no restrictions at all. No added refinement, nothing filtered. It's a sound that is new to me and I'm liking it. The volume control has a lovely feel to it, very smooth an sensitive.
Edit. Ok then 5 days later and everything is still good. Theres no getting away from the fact that this is one great little dac for the money. After doing extensive swapping, a/bing with the hp section and my two main amps I think the dac section does sound better on its own using a decent amplifier rather than the hp out. It comes across as more balanced and refined. Don't get me wrong the hp section is very good and will compete with a lot of mid price amps, but for my personal preference it is a little too bass heavy with my orthos. This improves in terms of balance when using the dac via a good dedicated amp. This is clearly because of the well designed output of the dac. That being said, I haven't tried any dynamic hp's with it and so it could be a different story with those.
I originally bought this for my bedside rig to be used as a one unit set up. Nice and simple. But the dac section is so good it is replacing my Arcam Rdac on my main rig. It is better. If I didn't have other things I need to buy at the mo I'd be purchasing another. The build is solid and I've got no problems there at all, the lights go on when you first switch it on and then go off when it selects the input. Nice touch.
I can see many people being very happy indeed with is as an all-in-one dac/headphone amplifier, and If there is another stand alone dac out there that can match it in terms of dynamics and refinement at anywhere near this price then I will eat my underpants. And that's a promise.