Pros: see review
Cons: see review
I don't really like this. My impressions of it have been like a roller coaster. First it sounded good, then just ok, then terrible and back and forth. It will sound good on some headphones, but then on other ones it will sound like garbage. I don't want a DAC or AMP like that really.
If you don't agree with my impressions, then that is OK. These are just my opinions and how I heard it.
These are for straight out of the DAC:
My impression of it is that it makes the lower mids of my headphones (sound) much too forward. My DJ100 magically sounds as if it has even more fatiguing mids. The DJ100 should never sound this way. It's not that bad. Then the bass is quite bloated. Again, It's not THAT bad, but it's a huge distraction and is extremely annoying. It's clear that something is "off" because I've never heard the DJ100 sound this colored. The DJ100 and 598 will sound much less balanced with the E10. I will note that the DJ100 with this sounds very slightly better with the high gain option. A little more clear too.
I've found that this makes the HD-598 sound a bit more muffled and something just sounds off. I also got the fatiguing mids and couldn't take it anymore.
What makes no sense is that it doesn't actually sound like it has any lack of treble. At one point it clearly sounded like it had more than my HRT MSII. Something has me fooled perhaps.
To make matters worse, I could not get this thing to make any of my headphones with forward mids to sound normal when using the line out to any amp. Out of nowhere I tried the headphone out to amp and it sounded a little more balanced. Why? I have no clue. Even the soundstage seemed larger and the sound even clearer. Why the difference in sound between the two jacks? No idea. Should sound the same right?
I think for ME this dac/amp might only be a good match for some headphones. Maybe the Q701 or any headphone that isn't too warm or bassy. I think I might be sensitive to forward lower mids, so maybe this is why it bothers me. I imagine I would hate this with the HD-650, M50 or anything with a larger mid-bass hump. I also didn't like it too much with the PX100-II. I bet it may be impressive with the Koss A/250 or DT-880.
I prefer the E5 or even E11 to this as an amp. As a DAC I actually prefer the $35 X-Fi Go Pro. It sounds much more balanced sounding and plays well with all my headphones. I've seen graphs of the E10 and it doesn't look bad, so I don't know why it sounds so weird to me.
Maybe i'm just too picky and need to try the E17. Again, differences in impressions can be due to different headphones. I'm sure I can find a headphone I love this with.