Pros: Excellent clarity without being too edgy, expansive soundstage, USB input is top notch
Cons: Bright LEDs on front panel, no DSD support (for now), doesn't sound as good using SPDIF inputs and RCA outputs
The DAC market is clearly exploding. Seems like every week or so we hear of a new model being launched. Many of them look quite nice, with good specs and plenty of features. Some of them come from established brands like Benchmark, NuForce, Parasound, and PS Audio. Others come from relatively new, smaller (but growing!) companies like Matrix, Schiit, Yulong, and Resonessence Labs. Lots and lots of good choices can be had these days, and it's a great time to be in the market for new gear.
Venting (it doesn't get hot at all though)
I believe voltage is adjustable internally, despite what the label says
Another view of the feet in action, pardon the dust
USB section with the XMOS chip has a discrete 26mHz clock for the transceiver function
but receives 44.1 and 48kHz clocking via the multiclock generator which I'll discuss shortly
SMSC USB transceiver is the new USB3343 model
View from front
Can you spot the parallel dual-mono signal path?
Ring Core brand Toroid
Again, mirrored for each channel
PCM1794, the current top of the line Burr Brown DAC (along with sibling PCM1792)
Output stage with socketed opamps
Relays on the outputs, single ended conversion in the middle
One last interesting bit - the power supply has an AC to DC converter which puts out a 5Vdc signal. I'm not quite sure about the implications. Firestone tells me it is used to power the various microcontroller chips on board, and allows for extremely low power consumption in standby mode. I thought it might also be used to power the USB section but Firestone seemed to indicate that was not the case. Yet due to the slight language barrier when it comes to technical discussions, I can't be sure either way.
Lots of Cabledyne Reference cables
Stax, Thunderpants, HE-400
HD800 with Toxic Cables Scorpion balanced cable, Icon Audio HP8