Originally Posted by cssarrow
Clarified by Xonar.
:D It took me some time to think too, wasn't sure the $50 would be worth it, but to me, it has. Makes sound more "live,lifelike,transparent, realism, etc, same word" middle vocals contain a rich detail swavey touch to them. They're not overbearingly clear like some DAC/Amps that are so clear, sometimes it ends up making the treble painful to hear. These are wonderful, extends bass so well. This one does a lot better than the HDP when it comes to making sounds more vinyl(less digital) sounding. Upsampling works great for increase in overall presentation, however with that increase of resolution, the fullness of the mids sounds less superb. I only listen with upsampling on certain songs, like jazz for example. (btw i listen to all genre of music, even kpop and indian music)
Pros worth noteing:
1. Outputs RCA/XLR and Headphone simultaneously (two volume bars) (Fully balanced XLR output)
2. Contains its own linear power supply
3. Looks nice, no sharp edges
4. Upsampling helps with certain songs
5. asynchronous usb for extremely low jitter
6. WIMA & nichicon capacitors, great PCB layout (multiple layers).
7. OP AMP design with consumer in mind (rhymed haha), shares their inner secrets unlike other high end makers and lets people customize the sound to their liking *see con*
8. 2x DAC Chip Texas Instrument BurrBrown PCM1795 does 24bit/192khz (HDP can't do that, nope, nope)
9. Converts music files (with upsampling) to their respected "real" 8 times frequency. (32bit)
10. Not fully enclosed, semi-open back for heat dissipation.
11. Mute Button
12. THD+N at 1kHz at 0.000316 %(-110 dB). VERY LOW. I've seen thousand dollar dac/amps with 0.0005 and up.
13. SNR : 120 dB a very spectacular number.
14. Asus conducts tests of distortion, SNR, etc, on each one of their products, shows you they have the balls to back up their product.
Cons worth noteing:
1. For the price, the aluminum casing is great, however they should of made an extra touch and make the buttons/volume nozzle aluminum as well. but really not a big deal.
2. With the giant size of the toroidal & Essence one, they could of increased the power supply pcb size added some more soothing capacitors for better dc output and increase wattage driving power for headphones. I believe the one now has 600mW for 32 ohm headphones, would be nice if it were able to hit the 1W spec for planar (HE-500 and up) As of now, it's good enough to drive the HE-400, LCD-2. I don't have the LCD-3 so i can't say. HE-500 runs "GREAT" on them. However, it may improve with 400mW extra.
3. The MUSES01 is a little overpriced, $50 on digikey, $59.90 on ebay. It makes you wonder how different they sound than their younger brother/sister the MUSES 8920.
4. Not sold everywhere, i found them on Amazon, Ebay, and Newegg. Prices are $575 and over (usually with free shipping). Better to buy off ebay, no tax.
5. Op Amps not explained very well. For a company that makes audiophile dac/amp and has tested numerous op amps, they should of given customers a whole piece of paper on which type of op amp delivers what kind of sound. (talk about a waste of effort not releasing such information)
6. No Remote
I just felt like sharing some of these information with you so i can go back and pick out important things i might have missed for my final review.
I was surprised to find out that they had their own Audio Experts Team and keeps it strictly there (they do not consult with other departments in their company. They are also able to get parts cheaper (come on.. we know taiwan makes a large portion of chips) and higher quality control because they are a marketing titan.