I am not going to get into a whole lot of details, I find it difficult to write about perceived differences between 2 audio products. I tip my hat to anyone who can do it well.
I also have alot of respect for Resonessence and what they are doing with the Concero line and all of their products. I can't say one bad thing about their products or service. Both exceptional.
Some things to keep in mind my budget is a huge factor, I am trying to setup the best sounding (to me) budget minded desktop setup. A few years ago I got silly and comfortable and had a huge desktop setup that was reaching past 10k when I was let go from a job that I had planned at being at for a long time. It was almost getting to the point were the gear itself was more important then the actual music itself.
Anyways, onto my listening habits and my decision and impressions, but I felt the need to mention that cost is a huge factor for me now.
I almost always listen to 320kbs MP3 files, I don't have much in the way of hi-res audio files. Some day, some day I know.
I tend to flip back and forth between audio players, I listen on a macbook pro as well as a desktop windows pc setup.
When looking for a budget friendly dac, I had a few requirements. It had to be small, it couldn't be ugly and it had to perform to a level at least justifying the price if not exceeding it. It also had to handle the material I tend to use most, and handle it well. Not to get too deep into the initial rundown I did but I found about 4 or 5 Dacs under about a grand that I could spend a little time with and actually listen to. To make a potentially long story short the Original Concero ended up winning out. It looked great, I loved the lower output it made everything sound effortless. It was not forcing the music down my ears. The way they clean up the usb signal is amazing, I tried a vaunix usb hub and it did nothing beneficial. I also loved the implementation of the filters used with 44 and 48, and how it would 4x upsample the material. It pretty easily beat the Aneido D2 with my 320 mp3's. Maybe it wouldn't using higher res material who knows that's for another review.
I ended up selling the Original concero when I heard about the new models. My friend still had an original Concero and I ended up buying a new Concero HD. With the thought in mind of comparing the two of them in my room. If the HD was better I would keep it, if not I would send it back and get the original Concero which I already loved. It honestly did not take long for me to realize that the Original Concero is something special. Back to back using my files and listening with my speakers and my headphones I felt like the original Concero was more of a value than the HD was. That is the case for me, not necessarily for anyone else. I am sure if someone was interested in DSD capabilities and has a ton of hi-res flac and wav files the newer HD model might put the Original Concero to shame, who knows.
I ended up sending back the HD in favor of the Original Concero. What I am mainly wanting to say with this is the Original Concero is a tremendous value, and in my findings meets and on occasion surpasses DAC's twice its price. I am happy that I am back to enjoying the music more than the gear and the Concero was a big part in getting me back there. Props to Mark and the Resonessence team for keeping the little guy's like me in mind when thinking of new gear and also making such fine products at a realistic price we can afford.
Thanks for sharing this. More data that the Concero is not only a great value, but simply a great DAC. It really does seem like I will have to spend $1500+ to clearly surpass the Concero, though likely more since it might take a better amp to benefit from the improvements.