Monday, September 25, 2017

Guides, Testimonials, News


Reviews


 

I"...The results are nothing less than spectacular! In Double DSD, these recordings brings you right into the presence of master tapes...""...the e20 provides a silky elegance of sound that is impossible to gainsay. In this attractive, compact package is an enormous sonic performance whose ability to delight me, day in and day out for several months now, has been bloody impressive."  Read the review

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"...What a blast! The exaSound worked flawlessly with JRiver Media Center, delivering exquisite two-and multichannel sound through my weekend system. Stereo at 24/96 or 24/192, multichannel FLAC at 24/96, or, holy moley, 24/352.8 multichannel DXD from 2L—you name it—all were so strikingly pure and vibrant that they were addictive."  Read the Review

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"...For me, the exaSound e20 was a game-changer. It played standard PCM files extremely capably, but its greatest strength was its ability to play DSD files in their native format, which took my system to a new and higher level. The e20 is an attractive, compact, and clearly thoughtfully-designed example of a modern DAC. It produced a rich detailed sonic picture, with solid bass and extended high frequencies. I heartily recommend that if you’re in the market for a new DAC, you consider one with DSD-playback capability, ..."

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Published at AudioCircle.com and ComputerAudiophile.com by RKlein

To my ears, the E20 gave the best presentation of the SABRE chip that i have heard to date. I realize that the Invicta DAC is getting excellent reviews as well. However, that DAC runs $1,500 more than the E20. I think the E20 at its price point is a very solid contender. So much so that I ordered one.

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Part One: First impressions (day 1-3)

My first impressions of the Exasound E20 DAC come with a slight (or maybe large, we’ll see) caveat.  Although Exasound includes a 12V brick laptop style power supply in this $2499 DAC so far all listening was done using a 3rd party upgraded linear power supply, my Hynes SR3-12.  It seemed a natural fit as it is already set for 12V and uses the same dc plug that the E20 needs.   This “upgrade-ability” is a big plus for DAC designs like the E20.  Think about it:  you get to spend $$ on the DAC design only, use the stock (medical grade) ps for awhile, and then save up for upgraditis.  Plus, the EMI is a good 1 meter away, as no transformer is enclosed inhouse (reminds me of the saying "when criticizing someone first walk a mile in their shoes"...that way when you criticize them you are a mile away...and have their shoes!!  :) )

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The exaSound E20 is their flagship stereo DAC. It sells direct from their website for $2500 and is available as a free 30 day trial. First of all, no words can truly explain how good the E20 + Linkwitz Orion actually sounds. My system consists of the Orion 3.5 + Weight and Balance Mod (DIY Sonic Equivalent to the Orion 4.1). A Windows7 PC runs foobar2000 and JRiver Media Center controlled by JRemote on a retina ipad.

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For more than a year I have utilized the ‘exaDevices exaU2I Asynchronous USB to I2S Interface’ with my stock built Buffalo II/Legato3 combo (Twisted Pear Audio). The exaU2I allowed me to enjoy I2S PCM up to 384kHz or to be wired separately for DSD.DFF file playback up to 5.6MHz (with the included proprietary software). The exaU2I provided a more dependable and stable performance when mated to my BII DAC.

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I've owned my PSB Stratus gold-i's since 1999. They have gone through various sources and amplifiers, concluding with a Lynx L22 soundcard / NAD C272 power amplifier. The L22 was used in a recording studio. I decided to sell off all my studio gear and start researching a serious Two-Channel upgrade. I've done some mixing and mastering and have always loved good music, whether a great performance, or a great technical presentation. I've also learned (the hard way) how bad mixing or mastering can ruin an otherwise good recording. This time I wanted to step back, and enjoy the benefits of everyone else's work.

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