Monday, December 5, 2022

Guides, Testimonials, News


Posted by J. Baig on and


After receiving my exaSound e20 Mk II DAC the first thing I've noted was its small size (almost size of my router). Yes I am used to larger and heavier Hi-Fi components in my rack . Installing drivers and setup was a breeze - no issues at all. I had downloaded quite a few DSD 2.82MHZ and double-DSD 5.6MHZ files from various websites including, Blue Coast Records etc. Oh yes, this DAC comes with a very long USB cable, which I swapped with Wire World Platinum 1 meter. I plugged in the factory supplied 12V laptop style power adapter into my PowerCell 10 SE Synergistic Research conditioner. I also converted most of my high resolution PCM recording into DSD/DFF files through my J River software to compare them to high resolution PCM and Red book 44.1 kHz recordings.


I connected the analog out of the exaSound e20 Mk II DAC straight into my pair of McIntosh MC601 mono-block amplifiers. I also tested the e20 running through the Auxiliary input of the McIntosh MX121 preamplifier in Pure Direct mode and using it as volume control.

After about 10-15 min of run in time I listened to some reference recordings. The purity of presentation through the exaSound e20 Mk II DAC was astonishing. DSD files which I had heard before as aggressive and somewhat bright through my Oppo105 player now sounded full, natural with inner details and smooth texture. The imaging was wider, with more space between instruments. Yet music just did not seem to appear from speakers as most often happens when the sound stage widens.


Connecting the exaSound e20 Mk II DAC via the Auxiliary input of the McIntosh MX121preamplifier and running it in pure direct mode caused the mid bass to appear more pronounced with some loss of details in the extreme highs.

Next comparing DSD 2.82MHz to DSD5.6MHz, the transparency was more apparent with the 5.6 MHz files. To sum it up, DSD through the exaSound e20 Mk II DAC seemed the most "analog like" presentation I have heard in my reference system. I have just been exposed to a format which I never could imagined could sound so smooth and full. Well, I am not going back to the dark ages again.....

Revel Ultima Salon 2, Voice 2, Gem 2, McIntosh MC601 Mono-blocks, MC207 for center and surrounds, McIntosh MX121 , Oppo BDP-105, Interconnect- Synergistic Element Copper, Tungsten, Silver, Power cord CTS digital, Tungsten and Precision reference cords, JL audio F113, Music Vault Pearl plus with SOTM USB card, Screen Innovation Black diamond zero edge 106, Sound Anchor Subwoofer, stand, JVC RS-40, WireWorld Platinum USB/HDMI


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