Hot: Clean-sounding, uncoloured overall sonics. Taut and weighty bass. Transparent midband and extended highs without being strident. Lack of colouration may lead it to be branded as “sterile” but its timing and pace provide good drive to music. Headphone output is well thought out, and not just an afterthought. Can capably drive any pair of headphones. A good foundation for a computer audio source.
Cold: USB input limited to 24-bit/96kHz only.
Encore: The latest version of the USB1 DAC turns a good product even better. Intrepid audiophiles can go under the hood and access loads more options, all outlined in the manual in detail. Ultimately, its ability to drive a power amp directly and capable headphone amplifier give it an edge over other standalone DACs.
Specs: 24-bit/192kHz asynchronous DAC, featuring proprietary Advanced USB Audio technology and UltraLock clock system, also doubles up as headphone amplifier / 4 digital inputs (USB, XLR, BNC and Toslink optical) / 1 pair each of balanced XLR and single-ended RCA analogue outputs / Finish: Black, silver.