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Review Asus Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition

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In music, there is no limit to perfection: artists are virtuosos, instruments sound better, sound engineers are building a stunning picture, engineers invent new recording standards and their supporting devices. Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition – about it today and will be discussed – the pinnacle of achievement in the field of Asus DAC with integrated headphone amplifier.

Three versions

The company has three versions of Asus Xonar Essence One. They differ only in the components used (or rather – only op amps) is structurally and color lacquered dragon on the upper face of the body.

There is a basic version of the Essence One. For those who would like to experiment with the change of the operational amplifiers, but can not buy them, made Xonar Essence One Plus – the delivery includes a box with six decent chips Texas Instruments OPA2132PA and National Semiconductor LM4562NA.

Top of the line is the MUSES Edition, a factory-equipped top-end operational amplifiers Muse 01 of Japan’s New Japan Radio Co.

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Scope of delivery

The luxury box buyer will find everything you need to start using – the actual DAC, two cable – to connect to an electrical outlet and your computer, as well as an adapter with 6.3 mm jacks on the 3.5 mm headphone plug, drivers, and brief instructions.

Design

Appearance of the device bears little resemblance to the “traditional” Hi-Fi-components. This, of course, not avant-garde in style Chord, but on a curved upper edge of the frame being asked a couple of holes with covers and lamps.

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Asus clearly went too far with the amount and brightness of the luminous elements on the front – even in the daytime they distract attention from the music, if you are in sight.

The volume knob looks solid, profitable emphasizing the noble gray color of the metal casing.

Functionality

Asus Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition, as the “little brother” is used to convert digital signals to analog and strengthen them.

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Three digital inputs: USB, optical (Toslink) and coaxial (S / PDIF). They are all located on the rear panel of the unit and can be changed manually, the button on the front panel. The result of brute force indicated by an LED in the corresponding text box. Connectors are close to each other, so if you plan to use cables with thick plugs, please make sure that you can connect them.

All-metal housing, it dissipates heat well (when using the device heats up) and at the same time serves as a shield against electromagnetic interference, penetrating the space surrounding us.

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Two volume controls. The one on the larger, located in the center of the front panel, is responsible for line-out. Unfortunately, it can not be avoided, as in the Xonar Essence STU. The second regulator for headphones.

For instant mute button is Mute. Why should periodically turn off the sound is clear, but that’s why for this purpose is ill-suited volume control, self-explanatory. One version is as follows: since there is no way to get around the volume control circuit line-out, when working with an integrated amplifier is better to install a handle on the Xonar Essence One to one selected position and did not touch it, and control the playback volume entrust amplifier.

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The remote control is not provided, all adjustments are performed manually.

Headphones connected to the jack on the front panel. The amplifier is capable of handling loads up to 600 ohms.

Line outputs are located on the rear panel. Two RCA-connector are quite close to each other, so it is worth repeating a warning about the need to explore the use of cables with thick connectors.

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Compared with a younger model, equipment Xonar Essence One is better because there are balanced outputs on XLR-connectors. They allow you to connect powered speakers and get the system without a pre-amplifier, or rather, his role will be played DAC Asus.

Xonar Essence One is capable of handling signals with different sample rates – the list is presented on the front panel LED indicates which is being played at the track. Placement of the series of numbers and LEDs next (and also aligned) with volume control can create a false impression that the user controls the oversampling in its sole discretion. In fact, oversampling is switched on / off a single button, though its non-standard algorithms.

44.1 / 88.2 / 176.4 kHz are converted to 352.8 kHz, while 48/96/192 kHz – 384 kHz to. 8-fold increase in the frequency, regardless of the frequency of the original signal – unlike competing solutions that use fractional odds – should have a positive impact on the quality.

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Actually DAC is implemented on a pair of chips PCM1795, included on the balancing scheme, which allows better control of noise. Conversion accuracy and contributes to the 32-bit mode. Other components – to match the class of the device, audiophile quality. In the manufacture of printed circuit boards used to develop Asus – the ground plane, also helps to reduce noise.

The only complaint – physically total fee for all three components – power supplies, digital and analog parts in the equipment of class Hi-Fi and above, many manufacturers are trying to separate them.

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The power system is based on the internal toroidal transformer. For the network device connected via a standard three-conductor cable, which makes it easy to experiment with his replacement by audiophile version. Individual contact housing ground there, so you should pay special attention to wiring outlet. In homes where there is no physical ground “vanishing”, “earth” wire can cause background – low hum, well distinguishable by ear.

After you install the ASIO-driver in the system there is a new device, the only required setting – enable ASIO-mode, as a result of information without going through Windows, is transferred via USB to the Xonar Essence One. If done correctly, the front panel LED lights to inform the inclusion of Bit Perfect.

Now, with the computer, you can listen to the recording, digitized to 192 KHz with a bit depth to 24 bit.

The possibility of modifying
Asus Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition can be modified without loss of the manufacturer’s warranty in two complementary ways.

The first – to play with power cords. No matter what the fans of the university physics, the difference in sound is, although not as significant as the second method – the replacement of the operational amplifiers. For MUSES Edition it is not the most relevant, as already mentioned, the device at the factory is staffed by top-end op-amp, and for the Xonar Essence One – completely.

Sound Quality

To assess the quality of sound methods were used, components and items listed in the material of the Xonar Essence STU.

Asus Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition though not without difficulty, but replays CD-player Cyrus CD6 – affect and age, and price category.

The main difference – the best drawing of the scene (although the position of performers a little more blurred). Xonar Essence One makes it wider.

The disc of Tom Waits Swordfishtrombones shows details that previously had to guess: acoustic bass in the Soldier’s Things chamber finds warmth, keeping the articulation.

Audio file release of Patricia Barber Café Blue a lot of fun. Melancholic style of performance, acoustic instruments. And Xonar vividly paints a picture of a small stage on which play your favorite music by professional musicians.

With Mein Teil Rammstein Asus Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition cope easily. Recorded drive there, no cacophony in which it can turn on a system with a lack of detail and dynamics.

Oversampling left a mixed impression. On the one hand is great that it is, and well implemented. On the other – the sound is obtained by “embellished” and “licked”. This may sound very impress at first listen, but like it is not everything. Oversampling is responsible for a separate DSP-chip from Analog Devices ADSP-21261 (from the family of Sharc).

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A significant difference between the inputs is not seen, but the optical and coax a little bit better. Perhaps the difference is that used the supplied USB-cable and a simple laptop.

Working with the estimated low-impedance headphones (38 ohms), the Monitor Audio-technica ATH-M50RD (Limited Edition). In principle, Essence One MUSES Edition can discover their dignity better with more expensive headphones, but even this was a worthy companion.

“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565” by JS Bach sounded surprisingly natural. This is undoubtedly a collective achievement and a sound engineer, no body had turned into stereoattraktsion and Xonar, which provided a sufficient level of dynamics.

“Requiem” by Mozart – the sublime and sad music. Like all classics, it is played solely on acoustic instruments and strings – a real test for the audio system. Decca Record 1976 filofonicheskaya rather than audiophile, reading the works of well-known conductor Herbert Von Karajan is interesting in itself.

Yes, Asus Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition – plays perfectly. Detailed sound, but without the sharpness, dynamic, but does not cause fatigue during extended listening. Music is a lot of fun.

The device is certainly qualitatively made, and even some design refinements can be forgiven for his musicality.

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However, Asus, it should be understood that for the similar (well, a little big) money can buy a device with similar except (a little better) sound quality and functionality also known audiobrenda magic.

Liked

+ Excellent sound
+ Rich – resampling, balanced outputs

Do not like it

– Design (bright lights, unusual by the standards of Hi-Fi size)

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