Sunday, June 16, 2024

Guides, Testimonials, News


I started out on a quest for an integrated DVR/video and high-end digital-audio solution in the form of a home theatre PC (HTPC).  The audio side required 6 channels to support 5.1 surround sound movies and must be audiophile quality for my music.  It must output the analogue audio as RCA line-level to my hi-fi power-amps.


There are conventionally 2 paths that I could go down, the first being traditional home theatre path of using an external AV processor, however I didn’t need or want its processing capability, or its ability to switch inputs (this is an all-in-one solution), not to mention the price!  I also was questioning myself as to the audiophile quality of AV receivers, even the the most top-end models that appeared to have all this extra processing done to the signal.  The second traditional audio path is that of the audiophile music domain using an external DAC.  This was the direction I wanted to go, however I really struggled to find a DAC that supported more than 2 channels.  I then came across the exaSound e18 DAC which fitted my requirements perfectly with its 8 channels and ‘ground-up’ designed audiophile quality.  The e18 DAC is ASIO only on its USB drivers, so I required a media centre application that could output TV, video and music to the ASIO drivers, and came across JRiver Media Centre application which supports that.


I am exceptionally pleased with the e18 DAC sound quality.  The width and depth of soundstage is very accurately reproduced.  Instrument and vocal images within the soundstage are effortlessly reproduced with no vagueness or coming-and-going sensation.  The e18 DAC is the first DAC where my speakers have disappeared and you simply hear the instruments and vocals presented in the room.  There is no hint of any sibilance or or any harsh sounds, and I have not noticed any coloration of the sound across the frequency range.  The detail in the music is fantastic (particularly on string instruments), which I suspect is due to the ultra accurate clocking on the e18 DAC.  Dynamic range is very good good, giving a very open airy feeling to the music.  When you add this all together it portrays a very natural and life-like sound to the listener.  It is so natural sounding that it truly sounds like Diana Krall or Louis Armstrong are in the same room as you which gives you a feeling of personal involvement in the music.  I’ve also been quite stunned by the emotional power of some music that has suddenly become exposed by the attributes of the e18 DAC.


I highly recommend the exaSound e18 DAC as a high-end DAC.



Craig Young


Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
Blog Search