Asus Essence III. Preamplifier, USB DAC and headphone amplifier.
DAC AND AMPLIFIER DESCRIPTION
Asus sought to design a product to deliver serious audio performance, that is easy to use and that is compatible with modern digital audio standards such as Direct Stream Digital (DSD) — and Essence III is the result. With an on-board remote-controlled stepped attenuator we have achieved exact volume that can be adjusted from afar – precision control from your sofa. And to complement the finest balanced headphones, our engineers included mini-XLR ports and a true balanced design. Essence III is stunning – a complete and perfectly-balanced system with flagship beauty that loves living-room systems, computers and performance headphones.
Native DSD (Direct Stream Digital) support
Essence III has native support for both DSD64 and DSD128 encoding rates via a native ASIO driver, allowing audiophiles to indulge in digital listening at the highest possible quality levels.
Fully-balanced headphone amplifier
Many headphone amplifiers support only single-ended headphones – but Essence III has two unique mini-XLR ports tailored for the most demanding headphone lovers. Essence III employs six single-channel headphone amplifiers to keep signals isolated from the DAC — a true balanced design. This provides perfect channel separation, best signal clarity and minimal interference from noise. Essence III also supports up to 600ohms impedance, allowing headphone enthusiasts to enjoy the best of their favorite headphones without any additional amplification.
Remote-controlled, stepped attenuator
For extremely precise control, Essence III includes a set of stepped attenuators that works for headphones and line outputs. The relay-based construction eliminates the distortion associated with traditional volume controls, while the line output can be controlled remotely — a very rare ability in DACs with stepped attenuators. A remote control is included and can be used to set both volume and input/output levels, allowing fine control from anywhere.
High precision TCXO clock sources
Fluctuating temperatures can affect timing, which in turn can impact audio stability — and that’s why Essence III employs custom-designed, pure-gold temperature-compensated crystal oscillators (TCCO/TCXO) provide exceptionally precise timing. These exceptionally high-precision clocks enable Essence III to deliver audio output with fantastic dynamics and ultra-low jitter for unmatched fidelity. Moreover, the dual-clock design supports multiples of 44.1kHz (45.1584MHz) and 48kHz (49.152MHz) independently — ensuring the most precise timing.
Asynchronous audio transfer
The asynchronous USB transfer mode means that Essence III is its own master, allowing it to rely on its own clock circuitry for communications — and thus be completely immune to the jitter generated by the computer’s clocks.
Multi-rail toroidal transformer
Essence III is powered by a high-quality toroidal transformer that provides clean and consistent power and keeps noise contamination to a minimum. Engineers also fitted the transformer with a unique strip of silicon steel to prevent energy loss by hysteresis, further supporting a smooth supply of power.
Independent power supplies for both left and right channels
Essence III’s power supply’s delivers independent power sources to the left and right channels — minimizing crosstalk interference. It also employs a low-dropout (LDO) regulator that ensures stable power and German-made WIMA® FKP 2 capacitors to reduce ripples.
Separate boards for analog, digital, and power circuitry
Separate printed-circuit boards for digital, analog and power ensure that the Essence III’s audio delivery is crystal-clear and free of crosstalk. The power board and module are completely shielded by a metal cover to further prevent any electromagnetic interferences. Inside the main board, 6-layer PCB board is added with extra four 2oz. copper ground layers for separating analog and digital signals for perfect isolation.
True balanced design with dual mono AD 1955 DACs
Essence III has dedicated AD1955 DACs for each stereo channel, creating a perfect balance that bolsters top-notch audio clarity. The renowned AD1955 is a high performance, single chip stereo playback system comprised of a multi-bit sigma-delta modulator, supporting DSD 64/128 with 123dB SNR and dynamic range audio quality.
Above and beyond cold facts, we leave the final room to human ears. Our listening panel is comprised of audiophiles, musicians, and audio engineers. Members are selected for their extraordinary acoustic sensitivity as well as wide-ranging music styles preferences. We also apply blind test approach when selecting components and deciding the final sonic characteristics. Hence, premium ceramic AD 827SQ and Japanese-made MUSES 02 operational amplifiers (op-amps) combine to enable Essence III to deliver profoundly rich sound for all types of music – from classical to rock.
Volume control included
Fine controlling the line output from anywhere.
Volume bypass mode
Flexible to connect your power amplifier with direct line output.
Light up under ASIO playback to make sure your playback is fully bit-perfect for all types of music – from classical to rock.
USB Audio 1.0/2.0 switch
Essence III supports driver-free under USB Audio 1.0 on PCs and USB Audio 2.0 for Macs. *ASUS native ASIO driver works under USB Audio 2.0 on PC.
- USB 2.0 high-speed
- Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out): 117 dB
- Output THD+N at 1kHz (Front-out): <0.0005 %(-105 dB)
- Frequency Response (-3dB, 24bit/192KHz input): 10 Hz to 48 KHz
- Output/Input Full-Scale Voltage: Balanced XLR Output: 4 Vrms (Vp-p), Line output (RCA, 3.5): 2 Vrms (Vp-p), Headphone output: 7 Vrms (Vp-p), Balanced headphone output: 7 Vrms (Vp-p)
- Audio Processor: C-Media 6632A High-Performance Sound Processor (Max. 192KHz/24bit)
Digital-to-analog Converter (DAC)
- AD 1955
Sample Rate and Resolution
- Direct Digital Stream (DSD) Playback: Native conversion (DSD 64/2.8MHz; DSD 128/5.6MHz)
- Analog Playback Sample Rate and Resolution: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
- S/PDIF Digital Input: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
- ASIO 2.2 Driver Support: 44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
- Analog Output: 1 x 6.3 mm jack (1/4″) Headphone out, 2 x RCA (Un-Balanced), 2 x XLR (Balanced), 2 x Mini XLR (Balance headphone out)
- Digital: 2 x S/PDIF in (1 x Optical (Toslink)/1 x Coaxial), 1 x AES/EBU input, 2 x Aux in phono jacks
- Windows® 10 32bit/64bit
- Windows® 8.1 32bit/64bit
- Windows® 8 32bit/64bit
- Windows® 7 32bit/64bit
- Windows® XP 32bit/64bit
- Mac OS X
- Remote control x 1
- Audio Precision (AP) test report x 1
- Ex-IrDA cable x 1
- Quick start guide x 1
- Driver CD x 1
- RCA-to-RCA cable x 1
- MiniXLR-to-XLR cable x 2
- XLR-to-RCA cable x 1
- Fuse x 2
- Power cord x 1
- 6.3mm-to-3.5mm adapter x 1
- USB cable x 1