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Sunday, October 21, 2012
ASUS Releases Flagship USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

Asus has just released the Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition USB digital-to-analog converter and headphone amplifier, marrying audiophile-grade hardware with PC-based multimedia.

The deivice includes MUSES 01 Op-Amps from New Japan Radio Co. Ltd., maintains a swappable Op-Amp approach, and includes highlights such as WIMA capacitors, linear power delivery, XLR connectors, symmetrical 8X upsampling, a dedicated 600ohm headphone amplifier, and 120dB SNR.

Operational amplifiers, or Op-Amps, serve to amplify analog signals and define tone, treble, and timbre. MUSES 01 components are notable as the first to use oxygen-free copper interconnects, allowing for better circuit conductivity and thus improved reproduction. They use exclusive fabrication techniques, including symmetry die-bonding, a custom layout that lowers component crosstalk and generates better-balanced left/right channel symmetry. It is one of the main features responsible for the wider sound fields offered by Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition.

Xonar Essence hardware also employs symmetrical 8X 32-bit upsampling and a built-in 600ohm headphone amplifier. An internal linear power supply ensures voltage regulation, while Hyper Grounding technology is employed to reduce noise, resulting in an SNR of 120dB. For capacitors, Xonar Essence USB DACs use German-made WIMA parts. Engineers have also added optical, S/PDIF, and USB inputs, featuring asynchronous data transfer for low jitter alongside fully-balanced XLR and single-ended outputs.

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