Hifi is no distinct, with change occurring in striking transformations of the natural order, and then a glacial rate for decades. Then, only when we least expected, computer sound caught on and became many people's manner of playing with those same high resolution music records that we all had spurned on DVD Audio and SACD.

In once, we found the revival of the DAC that was poor.

I may have counted the amount of such products on the fingers of a pirate's hand on sale. A decade after there are far more digital converters about than another form of hifi electronic equipment - a remarkable turn of events. Computers are now both digital transportation and music 'jukeboxes'; all you have to do is add a hires able DAC.

The exaSound e22 continues to be made just with this goal.

Although getting it to sound great is just another challenge entirely a trusted industry source tells me it is straightforward to execute also. That is why exaSound designed all the hardware across the DAC. The processor is partnered with three precision quartz oscillators, as opposed to the most common single phase-locked loop matter. Galvanic isolation can be used for the USB ground, stopping virtually all sound getting to the analogue circuits as well as the DAC, as well as the e22 has 11 internal electricity cleaning periods.

The unit is purposeful rather than luxury, although nicely ended.

Assembled right into a compact, half-width silver aluminium case, it's decently ended, even though it does as cheap as the significantly more affordable Audiolab M-DAC, as an example. Indoors you will discover quality parts that are good, low-sound

The fascia screen is not much to write home about; it is a straightforward two-line alphanumeric dot matrix matter, revealing source chosen, volume and sampling frequency. A headphone outlet, and five buttons takes up the remaining miniature front panel. As well as electricity off and on, there is volume down and up, set up and input signal selection.

Round the back you get just one optical digital input signal, plus coaxial and USB. RCA and balanced XLR output signals may also be right and present. Lastly, a little power supply that is offboard converts the mains down

Give a couple of hours to heat through to the e22, then cue up a good-recorded piece of music that is contemporary, also it really quickly becomes apparent it is a great performer.

Sound quality

This can be a DAC for which no reasons must be produced, it provides the likes of which cash just cannot obtain a decade past to an incredibly polished sound. In a lot of regards it's completely first class. For instance, the cover of 4hero's Third Stream of Robert Michell Trio seems magnificent.

is its superb tonality; overly complete or not overly skinny, the exaSound has a perfect equilibrium. Acoustic instruments sound yet have a texture that is fantastically natural.

It offers an extremely broad recorded acoustic guitar from left to right up, as well as falls back astonishingly much.

The effect is the aforementioned snare is copied whole with all its many reverberations across the booth where it had been recorded; it is possible to put it easily in space, and it really never comes out and bites at you. That is an appealing point because too many DACs, force themselves outside on the listener and even only at that cost, can sound rather two dimensional. The e22 never falls into this snare, although this can be a classic signal of digital getting things right. Music is obviously copied instruments found with preciseness left and right, with exceptional spatial truth, front to rear.

Another essential feature leads on from this last observation; it's skill to let instruments inside the combination play of one another. There is no sense they are crushed in together they are not unable to respire, to sit within their particular space as well as for that not to be intruded on by other elements. What this means is that in fairly compact records like Kraftwerk's The Robots, there is a way you could hear every level of the record playing of one another. As an example, the electronic percussion that is strong does not violate the support synthesiser line at the back of the combination.

So that it does space and elegance brilliantly, but what about speed?

Here the exaSound is great, although not special; it's an extremely great rhythmic flow, but there is no sense as it's the others that it is as remarkable only at that part of the musical performance. The Kraftwerk track, for instance, is wonderful to listen to, but the e22 functions by capturing the listener instead of pinning her or him down for their seat.

The end result is a fuller, broader but somewhat more level sound; the last tenth looks somewhat subdued, although it provides strong nine tenths of the accenting of the music. His voice is better, deeper, fuller and much more natural and, obviously, richer put into space; you'll be able to hear the vocal booth in the studio bouncing around. Yet his intonation does not quite fit that of the Hugo. The latter gives more of a sense of his voice being used by him as an apparatus that is rhythmic; it's syncopated with the support keyboard work for example. The exaSound is not far worse in lots of ways and yet it still can not quite catch the fire inside the guy.

No DAC is not imperfect, but what it does for the cash is undeniably impressive; that is not simply a superficial, insincere pat on the back, it is indeed a fantastic performer in a lot of ways. They key will be to fit it using the correct music, and the most effective system for this, one that truly utilize its robustness but does not dwell on its places that are powerful. I find it sounds extremely fine with jazz music particularly some classic Blue Note melodies; because digital sound appears to do worst of all with this kind of music, again this can be really quite remarkable - it is another place where phonograph record rules supreme. It seems unusually refined, having a fantastically feel that is concrete; you get the feeling of actual individuals in a recording studio playing with acoustic instruments that are actual. Likewise the treble is outstanding; atmospheric and open finely worked out, the ride cymbal sounds heavenly.

One other excellent quality of the e22 is its absolute uniformity across formats. Whether it is playing with an MP3 of Daft

Punk's Get Blessed, REM's Texarkana at de Grassi's stunning DSD record of The Water Garden, Alex 24/192 PCM or it stays itself - giving an enjoyably balanced however performance into the music. In human terms it is rather like the buddy everyone enjoys; it is in a position to get on with everything it's introduced to managing to reveal its natural, affable appeal. Music isn't a thing that is there to be dissected it only needs to play it back without any special emphasis on any one part of the performance, in a satisfyingly natural manner. This way, it reveals itself to be a classy and exceptionally mature performer in the cost.


Scarcely, and physically little, not particularly striking to examine the most affordable DSD-able DAC on sale, superficially the exaSound e22 does not seem to be extraordinary value for money. However, when you realise that it's going to play back now, virtually every digital music format in existence and really for some significant time to the near future, it starts to seem better. And listen to it - it is now which you see it's unique. Tremendously achieved across a variety of fields, and powerful in places where it's not completely dominant, this little carton does an awful lot. Highly commended subsequently, be sure to hear it on your own.

exaSOUND E22 DAC photo