The Essence III is a $399 USB digital-to-analouge converter that is targeted at audio enthusiasts.
The Essence III is a digital-to-audio-converter that is based on the design of the Xonar Essence ST/STX sound cards. The DAC is a flagship unit that caters to the needs of even the staunchest of audio enthusiasts.
The Essence III is loaded with features, and comes with a signal-to-noise ratio of 123 dB and dual mono AD1955 DACs that provide unmatched audio quality. It also accommodates native DSD64 and DSD128 encoding through the inclusion of an ASIO driver. Then there is an amplifier that has two unique mini-XLR ports and six single-channel headphone amplifiers to minimize any distortion and isolate the signals that emanate from the DAC.
The amplifier delivers an impedance of 600ohms, and comes with a headphone gain switch that lets users choose from between high and low gain. The DAC is ideal with headsets like Sennheiser HD 580/600/650/800.the Essence III features the LME4562 and LME49720 op-amps, which are some of the best amps available. It also has a high frequency response of 10 Hz to 48 KHz.
The PCB features a segregated design that allows different components, like the power module, to be totally isolated from the analog and digital circuitry. Jitter is also mitigated by the inclusion of crystal oscillators that feature high-precision clocks to deliver high fidelity. The DAC comes with a toroidal transformer that delivers power consistently without any noise or distortion. It is further augmented with a layer of silicon steel to ensure that energy loss is minimized. Also included is independent power delivery to both left and right channels to minimize crosstalk.
In terms of connectivity, the Essence III features a 6.3 mm headphone out, 2 stereo RCA out, 2 XLR and 2 mini-XLR out. In addition, there is one S/PDIF co-axial out, and an S/PDIF in port, along with 2 3.5 mm Aux in jacks. In addition to the stellar hardware, Asus also has a great software monitoring solution in the form of the Xonar Audio Center.
Asus is selling the Essence III for $399 in the North America.