We’ve been familiar with exaSound for some time, but the company’s stereo e22 digital-to-analog converter is new to me and arrived three weeks ago. I love it. Setting up the interface with the computer was effortless, and we found the exaSound software interface meshes nicely with J River. Given my job in recent weeks, checking our new 256fs DSD files (Quad DSD) for release on NativeDSD.com, I have spent considerable time with the e22.
It was musical out of the box. George Klissarov, the designer at exaSound, told me that the units are only broken in for 24 hours before shipping (reminiscent of a tube burn-in in the Navy to check for defects in the “good old days”). So the e22’s initial musicality impressed me. After a couple hundred hours it is liquid and transparent at the same time. Clean recordings sound really clean. Dark recordings sound dark. Bright edgy recordings sound bright and edgy. The e22 demonstrated all of these characteristics with Miles Davis’ famous Porgy and Bess
. What more could a producer want than a component that tells us the truth?
We’ve been using the a-synchronous USB connection the most, given we’ve been working on DSD files, but the coaxial output from a simple CD player works beautifully and sounds great as well. George designed this DAC to play whatever format it is fed, all the way up to high resolution PCM (384kHz at 32bit) and DSD files up to 11.2896 / 12.288 MHz (Quad DSD or DSD256) without breaking a sweat. The unit plays any file of which I’ve heard, also including some of those “less glamorous” portable formats in lower resolution which we hope fewer and fewer people use in favor of lossless formats.
I listen through a number of vacuum tubes in preamplification and power amplification in the “big system,” but I also check all our new files on a passive transformer volume control directly to a solid state amplifier. The exaSound’s elegant and easy to use internal volume control allowed us to omit the transformer volume control and plug from the exaSound directly into the amplifier. Again, a very happy and informative combination.
We are grateful to exaSound for underwriting our first quartet of DSD releases at NativeDSD.com (The exaSound Quartet), but I didn’t own the e22 at the time. Next Friday (December 12th ) marks the release of our Merging Technologies Quartet of DSD releases, and these we were able to check and thoroughly enjoy using the e22. In the meantime, the exaSound Quartet can be sampled at https://yarlungrecords.nativedsd.com/
Thank you George!
For more information about the e22, please visit www.exaSound.com
Bob Attiyeh, producer