Saturday, October 20th 2012

ASUS Intros the Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition

The ASUS Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition USB digital-to-analog converter and headphone amplifier carries on the award-winning tradition established by previous Xonar Essence products. It includes acclaimed MUSES 01 Op-Amps from New Japan Radio Co. Ltd., generating bigger, bolder, and livelier sound to meet the highest audiophile standards. The product 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. Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition proves ASUS Xonar products continue to lead the way in marrying audiophile-grade hardware with PC-based multimedia.

Follow up to winner of CES Innovations Awards
The latest Xonar offering improves on Xonar Essence One, winner of a 2012 CES Innovations Award in the audio component category. Xonar engineers and product managers continuously aim to improve sound quality, resulting in Xonar Essence One Plus Edition launching in June 2012 with an Op-Amp DIY kit, which allows customers to easily tune sound to their preference. The third Xonar Essence One offering, Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition maintains this pursuit of sound excellence, integrating some of the best audio components in the industry.


MUSES 01 Op-Amps help deliver premium audio
Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition includes six MUSES 01 Op-Amps, produced by the New Japan Radio Company. MUSES 01 are the top-of-the-line Op-Amps from the brand, which is considered a leader in quality audio components. Together with ASUS Xonar engineering, MUSES 01 Op-Amps take audio to new levels, with lifelike reproduction capturing every nuance.

Swappable Op-Amp design caters to most demanding audiophiles
Xonar Essence products have garnered greatly positive response from the audio enthusiast community and professional media, chiefly due to their DIY-friendly changeable Op-Amp arrangement. Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition presents the result of close cooperation between Xonar audio experts and one of the world's most respected sound component providers, creating a premium USB DAC that challenges market standards. Xonar audio engineers chose MUSES 01 Op-Amps for their impressive sound, as they furnish multi-faceted audio quality and are capable of satisfying the most discerning audiophiles. In preparing to combine ASUS Xonar Essence One hardware with MUSES 01 Op-Amps, engineers worked hard to optimize audio reproduction. New Japan Radio team members were very impressed with Xonar Essence One hardware:

"We've been constantly looking for well-designed audio devices to really make MUSES shine, and found the ASUS Xonar team has the expertise to create them. What really impressed us was their focus on the digital, PC-based audio realm", said Ichiro Kashiwagi, Second Marketing Department Manager, Semiconductor Sales and Marketing Division, New Japan Radio Company.

Op-Amps critical to quality audio
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 advanced 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 advantages produce the Essence of high-fidelity audio
In addition to premium MUSES 01 Op-Amps, Xonar Essence hardware employs genuine audiophile-grade design throughout. Symmetrical 8X 32-bit upsampling and a built-in 600ohm headphone amplifier boost personal audio enjoyment. An internal linear power supply ensures excellent voltage regulation, while Hyper Grounding technology is employed to reduce noise, resulting in an impressive SNR of 120 dB. For capacitors, Xonar Essence USB DACs use German-made and audiophile-respected 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. All these features mean Xonar Essence products create balanced and true to life sound.
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17 Comments on ASUS Intros the Xonar Essence One MUSES Edition

#1
Capitan Harlock
this reminds me of a guy on tpu tells me this and external amp are not good for senheiser hd 650 tha are 300ohm headphone not rubt at full power with 600ohm headphone amp? its the double how they dont headle it? after all good external soundcard.
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#2
Kaynar
Captain Harlock, Asus is not a company that is known for its hi-fi equipment. All they do is sound cards... The guy you mention probably ment that no Asus or Creative sound equipment could match the quality of the device required to pair with a HD650 and if that is the case, he was right.

Personally I have a Creative X-fi titanium HD and if i use my headphones directly on it it doesnt sound as good (in many aspects) as using a real amplifier first. It all depends on how good your amp and headphones are though, and also how your ears are able to identify (and be bothered) by the difference.

I thought I should give you a link to a hi-fi website that give only 3/5 stars to Asus Xonar One http://www.whathifi.com/review/xonar-essence-one , at 350£ it should do better than just "short of detail and ragged at frequency extremes" as at this price you can buy some damn good headphone amp from a real hi-fi company.
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#4
Kaynar
After reading the TPU review on this device I am intrigued to buy some other op-amps for my X-fi card... I never bothered to do that in the past years...
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#5
Ra97oR
I wonder how much they are going to charge extra for a simple opamp swap.

From the looks of it, my LME49720HA is superior is all sides.
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#6
Capitan Harlock
by: Kaynar
Captain Harlock, Asus is not a company that is known for its hi-fi equipment. All they do is sound cards... The guy you mention probably ment that no Asus or Creative sound equipment could match the quality of the device required to pair with a HD650 and if that is the case, he was right.

Personally I have a Creative X-fi titanium HD and if i use my headphones directly on it it doesnt sound as good (in many aspects) as using a real amplifier first. It all depends on how good your amp and headphones are though, and also how your ears are able to identify (and be bothered) by the difference.

I thought I should give you a link to a hi-fi website that give only 3/5 stars to Asus Xonar One http://www.whathifi.com/review/xonar-essence-one , at 350£ it should do better than just "short of detail and ragged at frequency extremes" as at this price you can buy some damn good headphone amp from a real hi-fi company.
this is not a normal sound card is and headphone amplifire for power 600oms headphones, you tell asus lie? they give fake specifics? learn than the price of most things like audiophile stuff are for a little piece of marlket so for grow up money the price for most things is high with specs out of the human ear , creative looks good but have one of the baddest support for old cards ,asus is different like auzentech.
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#7
AphexDreamer
So would it be wise for me to use my Fiio E6 with my sennhiesier 598's on my Xfi Titanium?

Cause I'v just been using them directly with no amp.
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#8
Kaynar
by: AphexDreamer
So would it be wise for me to use my Fiio E6 with my sennhiesier 598's on my Xfi Titanium?

Cause I'v just been using them directly with no amp.
I think that a £20 portable amp wont make a difference in quality, but if the Creative soundcard you have can't give enough volume to your headphones, then you should use the amp.

As for what Capitan Harlock asnwered, I actually might have misunderstood what he initially wrote. But the only certain thing is that any of Asus/Creative/auzentech are entry-level audiophile solutions.
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#9
Frederik S
Staff
by: AphexDreamer
So would it be wise for me to use my Fiio E6 with my sennhiesier 598's on my Xfi Titanium?

Cause I'v just been using them directly with no amp.
No since the 598s are very easy to power. Adding the FiiO will degrade the sound quality. The headphone amplifiers are intended for use with hard to power headphones, like the HD 6/7/8xx series headphones from Sennheiser or any other headphone with very high power requirements.
Posted on Reply
#10
BumbleBee
the retail price is $899

6moons has a preview

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/asus/1.html

I think you can do better with a dedicated DA converter and Headphone amp at $600-700. Asus hasn't changed the DA converter in the Muse Edition and once you get to $1000 you are looking at Wadia, Lavry, Benchmark, Wyred4Sound, etc. so a lot to live up to...
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#11
repman244
by: BumbleBee
the retail price is $899

6moons has a preview

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/asus/1.html

I think you can do better with a dedicated DA converter and Headphone amp at $600-700. Asus hasn't changed the DA converter in the Muse Edition and once you get to $1000 you are looking at Wadia, Lavry, Benchmark, Wyred4Sound, etc. so a lot to live up to...
Indeed, it really has to deliver for that price, because at around $800+ there are a lot of quality DAC/Amps to choose from (been looking at Shiit DAC/Amp for quite some time, only heard good things about them).
Posted on Reply
#12
Frederik S
Staff
Why do you think the Schiit is better? I have not seen any comparative reviews or in-depth reviews of any of the devices yet. It is so far purely speculative what performance levels the MUSES offers and what the Schiit DAC/amp offers.
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#13
Kaynar
Well I was about to buy an Audiolab M-DAC but i'm not in a hurry to spend £600 so I will wait for some reviews of this new Asus DAC which at least looks cool from the outside!
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#14
Ra97oR
I had a look at the datasheet of the MUSES, and it was far from spectacular. If they are charging that much more for a simple opamp swap, even though they are charging £34 each for some reason.
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#15
BumbleBee
funny thing about the Essence One.. a lot of the poor reviews come from HiFi publications and the positive ones.. PC Tech haha
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#16
repman244
by: Frederik S
Why do you think the Schiit is better? I have not seen any comparative reviews or in-depth reviews of any of the devices yet. It is so far purely speculative what performance levels the MUSES offers and what the Schiit DAC/amp offers.
I didn't say the Shiit is better, I only said that Asus must deliver because there is a ton of options in it's price range (it's not a unique product like the Xonar Essence is/was) ;)
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#17
[H]@RD5TUFF
I remember seeing this I am surprised it took this long to come out.
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