ASUS is one of the biggest manufacturers when it comes to computers, computer hardware, computer accessories, actually pretty much anything related to computers. And now the company seeks to expand further into the sound department.
The new Essence III is a preamplifier, USB DAC and Headphone amplifier all-in-one, and, according to Ives Chiu, product manager of ASUS Multimedia Business Department, the "Essence III is more than the flagship product of our audio range, it is a representation of how dedicated and how serious we are in the pursuit of high-quality audio. We have crafted Essence III to be just as satisfying to use as it is to hear".
The Essence III natively supports DSD64 and DSD128 encoding rates, which, along with asynchronous USB and temperature-compensated crystal oscillators, should reduce jitter and provide a cleaner sound. For each stereo channel there is a dedicated AD1955 DAC, and separate circuitry for analog and digital audio signals, and power. It uses ceramic AD 827SQ and MUSES 02 operational amplifiers, which should ensure good sound no matter the music genre. The transformer is a toroidal transformer that has been fitted with a strip of silicon steel, which should prevent energy loss by hysteresis, thus providing a smoother and steady supply of power. Furthermore, it has a low-dropout regulator along with WIMA® FKP 2 capacitors that reduces ripples.
The amplifier is capable of driving 600 ohm headphones through a single 6.3 mm jack or through two mini-XLR connectors. Inputs can be done digitally via USB, AES/EBU, Toslink or coaxial cables, or via stereo auxiliary. Outputs are RCA and balanced XLR.