The EB01-E DAC and EB-03 headphone AMP are SilverStone's key elements in the Ensemble audiophile series. Sure, EBA01 is also a part of the line-up, but it just doesn't have the same weight as them. As such I extend an invitation, join me as I tear the DAC up, and discover what its worth is.
If you have even a passing interest in audiophile devices, then you know all to well what a dedicated DAC is. In short, it's a step up (or giant leap) over such solutions like integrated, PCI (or USB to a lesser extent) soundcards. It's supposed to deliver something broader and far more cleaner, and often, the price-point reflects the leap in sound-quality. However, I have to say a DAC is more than just that, it not only delivers a better sound, but it can also color your experience, being a key player in the way you listen to whatever form of media you usually consume.
It goes without saying that people looking for dedicated DACs are critical listeners, people for whom 'average' or 'good enough' won't cut it. This is a market where subjective improvements might double a product's price. Here, you either have to be damn brilliant, or deliver a lot more than what you're asking for. What I'm trying to say is, SilverStone has a very tough crowd to please.
This is the reason I look at the Ensemble series not with skepticism, but with genuine interest. I hope Silverstone mirrors ASUS, and the Ensemble series is akin to the Essence one.
As one of them overly critical people who dismiss an item entirely if it fails to live up to my ridiculously high-standards, I have to ask: Is EB01-E worth the trouble, is it an upgrade (or even a side-grade) to folk who want to venture in the audiophile space, but don't have the budget to match? Let's see.