Asus Essence One Muses Edition Impressions
PC – USB – Asus Essence One Muses – Project Ember – AVI ADM 9RS / Sennheiser HD 650
PC – SPDIF – AVI ADM 9RS via Internal DAC
Asus STX – Project Ember – AVI ADM 9RS / Sennheiser HD 650
The Muses Edition is a huge improvement over the other two setups above.
Pros over AVI DAC / STX DAC: (Also, AVI DAC >>> STX DAC)
Way more articulate, not even close, a night and day difference
Far more spacious, wider, deeper, taller
Far more natural and lively without being bright
Far more rich, detailed as well as lush
Immerses you in the music and makes you want to dance, unlike the other setups which are more analytical but not as good in the above ways.
Imaging is much better
Dynamics are better
Cons over AVI DAC:
Not as transparent or clean
I prefer the Muses to the AVI dac by a huge shot, not even a comparison, especially for the mids and sound stage and because it actually sounds like music with emotion and depth!
With HD 650:
It feels as if the music is floating around my head rather than just sitting over there.
Imaging and dynamics are better as I said above.
Melting delicious sound presentation
More balanced yet better all around
Above pros as well
No cons over STX DAC
Not tried much, just for a few seconds. Sounded very good, but not in the same league as the DAC. My Ember sounded slightly better but I haven’t tried the amp much anyway! So can’t really say…
It doesn’t sound sterile or dead like the other setups. It sounds like music and real, something which immerses you.
The AVI DAC is very good, but not in the same league as this DAC (though it is more transparent and cleaner).
This DAC sounds rich and lush while being powerful and articulate.
The bass isn’t as prominent as the AVI DAC which isn’t bass heavy either.
I never got the WOW effect, not even when I went from Aktimates to AVI ADM, or from Bravo to Ember, and both above are night and day upgrades. But this upgrade gave me the WOW effect that was I missing all along. Now my setup feels complete and truly end game without any upgrade itch in me. Don’t get me wrong, AVI ADM and HD 650 and Project Ember are all excellent at their price points and work exceptionally, but I was probably missing the Source I needed and this Source brings out the best within all my devices/setup and makes them really sing.
With Muses, HD 650 sounds like a flagship headphone, not as detailed as the HD 800, but definitely truly end game and the sound presentation is to die for!