The Absolute Sound, April 2017
exaSound Audio Design PlayPoint Network Audio Player and e32 DAC (Roon Without a Computer)
- By Vade Forrester
"The exaSound PlayPoint and its companion e32 DAC are miniature masterpieces that illustrate that excellent sound doesn’t require large components. The DAC is small enough that it would make a particularly good choice to pair with a computer, especially since it has an excellent headphone amplifier. Because it uses the increasingly popular Roon playback software, the PlayPoint is a great alternative to running Roon on a PC or laptop. You get the advantage of Roon’s very attractive interface running on a tablet or another PC or laptop used as the control app. And Roon is relatively easy to set up. Of course, the best user interface in the world is useless if the equipment running it sounds bad. Fortunately, the exaSound gear sounds fantastic—and retails for reasonable price. Highly recommended."
audiostream.com, February 2017
exaSound Audio Design e32 DAC - By Steven Plaskin
"After rereading my review of the exaSound e22, I was quite surprised with what I was hearing with the new e32. While I had found the older e22 to be somewhat “light” sounding in character, I found the e32 to be quite different. The e32 has richness to the sound that is natural and not overly warm or full sounding. In fact, the basic sound of the e32 reminds me of the “analog type” sound that I have heard in DACs costing far more than the e32. Basic sonic characteristics also included a very well controlled dynamic low end, a wide and deep soundstage, a deep black background, and good detail retrieval in the midrange and high end. The e32 is totally fatigue-free and very musically engaging."
ComputerAudiophile.com, September 2016
exaSound PlayPoint Network Audio Player Review - By Chris Connaker
"The exaSound PlayPoint network audio player is loaded with support for sample rates up through DSD256 and PCM 384kHz as well as featuring playback modes galore. Enabling its customers to take advantage of whatever high resolution music they have or even resampling lower resolution to something higher with HQPlayer/NAA, is a hallmark of exaSound. You got it? exaSound can play it. Software features such as RoonReady and Roon Server, put the PlayPoint in a very unique class of components."
Stereophile, May 2016
Music in the Round #78 - PlayPoint Review - by Kalman Rubinson
"...The sound quality was outstanding in both UPnP and NAA configurations. The PlayPoint lets you have an excellent multichannel digital music player anywhere there is access to the home network…Having lived with the exaSound e28 for many months, I’m convinced that the addition of the PlayPoint in no way compromises its excellent sound while greatly enhancing its functionality. "
ComputerAudiophile.com, November 2015
The exaSound PlayPoint Stereo/Multichannel Streamer Review - By Ted Brady
"...Listening to Beck's Sea Change via the Playpoint allowed me to hear all the growl, the grunt, and the off-tone effects of Beck's relationship-split masterpiece as they were intended. His sweet and sour approach to tonality is appreciated in the nice MFSL stereo mix, but the DSD (or DVD_A version) enveloped you in all the synth-string and twangy heartache, and it's quite a musical voyage. I find the subtle cues are much more evident in this simpler signal path (NAS-PP-DAC) than in the former JRiver multichannel playback (WindowsServer 2012, etc). "
ComputerAudiophile.com, May 2015
exaSound exaSound e12 DAC Review - By Ted Brady
"...The e12 keeps everything else that made the e22 such a winner; galvanic USB isolation, multi-layer ac filtering, the top-of-the-line reference level ESS Sabre 9018S chip, set to stereo (4 parallel channels per side), and a secret sauce ."
"...At $1999 MSRP... the exaSound e12 challenges other sub-$2k DACs to get serious about deserving a place at the table of your main high-level audio system. "
Hi-Fi Choice - March 2015
exaSound e22 DAC/Headphone Amplifier -Review by David Price
"...In so many respects it is absolutely first class."
Hi-Fi Choice Recommended
Canada HiFi, December 2014 - January 2015
exaSound Audio Design e22 Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC) - Review by Gaelen Andrews
"The fun part of the quest of finding your perfect system is learning the balance between what contributes to better sound, and what contributes simply to a higher price..."
dagogo.com, December 08, 2014
exaSound Audio Design e22 DAC Review - by Doug Schroeder
"Testing out the DSD playback of the exaSound Audio Design e22 was a glorious experience."
"I...was bowled over by the wealth of information, which translated into realism, brought by the DSD format. The difference in hearing the DSD file played back in quad DSD by the exaSound Audio Design e22 was nothing short of spectacular!"
Yarlung Records, December 08, 2014
Weekend Thoughts from a Producer - by Bob Attiyeh, Yarlung Records
"The e22’s initial musicality impressed me ... Clean recordings sound really clean. Dark recordings sound dark. Bright edgy recordings sound bright and edgy. ... What more could a producer want than a component that tells us the truth? "
Hi-Fi News & Record Review, December 2014
exaSound e22 Outboard USB & S/PDIF DAC - Review by John Bamford, Lab report by Paul Miller
"The sound was quite the best I’ve experienced from DSD."
audiostream.com, September 04, 2014
exaSound Audio Design e22 DAC - by Steven Plaskin
"exaSound Audio Design has managed to carve out a conspicuous place in the high end audiophile DAC market since beginning business less than 4 years ago..."
"The first sound characteristic of the e22 that grabbed my attention was the enormous soundstage that this DAC is capable of rendering."
"The e22 struck me as being very neutral sounding without excessive midrange warmth or other colorations. Resolution, focus and definition from top to bottom were excellent. Most users will find this to be a very revealing DAC that can dig down to expose the smallest details of the music. Now some of you might think that this level of detail comes at a price; hardness and a lack of warmth. But nothing could be further from the truth concerning the sound of the e22 DAC. This is a DAC that one can listen to for hours on end without digital fatigue. I also felt that the dynamic qualities of the e22 DAC were very good as well. Both macro and micro dynamic changes could be perceived with this DAC in a very natural and pleasing manner. The e22 was also a champ at the way it handled DSD recordings. While the midrange ease of DSD is reproduced, the high end detail is some of the best I have ever heard from any DAC playing DSD files."
"I sat back and listened to a large number of DSD64 files under both ASIO and Core Audio with Decibel. The ASIO driver sounded much better than the Core Audio driver that used DoP; and not by a small amount. The DoP playback with the Core Audio driver sounded somewhat compressed with less bloom and high end air. The soundstage was far more open sounding listening with the ASIO driver. And it wasn’t just DSD that benefited from the ASIO driver playback, but also PCM files. The PCM files simply sounded better with the ASIO exaSound driver."
"All of my favorite DACs (see Favorite Bit DACs) that I have reviewed for AudioStream cost far more than the exaSound e22 DAC. But in some ways, it deserves to be compared to these stellar performers. Compared to these DACs."
positive-feedback.com, May 04, 2014
Impressions - The exaSound e28 82fs Femto Clock DSD/PCM DAC – Excellence at the Highest Resolution (stereo review) - by David W. Robinson
"... Details are definite, but not overly drawn, which can lead to your music tending towards an etched, glaring sound. Transparency…that critical ability of an audio component to stay as far out of the way of the audio signal as possible…is really notable with exaSound's e28 DAC."
"On the e28 and the Oppo HA-1 and PM-1 tandem, this is just damned beautiful stuff… raw, and emotionally edgy (a great thing) without being sonically edgy (a grate thing). R.E.M. sounds better than ever in DSD on the e28… an analog-tape type of experience,.."
"The advantage of Double DSD becomes immediately apparent on the e28, although, in fairness, I must say that this is generally true of DSD DACs. But the e28 produces Double DSD playback that is so elegant and tonally true across all types of Double DSD files that I have on hand here that I have to tip my hat to exaSound: This is true reference-quality sound."
audiostream.com, Dec 24, 2013
exaSound e20 Mk III DAC Review by Michael Lavorgna
"... Forget about numbers. The exaSound e20 DAC makes some fine music with all of the music your likely to get a hold of. CD-quality recordings sounded just lovely and higher resolutions sounded even lovelier. DSD strikes me as having a sound all of its own which is in a word rounder and more fulsome and the e20 did a fine job delivering those qualities. I also used the e20's volume control and found that it did not degrade the quality of reproduction to a noticeable degree even at lower volumes so those looking to do away with a preamp while keeping a healthy helping of their PCM, DXD, and DSD music's goodness will be well served by the exaSound e20 DAC. "
Stereophile, Nov 2013
Music in the Round #63 - e28 Multichannel USB DAC - By Kalman Rubinson
"... the e28 was a delight to listen to with every source format, from 16/44.1 stereo through 24/192 PCM, 352.8kHz DXD, multichannel DSD64, and even stereo DSD 256! At these levels of quality it's hard to dissect the sound, but I consistently noticed how sweetly and purely the e28 rendered violin tone while preserving the edginess of bows dragged across the strings. Voices and instruments seemed to have a realistically defined presence wherever in the soundstage they were placed, and balances remained smooth right down to the bottom of the audioband. "
"... the piäce de résistance was a stereo DSD256 (11.2896MHz!) of a Paganini violin solo made by the 1-bit Audio Consortium, a Japanese group promoting 1-bit recording at very high resolutions. I hate to use the overworked palpability, but I can't think of any other word that so well describes the effect. "
ComputerAudiophile.com, Aug 2013
exaSound e28 Multichannel USB DAC - By Ted Brady
"...The musicality of this DAC, like its stereo cousin, is amazingly liquid and organic, with great timbres (colors) and rich harmonics (saturation)."
"...the exaSound E28 is a groundbreaking DAC. It is the first prosumer DAC (i.e not Sonoma or Pyramix) I’ve ever seen or heard that can do any sample rate of PCM and DSD that will likely take us into the next few years of bleeding edge, let alone standard, multichannel sound. Future-proof? Check. Musical? Check. Value proposition meter? High. Upgradeable? Check. "
soundrebels.com, August 2013
exaSound e28 DAC - by Marcin Olszewski
"... From the very first moment the Canadian DAC offered outstanding sound purity and smoothness expressed on a vast dynamic range. The e28 sound can be described as a combination of the best DAC features I've experienced with Antelope Audio and April Music Eximus. The transparency, speed, and holographic space of Antelope Zodiac were blended with incredible musicality and brilliance of color of Eximus DP1. Listening to the e28 doesn't cause any fatigue at all. These impressions were intensified after the transfer of DAC to my main system."
"... That ability to render dormant emotions in music is the reason why the modest exaSound e28 DAC gained my sympathy and sincere appreciation. Some of you may be wandering why am not addressing the usually exaggerated differences between conventional, archaic CD recordings and the high-resolution PCM/DSD sources supported by the e28 DAC. To be honest, I asked myself this question after a cursory reading of this text. The answer turned out to be prosaic, and I hope you take it as sincere. In the case of the E28, the quality does not depend on the quantities of multi-bits or kHz / MHz. The value comes from the class of the music. The ability to play any digital format available on the market is just a nod to the client and shows exemplary ergonomics. We cease to care about the technicalities of the recording format and we focus on what's important - how a track or album sounds and most importantly whether the music will meet our expectations and tastes, our purely esthetic concerns. "
Positive Feedback, June 2013
Impressions: The exaSound e20 DSD DAC- by David W. Robinson
"...The results are nothing less than spectacular! In Double DSD, these recordings brings you right into the presence of master tapes..."
"...the e20 provides a silky elegance of sound that is impossible to gainsay. In this attractive, compact package is an enormous sonic performance whose ability to delight me, day in and day out for several months now, has been bloody impressive."
Stereophile, May 2013
Music in the Round #60 - e18 multichannel DAC - by Kalman Rubinson
"...What a blast! The exaSound worked flawlessly with JRiver Media Center, delivering exquisite two-and multichannel sound through my weekend system. Stereo at 24/96 or 24/192, multichannel FLAC at 24/96, or, holy moley, 24/352.8 multichannel DXD from 2L—you name it—all were so strikingly pure and vibrant that they were addictive."
The Absolute Sound, March 2013
exaSound e20 DAC - Game Changer - by Vade Forrester
"...For me, the exaSound e20 was a game-changer. It played standard PCM files extremely capably, but its greatest strength was its ability to play DSD files in their native format, which took my system to a new and higher level. The e20 is an attractive, compact, and clearly thoughtfully-designed example of a modern DAC. It produced a rich detailed sonic picture, with solid bass and extended high frequencies. I heartily recommend that if you’re in the market for a new DAC, you consider one with DSD-playback capability, ..."