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SilverStone Ensemble EB01-E USB DAC Review

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SilverStone Ensemble EB01-E USB DAC Review

By Aidan Moore

Manufacturer: SilverStone Technology Co., Ltd.
Product Name: Ensemble Series EB01-E
Model Number: SST-EB01S-E (Silver)
UPC: 844761010614
Price As Tested: $189.99 (Amazon)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by SilverStone.

The Silverstone EB01–E DAC is the companion product in both form and function to the SilverStone EB-03 headphone amplifier. Together, these two components make up the current SilverStone Ensemble Series audiophile grade audio components.

An external audio DAC is a computer peripheral that is aimed at an audiophile market with function of improving the PC audio quality. All modern PCs have an audio IC integral to the PC motherboard, so an external audio DAC is considered to be an upgrade to a PC system. However, there is an ongoing debate on just how good standard MP3 audio actually sounds when played at standard sampling rates, and higher quality audio formats such as FLAC exist to provide a higher quality sampling options. These formats require a high speed DAC and low noise audio for the best playback.

The EB01-E goes one step further than a high speed audio DAC by offering additional digital inputs for standalone digital to analog conversion from an optical or coaxial digital audio source.

SilverStone EB01-E_Ortho

SilverStone EB01-E USB DAC

In this article, Benchmark Reviews looks at the EB01-E USB DAC to determine if it is worth upgrading a basic PC audio DAC, and evaluates the EB01-E performance as a stand alone audio DAC.

Features & Specifications

The SilverStone EB01-E has the following features:

(From SilverStone Web site)

  • High quality DAC with improved performance
  • Classic SilverStone Ensemble exterior design
  • Easy one touch button for USB, optical or coaxial input
  • Support highest format of up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Utilizes premium XMOS XS1 TQ128 USB decoder for accurate sound reproduction
  • Includes TI PCM1798 D/A converter for producing high quality analog signal
  • Includes TI NE5532 OP amp for optimal analog output

Specifications:

(from SilverStone Web site)

Model No. SST-EB01-EB (black)
SST-EB01-ES (silver)
 Color  Black or silver
 Material  Aluminum & steel chassis
 Input  Asynchronous USB, optical, coaxial
 Output  RCA
 Sampling resolution  16~24 Bit
 SAMPLING RATE(FS)  32~ 192 kHz
 USB Decoder  XMOS XS1 TQ128
 D/A Converter  TI PCM1798
 OP Amp  TI NE5532
 Operating system support  Windows XP, 7, 8, MAC OS


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2 comments

  1. Johnniedoo

    Very good and interesting points with lots of examples and details for this device.
    It seems that the ‘audiophiles’ are looking for the 2 channel or stereo for the perfect sound at 24/192,000
    yet, I am happy with the surround sound 5.1 or 7.1 which is usually at 24/48,000 or 24/96,000
    I get absolutely no significant differences though between the 16/41.1k and 24/48k. I liked the reference to the test or study done as well. I cant seem to notice much difference,but shop for the high numbers, still, for some reasons
    My motherboard digiital/analogue output is supposed to support 24/192k output through the standard hdmi, spdif /toslink cables. I have a number of headphones from my older AKG240s which were the benchmark studio tools at one time and sennheiser 180 wireless as well as some good bud type with tiny little speakers. I hear the smaller in the ear ones best, most detail-less ambient noise intrusion, i guess.
    Good review, though. thanks
    John

  2. Aidan Moore

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Some people record live audio at a very high sample rate and bit depth because they are multi-tracking many different live instruments in a digital audio workstation like Cubase or Pro Tools. Having a high sample rate reduces latency, which affects the musicians performance.

    But for most folks 16 or 24 bits at 41.1 or 48kHz will sound great if the DAC is well designed.

    Aidan

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