Turns out, there were a couple of things that caught my eye. First up was the new $350 Herus, a headphone DAC/amp based on ES9010-2m chip from ESS (where the Resonessence team actually came from). The Herus supports all the latest and greatest, including DSD64 and DSD128, DXD, and PCM up to 24bit/384kHz, all over asynchronous USB Audio 2.0. With 2.4v RMS output, 100dB+ SNR and a THD of .003%, I was more than a little interested to get my ears on. I’m glad I did — so glad, in fact, that I have one now with me for a more formal write up. First thoughts? It kicks ass. More soon.
Also in the room was an Invictus Mirus, which was new-to-me. The $4,995 DAC is essentially the same as the Invicta DAC (also $4,995) that won all the awards and justifiable attention — minus the headphone elements. In the Mirus, that space was given over to dual ES9018 chips … and … wait for it … there are …. eight pairs per channel. Yes, that’s 32 DAC chips in the Mirus. This gives a bit of a bump in performance (ahem), moving the Mirus to 130dB of SNR, and 0.0002% THD. Yeah. Holy guacamole, Batman.
Another interesting bit was the prototype “Projecta” amplifier. This stereo amp is still a year out and pretty much everything is still TBD, but it’s illustrative of where this group is heading.