I recently picked up this dac, and man is it cool for the price (friend pushed me to try it out lol). So much to tweak on it, and it honestly sounds pretty dang great (I got the xmos version one since I use windows). Something really cool is that you can enable or disable oversampling, personally I think the bypass sounds better imo, but not bypassing also sounds pretty great (but it’s sigma delta so idk how that works), generally sounds more natural. And also there are the common filters there too for when you use oversampling mode (personally right now using minimum phase slow roll off atm, generally prefer slow roll off for the most part if I want to smooth something, still playing around with these, so much to try on this dac).
You can use sync or async usb (personally I used async), you can adjust the harmonics control which is really cool (2nd and 3rd) which can really help make the ess treble less harsh and more enjoyable to listen to imo, honestly really sick. From my experience so far messing with the 2nd order was more organic sounding as they increased, whereas going on the 3rd made it sound a bit more analytical almost. I also decided to order the shanti lps and it did sound a decent bit better imo, improvement in control and impact, generally in increase in performance overall, tightens things up well (this does decrease the value prop tho). Otherwise just grab a decent but cheaper 5v psu, allo sells like a 15 buck one that is nice, but the nicer the psu the nicer the sq (for testing without the higher end psu I just used a random decent quality 5v laying around)
This is surprisingly well done for an ess at this price point, not many other dacs I have heard have gave you this much flexibility and tune-ability while actually holding it’s own in sound quality. Generally an impressive dac for what they charge, easily something that is pretty great overall for what it can offer in sound and features. Had it for a few days, and still figuring out what it can do, it’s hard to really say what signature it is since you can adjust it so much lol. You might be able to swap op amps in there too (edit: you can’t), but honestly I don’t think I will open it up as I really like it as is tbh. While I don’t think it competes with the higher end stuff, it really is surprising for the price imo, almost reminds me of my resonessence labs dac in some ways (almost lol), I would typically say that there is a performance gap between 200-700 for most dacs I have heard (off new prices), but this sits in between that gap and offers performance deserving of it’s price imo