The Essence HDACC has just won The Absolute Sound Editor’s Choice Award for DACs under $1000 in 2016. This is the 3rd consecutive product of the year selection for the HDACC since it came out in 2014 and perhaps its most prestigious.
To quote noted audio journalist Steven Stone’s conclusions:
“Many audiophiles want to have a 2.1 audio system connected to a video display. Quite a few of these systems use or plan to use an AV pre/pro to convert HDMI sources to two-channel audio. The Essence HDACC offers a better, less expensive, and higher-performance way to accomplish this (as well as supply a digital input and output hub). Combine the HDACC with a high-quality integrated amplifier and a pair of decent loudspeakers (and subwoofer) and you have most of what you will need to assemble a high-performance 2.1-channel audio system that can handle anything you can throw at it.”
The HDACC sells for $499, is sold factory direct, and shipping is free in the USA. The HDACC can upsample lower resolution lossy audio formats such as streaming from Netflix or MP3 music files up to 24/192K as well as decode the native hi res soundtracks found on Blu-ray using its HDMI throughput connectivity, the only DAC under $1300 to offer that feature. Its a DAC, a digital preamp, and a headphone amp all combined into one sweet problem solver that consumers love.