Essence HDACC II-4K

(24 customer reviews)

$ 699.00 $ 599.00

The Boxful of Digital Ingenuity for 4K Sources and Displays. HDACC II-4K HDMI v2.0b / USB DAC featuring 4 x 1 HDMI v2.0b Inputs and Switching for 4K Sources

  • 4 HDMI v2.0b Inputs x 1 HDMI v2.0a Output
  • 32 Bit / 384K Sample Rate Conversion with Selectable Upsampling
  • Supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision
  • USB 2.0 Input, Optical+Coaxial Inputs / Outputs
  • Analog Input with A to D Conversion
  • Remote Control
  • HDMI / USB supports DSD over PCM (DoP) Playback 
  • HDMI support for native DSD up to 256
  • Native LPCM 24/192K playback
  • OLED Display of Native Sample Rate Inputs / Selected Output
  • Headphone Amp with user selectable impedance
  • THD + N = 0.00001% at -141 dB S/N Ratio                                                                                                                 

Note: Free shipping in the USA; orders outside the USA will be shipped via US Postal Service Priority International and must be placed on this online orderform


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Going 4K? If you’re adopting the new 4K video standard, you’re going to need a new DAC / Preamp like our HDACC II-4K, with HDMI v2.0 for sources like the 4K Blu-ray players and 4K media streamers like Apple TV 4K, Fire 4K, Roku 4 and NVIDIA Shield for true 4K throughput at the highest resolution. HDMI v2.0 sources do not work when plugged into downstream components with the older HDMI v1.3/4 standard, including 1080p displays. Upgrading to 4K requires changing out your controller so you gain access to HDMI v2.0.

The 2nd generation HDACC II-4K UHD is an advanced digital control center designed to enable 4 HDMI v2.0 digital sources to be controlled, Essence HDACC II 4K UHD rearswitched, and output to a variety of analog audio components.  With video support up to 6G at 4K x 2K and audio sample rate up-conversion up to 384KHz at 32 bits, this device has an unbeatable feature set not found on any other product on the market today.  

In addition to the HDMI inputs, the HDACC II-4K also includes USB 2.0 input, with Coaxial and Optical Digital inputs and outputs too, it covers every digital source.


So what exactly do all the various resolutions mean sonically?  The lowest resolutions cant be played very loud, their dynamic range is compressed  to save space. This simple chart by Pono Music reveals everything you need to know. The dark orange in the tall bar is Blu-ray, you can play them as loud and clean as the original master recording, with full dynamic range. Thats as good as it gets, a one to one copy of the original is the very definition of the term “high fidelity”, true to the original.  The HDACC II-4K can improve the sound of all the low res sources, adding fullness and detail, but nothing beats the Blu-ray as the gold standard of digital audio sources.

Many Hi Res downloads of classic albums exist now too, store them on your computer for playback anytime. Upsample your CDs or even your vinyl albums to 32/384K to give them new life. The goal of high fidelity is to play back a one to one copy of the original master recording with no loss.  

Note: No USB audio driver required for Mac Computers; USB Audio Driver support for Win 10. We encourage Win 10 adopters to use the HDMI output of their PC, the data rate increases from 500 Mbps (USB) to 18 Gbps (HDMI) for hi res audio sources. The faster the better when it comes to hi def video and hi res audio. 


  • HDMI v2.0b with HDCP v2.2 for native uncompressed 4K video
  • THD + N = 0.00001% at -141 dB S/N ratio
  • USB Audio 2.0
  • Optical and Coaxial input / output
  • Analog Input with A to D Conversion
  • Conversion to analog out via RCA, XLR Or Headphone Amp
  • USB & HDMI support DSD (Direct Stream Digital) via DoP (DSD over PCM) up to DSD256
  • HDMI support for native DSD up to 256.
  • Includes 4 HDMI v2.0 inputs with one HDMI v2.0 output for switching multiple HDMI v2.0 source devices.
  • Supports Coaxial, Optical, USB and 4 HDMI v2.0 Digital inputs
  • Supports digital audio signal input and conversion into analog stereo
  • Supports HDMI Audio output can either output the incoming embedded HDMI (Bypass Mode) or insert the selected audio signal (Ext Audio Mode)
  • HDMI video always bypassed to HDMI output to feed 4K TV
  • Supports HDMI video resolutions with HDR / Dolby Vision up to 4Kx2K (3840×2160@24/25/30/50/60 and 4096×2160@24/25/30/50/60Hz)
  • Supports Coaxial and Optical input sampling rate up to 384 KHz at 32-bit
  • Coaxial and Optical input support DoP (DSD over PCM)
  • Supports DSD (DoP) Output of SACD music files via HDMI, USB, Coaxial, or Optical Outputs
  • Supports headphone output volume control
  • Supports Sampling Rate Conversion, all inputs can be SRC to 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 and 384 KHz via DSP engine
  • Supports L/R RCA, XLR and 6.3mm headphone outputs
  • Control by remote control or on-panel master knob
  • HDMI Stereo audio de-embedding of uncompressed Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master HD Soundtracks on Blu-ray, SACD, or DVD-A
  • Headphone output volume control over main control dial or remote control
  • Direct power and mute button on unit
  • High viewing angle OLED display
  • Headphone output fades in after system is muted
  • USB Audio Driver Supports Win 10 Computers; No driver required for Mac computers
  • Analog Output Impedance; Line Out 600 Ohms, XLR Out 300 Ohms
Inputs 4x HDMI v2.0b [4x Uncompressed AV and Data]
1x Toslink [1x OPTICAL 2 Channel LPCM]
1x RCA [1x COAX 2 Channel LPCM]
1x USB Type B [1x USB (2.0) Audio]
1x 3.5mm Stereo mini-jack [1x Stereo(L/R)]
Outputs 1x HDMI [1x Uncompressed AV and Data]
1x Toslink [1x OPTICAL 2 Channel LPCM]
1x RCA [1x COAX 2 Channel LPCM]
2x RCA [1x Stereo (L/R)]
1x 6.35mm Stereo Jack [1x Headphone]
2x XLR [1x Stereo (Balanced)]
PSU: 5V/3A
Dimensions 8.8″ (223mm) W x 5.7″ (145mm) D x 1.9″ (48mm) H
Net Weight 2 lbs (886g)

Link to HDACC II-4K Owners Manual

The latest firmware version is v 2.32, implemented in May 2020. If your HDACC II-4K works fine at v2.29, it’s not necessary to upgrade at this time. Chipset code management is the main goal of the new firmware version but it also adds native DSD decoding over HDMI up to 5.6 MHz.  Send an email to, I’ll send you the file and instructions for loading on your Win 10 computer.

To use the USB input with Windows 10 PCs, download the USB Audio Driver v3.20.0 on page 3 of parent directory. Click this link and enter user name “essence” and password “essence789” to enter. Choose HDACC II-4K from main menu, then USB Audio Driver, this will take you to the file on page 3.  Mac Computers do not require the USB Audio driver.

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 8 × 3 in

24 reviews for Essence HDACC II-4K

  1. Garrett Shelton, Audiophile Consumer, Sept 18, 2020

    “In combination with the Lyngdorf Amp and Paradigm speakers, the whole thing just sings with the HDACC II-4K, It’s like my speakers don’t even exist”. Garrett Shelton, Audiophile Consumer, Sept 18, 2020

  2. Andrew Dewar, PhD, Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts at New College & School of Music, University of Alabama, August 2020

    “The Essence HDACC II-4K packs a lot of power in a small package, and punches *well above* its weight sonically – I’m very satisfied with its clear and transparent sound. Using a high-end ESS D/A chip, and with loads of useful connectivity options unique to this unit, this is exactly the DAC I needed for my main A/V listening system – great work, Essence!” Andrew Dewar, PhD, Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts at New College & School of Music, University of Alabama, August 2020

  3. Brandon Kim, Computer Audiophile, Feb 2020

    “From a practical standpoint, having no perceivable noise and low latency makes this the best “soundcard” I’ve ever plugged into a machine and I regret throwing money at ASUS and Creative Labs in the past. The headphone amp and available connections gives me a sense that I’ll continue using this piece of hardware for many years to come, so even though I ended up spending more than I initially wanted to on a DAC for my computer, I think the extra investment was worthwhile. The small footprint is also very nice. I was having a hard time finding anything that would fit on my computer desk that had all the inputs and outputs I was looking for that wasn’t a full blown A/V receiver.” Brandon Kim, Computer Audiophile, Feb 2020

  4. Jake Ross, Audiophile Consumer, Jan 2020

    “I just want to say that the HDACC II-4K works brilliantly and I’m very pleased with the sound it produces. Thank you for offering this amazing product! Jake Ross, Audiophile Consumer, Jan 2020

  5. Shayne Tueller, Audiophile Consumer, Jan 2020

    “I started out playing a 96kHz 24-bit FLAC music file from my laptop via the USB port to the HDACC II-4K. Unbelievable sound and dynamic range.” Shayne Tueller, Audiophile Consumer, Jan 2020

  6. Michael Skogsford, Audiophile Consumer, Dec 2019

    Oh eureka! When I first connected the HDACC II-4K I could not believe my ears. Did I just get a whole new system? No, this one component made the largest impact on my sound system than any one thing I have ever tried. I do not think I could have spent 10 grand on a cartridge and had more impact on the sound from my Thorens. Wow! My buddy, who is a real stickler with his audio and primarily only listens through high-end headphones, could not believe how good this all sounds now. If he is impressed it has to be good.

    I can honestly say this is the closest I have ever been to feeling as if I might be able to stop improving. I am so enthused I have reached out to audio buddies in other states telling them they need to hear this to believe it. It really is that good.

    I just want to thank you for what you have created. Wow, what a difference! This DAC is worth every penny. Michael Skogsford, Audiophile Consumer, Dec 2019

  7. Alan Hall, Audiophile Consumer, Nov 2019

    Hi Bob – just wanted to let you know, the sound quality of the Essence DAC is superb. I only use headphones, so that is all I can comment on. Even coming from a lowly cable-box. I watch many PBS Great Performances shows – especially classical music / Broadway (42nd Street, King & I musicals) and GP at the Met operas. Magical. Alan Hall, Audiophile Consumer, Nov 2019

  8. Sotiri Divaris, Audiophile Consumer, South Africa, May 2019

    I fired up the Essence last night and connected it to my system using it as a preamp. What a wonderful DAC and excellent preamp.

    The bass is amazing and noticeable on the Apogee Scintillas. The mids and upper ranges I think are exquisite and detailed.
    It is certainly an upgrade for me, the unit is easy to use. I will certainly be purchasing more of your products. Sotiri Divaris, Audiophile Consumer, South Africa, May 2019

  9. Amir M. Audio Science Review, April 2019

    “The unique functionality and usability of the Essence HDACC II-4K pushes me to put it on my recommended list” Amir M. Audio Science Review, April 2019

  10. Tim Eastman, Audiophile Consumer, March 2019

    Had a chance to kick back yesterday afternoon and really appreciate the new setup. Phenomenal, really. Just so clean and my speakers are very happy. Amazing is the silence between notes. Tim Eastman, Audiophile Consumer, March 2019

  11. Alan Gooey, Audiophile Consumer Australia, Feb 2019

    I bought the Essence HDACC ll-4K on a whim as I was in need of some retail therapy! What swung me towards it was the ability to decode Blu-ray audio via HDMI. The unit is well put together. I’ll say as a DAC it’s good, very very good! No doubt there are “better” ones out there but then you’re talking silly money, and I don’t think I’d be too popular selling the family to buy one of these “esoterica” models. IMHO the Essence punches way above it’s weight making it a fabulous value for money, even with the lousy exchange rate between the US and Aussie Dollar. But for me, what really made it an “end game” DAC was the HDMI inputs. I was playing my audio Blu-rays via a Yamaha multi channel receiver. Sounded OK. But when I put the HDACC II-4K into the chain (thus taking the Yamaha out of the loop), the sound went from “meh” to “YEAH”! I’m one happy camper! Alan Gooey, Audiophile Consumer Australia, Feb 2019

  12. Terje Kkjaerpe, Audiophile Consumer Norway, Feb 2019

    I just wanted to tell you that I am very satisfied with the HDACC II-4K. The sound quality is top notch. It has all the inputs and outputs that I need. For a home theater setup with two active speakers, it is really perfect. Previously, to have HDMI input / output to the projector and pre-outputs to the speakers, I had to go for a big Home Theater receiver with a 5 channel amp I didn’t need. The HDACC II-4K is also so much easier to set up. According to your suggestion, I changed the SRC to 96 KHz.
    Thank you very much for an intelligently designed DAC/preamplifier. Terje Kkjaerpe, Audiophile Consumer Norway, Feb 2019

  13. Pat Vehling, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

    I’m using the main HDMI1 output on the Sony BD player with the HDACC II-4K handling video as well, and voila – everything from 44.1 to 192kHz. So far no issues and it sounds great! Look forward to listening to it more and with different headphone options as well. Thanks for the tech support – not too many companies would send personal messages! Pat Vehling, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

  14. CW Lai, Audiophile Consumer, Singapore Feb 2019

    I have a huge collection of HDMI sources (7 devices): 1080P and 4K but only 4 HDMI input on my 4KTV. To make things more complicated I have a high fidelity 1080P device OPPO BD player that is part of my old school stereo audiophile system (Mark Levinson), So I can’t choose any cheap HDMI switch and definitely no interest in Downgrading my sound system to high end big receiver.

    I am thrilled to find this device as its exactly what I need, the HDACC II-4K works seamlessly in my setup without degrading the high fidelity video or audio source. Honestly I was skeptical at first when I place the order as I never heard of Essence before, but lesson from OPPO (push off my 4K BD purchase thinking they will there forever) lead me to take the plunge before it is gone

    No degradation of fidelity for both 4k and 1080P HDMI source: check
    Optical output to my cheap Bose 2.1 home theater for the 4 source connect: check
    Small foot print with display: check
    Remote control: check

    Really appreciate Bob in making this device available for sale. CW Lai, Audiophile Consumer, Singapore Feb 2019

  15. Steve Elfvin, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

    Hi Bob, I’ve been very happy with the HDACC II-4K. It handles all HDMI video sources and integrates nicely with my 2-channel system. It doesn’t outperform my Cary Audio dac but that’s ok. The versatility is awesome.

    I was actually surprised by the FIBBR HDMI v2.0 Fiber Optic cables. They work perfectly and the picture quality is definitely much better than my previous cables. Thanks! Steve Elfvin, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

  16. Gabriel Nistor, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

    Hi Bob,

    I received the HDACC II-4K and took about 10 minutes to integrate in my audio system. The HDMI inputs are certainly the best (can also serve as a 4×1 matrix) but I like the fact that can handle a variety of optical inputs, i.e. optical (for my Sonos system), and even analog input. With ordinary music sources is hard to tell the difference, however the DAC shines when the input is high resolution audio such as FLAC, DSF and DSD files or Blu-ray disc, or even MP3 at 320kbps. I’m using a QSC amp for outdoors, a Yamaha amp for indoors and especially on a pair of Audio-Technica M50 headphone monitors the stereo separation is perfect, noise is absent and the dynamic range is fantastic.

    This makes the music interesting, clear and colorful with the myriad of subtle harmonics and amplitude variations that are absent on ordinary electronics. Along with the sound, the HD video works fine, there are no delays in A/V but I don’t own (yet) a 4K TV to comment on the 4K video quality. Overall I’m very happy with the DAC, my family re-discovered the beauty of classic jazz and my house and yard is full of good quality sound. Thank you for the great product! Gabriel Nistor, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

  17. Peter Schumacher, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

    HI Bob, Thanks again for a terrific product. Still enjoying it immensely. Peter Schumacher, Audiophile Consumer, Feb 2019

  18. Sunil Sharma, Vancouver Consumer, July 2018

    The Essence HDACC II-4K is a Giant Killer! Oct 14 update.

    I’ve been using the latest generation II-4k for several months and it’s absolutely fantastic! I have an expensive Audiophile system that reveals even small changes so its really obvious how great this Kit is. The DAC is using the excellent ESS Pro chip and it sounds best set to bypass with no up-sampling. Super Audio and DVD audio will knock your socks off. An absolute bargain in the Audiophile circle where its pretty much unknown. I am planing on buying a second one for my second system. Because of the high dynamic range and ultra low distortion of this DAC you might not realize just how loud your system really is… So beware of potential hearing damage! LoL. My friend measured on his phone app that we were playing songs which peaked at 122.9 db! This DAC has super slam!

    @384 rate more air and acoustic cues of the original recording space. If below good recording the highs are a bit harsh; to compromise dropped to 96k sample rate. Timing on the kick drum is stunning! Difficult not to toe tap as the inner details of low frequency music is reminiscent of when Chris Kelly , my sister’s ex,( local well regarded jazz musician ) would jam with his crew in this very same 16×11 living room. Much deeper bass extension….haven’t bothered turning on the subwoofer.

    Michael & Austin TVA 1 amp with KT 120s, and completely new hand match components in a new Williamson circuit.
    Kozmo passive Preamp with point to point wiring @100k.
    JBL 4430 converted into a JBL 4333, JBL Diaphragm on tweeter, and Radian mid-range diaphragm, custom hand matched JBL 4333 crossover with premium Solen caps & Coils.
    Kuzma stabi / stogi, Denon dl103r with soundsmith Ruby cantilever, Zu Audio aluminum body, Jasmine Preamp, Bob’s musical device Red SUT. ( Will try analog A/D through the Essence DAC at some point). Sunil Sharma, Vancouver Consumer, July 2018

  19. Pat Cook, Consumer July 2018

    “An absolute miracle of audio in a small box. If you have an Apple TV 4k, this is a must have”.

    Pat Cook, Consumer, July 2018

  20. John Gatski, EAN June 2018

    “For $599, the Essence HDACC II-4K receives a major uptick in audio quality over the original HDACC plus HDMI v2.0 compatibility. Its small foot print, connection prowess and the ability to handle most any headphones or drive an amplifier with the upgraded sound extends its reign as the Swiss Army Knife of D/A converters.” John Gatski, EAN Review June 2018

  21. Don Meriwether, Audiophile consumer, Atlanta, GA May 2018

    Used so far as a DAC & Line Stage (in Balanced mode connection to my active Focal Alpha 80 Monitors), I am “gobsmacked” at the sound, particularly the much deeper (lower frequencies) & better-defined Bass – it was like I had added a subwoofer, or changed to tower speakers. Focal rates these monitors to -3 dB at 35 Hz (not too shabby for a two-way with a single ported 8-inch woofer!) Top to bottom frequencies, this is an amazing & gorgeous sounding unit. This also means that I had no problems at all with DAC/USB Driver compatibility with my Win 10 (upgraded from Win 8) laptop. I also love being able to easily switch between my Blu-Ray player & my cablebox/DVR using HDMI inputs. These sound WAY BETTER than using the Optical Toslink connections which I would otherwise have to use. The sonic difference between Optical (from the HDTV’s Digital Sound Output, which I used with the original 2K HDACC), & an HDMI connection which is only available from direct intermediate connection to the cablebox, then output to the HDTV from the HDACC’s HDMI Output is huge! Don Meriwether, Audiophile consumer, Atlanta, GA May 2018

  22. Mike Timm, Audiophile Consumer, April 2018

    Hi Bob
    Thanks for your reply and yes it works fantastic! I have the Audioquest Jitterbug connected to the usb to lightning adapter all plugged into the usb port on the hdacc II-4K, using VOX on my iPhone X, i get full high res audio, not as good as blue ray but hey, better than tidal! Thanks for your quick response. Mike Timm, owner of HDACC II-4K, April 2018

  23. Robert Yull, Oct 2017

    Hi there Bob, so my unit showed up today thank you. Ok so I am running HDMI from Amazon Fire TV to the HDACC then HDMI to TV. Then to get the sound I running cables from HDACC to my pre amp. I also ran a optical cable TV to HDACC. The sound is really good but I have just started to play around a bit. I set it at 385K and it sounds brilliant. Thanks again. Robert Yull, Oct 2017

  24. William Rogers, October 2017

    HDACC II-4K installed, setup took 5 secs, still putting it through it’s sonic paces but am super happy with it. William Rogers, October 2017

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