Subjective Audio Testing
- Desktop PC – Windows 7 64 bit
- Silverstone EB01-E Digital Analog Converter
- Silverstone EB03 Headphone Amplifier
- Media Player: Foobar2000 v1.3.3
- Headphones/Earphones: Audio Technica ATH-PRO500MK, Sennheiser PC 363D, SoundMagic E80S, DUNU DN-2000
Installing the EB01-E and EB03 to an existing desktop PC setup is very easy. You only need to install the drivers for the EB01-E DAC, connect it to a USB port and it is done. The EB03 does need external power source using the adapter so make sure you also have a nearby power source open for it other than what your desktop, monitor and other devices use.
There’s really no exact measurement as to testing audio output and it is subject to preferences and personal capabilities. As for our testing, the Silverstone EB01-E DAC and EB03 Headphone Amplifier combo will also be compared to typical desktop audio setups which is the on-board audio processor in motherboards, which for this setup is a MSI Z97 Gaming 5 with its Realtek® ALC1150 Codec audio processor and also the same setup with a sound card which is played by an ASUS Thunder FX external DAC/Amp.
The selection of headphones and earphones might not be everybody’s cup of tea but I selected the Sennheiser PC 363D since it is one of the popular brand and model of gaming headphones today. An entry-level in-ear earphones as well played by the E80S and a higher end in-ear monitor using the DN-2000.
The Silverstone EB01-E and EB03 combo is far more superior compared the on-board audio and the external ASUS ThunderFX DAC/Amp. Audio output was a lot cleaner and very accurate that no matter what headphone or earphone I used, difference was like comparing day and night even with the ‘gaming enthusiast level’ external DAC/Amp from ASUS which is bundled with the ASUS Maximus V Formula ROG motherboard. Using the Silverstone EB01-E and EB03 combo, the flat and accurate frequency response is captivating and would seem like a new experience. Listening to the same audio tracks is like listening to something new and better yet they are the same once you’ve been listening for so many times. The experience is like that. Even for iPhone6 users which is known to producing good sound quality, the EB01-E and EB03 combo is incomparable and way better.
The above was more of a result of the EB01-E DAC’s clean and accurate output, let us talk more about the EB03 headphone amplifier. The EB03 is quite powerful. Audio quality tends to decrease with bad amplifiers where distortions are created but with the EB03, it was able to produce a smooth and warm output as audio is boosted.
Let’s wrap up this review on the last page.