Hi folks, just thought I'd post my impressions of this little box of tricks I picked up last week. I've been through some DACs recently (Dacmagic, Benchmark HDR, RWA Isabellina, MF M1, Young....) all fed by my little Acer mini PC and it's optical out. In the past I've not noticed much of a difference between the optical and the USB, but figured as only one of these (the Young) was asynchronus I'd better stick with the optical all the same. Not known as being the best of connections but at least it isolates all of the electical problems and it's not too common for PCs to have these so figured I may as well use it.
As usual though, that niggle at the back of my mind that this can't be the best way remained permanently there and I decided to try a used M2tech hiface. Need less to say, didn't find one but did happen across the Audiophilleo2 on ebay at a reasonable price. Supposed to do the same thing and if reviews are to be believed, to do them significantly better than the Hiface EVO (which is a level above the dongle version...). Also, the 2 is the same internally as the 1 but stripped down without all of the options, the screen and different user options/info.
Money changed hands and in it went. Plugs directly into the DAC, with the USB cable to the PC, so no coax necessary. It's also *mainly* driverless, but I did need a Windows 64 bit driver to pull off 192 sample rate stuff as my PC didn't do it on it's own.
Anyway, I was instantly impressed. I've been putting less and less thought and worth on the source now that I'm all HD based, figured time and money were better spent elsewhere and, aside from the Benchmark which was cack, most of the DACs had little between them. This device changed that, I've never excelled at describing what I hear, but this really did add a sense of space, really pulling everything apart so that different instruments and positions, notes and details became easily identifiable without going so far as to lose the cohesiveness that holds it all together. I'm extremely pleased with this, it's confirmed that there is much to do on the computer audio front, but that there are real viable options for this. I suspect that this, coupled with a Matrix DAC and it's dual AD1955 chips will be absolutely killer for the money....