Essence Ships Second-Generation HDMI 2.0a DACs

Essence For Hi Res Audio is shipping its new second-generation digital-to-analog converters (DACs) for owners of late-model AV receivers and preamp/processors who want to upgrade to HDMI 2.0a instead of replacing the gear.

The HDACC II-4K ($699) has four HDMI 2.0a inputs, one HDMI 2.0a output, 4x1 HDMI switching for 4K sources, and a headphone amp with selectable impedance matching (16-600 ohms). An update of the original HDACC, the II-4K features a 384 kHz/32-bit DAC, supports playback of DSD x128 and 192 kHz/24-bit LPCM files, and extracts the left and right front channels from Dolby True HD and DTS Master HD soundtracks on Blu-ray for stereo playback from its unbalanced RCA or balanced XLR analog outputs

Other highlights of the HDACC II-4K include a USB 2.0 input, optical and coaxial inputs and outputs plus a front-panel line-level minijack input with A to D conversion and upsampling of lower resolution files. The device can be used as a preamp/controller or as an outboard DAC. Specs include a “THD + N of 0.00001% at -141 dB S/N.”

For those who want to upgrade to HDMI 2.0a for 4K only, the Evolve II-4K ($299) is designed to add an HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 input and output to an existing system. It supports 192 kHz/24-bit LPCM with 8 analog audio outputs and “de-embeds” the LPCM 24/96K multi-channel soundtrack from Blu-ray sources with support for Dolby True HD and DTS Master HD lossless audio. “Owners of expensive late model (2-8 years old) AVRs with pre in/main outs or pre-pros can keep them instead of buying a completely new model,” Essence said.

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