Disclaimer: Resonessence Labs sent us The Concero HP (which Dave reviewed here) and the Herus for review. Samples will go back to RL after the review. We will most likely do a Concero HD review in a few weeks as well.
Resonessence Labs. Again?
Oh Yes! The Canadian based company is back on Headfonia already. I’ve been using the Herus for several weeks now and those who have been following me on twitter or on Facebook know I’ve been very impressed with it. Those of you who like negative reviews better stop reading because 95% of what I am going to tell you is going to be good.
After these few weeks with the Herus I can fully understand why Dave was so pleased with the Concero HP and why he absolutely wants to listen to the Concero HD. But first let me explain what the Herus actually is and how it works
Basically it is a tiny hand-assembled DAC/AMP unit measuring 63.5mm (2.5in) long, by 31.7mm (1.25in) wide and 19mm (0.75in) high. It is machined from a solid block of aluminum and it is very light and basic.
On top of the unit you have the famous “R” logo with the Magenta or Red background color. On one side of the unit you have a USB type ‘B’ socket and a TRS ¼ connector on the other side. On the bottom you have the serial number and a rubber anti slip strip. That’s it. The Herus arrived in a simple yet nice cardwood box in which I found a nice silk like bag with the Herus inside. No USB cable, no manual, no cd with driver. Back to Basics. HERUS, like all Resonessence products, is Designed, Manufactured, Tested and Shipped in Canada.
I love how it looks. It’s got style and with its tiny size it’s so easy to take along with you on trips.
On the inside there is a Sabre ESS 9010-2M DAC chip (The Concero HP uses the ESS 9018-2M): Asynchronous, up to 24bit 352.8Ks/S (PCM), DXD and DSD64/128. It is a USB powered device that achieves more than 100dB of SNR, (typically 108dB) and is capable of driving 2.4V RMS into headphones from 600 Ohms to 32 Ohms. The distortion in all cases is better than 0.005% (85dB): the measured THD+N is typically 89dB for 32 Ohms and 90dB (about 0.003%) for 600 Ohms. All the technicalities can be found here. Resonessence was founded by the former Operations Director for ESS Technology and they’re very good when it comes to DAC chip implementations.
The Herus works on Windows, MAC OS, Linux, iPhone (with CCK) and Android devices (Works great with USB Audio player Pro). It contains Resonessence upgradable hardware and firmware and it can be used as a DAC or an AMP/DAC combo but more on that in a bit.
As you might have noticed I didn’t say anything about a volume control, basically cause there isn’t one: Herus takes over your volume control on your pc so you can just use your system slider.
Amp? Amp/DAC? What is it then?
Well it is both. You can either use your headphone with the internal amp or you can set the volume to 100% and connect it to your headphone amp with a ¼ to RCA cable.
In the beginning I was mostly using the Herus as a DAC only in combination with one of my full sized desktop amplifiers. When I first received the Herus I was using the Sennheiser HD650 a lot and I wasn’t too convinced with how it sounded straight from the Herus. Then later when I switched headphones I just kept using it as a DAC only until I discovered how excellent it sounds when used as an amplifier as well.
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