432 Evo Essence DAC and Music Server

£3,750.00

The 432 EVO Essence is an all-in-one server with integrated high-end 24/192 DAC using an oven controlled clock for low jitter, and also has a high-end SP/DIF coaxial and optical output. Furthermore it’s upgradeable as you can use most external DAC’s, as it also supports SP/DIF, USB and HDMI DAC’s out of the box.

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Description

The 432 ESSENCE features a high-end soundcard from Asus, which also exists in a DAC version. The DAC version of this soundcard won EISA awards, and after reading their review “an honest and compelling sound that puts many traditional hi-fi marques to shame!”, we wanted this technology in our integrated model.

The DAC inside the Essence easily surpasses many other similarly priced standalone DAC’s, sounding closer to high end analogue with no hint of digital harshness thanks to the 432 Hz plugin.

The Essence runs full Roon or Logitech Media Server and our sublime 432 Hz enabled player, which can also play bit perfect to the highest possible quality. It also features a bit perfect Teac CD drive for ripping your CD collection.

The 432 EVO Essence features a high-end 24/192 DAC card from Asus. The DAC chips used are the Texas Instruments PCM1792A which deliver an industry leading signal to noise ratio of 124dB.

Texas Instruments uses it’s own DAC architecture which has a built-in digital clock, and in the Essence is combined with a TCXO (temperature compensated crystal oscillator) for the lowest jitter, a feature usually found in much more expensive DAC’s.

The DAC board also uses high fidelity low dropout (LDO) regulators, and several capacitors are from WIMA. The output section uses MUSES 8920 and 8820 opamps, which are J-FET amplifiers from New Japan Radio Co.

The Essence has high-quality RCA analog outputs, a combined optical & high-end coaxial S/PDIF output port, and also supports external DACs with USB or HDMI inputs.

The USB ports when hooked up to one or more USB DAC’s can be combined with the internal DAC, to create more than one output zones. The analog output RCA and S/PDIF (coaxial and optical via an adapter) can work simultaneously on the 432 EVO ESSENCE as one output zone!

432Hz Tuning

432 Hz is one of the ways to tune musical instruments, and is also known as the Tuning Note “A” and A = 432. Music tuned to 432 Hz sounds better than contemporary music which is tuned at A = 440. The famous Stradivarius for example was tuned to 432 Hz according to the Verdi tuning

During historical periods when instrumental music rose in prominence (relative to the voice), there was a continuous tendency for pitch levels to rise, also known as the pitch inflation. A higher pitch such as our current A = 440 standard sounds sharper, louder and more “fresh”, but also more aggressive, which is not a quality audiophiles are looking for.

The 432 EVO offer you the possibility to convert your existing music on the fly into the better sounding 432 Hz, without any resolution loss. Several best of show awards we have won are the ultimate proof, and recent research by Maria Renold and a group of 2000 people showed that 90% preferred 432 Hz.

For purists we still offer bit perfect mode on par with the best CD transports, or upsample only mode for those who want to tune the sound. All these modes are live switchable.

Linux
432 EVO uses a custom realtime Linux OS tuned for ultra low software jitter and reduced entropy.

Solidstate Drive
The 432 EVO can be optionally be ordered with single or dual noise filtered audio grade SSD’s, leading to a 100% silent solution. Can be ordered with 2 TB, 4 TB or 8 TB of total SSD storage.

Bit Perfect Ripper
The bit perfect Teac rip drive is hand tested and compared against test CD’s for perfect operation.

Hardware Boost
The HWBOOST option doubles the RAM, and has a faster CPU and better clock. It must be ordered as an option with the Essence.

PCM1792A Chip
Texas Instruments PCM1792A DAC chips with a very high SNR of 124dB.

Super Clock
Oven controlled clock for optimal stability.

Muses
High quality opamps.

SBooster External Power Supply
The importance of a pure and clean power supply for digital audio cannot be stressed enough. Digital audio’s enemy is noise, and much of that comes from poorly designed power supplies or cheap SMPS (switched mode power supplies). In fact a dirty power supply can not only ruin the sonic performance of a server, it can also inject noise down the mains to infect the rest of your system!

The power supply is silent and free from any transformer noise.

Roon
Comes pre-installed with a recent full Roon Core (not just endpoint). A separate Roon license is required.

Tidal streaming
Compatible with Tidal subscription-based music streaming service that combines lossless audio and high-definition music.

Qobuz streaming
Compatible with Qobuz streaming service with more than 40 million tracks available, and also offers true 24 bit streaming.

Internet Radio
Supports thousands of internet radio stations, and common formats including AAC, AACv2, MP3 and lossless FLAC stations.

Logitech Media Server
LMS is a very stable music server with two decades of software improvements, and is still supported.

Spotify
Compatible with Spotify, currently the biggest digital music service that gives you access to millions of songs.

iPeng controller
LMS users can use several control apps, including iPeng or the LMS web interface.

SqueezePad controller
Squeezepad is another controller, and like iPeng can control the LMS library manager.

 

Specification

AUDIO OUTPUTS
Analogue output
Oven controlled 24/192 DAC card with 124dB SNR. Stereo RCA outputs
Digital output
High-end SP/DIF output, both coaxial and toslink Analog and SP/DIF output work simultaneously
USB audio output supporting USB Audio Class 2.0 to connect to your USB DAC
HDMI audio output for AV processors & receivers (e.g. second zone)
Network Output
Network streaming with realtime scheduling to any Roon endpoint and Logitech / Squeezebox based players
CONNECTIVITY
Ethernet
1x RJ45 for realtime clocked gigabit supporting true gigabit ethernet ISPs
USB
2x USB 3.0 ports for backup or connecting additional USB dacs
2x USB 2.0 ports for connecting additional USB dacs
HDMI
HDMI port supporting HDMI dacs and surround processors / receivers
KVM
VGA, DVI, HDMI and keyboard/mouse service ports normally never needed as the EVO is VPN supported
OPEN FILE FORMATS
Logitech Media Server
All common formats including DSD, WAV, flac, MP3, ogg vorbis, aac, Passthrough of MQA
Roon
MP3, WAV, WAV64, AIFF, FLAC, Apple Lossless, OGG, and AAC at resolutions up to 32 bit 768kHz. Roon also supports DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, and DSD512 in the DSF and DFF formats.
DRM FILE FORMAT
Logitech Media Server
Ogg Vorbis as supported by Spotify Passthrough of MQA towards MQA DAC when using bitperfect mode
Roon
MQA first unfold supported & any MQA feature in Roon As MQA does not recover any new audio data in the second unfold, second unfold can be replaced by 432 EVO’s own upsample which also can support minimum phase rendering with one cycle of post-ringing, or the superior sounding Archimago minimum phase filter.
AUDIO TRANSFORMATIONS
Bitperfect mode
No audio transformations occur, unless DAC does not support sample rate or bit depth of format, otherwise true bitperfect matching or even beating the most exclusive CD transports
Upsampling-only
Output most DSD & PCM formats in any input samplerate as 24 bit or 32 bit output in one of the following output samplerate: 44.1K, 88.2K, 176.4K, 352.8K and DXD, 706.6K 48K, 96K, 192K, 384K, 768K
432 Hz mode
Same as upsampling mode, but with 432 Hz processing without resolution loss. 432 Hz and upsampling are a combined one step algorithm, therefore no additional load is caused on the CPU when using 432 Hz mode compared to upsampling
SUPPORTED TUNING TRANSFORMATIONS USING 432 Hz MODE
Input pitch
440 Hz up to 445 Hz in one step increments Other pitches can be added by special request
Output pitch
415 Hz 426 Hz 430.5 Hz (Equal Tone Temperament) 432 Hz (Verdi’s A, Pythagorean Temperament) 440 Hz (today’s Concert Pitch) → used for upsample-only mode 444 Hz
Supported input formats
Any audio and file format from local files on the internal storage on the EVO or a NAS, internet radio, on demand streaming services such. 444 Hz mode not compatible with live internet radio
UPSAMPLING RECIPES For Upsampling-Only And 432 Hz Modes
Linear phase
User tunable linear phase filter, including tuning of processing buffer size and several precision options. All frequencies have the same delay through the filter.
Minimum phase
User tunable minimum phase filter, including tuning of processing buffer size and several precision options. No pre-ringing. Post-ringing can be regular long tail “minimum-phase” without aliasing, or reduced MQA / Ayre inspired one cycle of post-ringing with free bonus aliasing, create pseudo ultrasonics.
Intermediate phase
The only server on the market supporting Archimago’s Intermedia Phase upsampling, the most ideal filter with mainly post-ringing and no phase issues within the audible range. 432 EVO implements his original recipe, and two improved variants of this filter
AUDIO SAMPLE RATES
Sample rates
All common multiples of 44.1 and 48K All common DSD formats
Bit depths
16, 24 and 32 bit
CONTROL APPS
Roon
Official Roon remote running on Apple or Android tablets & phones Desktop version of Roon for PC or MAC acting as a Roon remote control
Logitech Media Server
Any web browser for web based version of GUI SqueezePad (iPad) iPeng (iPhone/iPad) Orange Squeeze (Android) Squeezer (Android) Squeeze Remote (Windows)
CONFIGURATION INTERFACE
Web Gui
Web interface usable on any phone, tablet, laptop or desktop: 1. Configure the 432 Hz enabled player 2. Check the riplogs 3. Switch between Roon & Logitech Media Server 4. Several other system configuration parameters not often changed
HARDWARE
Ripdrive
Hand tested Teac slot-loading, tested with at least 5 retail CD’s which are known to cause rip issues on some drives. All CD’s must past our extreme test.
Default storage
Ultra low noise laptop 2 TB SSHD (hybrid HDD+SSD) on spring suspension system.
Storage upgrades
Optional 2 TB SSD or 4 TB SSD or 2x 4 TB SSD merged as a virtual 8 TB instead of 2 TB SSHD is possible. Please ask your reseller for pricing.
CPU
Model with HWBOOST: J4205 tuned to a more constant power draw for lower software jitter. 
More modern and faster than many competitors who use the old N4200

Model. Without HWBOOST: non-disclosed quad core CPU slightly slower than the J4205, but still fast enough for Roon
Memory
Model with HWBOOST: 8 GB, plenty for Roon even when importing larger collections.
 Otherwise 4 GB, large enough for music collections up to 2 TB
SUPPORTED STREAMING SERVICES
Roon
Internet radio, Qobuz and Tidal
Logitech Media Server
Internet radio, Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify and any service for which an LMS plugin is available
REQUIREMENTS
Mains supply
100 Volt AC 50/60Hz / 110 Volt AC 50/60Hz
115 Volt AC 50/60Hz / 120 Volt AC 50/60Hz
220 Volt AC 50/60Hz / 230 Volt AC 50/60Hz
240 Volt AC 50/60Hz True linear power supply: Sbooster BOtW MK2
Internet
Internet connection required for updates, VPN support & metadata retrieval. Can work standalone (e.g. hifi shows, shows on location) with just a Wi-Fi router attached via ethernet and no active internet connection
DAC USB
To use the superclock based USB output, you’ll need a USB dac conforming to USB Class Audio 2.0 standard (most DAC’s follow this standard)
Network endpoint
To stream to endpoints, you’ll need Roon or Squeezebox compatible endpoints
PHYSICAL
Colour
Black or silver
Weight
Server 6 KG PSU 1.85 KG
Dimensions
PSU: 240 x 130 x 75mm
What’s in the box
Server Sbooster BOtW mk2 PSU with attached high quality DC cable 
Manuals & Quick Guide
Chassis
Modular chassis which will support future hardware updates such as new main boards as they come to market

The remarkable story behind 432hz tuning.

432 Hz refers to a possible frequency used to tune instruments with, and is a slightly lower frequency than the current 440 Hz standard. Research by Maria Renold has shown that 90% prefers the 432 Hz tuning over 440 Hz.  Today’s music is mostly composed and performed using the frequency of 440Hz as tuning reference, officially written as A4=440Hz (also know as the Stuttgart Pitch). This is the musical note of A above middle C and serves as a general tuning standard for musical pitch. The International Organization for Standardization classifies it as ISO 16.

The pitch inflation

In the past the tuning frequency was typically lower than the current standard and also region specific. However, generally the tuning frequency rose gradually over the years. The main reason for this is quite simple, an orchestra cannot play louder, so the only way to increase the apparent loudness was to increase the pitch. As such in an unamplified setting, a higher pitch sounded sharper and louder. In the Baroque Era some of the pitches used were A-415 pitch, but levels as high as A-465 (17th century Venice) and as low as A-392 (18th century France) are known to have existed. The French used several frequencies which were frequently inflated, from 404 Hz in 1680 up to 435 Hz in 1859, with 430 Hz being the classical pitch and 435 Hz the diapason normal pitch. In the 19th century Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi tried to stop the increase in pitch to which orchestras were tuned, he suggested the use of A5=864Hz (thus A4=432Hz), a concert pitch subsequently named “the Verdi Pitch” after Verdi himself. In 1874 he wrote his Requiem using the official national French standard of A4=435Hz also called the “Diapason Normal”. Later, he indicated that A4=432Hz might be slightly better for orchestras. The famous Stradivarius violins are said to have been build to be in tune to A=432 Hz.

So why did we at 432 EVO choose 432 Hz?

Long before the brand 432 EVO was founded we discovered that Geert Huinink, a Dutch musical composer famous for working with DJ Tiësto, was using 432 Hz. At the time DJ Tiësto was one of the top DJ’s worldwide so this got our attention. Working as audio dealers Klinkt Beter, we began testing various ways to convert our 440 Hz based music from several genres into 432 Hz, and organized small focus groups. Combining our research results, 58 out of 60 listeners found 432 Hz versions of our test tracks sounding better than the originals in 440 Hz. There are many blogs & video’s about the 432 Hz tuning, but we stick to the facts: our research shows it sounds better, and this has also been confirmed by real musicians. Amazingly scientific research also shows it has health benefits.

Our own 432 Hz conversion method was used on Jazz Profilactika’s debut album Tick Tock, and the band gave the following feedback.

“So, why did we choose a lower pitch? Well, the shortest and simplest answer to that question is it sounds better to our ears. We have compared the 440Hz and 432Hz versions by ear on various sound systems, from PA to high-end Hi-Fi (using Martin Logan electrostatic speakers and others like KEF and PSB). The 432 Hz exports sounded and felt more cored in the low-end, warmer in the mid-range and more transparent and spacious in the high-range relative to the 440Hz exports. In case you wish to read a more detailed (technical) explanation, please read Roel’s World article ‘Why using a lower pitch then the standard of A4 = 440Hz’.”

Melody Gardot about tuning in 432 Hz, for her album “CURRENCY of MAN”

“Even the tuning of the album is unusual as we cut the record in 432 Hz. I had started to experiment with frequency and research what this does within the body. I loved the idea that one could calm, soothe and rejuvenate the spirit just with exposure to certain frequencies… I rang up the tuner for the piano one day, and asked if he could change everything to 432 Hz. He laughed, came over and 6 hours later we had our first attempt at rejuvenating this old idea of what some call ‘original tuning’. Once we set the instrument up like this – I never changed it. Frankly, it felt better. The frequency was more alive, the feeling was like witnessing more colours in the resonance – and to my ears when there was an ensemble playing, it felt more relaxed, more appealing. Once every musician who came upon it loved it, I decided we would keep it that way.”

Composer Leszek Możdżer about working together with Holland Baroque in 432 Hz

“For some time, I have been experimenting with different vocal pitches. At the moment, my default tuning frequency of my grand piano is 432 Hz. It’s almost impossible to find an ensemble which would sing in this frequency. And look at that: the musicians of Holland Baroque play on antique  instruments and proclaim that the 432 Hz frequency is the optimal tuning for their instruments. These days we listen to music in a higher tuning (440 Hz) than at the time Beethoven, Bach or Mozart composed this music!”

What are the benefits of 432 Hz?

432 Hz sounds warmer, more pleasing, more like analog and more relaxing compared to the sharper 440 Hz.

 Expect to listen a lot longer and rediscover your music in a new way.

How does the 432 EVO implement 432 Hz?

The 432 EVO stores all of your CD rips in it’s original pitch. We do not alter the music during ripping via the bitperfect Teac drive. The same applies for your files on the local storage of the EVO.

It’s all happening on the fly, in realtime:

During playback, users can either choose between live on the fly 432 Hz conversion (default factory setting), upsample only mode, or bitperfect mode. These modes work with any music the 432 EVO can play, independent of the source such as Tidal, Qobuz, Internet Radio, files etc.

What about the science?

In the study “Music Tuned to 440 Hz Versus 432 Hz and the Health Effects: A Double-blind Cross-over Pilot Study.” done by Calamassi D, Pomponi GP, they measured a marked decrease in the mean of heart rate and found that the subjects were more focused about listening to music and more generally satisfied after the sessions in which they listened to 432 Hz tuned music.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31031095

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