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Item#: N82E16829132065

ASUS Xonar Essence One Muse Edition 24-bit 192KHz USB Interface USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

  • 24-bit 192KHz
  • USB Interface
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Learn more about the ASUS Xonar Essence One Muse Edition


Xonar Essence One Muse Edition

Audio core

Audio Chipset
C-Media CM6631
Sample Rate
Digital Audio
120dB for Front-out


1 x Coaxial, 1 x Toslink
Other Ports
2 x 3.5mm RCA jack
1 x 6.3mm RCA jack
2 x Balanced Output (XLR)
1 x USB Input




Powered by six top-notch MUSES 01 Op-Amp for crystal clear and spacious sound

MUSES 01 is the first ever oxygen-free copper interconnect and custom layout Op-Amp for truthful sound reproduction

8x symmetrical upsampling technology for ultra-low sound distortion

Dedicated 600ohm headphone amplifier for clearest detail

Ultra-high 120dB SNR for purest sound

Physical Spec

10.29" x 9.06" x 2.39"


Package Contents
ASUS Xonar Essence One x 1
Driver CD x 1
6.3mm to 3.5mm stereo adapter x 1
Audio Precision (AP) test report x 1
User manual x 1
USB cable x 1
Power cord x 1

Quick Info


  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 3 years
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 3 years

Customer Reviews of the ASUS Xonar Essence One Muse Edition

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  • Dinesh T.
  • 11/27/2013 9:47:38 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggsAsus Essence One Muses Edition Impressions

Pros: Pros over AVI DAC / STX DAC: (Also, AVI DAC >>> STX DAC)
Way more articulate, not even close, a night and day difference
Far more spacious, wider, deeper, taller
Far more natural and lively without being bright
Far more rich, detailed as well as lush
Immerses you in the music and makes you want to dance, unlike the other setups which are more analytical but not as good in the above ways.
Imaging is much better
Dynamics are better

Cons: Cons over AVI DAC:
Not as transparent or clean

Other Thoughts: Asus Essence One Muses Edition Impressions

PC – USB – Asus Essence One Muses – Project Ember – AVI ADM 9RS / Sennheiser HD 650

PC – SPDIF – AVI ADM 9RS via Internal DAC

Asus STX – Project Ember – AVI ADM 9RS / Sennheiser HD 650

The Muses Edition is a huge improvement over the other two setups above.

Pros over AVI DAC / STX DAC: (Also, AVI DAC >>> STX DAC)
Way more articulate, not even close, a night and day difference
Far more spacious, wider, deeper, taller
Far more natural and lively without being bright
Far more rich, detailed as well as lush
Immerses you in the music and makes you want to dance, unlike the other setups which are more analytical but not as good in the above ways.
Imaging is much better
Dynamics are better

Cons over AVI DAC:
Not as transparent or clean

I prefer the Muses to the AVI dac by a huge shot, not even a comparison, especially for the mids and sound stage and because it actually sounds like music with emotion and depth!

With HD 650:
It feels as if the music is floating around my head rather than just sitting over there.
Imaging and dynamics are better as I said above.
Melting delicious sound presentation
More balanced yet better all around
Above pros as well
No cons over STX DAC

Not tried much, just for a few seconds. Sounded very good, but not in the same league as the DAC. My Ember sounded slightly better but I haven’t tried the amp much anyway! So can’t really say…

It doesn’t sound sterile or dead like the other setups. It sounds like music and real, something which immerses you.

The AVI DAC is very good, but not in the same league as this DAC (though it is more transparent and cleaner).

This DAC sounds rich and lush while being powerful and articulate.

The bass isn’t as prominent as the AVI DAC which isn’t bass heavy either.

I never got the WOW effect, not even when I went from Aktimates to AVI ADM, or from Bravo to Ember, and both above are night and day upgrades. But this upgrade gave me the WOW effect that was I missing all along. Now my setup feels complete and truly end game without any upgrade itch in me. Don’t get me wrong, AVI ADM and HD 650 and Project Ember are all excellent at their price points and work exceptionally, but I was probably missing the Source I needed and this Source brings out the best within all my devices/setup and makes them really sing.

With Muses, HD 650 sounds like a flagship headphone, not as detailed as the HD 800, but definitely truly end game and the sound presentation is to die for!

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  • Brahim M.
  • 4/21/2013 9:00:28 PM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsThis is audio bliss. AMAZING DAC!

Pros: One of the best DACs on the market in this price range and out performs others that cost a lot more. I've heard quite a few DACs and internal computer sound cards and the Muse Edition is in a league of its own. It produces a very realistic sound that is very three dimensional, you will hear music in a way you have never heard before. It has a very life like sound and you will be able to hear every detail (instruments, vocals, effects) in a very musical way that just makes you smile while listening to it. It has a very smooth sound that is non-fatiguing and is very lush. This is an amazing DAC and will compete with the best in the market.

Cons: It is not cheap. But you get what you pay for.

Other Thoughts: This is as good as it gets for a DAC when it comes to sound production. There are much higher priced DACs out there that but you are not paying because they sound better. You will be paying for their boutique looks and you would also get diminishing returns.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Charles W.
  • 2/24/2013 10:15:41 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsgreat sound, but build quality isn't quite there yet

Coming Soon!

Pros: The sound that I've gotten from this device is very, very good. I've been using a ~$450 DAC/Amp combo from a well-known manufacturer (in the audiophile community at least) for a couple of years now and have been quite pleased with it for the price. But I definitely notice an improvement to the sound, particularly in the size and depth of the sound stage, when using the Asus Xonar Muses Edition. The sound also just feels a little punchier and more up-front when compared to my old DAC/Amp. (apparently I can't mention the brand or model due to Newegg's review guidelines).

I'd talk about the pros of the sound quality some more, but there are already a few professional reviews out there for the Muses edition that do a much better job than I ever could, so just search for those.

If sound quality alone is all you care about, then I don't think you're going to do much better than this DAC. What it suffers from though is build quality, which I'll detail in the cons below.

Cons: The unit itself feels very solid and hefty, so in that regard it doesn't feel cheap at all. Unfortunately the plastic volume knobs on the front of the unit just do seem like a strange choice for a DAC of this price (I know the standard Xonar Essence One is considerably cheaper and in a price range where maybe plastic knobs aren't such a big deal, and I know the increased cost of the Muses edition is due almost entirely to the Muse op-amps used in it, but when you're approaching the thousand dollar mark... I just expect high-grade volume control and construction).

The other thing that bothers me is the dual volume control knobs: one for the DAC's outputs, and one dedicated to the headphone out alone (I want to say I've seen others before say that the main volume knob also affected the headphone volume, but I've not experienced this. Maybe Asus changed this behavior, or maybe I'm just not remembering correctly, but I've not experienced this). I totally understand and agree with Asus's reasoning that it'd be nice to not have to adjust volume when switching between headphones and speakers. But unfortunately, Asus only went half as far as they needed to go. What ends up happening is that I still have to manually turn the volume down on one and turn the volume up on the other so that they're not both playing at the same time (why would I want my headphones playing music, going through senseless wear and tear, when I'm listening to my speakers? And my headphones are open-back (Sennheiser HD650), so the speakers absolutely must get muted too or their sound would leak in like crazy). What the Xonar Essence One is missing is a pair of mute buttons, one for the DAC's outputs and one for the headphone amp, if they want to leave the ability to have both playing at the same time (I'm not sure why you'd ever need to do this though). Or, and preferably, keep both volume knobs, but just have a way to switch between them.

And yes, I'm aware that I could always just unplug my headphones when they're not in use, but this is still an inconvenience and still leaves me having to turn down the main volume control knob when they're plugged in.

I've attached a video to my review that demonstrates the issue.

The up-sampling feature is a bit of a toss-up. On my system (Swan T200b speakers), any perceived benefit you get from the up-sampling is also marred by a rather dramatic decrease in the higher frequencies, making this DAC sound more laid-back. I say it's a toss-up because I could see this being a non-issue if your speakers/headphones already have a somewhat bright character to them, but otherwise I think you'll find that you're suddenly missing some clarity to the sound that you knew was there before without the up-sampling. I'm not 100% sure why their up-sampling feature would be having such an effect on the sound to begin with, but it's just not a good match for either my specific headphones or speakers.

Other Thoughts: Despite my hefty description of the cons above, I'm giving the Xonar Essence One Muses Edition 4 eggs because if you're using it JUST for headphones or JUST for speakers, then that nullifies my gripes about the dual-volume control and really only leaves the complaint about the plastic knobs; not THAT big of an issue, just strange for a DAC of this price.

I've decided that I'll be returning my unit though. I switch between headphones and speakers often, and having to readjust two volume control knobs each time I want to do that instead of just pressing a button is just too inconvenient of a change from what I'm used to. I can't imagine it would be too difficult or costly for Asus to introduce this feature in a revision later down the road, but I'll be the first to say that I don't know what would truly be involved in accomplishing such a task.

So if you listen to your audio over just one output device, then I think you'll end up being very pleased with the Xonar Essence One Muses Edition; otherwise, if you're switching between speakers and headphones often, I'd carefully consider if the dual-volume control knobs would bother you, particularly if you're already used to just pressing a single button to switch between one or the other.

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Item#: N82E16829132065
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