Previously, I have reviewed the Silverstone EB-03 amplifier. I found it to be a bit on the bassy side making a statement that a brighter DAC would benefit it much.
Additionally, I did mention that the EB-01E DAC was designed to look nice with the EB-03. Well, not only do they pair nicely in terms of design as a stack, they synergize quite well together.
In the Box
RCA to 3.5mm Female Cable
Design-wise, the EB-01E is a slimmer model that follows the same exact aesthetics from its EB-03 amplifier counterpart. Besides being a little shorter in height, the dimensions are exactly the same. The front curve gives the simplistic box a nice twist design wise while the brushed aluminum looks profession and gives the design some complexity.
There is no denying that this DAC is on the brighter side of things. Some may say that the DAC itself can be a bit “shouty” at times, though when paired with a darker amp, this aspect goes away. When hooked up to the EB-03, the EB-01E creates a relatively flat sound with a slight focus on the bass. Signature-wise, it becomes comparable to the NAD D 1050, something I enjoy quite a bit.
Now, I took more serious comparisons with other DACs, the NuForce uDAC-3 and V-Moda Vamp Verza (didn’t have the D 1050 on hand), the EB-01 fared extremely well in contrast to both. All tests here were ran through the Bravo Audio V3 being sent to a HiFiMan HE-560.
In contrast to the NuForce uDAC-3, the EB-01E has vocals that quite a bit more along with bass that adds a slight hint of texture and thickness. You also get a little more impact with each hit. Clarity is increased marginally allowing violins to pop just a tad big more. Though the uDAC did do a little better with treble softness and separation, also did provide a little more detail up top. In the lower treble, the EB-01 offers a little better presence, detailing, and a more dynamic snap.
In contrast to the Vamp Verza, I actually found that the EB-01 has quite an energetic midrange in contrast to the Vamp as well, a DAC that I feel already added dynamics to any mix. This also includes better detailing overall in both the midrange and treble. The Verza has a well-defined low-end in contrast to the EB-01 however. I should note that, however, the Vamp Verza and EB-03E are tuned close to each other in terms of signature.
That said, like the EB-03, pairing becomes key to get good sound out of it. Paired with a bright amp, you’ll end up with a sound that can have a slight harshness to it. Give it something darker and it’ll shine quite well.
The EB-01E shares nearly identical build to its brother, the EB-03. The steel and aluminum used on the housing has a nice thickness and is robust and strong. This DAC is built like a tank. I can definitely say that I have not found a single thing wrong with the build; it’s just about perfect.
Silverstone’s EB-01E offers a number of inputs for digital sources. There are three total connections: coaxial, optical, and USB. The EB-01E comes with a supplied USB cable, but nothing else. It should be noted that that’s also how it gets its power. A single button on the back allows a user to switch inputs quickly. Outputs go directly to a single set of RCA outputs. There is only a single output. For a basic desktop setup, the inputs and outputs that the EB-01E offers should be enough.
I did run into one issue with the EB-01E while using it. When I’d plug in the DAC to my Mac, the computer wouldn’t always recognize the DAC. I’d have to disconnect and reconnect it a few times before my Mac would recognize the EB-01E. This can be an annoyance, and when I first plugged in my EB-01E in, I thought it might be defective.
Though the Silverstone EB-01E can be coupled with just about any amplifier out there, I personally recommend pairing it with something that is warmer as this amp is pretty bright. The build and design both are top notch and very well. It offers a nice variety of inputs making it quite flexible. Still though, 190 dollars may be a bit much. Despite that, it makes a pretty good DAC.
Silverstone designed the Ensemble Series to work well as a duo, and for that purpose, the EB-01E and the EB-03 do exactly that creating a well-paired DAC/amp stack. The top-notch build and attractive design make it something that looks modern on a desk.