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Geshelli Labs Enog2 Pro DAC, Aune X1S review and comparison

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#1
Before we start:
I am no expert in sound engineering or do I have any access to measurement test rigs or anything of that nature. What I do have is my love of this hobby and my ears. I am still learning terms and descriptive lingo, so go easy on me. I've been into audio/video ever since I was a kid. It's always been with me and I'll never stop listening or looking for the next best thing. Below is a comparison of the Geshelli Labs Enog2 Pro DAC and the Aune X1S with the Aune XP1 power supply.

My setup:
I am using my PC that I built myself. I run my audio from my motherboard into the DACs about to be reviewed which is then connected with my Morrow Audio MA3 interconnects into my Geshelli Labs Archel Pro headphone amp. The headphones I used for this comparison are the ZMF classics. Which are essentially one of the best modded T50RP MK3's made, in my opinion. Everything is plugged into my Furman M8DX power conditioner. I also have an Aune X7S, JDS Labs OL DAC, Massdrop SDAC, Monoprice liquid spark, Schiit audio Magni 2U, and a total collection of 5 headphones so far.

The comparison:
I've used the Aune in my system for some time now. It was the first real DAC that I have purchased for desk use and have been very happy with is performance so far. Before we start I want to note I am using the upgraded power supply (XP1) with the X1S. It does help produce a much cleaner sound than with the power supply that came in the box. Honestly though I found I got more of a benefit from the Morrow audio cables in my system than the upgraded power supply for the X1S. As for the X7S... the upgraded power supply (XP1) made a large difference in sound and I highly recommend it. But we are getting off topic.

Features and connectivity:
Now features on these two dac's might as well be polar opposites. But not in a bad way! They both are very good dacs for the money and depending on what your looking for will not go wrong with either. The Enog2 is extremely simple. It will output up to 24/192, it has 2 inputs along with RCA and!...and!... balanced outs! I don't know of any other dac anywhere near its price with balanced outs. Both the RCA and XLR outputs can be plugged in and run at the same time. The Enog2 also has 3 volume levels for the outputs that can be changed by a simple press and hold of the front input button. The Aune has quite a few more features, some useful some irrelevant to most of us. The Aune has 4 inputs and 2 outputs along with a good but weak headphone amp with 1/4” jack. The Aune has 3 filters which I find useful depending on what headphones I'm using. It also does up-to 24/192 and can do 32/384 DSD. So essentially one is a barebones all about straight to the point sound with no frills but plenty of thrills (Enog2). Whereas the other has a list full of connectivity options and features. Some useful some not. I will not be talking about the built in amp on the Aune. All you need to know is the new $100 amps on the market trump it.

Looks:
The Aune is sleak and sexy with it's slightly curved top and oh so black exterior. I love how the inputs and outputs on the back can be read when you are looking down at it. Makes it so easy. But it's essentially a fancy looking black box like every other piece of audio gear ever made. I find the Enog2 to be a welcome change to the industry. I have the metal case with front and back done in plexi glass (I think). My case is purple and the LED lights inside illuminate the interior of the case and board up nicely. I frankly think it's beautiful. Sherri from Geshelli Labs has told me Geno is a big fan of the 80's so this is where the extra bit of flair comes from, but the purple case was all her idea. Well done Geno and Sherri well done! I love it, not only does the Enog2 sound fantastic but it also employs another one of my senses that most other gear simply doesn't do. Sight... It makes me happy just looking at it.

Aune X1S sound:
This dac is full bodied and sweet sounding. It has an effortless sound to it that sounds good with every genre of music. The way it traverses the highs in a song is fantastic, so sweet, fast and crisp. It is also forgiving with lesser recordings. I feel this is what is does better than the lower end dac's I've tried (OL dac, SDAC). Both where smoother in comparison but didn't have the magic that I get with the Aune.

Geshelli Labs Enog2 Pro sound:
This is my latest purchase and am frankly blown away at what it delivers at its price point. I'll try my best to convey these differences. It still has a full bodied sound to vocals and instruments but with so much tighter sounding. It still has that sweet, fast and crisp top end like the Aune. This dac is a detail freak! It seems every-time I make an upgrade, it always makes me re-evaluate what I thought my music sounded like. The Enog2 was no exception. The amount of detail this dac delivers is honestly amazing! The way it layers the band in relation to the singer, and the other added nuances never seems to overshadow one another. I can focus on anything that is happening in the track and here it perfectly in its own space, detailed, natural and clean. It also has added a height and depth to the headstage that I have never heard before. Again it makes me re-evaluate! So cool. I will say it is not as forgiving as the Aune with lesser recordings. It doesn't make them sound bad, its just that you'll hear everything bad in that recording. I can see why Geno at Geshelli Labs is always mentioning studio gear and equipment, because this dac is so transparent and detailed. You aren't going to miss a thing lol.

Conclusion:
If your looking for a connectivity, features and a dac that will sound good with everything from lesser recordings to masters look no further than the Aune X1S. But if your someone who loves simplicity and wants to hear every little detail in the recording the Enog2 is a no brainer. I was hoping to find a DAC that I would find to be better and cheaper than the X1S and I've found it. I won't be using anything else anytime soon. Geshelli Labs has me officially in their court.

I will be posting a comparison of the Geshelli Labs Archel Pro amp compared to the Monoprice Liquid spark and Aune X7S+XP1 in the next day or so.
 

Blumlein 88

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#2
With respect,

Your review methodology is exactly what this site is NOT about. Uncontrolled sighted comparisons leading to listening impressions without reference or measure or discipline.

Your description of the controls and features was nicely done.

Did you carefully match levels when doing comparative listening? That is job one if you are doing comparative listening. And I don't mean levels matched by ear. The voltages need to be within a tenth of a db of each other between the devices.

It would have been nice to have someone help you listen without knowing the identities of the gear, and see if you heard the same differences when levels were matched.
 
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#3
Take it or leave it frankly I don't care. Ya'll have fun. I'm going to enjoy my new favorite system. Also when the level of detail is such a far departure from what I've been listening to at any volume level. How can I not chock it up to the equipment in use. I've listened to my setup for 1000's of hours at this point and it has never sounded like this, ever! Sure comparisons can be tricky but it's not rocket science.
 
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derp1n

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#4
Khadas Tone Board sounds way fuller than the ENOG2 "Pro" DAC. The soundstage is absolutely holographic and the bass slam is heart-stopping. Treble is near perfect, crystalline but not brittle. I'm not sure what I expected of the ENOG2, but what I got was congestion and treble glare, weak-ass bass, and a slight net curtain effect. The soundstage was adequate but felt slightly recessed in a way I can only describe as sounding like you're outside the concert waiting in a queue for the bogs. I tried leaving both of them on for a week, but it did nothing for the ENOG2 in terms of detail or plankton. Along with a power supply upgrade (LPS) and some new Nordost USB cables and interconnects, plus my artisinal fully balanced headphone cable made by a small boy by the name of Naburai in Peru (I actually got to Skype with him while he made my cable) plugged directly into my Khadas (I have a prototype of the balanced version of the board, 2x XLR-3 adapted to my headphone's XLR-4) using the digital volume control my Sony MDR-7506 (Hapfax mod), the setup just sounds superb - besting previous systems I've owned with thousands of dollars (SR-007 with KGBH SE, Utopia with various Benchmark HP amps, Susvara and HE6 combo powered by a small V8) easily.
 
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#5
I will say I am very intriqued with what I've been reading about the Khadas tone board. I do not hear what you describe in the Enog2 at all.

Khadas Tone Board sounds way fuller than the ENOG2 "Pro" DAC. The soundstage is absolutely holographic and the bass slam is heart-stopping. Treble is near perfect, crystalline but not brittle. I'm not sure what I expected of the ENOG2, but what I go was congestion and treble glare, weak-ass bass, and a slight net curtain effect. The soundstage was adequate but felt slightly recessed in a way I can only describe as sounding like you're outside the concert waiting in a queue for the bogs. I tried leaving both of them on for a week, but it did nothing for the ENOG2 in terms of detail or plankton. Along with a power supply upgrade (LPS) and some new Nordost USB cables and interconnects, plus my artisinal fully balanced headphone cable made by a small boy by the name of Naburai in Peru (I actually got to Skype with him while he made my cable) plugged directly into my Khadas (I have a prototype of the balanced version of the board, 2x XLR-3 adapted to my headphone's XLR-4) using the digital volume control my Sony MDR-7506 (Hapfax mod), the setup just sounds superb - besting previous systems I've owned with thousands of dollars (SR-007 with KGBH SE, Utopia with various Benchmark HP amps, Susvara and HE6 combo powered by a small V8) easily.
 
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#6
Before we start:
I am no expert in sound engineering or do I have any access to measurement test rigs or anything of that nature.
This site is dedicated to technical specifications / measurements and comparing to published manufacturing data. Subjective sound quality is frankly irrelevant and there are plenty of other sites which would welcome your opinion with greater enthusiasm.

I will be posting a comparison of the Geshelli Labs Archel Pro amp compared to the Monoprice Liquid spark and Aune X7S+XP1 in the next day or so.
Please don't ;) As bizarre as it may seem, I appreciate not having to wade through a load of chaff to find the relevant information I'm interested in. ASR so far has been stellar in this respect.
 
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#7
This site is dedicated to technical specifications / measurements and comparing to published manufacturing data. Subjective sound quality is frankly irrelevant and there are plenty of other sites which would welcome your opinion with greater enthusiasm.


Please don't ;) As bizarre as it may seem, I appreciate not having to wade through a load of chaff to find the relevant information I'm interested in. ASR so far has been stellar in this respect.
If y'all only want measurements and hate others opinions that aren't your own or science based why is this even a forum??? Why not just run it as a regular site giving information only?? You all are rediculous and frankly the biggest group of assholes I've ever ran into. Science this, measurements that, you did it wrong, your the one telling me I'm starting up problems, I've literally only shared my opinion on something and every single person here has basically attacked me. I will likely not be posting again. So good job guys! Fucking internet bully's. 1/20 of you actually has something decent or helpful to actually say anyways.
 
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#8
If y'all only want measurements and hate others opinions that aren't your own or science based why is this even a forum??? Why not just run it as a regular site giving information only??
I value the opinions of others backed by data collected using scientific methodology. You clearly haven't done that by making a "review" which clearly doesn't belong here. As suggested, there are plenty of other places which may value your contribution to the subjective world of audio reviews. Many of us are interested in how well products are engineered, backed by data and not how others perceive the sound. In this context, your contribution remains irrelevant.
 

Veri

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#9
If y'all only want measurements and hate others opinions that aren't your own or science based why is this even a forum??? Why not just run it as a regular site giving information only?? You all are rediculous and frankly the biggest group of assholes I've ever ran into. Science this, measurements that, you did it wrong, your the one telling me I'm starting up problems, I've literally only shared my opinion on something and every single person here has basically attacked me. I will likely not be posting again. So good job guys! Fucking internet bully's. 1/20 of you actually has something decent or helpful to actually say anyways.
You're going about this the wrong way. Most people here have fled the traditional boards where super subjective bullshit is widespread. Most notice this right off the bat (audio science) but it seems you have not yet noticed the overall sentiment here at ASR. Sorry if you are offended, but we don't generally believe in subjective non-controlled comparisons, no real value in those..

Derp1n's post above was entirely satire :p
 

Roen

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#10
Opinions != Science

I always thought that was self-evident.
 

garbulky

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#14
If y'all only want measurements and hate others opinions that aren't your own or science based why is this even a forum??? Why not just run it as a regular site giving information only?? You all are rediculous and frankly the biggest group of assholes I've ever ran into. Science this, measurements that, you did it wrong, your the one telling me I'm starting up problems, I've literally only shared my opinion on something and every single person here has basically attacked me. I will likely not be posting again. So good job guys! Fucking internet bully's. 1/20 of you actually has something decent or helpful to actually say anyways.
Hi legion!
I read your post on cables. I'm probably the only subjectivist on here, though there may be one or two others. Other than you of course! :D
So, your experience you are detailing here was quite similar to mine too.

Despite being at times, a scratching post for bullies, it's not all bad. On the plus side, there were some nicer members who were informative and polite and the two mods that were not hostile. Despite me giving Amir a hard time he has been quite generous in his offer to give of his time to help me out which I appreciate.

Like you I'm not an engineer. I do evaluate things subjectively and express myself via those experiences. But I am also interested in measurements ,how they relate to audio perception and seeing under the hood of some very good gear. A lot of cheaper gear tends to be evaluated here and some of them have surprising measured performance. Some of the headphone amps have crazy good distortion specs and features like balanced drive that I didn't think I'd see so soon.

Having said that, it's clearly a rough start you've had. I don't know if you would want to stick around. But if you do, there's at least one person here that appreciates your approach and doesn't think it's a bunch of junk. :D

Having said that...thanks for showing me a new piece of gear. I have a friend that has the ZMF Auteurs that he really likes. Though I'm a subjectivist, I'm a little skeptical of cables or transports making a difference but I also haven't heard one that makes a difference. Happy listening and looking forward to the Liquid spark impression. :)
 
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Thomas savage

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#15
If y'all only want measurements and hate others opinions that aren't your own or science based why is this even a forum??? Why not just run it as a regular site giving information only?? You all are rediculous and frankly the biggest group of assholes I've ever ran into. Science this, measurements that, you did it wrong, your the one telling me I'm starting up problems, I've literally only shared my opinion on something and every single person here has basically attacked me. I will likely not be posting again. So good job guys! Fucking internet bully's. 1/20 of you actually has something decent or helpful to actually say anyways.
No ones bullied you, in fact reading this thread all that’s happened is some folks have quite respectfully suggested your approach is flawed and you’ve flown off the deep end being rude and unkind towards us as a community. Swearing and being ill manored .

If this is the kind of response we can expect from you when you are challenged please just sign out now and leave us all be. If you’d like to continue here then you will have to adjust your attitude any more foul abusive language like we have in this post will result in you being banned.

Cheers.
 

Thomas savage

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#16
Hi legion!
I read your post on cables. I'm probably the only subjectivist on here, though there may be one or two others. Other than you of course! :D
So, your experience you are detailing here was quite similar to mine too.

Despite being at times, a scratching post for bullies, it's not all bad. On the plus side, there were some nicer members who were informative and polite and the two mods that were not hostile. Despite me giving Amir a hard time he has been quite generous in his offer to give of his time to help me out which I appreciate.

Like you I'm not an engineer. I do evaluate things subjectively and express myself via those experiences. But I am also interested in measurements ,how they relate to audio perception and seeing under the hood of some very good gear. A lot of cheaper gear tends to be evaluated here and some of them have surprising measured performance. Some of the headphone amps have crazy good distortion specs and features like balanced drive that I didn't think I'd see so soon.

Having said that, it's clearly a rough start you've had. I don't know if you would want to stick around. But if you do, there's at least one person here that appreciates your approach and doesn't think it's a bunch of junk. :D

Having said that...thanks for showing me a new piece of gear. I have a friend that has the ZMF Auteurs that he really likes. Though I'm a subjectivist, I'm a little skeptical of cables or transports making a difference but I also haven't heard one that makes a difference. Happy listening and looking forward to the Liquid spark impression. :)
Well I chose all my hifi by listening to various things at home, those subjective impressions have been shared without any issue here. You can’t create or share knowledge via these impressions and beyond our selfs they are insignificant and that’s why we tend to stay away for endless subjectivity. There’s plenty of places that embrace it though so folks can go elsewhere for that.

I’m not a engineer, I work on a building site.

Now back to science lol
 

la2ygoo

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#17
I believe in blind listening test. If without a person to help blind listening test, I think the subjective evaluation equipment is not accurate.
 

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