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Review and Measurements of Geshelli ENOG2 Pro DAC

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of Geshelli Labs ENOG2 Pro DAC. It is on kind loan from the company. It retails for USD $199 but right now they are on sale for $180 including free shipping to US and Canada.

The ENOG2 Pro DAC comes in different colors and semi-transparent case. I have the black:

Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC Review.jpg


The clear sides allows the myriad of colorful LEDs to shine through. If you are a fan of this kind of bling, you are in luck. If not, you may want to put a towel on it when operating.

The ENOG2 Pro distinguishes itself from other budget DACs by leaving out USB input and instead adding balanced output. As you see in the above picture the only inputs are TOSLINK optical and Coax S/PDIF. If the ENOG2 Pro performs and you don't need USB, it would be the cheapest way to get a balanced output DAC.

Back to functionality, the switch to the left of the inputs is dual function. Just pressing it momentarily will toggle from one input to the other. If you hold it in for 3 seconds, it will switch between different levels for both RCA and balanced outputs. If your amplifier has too much gain, this can be useful to dial things down. For my testing, I used the default and highest levels.

I am sure you all want to know how this device measures so let's get into that. All testing is with coax S/PDIF unless noted otherwise.

Measurements
Let's start with our dashboard using unbalanced RCA output:
Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC RCA Measurements.png


That's pretty good and very competitive with some our best budget DACs. Let's measure balanced output:
Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC Balanced Measurements.png


Ah, that is a bit unfortunate. Noise floor rises a bit and our SINAD drops by a couple of dBs. Level at out 4.3 volts is more than we need so I reduced it but it made no improvement. Here is how the ENOG2 Pro ranks against other DAC tested (click on the image for larger size):

Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC SINAD Measurements.png


Knowing some of you would want to use USB with this, I powered a Topping D10 to use as USB to S/PDIF bridge and measured the RCA output again:
Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC RCA Topping D10 Measurements.png


So you lose about 1.5 dB which is not surprising given the fact that the previous measurement was with S/PDIF coming out of my Audio Precision analyzer.

Let's look at intermodulation distortion:

Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC IMD Measurements.png


Using RCA output, the ENOG2 Pro is near match for Topping DX3 Pro which uses the same AKM DAC chips. Balanced mode predictably has higher noise (the downward portion of the curve).

Dynamic Range is similar story with RCA output coming out ahead by good bit:

Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC DNR Measurements.png


Jitter performance is a bit worse than I expect:

Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC Jitter Measurements.png


Lots of spikes, some of which rise to -110 dB. For absolute inaudibility I like to see -120 dB for any tones anyway form the main 12 kHz tone.

Linearity shows the noise penalty of balanced output:
Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC Linearity Measurements.png


Here is the multitone test for both outputs:

Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC Multitone Measurements.png


Note that the balanced output levels are higher so you noise and distortion is lower than it seems in the graph relative to RCA output.

Attenuation of out of band signal is very good although the slope is gentler than some of the other DACs:
Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC Filter Response Measurements.png


Here is wideband distortion+noise versus frequency at both 48 kHz:
Geshelli Labs ENOG2 PRO DAC THD vs Frequency Measurements.png


I tried it at 44.1 kHz (not shown) and the two channels performed similarly and naturally at lower levels of THD+N.

I think we know the story.....

Conclusions
The Geshelli Labs ENGO2 Pro has a long name but is a well engineered DAC when used with its unbalanced RCA output. With balanced it is functional and likely transparenta audibly but measurably, but objectively underperforms its unbalanced output and performance of other balanced DACs. If you don't need USB input and are fine with RCA outputs, I can recommend the Geshelli Labs ENOG2 Pro. You could then use the balanced output in case you get in trouble with ground loops.

If you need USB, by the time you add the cost of that, you could get other DACs such as SMSL SU-8 Version 2.

-------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

I am craving some prime rib. Please consider donating some money so that I can afford to get some using:
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graz_lag

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#3
The marketing idea behind this unit is perhaps to place it as retrofit DAC to the medium to old CD player generations ?
Who else can be interested in skipping the USB infeed ?
(Ohh ... me as I still keeping :rolleyes: my Weiss USB/SPDIF interface in the path, but that's a different story ...)

It's a pity the balanced output did not perform at least as good as the unbalanced one, the market has got some clear tendency towards XLRs ...
 

pos

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#5
Thank you Amir!
Good performance overall, and the output voltage is higher than what we had been told.
 
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#6
Looks pretty damn good for only the second dac they've ever produced, and they will only get better going forward. Well done Geshelli!
 

graz_lag

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#8
Mr. Enzo Ferrari won the world championship with his 2nd car ...
 

pos

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#9
What were we told and by whom?
Sherri from Geshelli Labs: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nog2-pro-dac-fully-balanced.5372/#post-119122

RCA: 2.88Vpp, so 1Vrms
XLR: 3.2Vpp on one leg, so 2.2Vrms differential

I would be curious to see the output impedance measured (RCA, as well as each leg of the XLR), as the former model had an unusually high impedance (600 ohm), and that one was said have an unusually low one ("sub 10 ohms" was what Sherri remembered in the response above).

If the enog3 can improve jitter rejection and noise on the balanced output then it will be a killer DAC :)
 

amirm

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#10

WondrousHippo

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#12
First off, Amir, thank you for bumping this up the list and measuring it!

Second, a bit disappointed that the balanced output has some (likely inaudible!) jitter and noise issues, but otherwise, wow! It's amazing how balanced DACs are quickly becoming affordable to anyone in this hobby.
 
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#13
Thank you for running our DAC through so quickly. It looks like we have some room for improvement there. We are currently looking at our balanced chip sets to see what changes can be made to get those numbers up. We look forward to working with Amirm in the future to assist in this goal.

The graphs and charts you posted give us a solid baseline to compare with our numbers. Your review showed us testing higher on the unbalanced side then what our results were at, so we are quite pleased in that area.

We enjoy reading the views and the banter of fellow audiophiles on this site. We respect the goal of transparency that is needed not only in the audio world, but with many other products that people spend their hard-earned money on.

One final note, because we have our own Pick and Place and assembly line, we can omit the LEDs upon request. A person just needs to send an email and let us know ahead of time.
 

confucius_zero

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#15
Thx amirm for this. Now I'm quite tempted to buy it since I'm Canadian and geshelli is "local" vs from Asia.

Seeing how the brand welcomes asr's results instead of spitting in the face of it like some famous "divine" brand from China, I expect customer support to be great!
 
Last edited:

Kyle / MrHeeHo

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#16
Quite the bargain at that price for those in North America who want to support a domestic brand, I'd even pay a premium for a V2 with extra inputs.
 
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#18
Thank you for running our DAC through so quickly. It looks like we have some room for improvement there. We are currently looking at our balanced chip sets to see what changes can be made to get those numbers up. We look forward to working with Amirm in the future to assist in this goal.

The graphs and charts you posted give us a solid baseline to compare with our numbers. Your review showed us testing higher on the unbalanced side then what our results were at, so we are quite pleased in that area.

We enjoy reading the views and the banter of fellow audiophiles on this site. We respect the goal of transparency that is needed not only in the audio world, but with many other products that people spend their hard-earned money on.

One final note, because we have our own Pick and Place and assembly line, we can omit the LEDs upon request. A person just needs to send an email and let us know ahead of time.
What is the reasoning for leaving out USB input ?
 

confucius_zero

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#19
Soooo if you're doing spdif to RCA, D50 or this?
 
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#20
What is the reasoning for leaving out USB input ?
There are many reasons why have not added USB to our products.

Geno (my other half) worked from the early through mid-2000’s on embedded USB designs. His main job at the time was working on boxes to give folks with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) a voice. He was solely responsible for this function and has a vast amount of experience in USB design and requirements.

When we set out to design our first DAC, we had to consider that USB audio requires a strong support infrastructure to handle drivers, upgrades, OS issues, Windows/MAC operating system issues, etc. At this time, we simply do not have the staff to support the level of effort required for this.

With our current form factor, we do not have the room on our boards for a separate USB audio chip set.

We do listen to what people want to see in our products. We talk about the demand for USB. In a future designs and growth, we may be able to conquer the above concerns and still maintain the level of customer support and service that we have set for ourselves.
 
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