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"The knob and power switch recess were all inspired by the leaf motif. I was in the Neal Faye Santa Barbara shop 3 weeks ago and will return shortly for final approval and mass production of 208 x 62 x 290mm chassis*. All units then get hand-assembled by us in Korea. The machining is really premium grade. We have poured all our efforts into this tiny box to make sure it becomes our new statement for the global market. We hope that retail can come in slightly below $3.000 but that will depend on the final bill of total manufacturing costs.

* The attentive reader will appreciate how this stands on its head the usual outsource-in-China scheme. April Music assembles in Korea but here contracts for expensive core assemblies with America, then freights empty enclosures from Los Angeles to Seoul.

24/192 async U3 board at right.

Kyung-han Song with Simon Lee
  "XMOS with their 32-bit XS1-L1 processor and 1Mbit of SPI flash memory is simply the best USB 2.0HS solution at this time but costly. That's how we accommodate PC-Fi for full support of 24-bit/192kHz files. For D/A conversion I'm looking at either the TI/BB 1795 or 1794 chips.

"The 1795 beta presently still has some bugs. I may change to the 1794A, an update over the 1794. Here we are using very expensive clocks—8 x costlier than a normal VCXO—to insure true peak performance. The lead time for this part unfortunately turns out to be a lot longer than expected. The output stage is of course fully discrete fully balanced class A and unlike our earlier HP100 the headphone path runs its own dedicated OP-amp current buffer for exceptional drive with its 0.1Ω output impedance on the 6.3mm front port. The DP1 is one of my dream machines and the result of what we've learnt from 15 years in the business. Digital inputs are two coax, AES/EBU, I²S on our usual S-video interface, USB and optical with sample rate support of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz for all.

Eximus DP1 and early S1 (expected US retail $1.995)

"There's also a 3.5mm analog input for portable devices on the front and a single pair of RCA inputs on the back. Preamp outputs are on XLR and RCA and simultaneously live with the same 3V-max output voltage. Upsampling is selectable to 96/192kHz or defeatable. The analog manual volume control is a carbon-based stepped pot superior to the usual Alps. Lisa will keep you updated on production status. Thanks for your interest in the DP1 - Simon Lee."

During Munich HighEnd 2011 I caught up with Simon and his secretary Lisa at the booth of German April Music importer Sieveking Audio.

Simon had brought the first sample by private courier (in his carry-on bag). After the show he reported that distributors and dealers requested that he 'rebrand' the machine as Stello rather than Eximus. In the West the Stello brand was already far more established and recognized. Final production thus might go by Stello DP1000. But the jury was still out.
Pre-production unit

Simon also explained that Adam stood for Apple Digital by April Music. When my wife quipped that this required an Eve, Simon retorted that Eve was coming as a matching DAC for the digital-direct dock. Adam and Eve brought together by an apple? April Music clearly went back to the source on that. I'd have to play snake to complete the picture. To have either Adam and/or Eve complement the Eximus DP1, Simon's original cubic concept for the dock would change form factor accordingly.

Thursday, June 26, 2011 11:53 AM: "Last time we asked you to change the name Eximus DP1 to Stello DP1000. In the end however we decided not to change it. By going with Eximus DP1, we take this opportunity to finally introduce our top brand Eximus to the overseas market. As you know we've had two CD players and a preamp under this name now discontinued but never for export. The DP1 will be our global ambassador for Eximus." - Lisa Park