Forerunner. With first impressions being key, the posh delivery by Xino C601B flight case hidden inside a basic cardboard carton packed real heat. There even was a separate lock whose triple-digit code Colbern had already emailed. The deck sat generously cushioned inside thick black foam, with an Apple remote and USB stick tucked into two slotted cutouts.

Popping the hood revealed immaculate case-work assembly with unusually thick walls and a super-tidy layout. Slotted vents beneath the horizontally mounted ElectroHarmonix valves would create some convection cooling against the top panel's patterned vents.

Foreplay. To grope for first signs of life, I cabled DAISy 1 to my COS Engineering D1 via XLR to exploit the latter's precision analog volume control. Delegated to mere preamp duties whilst bypassing its own DAC, the COS fed my Pass Labs XA30.8 balanced as well. The OSX sound panel and PureMusic 2.0.4 instantly recognized Fore's USB transceiver as Combo384 Amanero. I promptly initialised native DSD support. Cracking the unexpected Apple remote's programming quickly netted source switching via its l/r buttons. Each choice was confirmed by a green pin-prick LED. I clicked through the four options, then left it at USB. Now the USB PCM light came on as well. The power button's light ring was blue.

In this iMac screen capture, we see OSX's 'Audio Devices' window with the Fore Audio converter selected and identified as 384kHz capable.

Below is a final closeup of the front panel, at right an even closer one of the tiny DSD light. When Miss DAISy sees red, it's because her digital receiver has locked onto native DSD content spirited down the slippery USB pipe inside a Trojan PCM container as per the established DoP standard.

To fool the USB audio specs which had no provision for DSD, DoP packs DSD64 inside a 176.4kHz PCM container; DSD128 inside a 352.8kHz one. A flag at the head of such files distinguishes them as faux PCM so that DACs so enabled can switch to DSD conversion and apply different filtering algorithms which account for DSD's intense ultrasonic noise.

Having confirmed that Miss DAISy drove DSD and thus had zero issues with any of my few single and double DSD files which I've collected solely for this dubious purpose—and not because they contain music I wanted—it was time to put some break-in hours on the clock before foreplay would morph into the serious phase of this encounter.