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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: 1TB iMac (AIFF) running OSX 10.6.7 and PureMusic 1.82 in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM, Weiss DAC2, Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold/Voltikus, Metrum Acoustics NOS Mini DAC Octave, Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M, Burson HA-160D, Burson HA-160D, Resonessence Invicta [on review] ,Burson DA-160 [on review]
Preamplifier: Bent Audio Tap-X (remote-controlled AVC passive), Esoteric C-03 (transistor), ModWright LS100 with Synergy Hifi valves
Amplifier: FirstWatt S2 proto [on review]
Loudspeakers: Aries Cerat Gladius [on loan], Voxativ Ampeggio
Headphones: ALO Audio-rewired Audez'e LCD2, Beyerdynamic T1 & T5p, Sennheiser HD800, AKG K702; HifiMan HE-6, HE-500 and HE-5LE; audio-technica ATH-W5000; Ortofon eQ7 IEM
Cables: Complete Zu Event loom
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt LF-2, 1 x Furutech RTP6
Sundry accessories:
Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size:5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail: Stello U3 $495; Eximus DP-1 $2.995

Preliminary concept drawing

South Korean reader Kyung-han Song lives less than 10 minutes from April Music's headquarters. Even so he didn't know about the brand until he read about it in these pages. Out of curiosity he visited them in mid April. He then reported back animatedly about auditioning their 500-Series Stello components we'd previously reviewed and awarded. They'd apparently been updated twice since to incorporate the company's new U3 USB technology and added features. He was very impressed with that duo's performance. He also spotted the new Adam digital-direct iPod dock which designer Simon Lee had carefully compared to the Wadia and Onkyo precedents to insure his would be significantly superior albeit "twice as expensive". But he was clearly most rattled by the new Eximus DP1 whose 3-in-1 DAC/headphone/preamp feature set he thought would greatly appeal to my Burson Audio HA160D discovery mode. And right he was. After delighting in non-stupefying but greatly entertaining colorations from Google's translation of April Music's Korean page of this pending model, I contacted Simon Lee with my pre-order commitment. Based on prior reviews I was convinced this compact and exceptionally tidy box would prove to be a real multi-tasking winner.

Preliminary rear-panel drawing
Monday, April 18, 2011 2:51 AM: "The Eximus DP1 is very special but final development isn't completely cleared yet. Of course most the internal functions have been defined, tested and verified to be assembled within one compact chassis.

"That enclosure was designed by Alex Rasmussen of Neal Faye Industries in California. He created industrial designs for Constellation Audio, Resolution Audio, Ayre and many other popular upscale brands. We are old friends. He's always wanted to make something for me but the DP1 design is his first real contribution to our company. The DP1 is as fascinating as the chassis detailing itself which is based on a leaf theme to subliminally suggest an image of spring time. The concept was the April season. The leaves have come out, the flowers are blossoming, the skies are clear all the way up. Alex created a really wonderful design. The top covers are machined one by one to detail out those leaves. The real beauty comes when you place the DP1 together with the matching S1 power amp. Then two units combine into one continuous scene. We'll also be launching matching M1 monaural amps. Those will show seamless detail art M1 left, DP1 middle, M1 right. According to Alex the top cover treatment of the mono amps will thus slightly differ between left and right mono units.

April Music 500 Series separates with Magnepan at the 2011 Seoul Hifi Show