With this new update, what was already a great sounding unit now exhibited even better sonic qualities. There’s marked improvements with the top end sparkle and extensions with smooth decays (as tested with FOSTEX T40RP MK3). The overall presentation remained organic and richly textured with amazing technicalities. With this new development, M12 has now jumped over to 5 Star performers in my book. Probably the most well balanced tuned of all ESS Sabre dongles that I have ever listened to
Listening Equipment: Etymotic ER4SR, HZSOUND Heart Mirror, VE Monk GO, TIN HiFi P1, Moondrop Aria. Source: USB 3.2 Samsung S20 (Tidal)
- Stellar neutral and natural timbre with exceptional coherence level
- Very tight and controlled dynamics, never overbearing, effortless and airy.
- Reference grade Treble, Mids and Bass extensions, richly textured
- Reference grade Macro and Micro details, beautiful nuances
- Surgical technical prowess, exceedingly technical and resolving.
- Wonderfully crisp percussions, guitars, synth, piano, and cello
- Mildly intimate Mids, succulent Male and Female vocals
- Excellent Sub-Bass presence and textures, with great extensions
- Mind blowing speed and transients handling.
- Razor edged layer separation and spatial positioning, great imaging.
- Exemplary sibilance resistance despite being sparkly bright.
- Particularly useful indicators for source quality
- Very slimline build and lightweight
- Great heat management
- PHENOMENAL performance for instrumental, EBM and modern music
- Drives Tin HiFi P1 Magnetic Planar at 70/100 Volume
- Commendable soundstage but should be slightly wider at this level.
- Too much focus on technical prowess and surgical precision – mildly dry sounding on some songs
- Prone to picking up RF interferences from mobile phone signals.
- Does not react too well with some older model USB 2.0 devices (2018 and older). This dongle require strong current from the USB host. Android older than 2019 models may exhibit crackling or distortion - that is a sign of weak power feed. Best with USB 3.0 and above.