Invicta / Mirus
Resonessence Labs is a Canadian company which specializes in the design and creation of world class Digital to Analog Converters. All of their units are entirely designed and assembled in house. The founder of Resonessence Labs formerly worked as the operations director at ESS Technology, creators of the legendary Sabre chip. This gives Resonessence unique knowledge regarding product design and implementation. Resonessence manufactures world class audio products at several price points. Resonessence users can expect world class performance and quality, regardless of need or budget.
The INVICTA, like all complex machines of this era, consists of three essential parts: the hardware that is shipped to customers, the firmware that can be upgraded from time to time and the software that operates the machine and provides its essential functionality. Within these three elements is embedded Resonessence expertise – the best they know how to do from their collective experience – directed towards making an audio DAC.
The hardware once committed is unchangeable, and many iterations of hardware were prototyped before the final hardware of the INVICTA was decided. That hardware implements all the firmware and software Resonessence currently have to offer, but they know very well that over time they will have more software to offer. Consequently, they have taken their best estimate of what the market wants, what companies like Apple and Microsoft (not to mention excellent Open Source teams) will produce, what industry insiders tell them will be the foreseeable future of a product like the INVICTA, and they have added to this hardware base all the support for these features. A fine example of this is their ability to deliver the user a choice of seven different filter types, even though this feature was not envisaged in the original design.
Every aspect of the INVICTA is programmable to some degree: the IO ports meet or exceed the physical layer specifications, so that for example, the three rear BNC connectors are electrically isolated, capable of 75 ohm impedance match, two are programmable as input or output, and currently configured as two selectable SPDIF inputs. (Because that is what selected reviewers agreed made sense – if it turns out customers want Word Sync, Clock and Data – which was initially considered – then a simple software upgrade will create that). Furthermore the HDMI interface allows users to display files stored on the SD card and in future it will be possible to implement I2S over HDMI, HD OSD output, even ultimately HDMI Audio input if technology moves in this direction.
Even though the INVICTA is a complex, highly reconfigurable product that may please your intellect, remember that this is secondary: it is first a machine to move you emotionally with superb sound.
Dynamic ESS Sabre DAC Implementation
Invicta is designed, manufactured and assembled in Canada. At a very early stage they recognized that to succeed they needed to outperform the competition in a number of key areas, one of which should be build quality. Their attention to detail is perhaps best summarized by the chassis designers, IMWorks of Kelowna B.C.
“It is very rare that we are approached by an organization that wants to truly place quality in front of cost. There are many that say quality is foremost, but in practice this is very rarely the case. Resonessence Labs has not restricted our design/build process in any manner. We have managed to complete what we consider to be the perfect chassis for this product.”
Working very closely with IMWorks Resonessence have spent hundreds of hours perfecting the design of the chassis. The materials, finishes and construction technique are all done to precise specifications.
The practices chosen for assembly of the chassis are not typical to the conventional electronic enclosure industry. The front panel is a structurally integrated part of the chassis assembly, not a cover to hide a stamped steel sub-chassis.
After several computer guided procedures, the bottom plate is ready for anodizing and assembly.
Many of the tolerances on the manufacturing drawings are held within .001”. The main front panel and chassis base are machined from solid 6061 T6 aluminum. The internal sheet metal components and fasteners are all manufactured from stainless steel. The latest high speed CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machining and CAM (Computer Aided Machining) technology is employed to help complete this process. The precision and repeatability of this equipment results in parts that are exactly the same size ensuring a precise fitment during the assembly process. Laser etching is employed for the permanent marking of the front and rear panels. The front panel sub-assembly is extremely complicated, containing no-less than 27 fasteners. The result of this design is a front panel UI (User Interface) that feels as if it were carved from a block of granite. The solidness of the switching is profound in its conveyance of tactile feedback. The overall robustness and heavy weight of the chassis design can be felt in your fingertip each and every time a button or knob is operated.
Each unit is hand assembled and then individually tested at the Resonessence engineering facility in Kelowna B.C. The units are then run continuously for 100 hours prior to shipping. No further burn in is required following shipment.