DAC1 DA Converter
The DAC1 is our flagship stereo D/A converter used for highest quality D/A conversion. The MK3 version uses one of the latest DAC chips on the market in conjunction with eight discrete operational amplifiers of our own design. The MK2 version is based on our proven class A design using high performance op-amps and discrete output stages. Both DAC1 versions deliver incredible transparency – the main objective in our designs.
The DAC1-MK2/-MK3 are stereo 24 Bit/192 kHz D/A converters designed with the aim of keeping an uncompromising audio signal path. Much detail and thought was spent on the digital input with its extremely low jitter sensitivity, as well as the analog output stages. Options for the DAC1 include interfaces for Firewire and USB, DSD playback and infrared or wired remote control.
There are three digital inputs on XLR connectors, and one on TOSLINK (optical). The accepted sampling frequencies are 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 kHz. AES/EBU signals in single wire or dual wire formats can be used. Each XLR input is actively routed to a corresponding XLR digital output, allowing for monitoring at multiple stages in a digital studio setup.
Several signal re-clocking schemes are combined for extremely high jitter attenuation, making the DAC1 virtually immune to jitter over a very wide bandwidth, down to subsonic frequencies.
The correlation technique (using two converters per channel) which was already successfully employed in the ADC1, results in improved SNR and THD figures.
In the DAC1-MK2 the discrete Class A outputs have a virtually zero Ω output impedance, but still can drive large loads without stability problems. The DAC1-MK3 uses discrete operational amplifiers of our own design. Called OP1-BP, this operational amplifier probably is the best audio op-amp currently available. Output levels can be set between −infinity and +27 dBu. The outputs are symmetrical, but do not have any sound degrading servo mechanisms built in. For asymmetrical operation only one leg of the XLR connector (plus ground) is used.
By hooking up an analog potentiometer or fader to the remote connector, the output level can be remote controlled. This level control happens in the digital domain. The input source selection can also be remote controlled. For the DAC1-MK3 there is a IR remote control option for the output level available.
Front panel controls
The front panel shows four switches for the input selection and various LEDs for sampling frequency, input word-length and signal presence display. The DAC1-MK2 in addition has two 25 turn trim potentiometers for fine trimming the output level.
Back panel elements
On the back panel there are three digital inputs on XLR and one optical digital input on TOSLINK. Then there are three digital outputs on XLR, buffered from XLR inputs and two analog outputs on XLR. One of the digital XLR outputs can be switched to output the currently selected input.
The DAC1-MK2 in addition has a output level range switch (high/low) while the DAC1-MK3 uses a rotary encoder instead, which allows to set the output level of both outputs simultaneously in a range of 32 dB with a resolution of 1 dB. The 25 pin DSUB remote connector allows to connect a wired remote control unit for level control and input source selection.
Options for both the DAC1-MK2 and the DAC1-MK3 include a Firewire (Thunderbolt) interface and a USB interface. The latter is also capable to convert DSD to PCM signals which allows to use the DAC1 for playback of DSD signals from a computer. Other options are an ST type glass fiber input and an infrared remote control for the control of the audio volume (DAC1-MK3 only). The DAC1/DAC1-MK2 can be upgraded to a DAC1-MK3 by replacing the analog section.