ANK Audiokits Valve Amplifiers
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  Non oversampling DAC  
  The ANK Audiokits DAC 2.1 is one of our longest running products with a healthy following. Originally developed as the DAC 2.1A and DAC 2.1B variants, we now have concentrated production on the B variant and it is now known as simply the DAC 2.1. The DAC 2.1 offers velvet smooth operation with no digital artifacts or treble edge. Following the Audio Note tradition of Non Oversampling Resistor Ladder Architecture (R-2R) pure digital to analog conversion method, it hardwires digital information directly to output voltage.  
     
 

DAC 2.1 features include
• Pre-assembled Digital DAC board with Toroidal Input Transformers and Elna Cerafine capacitors.
• M2 Power Supply uses high quality RubyCon
Electrolytics and Mundorf MLytic Electrolytic Capacitors .
• 6922 Driver Board with Takman Film Resistors,
Elna Cerafine Capacitors and Audio Note Tin Foil Bypass Caps.
• Support for standard 75 ohm RCA (SPDIF) and 110 ohm AES/EBU.

• RCA Output.
• Optional USB input board.

 
     
 

The DAC 2.1 boasts numerous features and supports up to 24/96khz sampling and data widths. The DAC has the M2 tube rectified and regulated power supply for ultimate smoothness. To complete the pure digital to analog design of the DAC 2.1 the digital board has no analog filtering (analog filtering has been totally removed). Sound reproduction with no digital artifacts and smooth as velvet output is realised in the DAC 2.1. Even though the Dac 2.1 is our lowest priced DAC it hits well above it's price point and is a true audiophile DAC in it's own right. It is also a great investment as it can later be upgraded to the DAC 4.1.

 
     
non oversampling DAC v Delta-Sigma
     
 

R-2R v Delta-Sigma
Things to be aware of when choosing an audiophile level DAC
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Using the Audio Note DAC strategy calls for a Resistor Ladder DAC architecture as opposed to the more common Delta-Sigma computer processing style DAC. Delta-Sigma DACs and R-2R resistor ladder DACs are quite different. Rather than using feedback loops and high frequency oversampling clocks to produce an 'approximation' of the digital data as Delta-Sigma types, an R-2R DAC will turn on each required bit in the digital 'word' and the exact amount of current will flow from the chip to reconstruct the analog waveform. The method is perfect in its simplicity and is reflected in the sound quality. Check out our article on R-2R vs Delta-Sigma DAC's here...

 
     
     
 

I/V transformers
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Our I/V transformers were specially designed by Audio Note Engineering to provide an affordable yet highly effective transformer for the DAC 2.1. I/V Transformers are used to maximize the energy transfer during the Current-to-Voltage phase of the conversion resulting in increased dynamics.

 
  Audio Note I/V Transformers  
     
 

6922 output board
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The 6922 output board has Takman non magnetic film resistors and Audio Note Tin Foil Capacitors. An efficient and effective line stage to compliment the digital and power supply sections of the DAC 2.1.

There are many 6922 tubes available, many being classic 50’s new old stock. The line stage sounds very undigital and has a lovely natural sound.

 
     
 

Tube rectified & tube regulated M2 power supply
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The M2 power supply in the DAC 4.1 is an enhanced PCB version of the original M2 power supply taken from Audio Note UK’s finished products line. It uses a mains transformer and choke combination with a 6X5 for tube rectification and an ECL82 for regulation. This latest version uses vertical heatsinks, Mundorf MLytic capacitors, Rubycon electrolytics and TAKMAN 1W resistors. In addition we have a dedicated digital power supply PCB to ensure the sensitive digital circuits are fed with a smooth and quiet power supply.

 
     
     
 

Finished Product
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You can order the DAC 2.1 as part of our FACTORY ASSEMBLED division for an extra 15% of the purchase price. Simply select the ‘FINISHED PRODUCT’ option in the shop section of the website.

 
     
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Specifications:

Output Tubes: 2 x 6922

Rectification Tube: ECL82

Rectifier Tube: 6X5

Inputs (any 2 switchable):
1. Standard 75 Ohm RCA (S/PDIF)
2. 110 Ohm AES/EBU
3. USB (optional board)

Output: Single Ended Stereo RCAs


Output level: 2.0V RMS both channels
Output impedance:
1.3 K

Width: 38.1 cm

Height: 14.6 cm

Depth: 40.6 cm

Weight: 11 Kilos

Chassis: 3mm Aluminum with Black Powder Coat

 

Parts Compliment includes:

2 x I/V Transformers
1Torriodal Digital Transformer
1Digital PCB (pre-assembled)
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TAKMAN 1W Resistors (power supply PCB)
1Takman Non Magnetic Metal Film Resistors
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Audio Note Tin /Mylar foil Caps*
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Elna Cerafine Bypass Caps (output PCB)
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Mundorf MLytic Caps in Power supply
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PTFE Silver Plated Hookup Wire
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Audio Note Silver RCA's

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*Enquire if you prefer Audio Note Copper caps

 

DAC 2.1

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Dac arrived at 7:00PM central time. I installed the tubes and listened for about an hour.
Oh my God! This thing straight out of the box with no warm up is amazing. I played a recording of the Bach Chaconne transcribed for piano by Helene Grimaud and it brought tears to my eyes.. If it gets better with breakin I don't know if I will be able to survive live music in my house. Just to let you know my system is Sony 5400es as transport AudioNote 2.1 DAC Shindo Auriges tube preamp Gilmore Raptor monoblocks, Maggie 3.6's. I also have analog but I may never listen to it again.
Thank you very much. You have made my life even more enjoyable.
Alan Hendler

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  audio note client review  
 

WOW!
I used to think of CD's as a second rate source that was fine for background music or in my car. I think I just changed my mind.
I just listened to Reference Recording's "Tempest" which was made from an analog master. First time a violin didn't sound harsh from a CD. I'm a believer and going to listen to some more CD's now.
Many thanks,
Bob

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  audio note client review  
 

Quite impressed with the performance at this point, sure it sounds new, but much better in new form/out of the box than I had expected! The presentation is quite liquid yet fast and with great detail. Humanism in voice already exceeds my Saturn. I'm looking forward to further burning in. I've got to try the USB side of things later in the week.
Its apparent that the construction is very solid and well designed as this unit is relatively simple to effect sufficient isolation to, first crack at isolation and the test, lifting the unit in hands while in play had little impact on the results. Just might be looking at an amplifier early in the new year....
Thank you and regards,
Bob

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  audio note client review  
  The end result is astonishing and a massive step up from my modified Beresford 7520. It's very similar in sound quality to how I remember the various demos of the factory built DAC 2.1x. Highly involving, dramatic, sonorous and bringing all the performers into the room with human presence. Gosh this is really where it's at."
Andrew Randle
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  audio note client review  
  A quick email to say that the L2.1 Sig is now fully built (with 75 Ohm Spdif connector) and...
...it is absolutely brilliant! :) Worked first time. Replacing my modified Beresford DAC, the AN DAC has really made a difference and now shows what my home designed amps and newly acquired AZ-Three (hempconed) loudspeakers can do. From what I can recall, it certainly sounds like the factory built 2.1 DAC:
Many thanks.
Andrew Randle
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  audio note client review  
  I am writing to share with you my continuing happiness with the DAC. I have recently purchased a tuner with coax digital output. In FM mode operating through the DAC kit 2-1 it sounds awesome!
Best wishes
Misha
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  audio note client review  
  I just want to tell you that I’m very satisfied of my DAC L2.1 w/ USB. I let it run for about 80 hours and now it is playing so perfectly.
The sound is smooth and natural with a lot of details. I am re-discovering my old albums.
Thanks!
Guy
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  audio note client review  
  Ah yes, the DAC is mellowing, more accurately, the sound is becoming more spacious as well as detailed. I love it and am enjoying playing many old CD's! Anyway, it has been fun and a challenge to build this excellent DAC. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and it tastes really good.
Misha Norland
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  audio note client review  
  Hi Brian,
I completed the DAC L2.1B today, used around 10 hours to complete! Now enjoy the music! One word to say, wonderful! Very musical and dynamic, powerful high and low frequency! I can't heard from my DIY TDA1543 DAC that I built before, also the low level dynamic is excellent! World class DAC! Highly recommend for everyone!
Thanks! Regards
Kenneth Lau
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  audio note client review  
  Amazing, when I first turned on the DAC I was really dissapointed, it was like looking through a tube in the audio sense. 5 hours later and I am blown away, it's like hearing my music collection for the first time.
What an awesome kit, thanks!
Mike Engledew
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  audio note client review  
  DAC L2.1 Level B is sounding fantastically well! The best source i've heared yet. "My kit is sounding just incredible right now."
Pierre Murray
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  audio note client review  
  ..."Using the USB connection causes no fatigue at all, you can listen for hours and hours. The sound quality of fine recorded Jazz and classical music is truly wonderful and organic sounding."...
Paul Lederberg
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  audio note client review  
  "Now that I've had some time living with the DAC L2.1B, I can say it is a terrific performer. It has the ability to get out of the way of the music and is very transparent in the sense that it conveys only what the source is feeding to it and doesn't seem to infer any of it's own personality to what is heard. This has become clear from using several different sources with it.
I'm really impressed with the 6922 output stage as well. It is really clean and clear, and homongenous as well , i.e. with no single attribute of the music being emphasized. Those EH 6922's are really well-balanced also, or is it just the character of the output stage that the brand of tube isn't critical?"
Frank Egan
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  audio note client review  
  ...ideally suited to the acoustic blues that I spend most of my listening time with...
...Of interest to the kit builder is the quality of components and support; Both are absolutely first rate and I would have no hesitation in recommending this kit to anyone else...
...Overall though, it's good fun to build and is very easy on the ears... Isn't that what it's all about? Ten out of Ten.
Jim Watson
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  audio note client review  
  My DAC is working wonderfully; I had noticed on my first 100 hours burn a big stretch on frequency levels. After 200 hours burn I experienced many of details coming true, The final tests revealed a fine tune on tonal balance.
Marcello Lasalvia
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  audio note client review  
  "The DAC L2.1 is ready! Worked with no problems from the beginning absolutly quite! Then I took him 1 day without interruption in electricity supply. The first aural impression has exceeded my expectations.
After 200h I will make an audio report. The Manual is very good and easy to use."
Many hours later...
"Unbelievably (from) a CD so much music. I understand the world no longer. I know many brands Conrad Johnson, Audio Research and many other expensive audio equipment. I have never heard music so natural, not from CDs!"
Heinz Gabriel
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  audio note client review  
  Hope everything is well with you and the kit business. I just got a used transport, a PS Audio Lambda, for my DAC L2.1 instead of my DVD player and it makes a world of difference. I just love this DAC, it has that analogue just-want-to-hear-more quality that is so hard to get in digital, even more than my old Sonic Frontiers cd player.
Peter Guarino
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  audio note client review  
  I've been 'burning in' the DAC all week, guess 170 hrs now, it sure is sweet. I REALLY like it , a lot, and am so glad I bought it and built it. Definitely worth the money, CD never sounded so smooth and life like. Have to admit I was a little skeptical, but I greatly prefer listening with the DAC
Randy Morgan, Atlanta
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  audio note client review  
  Firstly I am totally blown away by the Dac L2.1 kit, it has easily surpassed my expectations...
Adam Stanhope
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  audio note client review  
  The kit is brilliant - I finished it today and it all works extremely well.
It is early days but it does sound very good - extremely refined and detailed.
Kind regards and thank you for such a truly excellent product.
Adam Stanhope
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  audio note client review  
  I took delivery of the DAC L2.1 kit yesterday and got around to unpacking it. I must say that this is the most well organized kit I have encountered. I was shocked to see all the wire actually cut and twisted. Visual inspection of everything reveals it is of the highest quality. Thank you.
Charles Southwick
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  audio note client review  
  Brilliant! Just stunning. Fired up and working with all instruments naturally present and detailed and smooth.
Thanks so much for your help.
Richard Ca
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  audio note client review  
  The DAC went together very well. The manual is well though out, easy to read, and the pictures are a great tool for the beginner. The component and build quality are equally excellent. All in all a superb kit.
Michael B. Haener
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  audio note client review  
  I swear that I can hear passages of music that I have never heard before on some of my cd's, it's uncanny!
Brian Pyplacz
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  audio note client review  
  ...As for the sound, it's noticeably different from my Arcam CD player, which I am now using as a transport. I am struck by how much the bass has developed and tightened, and how the sound-stage has grown - resulting in my classical recordings sounding more balanced and realistic...
Mark Leece
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  audio note client review  
  ...Since I am not a techno head, I started off slowly and read the manual 5 times before I actually put the first screw through the chassis. The manual is an excellent document with colour photos and detailed explanations. I guess I had been a pain to Brian as I kept emailing him about all kinds of questions and uncertainties and he kept his promise by answering every single one of those “stupid questions”. Within 2 weeks, I had the kit completed and I can still remember the joy when it was first switched on. It worked the first time and the sound was just astonishing - so much more information coming out from the DAC and the sound stage now is much much open. I can say it's even 200% better than my friend's DAC 1.1 (in my opinion). It's probably one of the best investments I’ve made in my continual search for sonic improvements in the last tens years...
Jackson Hui, Australia
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  audio note client review  
  ...The result is really unbelievable. The sound is extremely homogeneous on the entire spectrum. The basses are deep enough and all the details which give live to music are present. The instruments are sounding as they are near you. You will be surprised by the realism without any exaggeration, the transparency, the dynamism and the perfect special localisation of the instruments. The natural sound of the DAC is very close to vinyl sound. I am convinced that this level of sound quality is very difficult or impossible to obtain with classical over sampling methods which introduce jitter and loose of information’s with their complicated filtering methods. You had to spend at least 3-4 times more to reach an equivalent result. I am now in the phase of discovering of all my old CDs and I have really the impression as they were new ones...
Rifat Gürsel, France
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  audio note client review  
  ...The soundstage is plenty wide and deep enough but what really comes through for me is the added space between instruments and vocalists. This allows the true details and nuances to be heard. What had always seemed to be unintelligable vocal passages now came clearly into focus. This also applies to the instrumentalists. One can hear more of the details and energy that they put into the performance. The dynamics are also surprising as one listens to oft heard recordings and gets stunned by how much dynamic range there really is. Part of this is due to the very low noise floor and "black" background that the music has as it's base.
This DAC allowed me to hear more layering in older jazz recordings which were sometimes recorded with bass and drums in one channel making it difficult to follow individual players. Try Bill Evans' "Live at the Village Vanguard" to get a sense of this. You should be able to hear the players at different depths of the stage instead of on top of one another...
...The overall sense that listening to this unit gives me is that the performers are not just performing, they are performing for you. I cannot count how many times I have been listening and have had an involuntary reaction in my gut to passages I have heard a hundred times before. There are some discs that have languished in my collection that have found new life with this unit. If you haven't found yourself listening to a CD from start to finish for a while, skipping all but your favorite cuts, give this DAC a try. It is not the music you are tired of, it may be the presentation of it. Just be sure that you don't have to get up early the next morning, it may be morning before you finally stop listening...
Tony Landry
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  audio note client review  
  ...After completing the kit, it worked the first time I plugged it in. That alone was amazing to me. But the sound was astounding. The single biggest improvement in sound I have ever experienced from a single component. My Spendor SP 100s have the imaging I always expected. Detail was far greater, tonality richer without being muddy.
There was an aspect beyond the specific description of the sound. It had a natural quality, harmonic. The dimensionality was unlike I have experienced before. Quite amazing – maybe I could have heard this much sooner if I had tripled my investment years before… I am a hopeless tinker but I have had no interest in modifying the DAC L2.1 (I purchased all the extras)...
Richard Rose - Glendale, CA
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  audio note client review  
  ...The Audio Note DAC Kit L2.1 is a world beater - even before it has fully broken in. It is, by far, the best digital that I have ever heard in my system and manages to pull out a huge amount of detail from those CD's as well as creating an extra sense of space and involvement within the music...
Paul Brookes - UK
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  audio note client review  
  ...I am very happy that I decided to get DAC L2.1. It is an excellent value as I feel it outperforms many other much more expensive "high -end" digital front-end products that I auditioned in the past couple of years. It is the product that I feel I can use and enjoy for a long time to come not only because of its performance but also because the kit offers many opportunities for DIY upgrade. When I feel that the sound can be improved, I can just upgrade to the next level with a minimal cost for the parts...
Isaku Higa
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audio note client review
 

I have finish the assembling of my DAC4.1 kit and I'm very satisfied of it. All what I anticipate from this kit meet all my expectations. The timbres, the soundstage, the drive, the bass have reach level I have never met with any others dacs I've listen to in the past.
I'm really happy of it!
Sylvian

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  audio note client review  
  The audionote Kits are awesome!
It is definitely the best quality kit I have built!
Jim Levinson
audio note customer quotes
  audio note client review  
  The DAC4.1 after another approx. 50 hours (summing approx. 100 hours), the sound has begun to be really superior of the one delivered by Sugden. It is a sound with very well defined soundstage, but also very aired, a sound with a very rich musical timbre, full of harmonics. Full of delicacy and refinement, but without losing its firmness and authority, when necessary.
It's my turn to congratulate you !!
Tudor Guta
audio note customer quotes
  audio note client review  
 

There is something musically magical about this DAC4.1, as I listen through my music collection I'm amazed of some nuances or subtle passages which were never revealed before now convincingly present. Never heard so many variations of cymbals or timbre as I do now.

The DAC really rewards musicians/album producers/sound engineers who put a lot of effort in the recorded material. On the flip side, a poor recording can drag your HiFi system to a mediocre stereo system.
With a little over 100 hours burn-in the DAC is still showing indications that it's still musically improving and based on the quality of the components I suspect this will be on-going till about 500-800 burn-in hours. I praise the Audionote Team for engineering this world class product and I'm proud to say I own one !!!
Bob Levesque

audio note customer quotes
  audio note client review  
 

The acoustics of the venue are so apparent - singers or instruments away from microphones sound real as the subtle details are provided with clarity,not lost in the louder sounds. Yes, the sound staging is superb plus all the other virtues that professional reviewers describe paragraph after paragraph. The DAC 4.1LE is very quiet and when my home is also quiet, I love to seize the opportunity to play music with broad dynamic range, so I don't have to strain to hear micro details when listening at reasonable levels of volume.
Mark Dyrbye

audio note customer quotes
  audio note client review  
  First impression: very detailed sound, very “musical” natural tones, nice sound stage and imaging.
Mark Verhoeven
audio note customer quotes
 
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