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ANK Audiokits DAC 4.1 Limited Edition
Transformer Coupled Non Oversampling Digital-to-Analog Converter

“ The big difference between Sigma-Delta Dacs and the R-2R resistor ladder DAC is that rather than having feedback loops and high frequency oversampling clocks to produce an approximation of the digital data, the 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 this is reflected in the sound quality  Check out our article on R-2R vs Sigma Delta DAC's here.

Audio Note DAC 4.1

 

ANK Audiokits DAC 4.1 Limited Edition is our supreme Digital to Analog offering. For the ultimate in Digital reproduction the DAC 4.1 offers velvet smooth operation with no digital artifacts or treble edge. Our pure Resistor Ladder DAC architecture hardwires digital information directly to output voltage, and with the new Triple C-Core Transformers on the output stage digital reproduction has never sounded so good!

The latest version of the DAC 4.1 LE boasts numerous features as our top of the line DIY DAC and supports up to 24/96khz sampling and data widths. The DAC is based on the Resistor Ladder DAC (R-2R) pure Digital to Analog conversion method ( see white paper on R-2R vs Sigma Delta DAC's) and has the M2 Tube Rectified and Regulated power supply for ultimate smoothness.

The discrete Digital Power Supply powers the Non Oversampling Digital To Analog conversion section populated with ELNA Silmic Capacitors and Audio Note Tantalum Resistors in the IV conversion chain. Our Nickel Core IV Transformers partition the digital from the analog section and the TUBED analog output stage drives our new Triple C-Core Output Transformers.

And to complete the pure digital to analogue design of the DAC 4.1 the digital board has No Analog Filtering (analog filtering has been totally removed). We have found having Analog Filtering in the signal path has a marked detrimental effect on sound quailty.

If you are looking for Digital sound reproduction with no digital artifacts and smooth as velvet output with no fatigue then the DAC 4.1 LE is the kit for
you! The features are numerous:


We have recently written a report titled Understanding How DACs Work. The article explaines the architecture of Ladder type Dac chips
(which we use in our DACs) and the more common Delta-Sigma type DAC chips and how these can have a negative impact on sound quality.

If you are unsure about what a DAC is or its role in your hi-fi system see our explanation here.


DAC4.1
The image above shows the M2 Tube Regulated & Rectified Power Supply with mounted Heat Sinks.
The huge Triple C-Core Output Transformers are at the front of the chassis.
DAC4.1
Here you can see the Digital to Analog conversion section with the Dual Torrodial Transformer input into the DAC board and the CS8414 24/96 receiver chip. In front of this board are the 2 x IV Transformers with Nickel Cores followed by the high gain 5687 Line Stage with Audio Note 1W Tantalum Resistors. This is then followed by the C-Core Output Transformers
DAC4.1

General Specification

Available Inputs Switchable between any two inputs from the following three choices:
  • Standard 75-ohm RCA (S/PDIF)
  • 110-ohm AES/EBU Balanced (XLR)
  • USB
Available Outputs Single-ended stereo outputs via Left/Right RCA or Balanced XLR
Output Impedance 13 Ohms
Output Level 2.5V RMS both channels
Chassis Dimensions 15" wide, 16" back to front, 5.75" height including height from floor

Pricing and Configuration

DAC 4.1 LE Kit $3,100

The DAC 4.1 LE Kit from AudioNoteKits includes the following:
Pre-assembled Digital DAC board with dual toroidal input transformers
I/V Transformers between the digital and analog sections
Upgraded Digital Power Supply
PTFE wire (silver plated copper)
Hard-wired or PCB version of 5687 Line Board with with Tantalum resistors, Copper film capacitors and Elna cerafines
C-Core Output Transformers

 

If you would like to purchase the DAC 4.1 LE please follow the SHOP navigation button at the top of this page
or contact us if you have any questions.

 

General Support

We have included a 1KHz test tone WAV file here that may be useful when you are building your DAC Kit. It allows you to feed the signal into your DAC so that test voltages can be measured.

Click here to play the file.

To download the file to your computer, right-click on the link and select 'Save Target As...' (Internet Explorer) or 'Save Link As...' (Firefox) from the pop-up menu.

We provide easy to follow, step-by-step wiring instructions with the manual.

Check out the detailed wiring Guide for the DAC Kit 3.1/4.1 by clicking on the wiring image on the right.

What customers are saying about the DAC 4.1 Kit

Hi Brian,

I finally finished the DAC 4.1 LE and installed it Friday evening. After the initial test CD check all looked OK so I connected the balanced outputs to my preamp. All Right! Music is coming out of my speakers on the first try. Then I struggled to come up with words to describe the quality of that music. I have been at this "hobby" for about 30 years and can honestly say I have never experienced an improvement this profound. I simply didn't know that digital playback could sound like this. I've been chasing the elusive perfect sound and found vinyl playback to offer the most engaging balance of qualities... until now.

Don't get me wrong. I won't be selling my turntable any time soon, but Redbook CD has no business sounding this good. If this DAC actually gets better as it burns in I can't imagine being any happier with the sound. It is so close to perfect now; sweet and musical, but not soft or euphonic. I'm literally hearing lots of detail that was absent before. It truly is like hearing the music for the first time. It's that different. Another reviewer mentioned that you should not listen to an Audio Note DAC if you can't afford to own one. I couldn't agree more.

Don't torture yourself.

Kurt


The audionote Kits are awesome!

It is definitely the best quality kit I have built!

Jim Levinson


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


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


..."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


If anyone is thinking about making one of these kits and are wondering about the finished items sound quality, GO BUY IT, It is superb!

I have never heard such good digital replay ever before. It will take time to burn in and you will wonder what you have done as after a while it does not sound good. Do not be alarmed, it is burning in. Mine has been switched on permanently ever since built and I would say that it is coming on song now. No listener fatigue, powerful bass that you will feel and hear, sweet detailed treble that will tell you all about the recording venue and the midrange for vocal communication and image placement available for the most critical listeners. Do not listen to one if you cannot buy it, it is that good. Happy listening,

Alex


First impression: very detailed sound, very “musical” natural tones, nice sound stage and imaging.

Mark Verhoeven


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