How to get truly great sound quality from a digital source
In order to do really good digital you need to do really good analog! I don’t care how many bits are used or samples per second – most manufacturers are obsessed with digital specs and don’t put much effort into all the analog circuitry that is involved in a top level DAC. Then again it’s the analog that our ears are listening to – everything in the digital domain must be converted to analog for our ears and brains to understand and this is a BIG part of the DAC. In order to enjoy digital music on a single ended 300B system for example, their are a number of factors in the architecture that we consider of utmost importance. Let’s look at our own Dac 4.1 to start.
First, in our opinion, this needs to be Non Oversampling Resistor Ladder Architecture (R-2R) in order to be true to the digital information residing on your disc. Second the digital to analog conversion section needs a superb power supply to provide exact DC voltages. We do this with our on-board DAC power supply and regulation board.
The small analog signal that is created on our DAC board uses a current output from the DAC chip along with a high quality Audio Note tantalum resistor to create the output voltage. This signal is then fed into a nickel core 1:1 transformer ( I/V transformer) that allows this signal to be replicated on the analog line board. The analogue board is a tube line stage with a transformer coupling associated with it. Our M2 power supply (which is both tube rectified and tube regulated) provides the HT voltage for this board.
The design of the output transformers using C-Cores is also critical to replicate all the frequencies required in the analog signal and be able to drive this signal to the next device in the chain – either an integrated amplifier or a pre-amplifier. This overall Audio Note design philosophy has made our DAC’s very popular amongst demanding audiophiles who want to hear ultimate in digital reproduction with no fatigue! Check out the DAC 4.1 and be prepared to enjoy your CD’s & digital music in an entirely new way.