Computer Audio Design 1543 DAC MKII
The CAD 1543 MKII DAC is optimized to work with a computer or audio server. There is one USB input and there is one set of unbalanced RCA outputs. Sound quality is where this DAC wins.
CAD has used as few components as possible in the signal path. For that reason we do not offer additional inputs or outputs. The digital signals travel less than 1 cm from the USB board to the DAC chips. Due to there being only one input the digital signals do not pass through any switches. Digital signals run at extremely high frequency (MHz) and sound quality can be significantly reduced when switches are used in the digital domain.
DAC chips are isolated from the USB input
Computers do not have very good power supplies for audio equipment. But many DACs on the market make use of this power to drive the DAC. The 1543 MKII DAC has proprietary galvanic isolation from the connected computer. Galvanic Isolation means that no current from the computer flows into the DAC chips.
Asynchronous USB input
With a normal USB (either synchronous or adaptive) input the data is sent by the computer using the computer’s clock. The DAC must extract the data when the computer sends it. A serious issue with this process relates to a type of digital distortion called jitter. Computers have high amounts of jitter and we believe jitter is a major cause of poor sound quality.
With Asynchronous USB input the DAC receives the data from the computer and then using its own clocks the data is sent on to the next stage in the DAC .
We use custom fixed frequency oscillators in our DAC. We supply these oscillators with power supplies that we have developed to achieve the best sound quality possible.
One of the first questions we usually get about our DAC is “what chip do you use?” We agree that the DAC chip is very important, but most people do not realise is that the power supplies are at least as important! We have spent a huge part of our research on developing the power supplies for teh 1534 MKII DAC. Our power supplies are our own design and unlike anything else on the market.
Non Over Sampling DAC
We are trying to reproduce a more natural “analog” sound that is typical of well-designed turntables. We are convinced that Non-Over-Sampling DACs achieve a more realistic natural musical experience.
R-2R resistor ladder DAC chip technology
CAD believes that sigma delta technology used in current DAC chips does not sound as natural as resistor ladder technology. The CAD 1543 MKII DAC is so-called because it uses sixteen vintage Philips TDA1543 chips, which undoubtedly contribute to its signature sound quality.
We use only the highest quality parts available
Our parts come from the finest manufacturers in the world. We work closely with small manufacturers in the UK, USA, Australia and Europe and have sourced the highest quality components available.
The 1543 MKII DAC case is made from laser cut 10mm thick acrylic. CAD does not use acrylic just to be different, it is actually vastly more complex and expensive to manufacture than aluminium or other metals. However acrylic has mechanical and electrical advantages that work extremely well with our design
Custom colours and finishes are available please contact us for more information.