Audio Note DAC 0.1x
About Audio Note DAC’S
Like many listeners, Audio Note where unconvinced by conventional CD players. They found the sound chromium-plated, artificial and tiring. So they scratched theirs heads and concluded that conventional CD players were losing up to four-fifths of the data. Now they’re building machines that unearth those lost chords. The discovery is startling – it may mean we can all upgrade our music collection dramatically, without having to buy a single new disc!
“All normal CD players have error correction circuits which ‘sample’ sound backwards and forwards as the disc is played, and help paper over any cracks in the data. They slice and dice the input as they go, and then reconstitute the whole. The trouble is that this is like mincing a piece of beef: once you’ve done that, you can’t make a fillet steak out of it again. Basically sound is the same, it’s a continuum, and we discovered these circuits cause the loss of weak signals – subtle things like echoes, harmonics, spatial information, which are vital to natural reproduction. So we came up with our own approach, leaving the data raw, and unadulterated. We found that other conventional components were contributing to data loss too, so we replaced them with aerospace-grade materials applied in a new patented way”
The result has to be heard.
Try your favourite CD – one you think you know in every tiny detail – and be prepared to be astonished.
Suddenly a plucked bass appears from nowhere. Hey, who brought that snare drum in here? The sax has somehow acquired a far richer timbre, and the backing singers are no longer a flat wall of sound, but three distinct, mouth-sized humans. The whole thing sounds so alive, so tactile, so real.
Audio Note DAC 0.1x
The Audio Note DAC 0.1x is the replacement for the old Audio Note DAC Zero. Unlike the original Zero it uses the same non-oversampling / filtering approach as the AN DACs higher up the range.
The Audio Note DAC 0.1x is the first and currently the only unit in the Audio Note UK range to offer both coaxial 75 ohm SPDIF and USB inputs, selectable using a fascia-mounted switch. The DAC circuit is based around the well-regarded Phillips TDA1543 converter chip and employs 1x oversampling using Direct From Disc technology together with no digital filtering. The DAC 0.1x uses a valve output analogue stage with a 6111WA miniature dual triode, Beyschlag precision resistors and Audio Note tin foil capacitors.
This highly musical DAC is available with a face plate in either brushed aluminium or polished black acrylic to match other products in the Audio Note UK range.
Audio Note DAC 0.1X Reviews
“I just picked up the new Audio Note DAC 0.1x – it’s the replacement for the old Audio Note DAC Zero, notionally at the bottom of the range, but unlike the original Zero it uses the same non-oversampling/filtering approach as the AN DACs higher up the range. It does carry over the little WA6111 double triode in the output stage, but has additional niceties such as digital input transformer, choke regulation, and some rather nice big AN copper coupling capacitors which cost a few bob on their own.
Best of all it has USB input for all those streaming types out there – the first AN DAC to have this as standard. Its innards are certainly way above the old AN Zero DAC, for sure (which uniquely for AN was an oversampling design). DAC chip is the classic TDA 1543, implemented with no oversampling in the normal AN way. I can’t find any info on sample rate support but my suspicion is that it’s limited to 44kbit redbook – not an issue for me but I’m sure might be a show-stopper for hi res junkies.
Ah but the sound … for what it’s worth, the Young was formerly the best ever digital in my system (clearly beating past favourites like my Sugden Masterclass, Chord DAC64 and EAR Acute CD – also the EE Minimax DAC which has the 32bit Sabre DAC as used by Weiss, is tubed like the AN, and ran the Young a very close second when I had the two back to back a couple of months ago).
Now, with some decent run-in time, it’s the AN 0.1x that’s the winner for me. I have to say I now have the urge to hear the higher ups in the AN range, even if it’s hard to imagine, despite price tags drifting off into the stratosphere, that they could be all that much that much better than this little charmer .
Though I do wonder … talking to Peter Qvartrop, they have apparently put some new thinking in their latest mini DAC that they intend to feed further up the range (don’t know what precisely), so perhaps for now at least, it’s punching above its position in the hierarchy. At £1200 it seems fairly reasonable price-wise too.
Anyway if anyone is in the market for a DAC, and has the tube religion (or even if they don’t), the 0.1x is worth a listen – I’m sure the Young, Weiss etc will still win out for some not least on input features/hi res support, but there’s no doubt in my mind this little AN is a real cracker in terms of sound, and I’m surprised there’s not a whisper about it anywhere online. We are definitely living in a golden age of digital reproduction, spoiled for choice.-” CUSTOMER REVIEW
To read the full review of the Audio Note DAC 0.1x by a Customer click here