Audio Note DAC 3.1
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 3.1
1 model available;
Audio Note 3.1 balanced
The DAC 3.1 balanced comes in a full sized case. As the name suggests, it provides balanced XLR outputs as well as conventional single ended phono sockets. The balanced version has a more expressive, dynamic presentation giving the feeling of being one step closer to the musicians. The 3.1 Balanced puts an enormous smile on your face. It is naturally rich, smooth, refined and clear. While it gets better as you continue up the range, this is where a good number of ambitious music lovers will be happy to settle.
Audio Note DAC 3.1 Review
“I borrowed a burned-in Musical Fidelity 3D CD from a local dealer and contacted Audio Note to ask if I could try one of their balanced DACs at the same time. It is perhaps a measure of the degree of confidence that Audio Note owner Peter Qvortrup has in the rightness of his product that, with a balanced version still some months from production, he simply gave me the pre-production prototype to play with: “There it is. Put it in your car and take it away.” There was no faceplate, no lid – just a chassis with all boards and tubes exposed, wrapped up in a big plastic bag.
At home, back-to-back comparison was instructive. Playing first the Musical Fidelity, I heard all the effects that Sam Tellig, Michael Fremer and others in the audio press have raved about. There was indeed more presence and apparent fluidity than the straight over sampled output from my Meridian combo.
Frankly, I was not expecting the prototype Audio Note DAC to excite, but it simply blew the Musical Fidelity away, giving an organic, euphonic, open and astonishingly revealing presentation with pace, rhythm and timing that exposed the up sampled output from the Musical Fidelity box as (comparatively) confused, mechanical and harsh.
As it was, lidless and without a faceplate, the Audio Note had all the visual allure of a trashcan. But sonically it was a revelation. That’s how the Musical Fidelity player came to go back from whence it came, and I ended up buying a single-ended 3.1 Signature DAC (remember, no balanced version then in production) from Audio Note.
I lived with the 3.1 Signature from November last year until last week and it never failed to enliven our enjoyment of an eclectic mix of music from choral through chamber to be-bop and fusion. But I always intended to upgrade to the balanced version when it finally became available.”- by Kevin F