This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: 1TB iMac running OSX 10.6.7 with PureMusic 1.8 in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192 and Spatial compensation curves running inside PureMusic, Weiss DAC2, Burson Audio HA160D as DAC, Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold/Voltikus, Esoteric UX1/APL Hifi NWO-M, TotalDAC [on review]
Preamp/Integrated: Bent Audio Tap X, Esoteric C-03, ModWright LS-100
Amplifier: ModWright KWA-100SE, FirstWatt F5
Speakers: Mark+Daniel Fantasia S
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Entreq USB and Firewire cables
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The
listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review component retail: €668 pre VAT
"For the last 20 years we have been manufacturing electrostatic transducers and related electronics. We also design transducers and systems for non-destructive ultrasonic investigations. Based on this background we subsequently attempted to design a DAC which would not be based on the regular AKM, Burr Brown, TI, Crystal and Wolfson chips which are ubiquitous in consumer audio. Instead we wanted an ultra high-speed part such as you'd find in industrial applications. After many years of experimentation we finally identified an extremely fast chip that's useable for 16 or 24-bit audio but handles sampling rates up to 15 Megahertz. Of course some glue logic was required to match this chip to the standard audio formats. Due to the very low glitch energy of our resistor ladder network, we need no digital filter or oversampling.

"Our machines are very deliberately without frills. Paralleling four industrial DACs per channel with integral voltage outputs improves low-level information and noise floor for the digital data which enter via the receiver chip. Because our DAC chips are relatively expensive and usually only seen in fast data acquisition systems for industrial use, we kept functionality and cosmetics simple. We avoided multiple i/o ports and a hefty chassis to maintain instead an attractive price. One obvious advantage of our high-speed chips is that they exhibit excellent impulse response without the pre/post ringing so common in today's oversampling converters. To avoid mutual interference between digital and analog data we use a six-layer printed circuit board.

"After further developments we eventually asked certain reviewers for performance feedback since they had broad experience with standard audio converters across many different price points. They reported back that our €350 Quad DAC competes up to €2000. We have now managed to duplicate this unfair advantage with our Octave version. It sells for just shy of €700 but performs up to €5000. We ended up with a total of three production models, the Duo (one chip per channel), the Quad (2 chips per channel) and the Octave (4 chips per channel). It is hard for me to describe the performance of these machines in English but we already have a rave Dutch review. This prompted many sales in the Netherlands. Due to exposure in the international audio forums global sales inquiries have followed. Because of our unusual price-to-performance ratio and the uncommon core parts one does not usually come across in home audio, would you be interested in a review? For more information go here. Met vriendelijke groet - Cees Ruijtenberg, Acelec Engineering.