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The DAC2's unusually comprehensive feature set is one of its obvious selling points. While the back panel shows hardware connectivity [enlarge it for the big view], the software menu—navigated by the three front panel buttons 'down', 'up' and 'power' and accessed by simultaneously pressing all three buttons whilst the machine is in standby—adds a lot of otherwise invisible functionality.

This includes fixed or variable level per input plus settable minimum 0-40 and maximum 30-70 level windows; remote on/off; I²S justification; fast/slow roll-off; PCM bandwidth selection (infinite impulse response from <50, 50, 60 to 70kHz); and HT bypass with display dim. The 32-bit digital volume spans 70 steps programmed for different increments depending on position.

"When the minimum level for the corresponding input is set to 5, the maximum level will be 65.  Basically the min level is the amount of steps skipped in the first position.  When used, the min level is subtracted from the 70 possible steps total. With an inefficient system requiring a volume level of 12 to hear anything, a min level of 10 removes steps 1-10 and max equals 60. The volume table offers from 3db to 1dB steps as follows: 0 = mute; steps 1-9 = 3dB; steps 10-24 = 2dB; steps 25-70 = 1dB. In terms of output voltage on RCA when min is set to 0, 62 = 1V, 68 = 2V. For XLR, the 1, 2, 3 and 4V out equivalents are 56, 62, 65 and 68. These will be the values to use in fixed output mode when 70 max at 2.6/5.2V on RCA/XLR is too high for either the following preamp's input stage or a system's overall gain structure."

Via remote there's channel balance in ±15 steps, polarity inversion, volume and inputs, mute and HT. In playback mode, a quick push on the power button toggles between volume and input selection. The display shows signal lock, sample rate and level.

Under the hood sits a half-size analog mother board with piggy-backed digital board. The custom 24/192 USB transceiver wedges between these boards. Four capacitors add up to 115.000uF for 3-stage filtering. The power supply incorporates thirteen regulation points. Seven of those regulators supply the digital board.

Each digital input is isolated and loaded with a pulse transformer. Except for Toslink, all inputs pass 192kHz. "Because of limitations in optical transmission, only 96kHz has proven reliable. Some Toslink outputs may operate at 192kHz but this isn't guaranteed."

An installation disc with asynchronous USB2.0 drivers for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and Mac OS 10.4-6 is included (Windows files below).