RMAF12: Blinded by the Light Harmonic

What do you want out of a digital-to-audio converter? A lot, apparently. Greedy bastards, the lot of you. For shame!

Gavin Fish and Larry Ho were on hand here at RMAF to demo the Light Harmonic Da Vinci DAC, shown this weekend in a slinky, see-through dress. Hubba hubba. Speaking of which, this DAC generally retails for $20k. What you get for that rather steep asking price is: 384k/32bit asynchronous USB, three-layer buffering, super-precision clocks, and a ultra-robust power supply that defies succinct explanation. It’s overbuilt, wickedly iconic, and totally kicks techo ass. Is it worth that price? Who the hell knows — all I know is the Light Harmonic rooms always sound pretty good.

There are some casework finish options for those so inclined. No, they have no impact sonically, but if you’re the kind to seek out a common aesthetic, well, now you have some recourse. Here’s what Gavin and Larry told me you can get:

  • Basic Black: $20k
  • Limited Silver: $22k
  • Premium Titanium: $23.5k
  • Signature Rose Gold: $25k
  • Naked (see through): currently NFS, but would be about $29k — if you must “have it”, inquire.

Also good to know — prices will be increasing at the end of the calendar year, so if you’ve got the inclination, it’s time to get in line.

Also, at CES, a new version will be unveiled, which should add a completely new DAC to the Da Vinci. That is, the ladder-DAC for PCM-type digital inputs will be supplemented by a separate, second, delta-sigma DAC to support native DSD streaming. Price for the double-DAC is targeted for $31k.

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  1. Do you know which delta sigma DAC it might be? Is it something custom or something from the usual suspects? I’d be curious which D-S chip a company like Light Harmonic would consider worthy enough to be in one of their DACs.

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