CES 2013: Light Harmonic Dual DAC, Source and Streamer — with Wilson, Pass and D’Agostino

Light Harmonic Da Vinci, as shown at RMAF 2012

We got the scoop back at RMAF about the new version of the Da Vinci DAC from Light Harmonic, now called the “Dual DAC”, so it was pretty cool to see it here at CES live and in the … ah … aluminum, as it were. As I noted back in October, pricing is set at $31k for the new single-box, dual-path circuitry that supports two entirely different decoders, one path optimized for PCM and one optimized for DSD. The styling, to my eye, looks indistinguishable from the “old” single-DAC Da Vinci. Not a bad thing as I really like the rotating top with the pulsing “running lights” that seem to throb in time with the music (it doesn’t, really, but it seems like it). There’s a variety of finishes available, up to and including a translucent acrylic, which is entirely bad-ass, especially when lit from below.

Joining the Da Vinci, which is still available as a single DAC version (prices start at $20k), is a pair of similarly contoured devices, shown here, flanking the big DAC. The Da Vinci Source and the Da Vinci Streamer will round out an all-Light Harmonic digital source chain. Both are pre-launch, so pricing and configuration is still TBD, but the Source was shown here with a Blu-Ray drive and oodles of storage. I was told that the shipping product can come with something like 10TB of RAID-protected file storage and that the “remote control” will actually be a pre-configured Apple iPad. The Streamer, a Bluetooth and Airplay-enabled box, can support 32bit files with up to 384kHz files pulled from Ethernet storage. More details as they’re available … but shipping for both new boxes is expected at the end of the second quarter of 2013.

Shown at CES with a D’Agostino stereo amp and a Pass Labs XP-20 preamp, playing into a pair of Wilson Audio Sasha loudspeakers, and a Transparent Audio Power Isolator. Cabling came from Transparent as well.


  1. Certainly those Davinci Dacs are beautiful to look at and those enclosures add dearly to the cost.
    In terms of sound quality I would encourage you to listen to the Antelope products. They are completely neutral sounding. We were in room 29-121 at CES and demonstrated the near impossible task of being able to hear the effect of the Antelope A to D and D to A on the sound of our Townshend Rock 7 Table with EAR 834 P phono stage with Ortofon Cartridge. The very same DAC circuitry is in the Antelope Zodiac Silver at less than $2000. Perhaps Scott was in our room for a listen?

  2. In all fairness, the current edge of any manufacturer’s line lies in prototypes, which are inevitably more expensive to make. And many audio manufacturers are, essentially, boutique or cottage industries; they can’t benefit from economies of scale. Finally, in Scot’s defense I must say that he reviews a lot of affordable gear (more than other media outlets in the industry). In fact, his review of the affordable and excellent Red Wine Audio Signature 15 integrated led me to buy one.

  3. The prices for these components are for the “criminal” few that suck our economies dry. I don’t appreciate you indulging so much into these matters. There are so many other interesting developments in audio that are interesting for music enthousiasts that aren’t that well to do. Go after them …

    • I’m going to respectfully disagree, but suggest also that pricing comes at a variety of levels. Though, I have to agree with Art Dudley on this (which is odd), and note that there is an odd overweighting in the $20,000 price point.

    • It’s a bit disconcerting to see the prices associated with this type of gear, while you do have others (a whole lot of others) who are economically suffering. (I’m not “suffering” per se, but FRN challenged ! LOL) It has been and will to some extent always be a cultural situation that exists w/ the have’s and have not’s. The funny thing is; with high end audio, it seems ‘it’ (the subject/concept) isn’t as entertaining w/ gear that is attainable by the ‘masses!?’ Go figure? Same with automobiles, clothing, watches, whatever! I guess that is why there are the worlds of Consumer Reports vs the Rob Report … the moderator writes about what is in his sphere of interests. If it resonates with one [‘us’]; then we come here to read about and/or dream about this stuff. So it goes … I personally would like to get more commentary on the PTE speakers (@$5700 pr) from other than the scant coverage and reviews on them! … Just to get some perspective and consensus (maybe?) in comparison to something like the Escalon’s for instance. I … love the speakers and if the stars align, perhaps some time this year, they may become a reality. But, I digress, I am sure there will be some coverage of gear for those of us who are currently economically challenged. Take heart, my friend …

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