Press Release: Lightning is Now Shipping

May 23, 2013

side_500Audio Electronics by Cary Audio Lightning digital to analog converter (DAC) is NOW SHIPPING and is available for purchase through Audio Electronics by Cary Audio’s online store (, Audiogon, or Music Direct.

The Lightning DAC was designed to provide high-quality music reproduction from today’s digital sources. It uses Asynchronous Streamlength™ Class 2.0 USB audio technology* for streaming computer USB audio. This combined with coaxial and Toslink inputs up to 24 bit/192 kHz** resolution allows for various options to achieve the best in high performance sound.The Lightning DAC starts with a custom-built power transformer and a high-current power supply. We know the power supply section is responsible for much of the performance and sound quality, so we take a great deal of care to provide Faraday shielding to reduce noise, and fully regulate it for best response and power delivery. The audio output section, responsible for providing the actual musical signals, is based on proven Cary Audio designs for the best sound quality. It is buffered and features its own regulated power supply to isolate it from the digital section, operates in Class A, and is able to drive a wide variety of impedances to better match with other associated equipment.

The digital bitstream is handled by a new front end designed in conjunction with one of the industry’s acknowledged digital leaders. A Wolfson WM8805 chipset is used as the input receiver for the two SP/DIF digital audio inputs, as chosen by many of the finest DACs in the world. The XMOS USB chip does asynchronous processing of USB computer based music, stripping away the computer’s timing and replacing it with a much more accurate master clock for a more stable bitstream. It is able to handle multiple 24 bit/192kHz channels with extremely low latency, all at 500 MIPS.

Once the digital bitstream is managed it is sent to the digital to analog conversion section, comprised of two ESS Sabre ES9023 24/192 DAC chipsets. These circuits accurately recreate the analog musical signals and send them to the Audio Electronics buffered analog output stage, and then out the gold-plated RCA outputs to the audio system. All of these processes are designed to have no compromises in sound quality, and provide the very best musical reproduction in its price class.

Weight: 13 lbs.
Dimensions: 13.5″ L X 14″ W X 2.5″ H
Retail price: $1,295

About Audio Electronics by Cary Audio
A product line designed and manufactured by Cary Audio, Audio Electronics has a long history of delivering high-end performance products at very modest prices. The Audio Electronics products are built in the Cary Audio factory in North Carolina and proudly wear the Made in USA label. Visit for complete product specifications and additional information.