Audio Note UK DAC 2.1x Signature Review

Unexpected Pleasures I wanted to share a few notes about the Audio Note UK (website) DAC 2.1x Signature that Mr. Q sent along with the CDT-Two/II transport that I so greatly admired. The US price for the DAC2.1x Signature is $4,900. Like the transport, this DAC sits about mid-way through their “levels” of digital converter products. It includes the expected Audio Note “secret sauce” componentry, including Black Gate caps, Tantalum resistors, a choke-regulated and tube rectified power supply, as well as the separate mains transformer and a transformer-based digital input. It also includes a no-feedback tube-output stage. The AD1865N chip supports 24Bit/96KHz files (even though the chip is 18-bit), and in direct contravention to received wisdom, the DAC is “digital filter free”. In case it’s not obvious, this DAC is unabashedly un-modern — there are no inputs for USB or Ethernet (wired or wireless), and no “real” high-resolution support (the DAC will truncate down to 18 bits). It’s S/PDIF over RCA or AES/EBU over XLR or nothing. Call it: “use-case limited”. But if that use-case fits you, then Bob’s your Uncle. Generally speaking, the sound of this DAC is “warm” bordering on “romantic.” I suspect that other reviewers will prefer the terms “analog” … Continue reading Audio Note UK DAC 2.1x Signature Review