Making the most of your Async USB audio DAC

If you want to make the most of your async audio DAC, put together a powerful computer which runs silently. You can leave out the graphics card which has no positive affect on the Music at all.
A PC running Windows 7 and JRiver Media Player will work just fine. You can tweak these further by adding a program such as JPlay which optimises the processes on the computer ensuring that priority threads are available for music playing.

Better still you can have the convenience of your smart phone as the remote control – this truly is so very handy to use. Not forgetting also the amazing amount of musical material for you to explore now that you are running from a Computer connected to the Internet. You don’t get a shabby performance from Spotify (though variable from track to track) – it certainly allows you to browse thousands of musical catalogues where you will get to hear music you enjoy that you never had the chance to explore so instantly before.

Its gets more complicated – but in short – the more processor and memory you have in your PC the better. It would not seem logical to worry about CPU power for just music making – but it affects the musical timing! If you can push through those musical bits with `muscle` then timing will improve – and timing makes a significant difference when it comes to toe-tapping musicality. Funnily enough, it also really enhances and solidifies the bass! Quality bass really does underpin the music!

Our Gold Note audio DACs respond well to this, they already sound superb as they are a truly asynchronous USB device – using XMOS technology along with NOS (no oversampling). Many strive to modify CD players so that they do not over-sample and just leave the bits alone without toying with them. Gold Note have realised this in their audio DAC range right the way down to their budget DAC-7 which you must listen to fully appreciate if you get the chance!

The DAC used in the Gold Note range is known as the ‘Miracle DAC’, which is in effect the AKM AK4396, using AKM’s multibit architecture for its modulator. Furthermore, according to Gold Note: “we are the only one on the market I know to have the USB Pin1 V-BUS 5Volt isolated using the proper power supply to avoid interferences with the audio signal” – however with the DAC-7 you need to add the external power supply to achieve this isolation.

No standard digital filters are used either, Gold Note uses an FIR implemented by themselves.
All Gold Note DACs are asynchronous and deploy high speed USB 2.0 which can handle any streaming up to 24bit resolution and 192KHz natively.

But overall there are a large number of reasons for why something sounds good. Asynchronous technology is one, but Latency is another even more important one.
The master clock of the converter works in the Gold Note designs at 27MHz, 24,576MHz and 16,934MHz. There are three separate master clocks using three different high precision oscillators with 7ppm precision to guarantee a very low jitter.

Anyway enough of the technical mumbo jumbo, some may be interested to know the underlying technology which may help to understand the value behind the product range, but all will want to appreciate the music – in the end I believe you should let your ears be the judge.
Contact me for more information – and auditions of course.

Stan Beresford Bushmaster DAC

Stan’s budget £179 super DAC is on dem and “a bit of a giant-killer” – if you’ll pardon an overworked phrase.

You’d need to spend £580 on the Gold Note DAC-7 to find a significant improvement and the Goldenote is best in its class – yes you heard right, better than the well-reviewed British brands…

 

Bushmaster DAC

Role Audio present some of the best sounds of the show

Role Audio recently presented the Sampans, Sampan FTLs, Skiffs and the new NSMT 100M at the Audio Axpona Show driven by Logitec Squeezebox Touch and Peachtree iNova. No bass traps, no props. They simply placed the speakers in the middle of one of the worst sounding rooms. Some people said the room was the best sound of the show, some said the room was among the best six, and some said the combinations Role Audio displayed were the best value at the show.

We have the fantastic Gold Note DAC7 and streamers from Blacknote that sing on the end of a Squeezebox Touch or a Computer using the Asynchronous USB implementation that Gold Note are proud of.

Come to us for an alternative to the Arcam rDAC, Musical Fidelity DAC, Rega DAC etc – find out what our Italian DACs are capable of!

 

Negative Colouration

Since the birth of CD it seems that there have been moves to justify its sound; emphasized two-dimensional leading edges, attack and dynamics achieved through forwardness and a lack of body.
In demonstrations, this type of sound initially impresses many customers because there is a feeling of more detail achieved by means of a stark, spotlit soundstage. Long term this type of synthetic sound doesn’t satisfy. Welcome to the ‘brave new world’ of dry, mind over heart hi-fi, stripped of tonal colour.

A counter-reaction to this was the re-emergence of some single-ended designs which are initially entertaining with honeyed tones but long term you feel that you are seeing things through rose-coloured spectacles and missing insight into the recording especially at the frequency extremes.
The new Croft range of amplifiers include the Series 7 and 7R power amps which are directly coupled to the speaker like an OTL, yet more user-friendly and universal in application.
The latest Croft pre-amps have greater `speed` than their predecessors due to a simpler circuit while still retaining the body, detail and a midrange to die for. They include a superb phono stage which when compared to the vast majority of non-valve outboard phono stages on the market, give a feeling of depth and body unlike the grey, metallic-sounding transistorised competitors. The fad for stepped attenuators has evolved into one for passive transformers such as the Music First. This too is stark, hyper–detailed, initially impressive but not musical unless used with overly-rich ancillaries.

Gold Note CD Players

The Gold Note range of CD players are free of the synthetic overtones of the majority of non-valve CD players while avoiding the veil that many valve CD players place in the signal path to appear `organic`. Some CD players have switchable valve/non valve outputs and multiple settings which allow you to account for the sound to yourself and others by saying