Our Paradox NDF16 DAC is the latest version of a very special digital to analogue conversion technology using 16 separate DAC chips.
Most DAC’s on the market today use digital filtering as part of their upsampling or oversampling technology. Unfortunatly digital filtering can blur the audio signal in the time domain resulting in a somewhat bland sound quality. Our NDF16 dac is able to implement oversampling without digital filtering. So we gain some of the benefits of oversampling, ie a more analogue output waveform, without loosing the benefits of NOS (non over sampling) used in some DAC’s.
By feeding 8 dac chips with the same non oversampled data (eg 48KHz sample rate and 16 bit amplitude resolution) but at precisely controlled time differences, when the audio output of the dac chips are summed together we effectively get a sample rate of 384 KHz and amplitude resolution of 19 bits. A further 8 dac chips are feed with inverted data so when when the + & - outputs (balanced) are combined together in the DAC or following AMP the amplitude resolution become 20 bit. Think of it as trying to push a pram up or down stairs, more difficult than using a ramp yes ?. Well the NDF16 DAC does something similar to the audio waveform making it much closer to a smooth wave to make life easier on amplifiers & speaker not to mention listeners ears. Of course it has not added any more information to the digital recording but it has reduced noise & distortion more so even than using 16 dac chips in a simple parallel configuration.
The NDF16 DAC accepts inputs from USB, phono, bnc, xl or optical. Great care has been taken to reduce jitter to very low levels from any of the inputs. This is particularly so with USB input which with many DAC’s results in high jitter, an asynchronous USB interface is used which means there are low jitter crystal controlled audio clocks in the DAC . Exceptional sound quality can be had without using high cost digital sources or digital cables.
High performance voltage regulators are implemented throughout the NDF16 feed from multiple torroidal mains transformers.
Audio output circuits are implemented with simple but non the less low noise & low distortion class A circuits to preserve the delicate audio signals. Integrated opamps are not used in the audio signal path. Only one capacitor is in the signal path and this is a high quality film component. The audio output stage is low impedence high current capable so driving high capacitance cables is no problem. It is impemented with DC servo control to keep DC on the output below 2mV so driving transpformer volume controls is no problem.
The DAC accepts 44, 48, 88 or 96K data which is automatically detected. Whilst the DAC chips only process 16 bit data the NDF16 will replay 24 bit data via all inputs. However this is best done via USB using computer software to convert the 24 bit data with dither to 16 bit. In our experience this sounds better than any 24 bit capable DAC we have built or evaluated. There are good arguments against 24/96 or 24/192 for domestic music replay here’s one click here
Anyway 44K or 48K 16bit is the most commonly available music format covering CD, digital radio/TV and wav/flac download and capable of giving an extremly high quality of music reproduction.
Future Proof ? - Who can say, but we do our best to make the Paradox NDF DAC’s as future proof as possible:-
- Future Hi-Rez formats are very unlikely, current hi-rez formats have already gone beyond what is needed for domestic music reproduction.
- The DAC is guaranteed indefinitly in unlikely event that a fault occurs.
- We don’t introduce new versions as a marketing technique, any further upgrades will only be offered if they improve sound or functionality.
- We use modular design with many circuit boards so that future developments can be installed in existing DAC’s. Even though this is more costly than a single circuit board design.
Outputs - RCA unbalanced stereo. True balanced output is a custom option.
Contols - Input selection - selected input is displayed on the 7 segment LED display.
Phase can be inverted 180 deg. Some recording give a better sound-stage with phase inverted.
Price is £2200 available September 2012, a demo DAC is available now.
Review by TNT-Audio
First customer feedback on having his NDF8 DAC upgraded to NDF16 :-
Just finished the first session since the upgrade and I am very pleased there is just more of everything, the sound seems more toe tapping than before, it is much easier to follow complex rhythms such as the interplay between a drummer and bass player, bass also sounds deeper to me and I am hearing stuff on familiar cd's that I hadn't before.
So a big thumbs up .