The recent CEDIA Expo show marked the arrival of two new “DAC/CD Transports"--the Aesthetix Romulus CD Player/DAC and the Simaudio Moon Evolution-Series 650 DAC/CD Transport.
Isn’t the term “DAC/CD Transport” just a fancy name for a CD player? In a sense it is, in that all CD player do incorporate both CD transports and DACs, but the name also signifies a shift in emphasis. With the new generation DAC/CD transports the intent is to provides a very high quality DAC with multiple, switch-selectable digital audio inputs (where at least one is geared to accept digital audio data from a computer), while also providing the ability to read/play traditional Red Book CDs.
Technical highlights for the Aesthetix Romulus CD Player/DAC ($6000) are as shown below:
· Three SP/DIF and two USB inputs
· AES/EBU, RCS/Coax, and Tosling standard SP/DIF inputs.
· Asynchronous transfer mode for USB input, licensed from Gordon Ranking/Wavelength Technologies.
· Asynchronous transfer mode allows for jitter levels over a hundred times lowere than previous USB solutions.
· USB capable of class 1 (24 bit/96kHz) operation and class 2 (24 bit/192kHz) operation.
· DSP-based digital section using Motorola DSP56362 for advanced digital filters.
· DAC section based on Burr-Brown PCM1792A.
· Analog section featuring four vacuum tubes in differential configuration.
· Gain section composed of one 12AX7 tube per channel.
· Output/buffer section componsed of one 6DJ8/6922 per channel.
· Zero global feedback.
· Balanced and single-ended outputs.
· Volume control (switched resistor design) allows direct drive of power amplifiers.
· Multiple stainless steel Faraday cages isolate critical digital, analog, and power supply sections.
· Two transformers, one for digital and one for analog circuits.
· Multiple regulated power supplies to isolate critical sections.
· CD Rom drive is a Teac drive specially designed for audio, Red Book only.
· CD ROM runs from master clock, located near the DAC. This eliminates the interference associated with multiple clocks.
Note that a DAC-only version of the Romulus, called the Aesthetix Pandora USB/SPDIF DAC will also be available ($5000). For more information, visit: www.musicalsurroundings.com
Simaudio provides the following description for its new Moon Evolution-Series 650 DAC/CD Transport (~$7000).