Audio Research DAC 9 digital converter

Digital-to-analog converters
Audio Research DAC 9
Audio Research DAC 9 digital converter

If you want to hear a convincing argument for the use of two separate DAC pathways for PCM and DSD, the DAC 9 makes it. The two pathways don’t sound materially different – both the digital design and the quality of the analogue output stage prevent that – but each brings its own advantages to the mix. A DSD cut of Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album of extremely dubious provenance gives a studio-like energy and dynamism that even a copy of the first pressing of the LP cannot replicate. Meanwhile, on the PCM side, transfers of well-recorded CDs and high-res downloads of similar quality deliver the goods in a similar effortlessly dynamic and detailed way.

Audio Research’s Foundation Series DAC 9 is the latest in a long line of digital products, in many cases each one better than the last. That tradition is continued in the DAC 9, as this is the best Audio Research digital product that the company has ever made. The combination of a detailed, dynamic, articulate, and accurate musical reproduction coupled with the sense of timbral, tonal, and temporal balance of the product itself makes it a firm Foundation for your music. Highly recommended!


Type: digital to analogue converter with valve output stage

Tube complement: 2× 6H30 dual triodes

Push buttons: Power, Menu, Option, Enter, Input, Mute

Inputs: USB 2.0. RCA, BNC, TOSlink S/PDIF. XLR AES/EBU, RS232, 12V trigger jack

Outputs: Stereo RCA and XLR

Rated outputs: 3.8V RMS Max Balanced; 1.9V max SE (@ 0dB input)

Output impedance: 500 Ohms balanced, 250 Ohms SE

Digital filter: Selectable Fast or Slow algorithms

Upsampling: All Inputs upsample to 384kHz (PCM only)

Digital precision (PCM): to 24bit, 384kHz (USB); to 24 bit, 192kHz (RCA, BNC, XLR), to 24 bit, 96kHz (TOSlink)

Digital precision (DSD): DSD, 2× DSD (USB only)

Frequency response: 20Hz–20kHz ±0.15dB;
6Hz–192kHz ±3dB

THD+N: Less than .002% at  2V RMS 1kHz (balanced output)

Signal to noise ratio: >114dB

IMD + noise: 0.001% (SMPTE ratio)

Channel separation: 107dB

Intrinsic jitter: <10pS

Noise: –103dB

Dimensions (W×H×D): 48 × 13.7 × 34.8cm

Weight: 6.3kg

Price: £7,498

Manufactured by: Audio Research Corporation


Distributed in the UK by: Absolute Sounds


Tel: +44(0)20 8971 39 

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