The world’s finest dedicated USB digital-to-analogue convertor has been upgraded. Computer Audio Design has announced a refit to its unique CAD 1543 DAC, now using proprietary EMI/RFI reduction materials, improved DAC circuit boards, single-crystal UP-OCC internal wiring and refined power supply filtering, to create the CAD 1543 MKII DAC.
It retains the key technologies that contribute to a performance lifted far above normal expectations for digital audio, leading with the innovative use of prized vintage resistor-ladder DAC chipsets, and the daring removal of the standard digital interpolation filter.
CAD is one of a handful of digital audio companies offering resistor-ladder DAC technology, along with no oversampling and no filtering, which CAD believes offers a distinctively different sound than most digital audio products on the market today – a sound that is tangibly closer to the original performance.
DACs and ladders
The CAD 1543 MKII DAC takes its name from the application of an increasingly rare resistor-ladder convertor chip, the Philips TDA1543/N2, with its selected 16 devices now mounted on a revised four-layer circuit board. This new layout minimises intrinsic noise, optimising the chips’ specifications to now allow native conversion of 192 kHz PCM audio.
And where almost all conventional modern D-A convertors employ over-sampling techniques and a digital interpolation filter, the CAD DAC unashamedly adopts the non-oversampling (NOS) approach in order to protect precious timing resolution. With no filter to ring and smear the fundamental timing of impulsive data – the shape of natural music – the 1543 MKII brings to life both the subtle and macro dynamics of recorded sound.
The result is a total tonic to the usual time-deaf sound of digital, restoring the open and boundless soundstage of the finest analogues sources from reel-to-reel tape and vinyl replay.