Other noted torture tests for digital – large scale orchestral, solo voice – came and went without a problem, and they were swiftly replaced by music that wasn’t just played to challenge the system, but for sheer enjoyment. There’s a bit of a left-brain/right-brain dichotomy in audio, and the Audiobyte Hydra.VOX/ZAP is so good because it’s one of those rare products that provides succour to both sides of the cerebellum equally. It has the analysis and detail of the DACs that focus on the numbers and technical specifications, and yet it has the deftness of touch and the wideness of soundstage found in valve equipment.
On their own, the Audiobyte Hydra.VOX and Hydra.ZAP make a cogent, refined and detailed sounding DAC that doesn’t do that hashy-shouty impressiveness that often passes for ‘high-end digital’… and I suspect that ‘best digital audio company you’ve never heard of’ title goes away very fast when the two-box Hydra is joined by the Hydra.HUB. If you are upgrading a CD player or streaming from a PC today, the Audiobyte system deserves a heavy listen. If you have a device with I2S output, this is a must-hear option.
Inputs: I2S LVDS (HDMI connector): all sample rates
S/PDIF coaxial: up to 192k / DSD64
USB: all sample rates
RCA single ended: 3.8V (peak)
XLR balanced: 3.8V (peak)
Headphone out: 9V (peak)
THD+N: -118 dB (0 dB)
S/N: -118 dB
Input: 110v or 220-240v AC
Outputs: 5V/2A fixed, 12-21V/ 0.5A Vdc adjustable, Vref supply
UK Distributor: Audiofreaks
Tel:+44(0)208 948 4153