Prism Sound Callia headphone DAC preamplifier

Digital-to-analog converters
Prism Sound Callia

The interesting thing is there are so many studios using Prism Sound encoders, decoders, SADiE workstations, ProTools interfaces, and mastering devices that many of your recordings already have at least one device from the brand somewhere inthe recording chain. The Callia, goes the argument, is made by the company that knows precisely how music sounds in the studio, and that knowledge extends to the home. There is an obvious temptation to opt for recordings made through

Prism Sound encoders, but in fact that’s almost self-limiting, because people may make the assumption that there is some special link from encoder to decoder. This is simply not the case, so there is no special sifting of the music collection to find recordings that use Prism Sound equipment. However, it’s actually hard to find a modern recording that doesn’t use some form of Prism Sound electronics somewhere in the mix. So, the chances are some of the albums I played featured the company’s electronics somewhere.

This is genuine studio-grade equipment brought home. Callia is no rosetinted canter through your musical collection; it very much tells it like it is. And it’s surprising how many people – when faced with this kind of stark honesty – find themselves wanting something a little less honest. In particular, it seems some would like a sound with more warmth and a little more veiling. Personally though, the unvarnished truth is attractive, even if it comes with less magic glitter sprinkles. And the Prism Sound Callia is good at the unvarnished truth. This DAC gives an insight into the recording itself. You will hear into the mix, discovering the precision of panning, the amount of reverb, the position of microphones... and the limitations to that insight are more to do with the precision of the source and the quality of loudspeakers than the DAC itself. Callia is exceptionally detailed, with extremely precise leading edges. I seem to be on a loose drummer trip at the moment, but listening to thedifference between Ringo Starr’s playing on ‘All My Loving’ [With The Beatles, Parlophone 2009 Mono remaster] and Meg White playing ‘Seven Nation Army’ [Elephant, XL] is extremely easy to follow through the Callia – both have an ability to ‘occupy’ the record, but where Starr’s seemingly-effortless ‘windscreen wiper’ hi-hat is actually swampy and unique, White’s sloppy pounding away at the drum kit is easy to spot.

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