Audio Research Begins Shipping Foundation Series DAC9

Digital-to-analog converters
Audio Research Begins Shipping Foundation Series DAC9

The following is a press release issued by Audio Research.

November 9, 2016 - Audio Research is pleased to announce the DAC9 has begun shipping from its Minneapolis, Minnesota manufacturing plant.

The new DAC9 is the digital product consumers and dealers have been demanding from Audio Research: a straightforward DAC with a vacuum-tube analog section and the latest digital design, capable of decoding DSD music files, upsampling to 384kHz, with the ability to accommodate multiple digital inputs.

DAC9 design features include:

  • Native DSD file decoding: Converts DSD files to a true Direct-Stream-Digital signal running at 2.8224 MHz or 5.6448 MHz. DSD-to-PCM file conversion is not necessary. ARC designed two distinct digital paths to the DAC9’s D-A converters: One path for PCM music files from 44.1kHz to 384kHz sample rates; the other separate path is for serial DSD music files at 1x and 2x DSD clock rates. (The DAC9 will also play DoP files if desired.)
  • Quad D-A converters: Each channel uses dual stereo DACs running in mono to increase dynamic range and lower the noise floor. Audio Research pioneered this approach—almost all other manufacturers use only one stereo (or two mono) DACs.
  • The DAC9 uses two different TCXO crystal Master oscillators, one for 44.1-88.2-176.4-352.8 sampling rates, the other for 48-96-192-384kHz sample rates; this assures proper integer decoding so there are no interpolation distortion errors that would degrade sonic purity. The proper time clock is selected automatically.
  • Native sample rate upsampling is available for all inputs, up to 352.8kHz for 384kHz for non-DSD (PCM) music files.
  • Selectable digital filters are available, with both Fast and Slow roll-off, so the user can customize according to personal taste.
  • Reference Recordings DVD-R HRx recordings are compatible.
  • Four galvanically-isolated inputs include RCA, AES/EBU (XLR), BNC and Toslink to assure no ground loops.
  • The zero-feedback, pure Class-A analog section features two high performance, long-life 6H30 vacuum-tubes directly coupled to the D-A converters, with no capacitive coupling to diminish low-frequency response at this critical point.
  • The DAC9 is a fully balanced design, with both XLR (balanced) and RCA (single-ended) analog outputs.
  • 8 very low noise, low voltage regulators are used in the digital section, with a low noise, high voltage regulator for the vacuum-tube analog section.

The DAC9 is the most technologically advanced digital product ever developed by Audio Research, and represents a sonic breakthrough in digital-to-analog music reproduction.

The US Retail price is $7,500.00 in natural anodized silver or anodized black finish.

About Audio Research
Audio Research is one of the oldest continually operating manufacturers in American audio. The company was founded in 1970 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with one goal in mind: to advance the state-of-the-art in music reproduction. Today, Audio Research remains a performance-oriented company by philosophy and design. New product introductions are driven only by genuine advances in technology and performance -- the HIGH DEFINITION that is the hallmark of the company's products. The company has grown steadily over the last 40 years, with a network of top audio specialist retailers across North America and distributors throughout Europe, Asia and South America. The company occupies a 48,000 square-foot, technically-advanced production plant and administrative headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota, where approximately 50 technical, assembly and support staff guide the product line from concept to finished goods.

Audio Research was instrumental in refocusing the audio industry on designing products for musical performance, and not merely for the sake of new technology or mass-market pricing. Audio Research was founded by William Z. Johnson, who began designing custom audio electronics in the early 1950's and who also operated a specialty audio retail store until the mid-1960's. Johnson's efforts almost single-handedly revived vacuum-tube designs at a time when major industry manufacturers had abandoned this technology in favor of low-cost solid-state devices which were markedly inferior in terms of musical accuracy, a fact widely acknowledged today. Many industry observers consider Johnson one of the true originators of the entire concept of "high-end" audio as it exists today -- an area of technological expertise in which American companies remain the clear innovators and leaders on a global scale.