Light Harmonic Introduces Da Vinci DAC

April 12, 2012

“Light Harmonic, a designer and manufacturer of advanced digital audio components, introduces the Da Vinci 384K USB Digital-to-Analog Converter, the world’s first bit-perfect 384K asynchronous USB 2.0 DAC, at the New York Audio and AV Show, beginning today at the Waldorf-Astoria New York.

Named for the famed Renaissance artist, architect and engineer, Da Vinci embodies superb digital artistry, ahead-of-its time product architecture, and precision engineering. It boasts a lifelike soundstage, exceptional clarity and detail, sparkling transparency, a best-in-class noise floor, a unique rotating chassis, and audio playback virtually indistinguishable from the best analog source.

Da Vinci is the product of thousands of hours of R&D by a dedicated team of designers and engineers from Germany, Norway and California, including an Industrial Designer whose portfolio includes Europe’s highly regarded Red Dot Design Award, a prestigious international product design prize.

Da Vinci provides the ultimate digital music playback experience, preserving the data stream in a pure, unaltered form. In achieving Bit-Perfect status, Da Vinci employs a non-upsampling, non-oversampling design free of negative feedback that scrupulously avoids the application of all digital signal processing to ensure the best possible music playback from users’ systems. However, Da Vinci is far from stripped-down. It is packed with unique and unconventional features designed to let listeners enjoy lush audio and lossless high-performance digital music. Among them are several patent-pending technologies, including:

• 384K/32Bit Asynchronous USB Input, capable of accepting genuine 384K/32Bit pulse code modulation (PCM) digital audio without artificial upsampling.
• Automatic LSB Correction, which corrects digital signals in their least significant bits (LSB) to make 100-percent accurate bit-perfect audio, while extending 16-bit signals to 24 bits or more.
• 3-L Buffering, in which Da Vinci employs a jitter-free, three-layer elastic buffer between the music source and digital sample conversion. The buffer can completely decouple speed fluctuations in the source, enabling Da Vinci to convert music samples using the most accurate core clocks.
• 3X Clocks — Three highly precise, -166dB phase-error clocks, one clock for 44.1K, 88.2K, 176.4K and 352.8K music sampling frequencies; one for 48K, 96K, 192K and 384K frequencies; and a third for the USB interface. Da Vinci selects each clock on the fly according to the sample rate of an input file.

Additional features include a sample rate up to 384kHz, a resolution up to 32 bits, dedicated digital power, and a proprietary Duet Engine that uses analog interpolation to double a file’s original sampling rate without digital upsampling, over-sampling, or noise shaping. The result: smoother high frequencies. A pure analog low-pass filter, instead of the more usual digital filter, automatically selects the corner frequency for each sample rate.

Da Vinci’s power supply, the cleanest possible, features three dedicated R-Core transformers (one for digital circuits, one for analog circuits, and one for conversions), six dedicated power circuits using the best capacitors available, and more than 40 super-shunt voltage regulators for digital interfaces, analog conversion, crystal clocks, (dual mono) analog output, and control circuits. Specially developed “nano noise” circuits power the digital clocks, and proprietary USB isolation circuits completely cut off any ground links between a music server source and Da Vinci.

A highly advanced two-piece chassis totally isolates the power circuitry. The upper module houses power for all AC-to-DC conversions, control functions, the display, and the clocks, while the base plate houses the digital and fully balanced analog circuits, and unique gear-shaped heat sinks that eliminate the need for a cooling fan. Remarkably, the top module can rotate independently of the base plate so the two can sit at 45-degree angles from each other.

The dramatic-looking chassis weights 61 lbs. and is constructed of CNC-milled, aerospace-grade aluminum blocks, which contribute exceptional thermal stability, RFI/EMI shielding, resonance control, and resistance to external vibrations. Special damping materials between the two modules minimize internal vibrations.

Da Vinci’s modular design employs six printed circuit boards, each of which represents a key functional unit of the DAC. This results in separate communication paths for each of the circuit boards, which improves signal performance by eliminating possible interference. It also allows for ease of maintenance and gives Da Vinci owners the option to upgrade to future features, preserving investments and extending the life of the product

Light Harmonic’s extraordinary Da Vinci 384K USB 2.0 DAC is available now at a suggested price of $20,000 (US MSRP). It can be seen in Room 1508 of the Waldorf-Astoria during the show.

About Light Harmonic

Based in Sacramento, California, Light Harmonic is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the digital music stream by developing new buffering and clocking technologies for its products, and committed to continue exceeding industry standards in its cutting-edge research and development. Its goal: audio reproduction that sounds “live.” Light Harmonic is also a participant in developing Direct-Stream Digital™ (DSD) technology, and a member of the audio industry’s DSD over PCM committee. DSD is an emerging technology that many leading digital and music industry experts regard as the next generation in high-definition audio playback, especially over USB connections, such as Da Vinci employs.

For further technical information, visit Light Harmonic’s website at http://www.lightharmonic.com.”

Source: Press Release