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The HeadRoom Ultra Desktop Balanced DAC [THE UDAC] is BACK!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

 

Hello Head-Fiers,

 

YAAAA!!!!  biggrin.gif

 

We are so very pleased to announce the "new" HeadRoom Ultra Desktop Balanced DAC is now available as 'Pre-Order' on our Headphone.com website. Initial availability will be slightly limited so feel free to place your Pre-Order now to get into the queu for our first new HeadRoom UDAC run, which should be shipping in about 10 business days:

 

 

 

http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/headroom-ultra-desktop-dac-udac.php

 

 

Truly, we're overjoyed that we can finally get our amazing HeadRoom Balanced Ultra DAC back on the market. Yep, the topology issues we encountered were lengthy and vexing, but huge cheers to our ol' audio engineer and good friend Joe W. for his exceptional R&D getting the UDAC sussed out and perfect. Big thanks must also be shouted out to our HeadRoom CEO Travis who never gave up on the UDAC and was always eager to listen to all of our "hey, how about if we try..." ideas floating around the lab. Many HeadRoomers never stopped loving and using the UDAC daily on our desktops & home systems, so we've been hearing lots of merry whistling in the HR hallways the past few days.

 

Hooray! tongue.gif 

 

jorge

HeadRoom Operations Manager



 

2011-02-03 1204 EST JUDE: Fixed link.

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post #2 of 29

great to hear. congrats on getting this straightened out,

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Driftwood View Post

great to hear. congrats on getting this straightened out,



Thanks Driftwood, much appreciated. beerchug.gif

 

Needless to say, we are totally stoked after all the trials, tribulations and near-misses we've experienced getting the UDAC & new ESS chipset to groove these past 10~11 months. Our audio engineer guru Joe W. finally got it, and we just completed (another) round of testing to ensure everything was indeed fool-proof... Sooo short of letting the HeadRoom Headphone Samurai run over it with the 4WD, the UDAC is 100% perfect! tongue.gif

 

Cheers,

 

jorge

HeadRoom Operations Manager

post #4 of 29

So which ESS chip did you guys end up with? Great news indeed.

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey Lil' Knight,

 

We went with the superb ESS 9018, specially tweaked, twiddled and programmed by your friends at HeadRoom, of course!  very_evil_smiley.gif

 

Woo-hoo!

 

 

Cheers,

 

jorge

HeadRoom Operations Manager

post #6 of 29
Good to hear that, Jorge. The ESS9018 is an excellent DAC for sure, from my own experience.
post #7 of 29

Awesome!

 

Joe W is a genius.

post #8 of 29

Fantastic news!!!!!  I absolutely love my original  ESS9008 UDAC and I was extremely disheartened when you pulled it off the market. What do you see as the major sonic improvements with this version of the UDAC?  Any chance I can upgrade my unit? biggrin.gif

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JorgeC View Post


Needless to say, we are totally stoked after all the trials, tribulations and near-misses we've experienced getting the UDAC & new ESS chipset to groove these past 10~11 months. Our audio engineer guru Joe W. finally got it, and we just completed (another) round of testing to ensure everything was indeed fool-proof... Sooo short of letting the HeadRoom Headphone Samurai run over it with the 4WD, the UDAC is 100% perfect! tongue.gif


Curious, at any point did you think about or try alternatives like the WM8741, AD1955, or something from AKM? I'm wondering because a few manufacturers have tried the ESS and ultimately passed on it for Wolfson or one of the others.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JorgeC View Post

Hey Lil' Knight,

 

We went with the superb ESS 9018, specially tweaked, twiddled and programmed by your friends at HeadRoom, of course!  very_evil_smiley.gif

 

Woo-hoo!

 

 

Cheers,

 

jorge

HeadRoom Operations Manager



I'd be very interested to know how you modified the chip itself.

post #11 of 29

Cool! The classic is back.beerchug.gif

 

I can;t seem to make out the upsampling rates or whatever they are on the front. Can someone help me out?

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeGoodman View Post

Cool! The classic is back.beerchug.gif

 

I can;t seem to make out the upsampling rates or whatever they are on the front. Can someone help me out?


Sure, I see:

44.1khz
48khz
96khz
192khz

Input Select has USB, Coax and Optical.

And "Filter Rolloff" has both Fast and Slow.

I wish I could afford something so nice (Never had a DAC before, but it's my next purchase, albeit something more in my price range :P) But maybe one day. Can't wait to read some reviews! smily_headphones1.gif
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

Curious, at any point did you think about or try alternatives like the WM8741, AD1955, or something from AKM? I'm wondering because a few manufacturers have tried the ESS and ultimately passed on it for Wolfson or one of the others.


Audio-GD did discontinue the ES9018 for a few reasons (mainly logistical) but have brought it back due to the number of people asking for it. I don't know of any other manufacturers discontinuing it. I have the ES9018 based Audio-GD NFB10 and it is a really revealing neutral chip. Goes well with the LCD-2. Its nice to see more ES9018 based products coming out.

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wulvy View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

Curious, at any point did you think about or try alternatives like the WM8741, AD1955, or something from AKM? I'm wondering because a few manufacturers have tried the ESS and ultimately passed on it for Wolfson or one of the others.


Audio-GD did discontinue the ES9018 for a few reasons (mainly logistical) but have brought it back due to the number of people asking for it. I don't know of any other manufacturers discontinuing it. I have the ES9018 based Audio-GD NFB10 and it is a really revealing neutral chip. Goes well with the LCD-2. Its nice to see more ES9018 based products coming out.


The one I was thinking of is the PS Perfect Wave, they said they tried the Sabre in it and thought the WM8741 sounded better - more musical. I'm curious about the AD1955 because it's used in the Berkeley, and Esoteric uses stacked AKM chips in their flagships.

post #15 of 29

Sorry, kind of a newb question: Is this DAC specially designed to work with a balanced amp, and will it only work with a balanced amp?

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