Today's audiophile lives surrounded by gadgets filled with ones and zeros, but getting them out and converted into a signal that sounds really great can get tricky. Not any more! Plunk down a Micro DAC next to any digital audio source, whether it's your computer at work or the SqueezeBox in the bedroom, and listen to the beautiful-sounding numbers fly by. Couple it with one of our Micro Amps, and enjoy a little stack of audiophile sweetness on your desk or nightstand. (And... if you're looking for some serious 1's and 0's magic, don't forget to check out Ultra Micro DAC.)
How it Works
The Micro DAC is simplicity itself to use: plug in your computer to the USB input, and/or other digital sources to the optical and coaxial S/PDIF inputs; select the desired source using the front panel switch and, voila', your carefully decoded and lusciously tasty analog signal appears on the rear panel line-out. From there you can take the line-out and plug it into another headphone amp, pre-amp, or integrated amp. Keep in mind the HeadRoom Micro DAC is a 'stand-alone', non-amped device and MUST be connected into a dedicated headphone amp stage for final amplification to headphones.
Cirrus Logic would scratch their collective head if they saw their flagship DAC tucked away in the tiny Micro DAC. The CS4398 is the best performing DAC chip in their line-up with numbers like 120dB dynamic range and -107dB THD+Noise. And it's not alone in there: the Micro DAC has independent power supply regulators for analog and digital sections; digital listening and decoding is done by the CS8416 digital receiver chip before passing numbers off to the DAC; a TI PCM2902 handles the computer USB to S/PDIF conversion before sending the number to the DAC (the analog outs of the 2902 aren't up to the task for this sweet DAC); local decoupling with ultra-low ESR polyphenylene-sulfide film capacitors is provided at each active analog stage; resistors are low-drift, low-noise, 0.1% metal film parts throughout; and a multi-layer circuit board holds it all together while keeping the signals apart. Hard to believe we fit all that in there!
For a photo of the Micro DAC circuit board and more information about the electronics take a look at our DAC Features Page here. *(Note: iPods, nor any other current hard-drive player, do not have a digital outputs! A headphone jack is an analog output, so the Micro DAC does not work with such players. You need an optical, coaxial, or USB output to use the Micro DAC.)
An external AC power-supply "wall-wart" is included with the Micro DAC. An upgraded international-use Astrodyne Power Supply is optionally available for audiophiles wanting to fully maximize the audio performance of the Micro DAC.
*The Micro DAC does NOT include any interconnect cabling. If using the optical digital input, you will need an optical cable, and if using coaxial digital input, you'll need a coaxial cable-- which can be found here. To hook up your Micro DAC to the Micro Amp, you will need a mini 1/8 to 1/8 cable. We recommend the Cardas 6 inch mini to mini cable. For additional cables and lengths, browse all of our cables. All HeadRoom Micro DACs are hand-built in Montana, USA.