The D100 stereo digital to analog converter is the sum of our quest for true audio fidelity. By...

Neko Audio D100 DAC

Average User Rating:
4.33333/5,
  • The D100 stereo digital to analog converter is the sum of our quest for true audio fidelity. By combining the highest quality components with a solid scientific foundation, the D100 produces music that is free of coloration and true to the source.

    Digital audio is processed by a Wolfson WM8804 which provides excellent jitter rejection. The signal is then fed to a pair of Burr-Brown PCM1794A chips operating in mono mode for the greatest dynamic range, highest signal-to-noise ratio, and complete channel separation.

    The majority of high-end audio DACs utilize an active analog output stage comprised of op-amps, feedback circuitry, and additional filters. In contrast the D100 output stage is entirely passive and consists of 0.1% resistors with Jensen JT-11-EMCF transformers—the output is a pure audio signal.

    The D100 Mk2 features new Jensen transformers that provide an additional 6dB of gain while maintaining the same sonic characteristic of the D100.

Recent User Reviews

  1. atsq17
    5.0/5,
    "Awesome when paired correctly"
    Pros - Natural Sound, Great Bass.
    Cons - Too much bass when paired with wrong equipment
    I will start this review by providing some background. I had just purchased a Beyerdynamic T1. I paired with a Bottlehead Crack I loaned off a friend and it sounded amazing except for one thing. There was too much treble energy and it hurt my ears. I tried burning it in and it only improved slightly. The other problem was a clear lack of bass impact. There was some midbass hit but low bass presence and body was severely lacking. I decided that the Beyerdynamic T1 was not for me and sold it. 
     
    Shortly after, I read a review on Headfonia that claimed that this Neko DAC (which I had never heard of) was a fantastic natural sounding unit with plenty of low end emphasis. It sounded like the perfect solution for the T1! It was a pity I read it after selling the T1. Anyway as fate would have it, I found a refurbished Neko unit for a fantastic price. I bought it without hesitation and then began rebuilding my set up. I was more careful this time and I actually bought another T1 and had it recabled by Whiplash Audio with their latest and greatest Hybrid V3 cable. 
     
    I had a Burson Soloist Amp at this time and I figured that since it did such a great job with my MrSpeakers Mad Dog 3.2 that it should be able to handle the now re-cabled T1 and the bassy Neko DAC. Unfortunately the Soloist has a very strong character of its own that it imparts regardless of DAC used. When I plugged in my T1 to this new setup, all I heard was the Burson Soloist. I switched out a few DACs and it was still the same. I decided to go back to the trusty Bottlehead Crack that my friend had and pair it with the Neko. What I heard was MAGIC. THIS was THE sound. 3D, wide, smooth, detailed, full-bodied, spacious, clearly imaged. Sparkle, yet with all the bass impact/body I wanted. I lacked nothing. 
     
    I of course then proceeded to buy my own Bottlehead Crack amp (had it upgraded with a better stepped attenuator and capacitors - thanks @Loquah), added an Audiophilleo 2 to increase detail retrieval and perfection got even better. 
     
    I'll come back to the Neko now and not make this a T1/Bottlehead Crack review. The point I was trying to make though was that equipment synergy is of utmost importance. 
     
    Pairing the Neko with a Burson Soloist did not yield the results I wanted with the T1, but it worked well with MrSpeakers Mad Dog 3.2. 
     
    When pairing the Crack with Neko and Fostex TH900, the sound was overly dominated by bass elements in the music. It sounded great but it was very imbalanced. 
    Burson Soloist with Neko and TH900 resulted in a weird unnatural disjointed sound that had bass impact that hit unnaturally hard, too much treble emphasis and everything else was not present enough. However, I found that it was mainly the fault of the Soloist as no DAC could make it work well with the TH900. 
    Even the mighty Bakoon HPA21 + Neko + TH900 resulted in music that was noticeably tilted towards the bassy end of the spectrum. 
    The only amp that could make the TH900 work with the Neko was strangely enough the RSA Intruder which is a very good and very neutral portable amp. That combo was strangely potent. 
     
    Anyway, this DAC has very unique qualities and anyone who has a good transparent amp and equipment they wish to inject a massive dose of natural bass-laden sound to neutralize over-excited treble, this is the DAC for you. Just make sure your headphones are good enough to bring out the best from the Neko and that your amp does not color the sound so much that the Neko cannot shine through. 
     
    I cannot recommend the re-cabled T1 + Crack + Neko combo enough. It's very special. 
  2. shellylh
    4.5/5,
    "Neko D100 DAC - a lovely DAC"
    Pros - Beautiful midrange, punchy bass
    Cons - Not the last word in detail
    I was lucky enough to have this DAC in my house for 2 weeks through Wes's loaner program.  I do not own the DAC.  I am also not much of a writer so I am going to keep this as short as possible. 
     
    My current desktop setup currently consists of a Macbook Pro -> Electrocompaniet ECD-1 DAC -> Headamp GS-1 -> HD800/JH13/HD650/PS500/Thunderpants.  I have been looking for a smallish desktop DAC to replace the rack sized Electrocompaniet ECD-1 that I have owned for a few years and which I have grown to love.  I was thrilled to get the chance to demo the Neko DAC.  Because of the short amount of time and my desire to see how it fit into my desktop setup, I only used it with the GS-1 and only directly compared it to the ECD-1.  I also own a PS Audio PWD MKI which is fairly new and is used in my main setup - with my KGSS, Woo Audio WA5LE, and Apex Peak/Volcano.  I never directly compared the Neko to the PWD.  
     

     
    I should also point out that I demoed this a month ago so I am going from memory and a few notes I jotted down.   Sorry for taking so long to write this Wes.  
     
    Let me first say that I thoroughly enjoyed the time with the Neko and if I had the extra money, I would probably buy the Neko and get rid of the ECD-1.  I could certainly see a time in the future when I do just this. 
     
    The things that stood out to me about the Neko was its beautiful midrange, natural tone, very smooth vocals, and a really damn fun punchy (but not too bloomy) bass!!!  It wasn't the last word in treble detail but that is not something that really bothers me too much.  The DAC was extremely musical, maybe more so than the ECD-1. The soundstage sounded deeper to me on the Neko than the ECD-1. Did I mention the punchy and fun bass?!  :)  I also love the simplicity of the Neko. 
     
    I didn't directly compare it to the PWD but don't think that I would choose it over the PWD.  Of course, the PWD costs quite a bit more and takes up a lot more real estate so that is not a very fair comparison.
     
    I had a great time with the Neko and would give it the slight nod over the ECD-1, especially with its compact size. It's definitely something I am going to think about when I get some excess cash.  Wes has something special here. 
     
     
  3. rocoa
    4.0/5,
    "NEKO AUDIO D100 DAC"
    Pros - Natural sound
    Hello,

    I live in Spain and I've tried the Neko D100 DAC recently (E.U. Loaner Program). Excuse me but as it is much easier for me to write in Spanish will comment on some impressions in this language.

    Lo he utilizado en mi sistema de altavoces y también en el de auriculares formado por preamplificador y power de Jeff Rowland, transporte Electrocompaniet EMC 1 y altavoces Avalon Arcus, todo ello alimentado por un Exactpower EP 15A y SP 15 A conectados a una línea eléctrica dedicada (además de Norodost Quantum y power strip Ryder). El cableado es Cardas Golden Reference y Cardas Clear, todos ellos XLR. Power cords Shunyata Anaconda y Phyton, Harmonic Technology Fantasy AC 10.....

    El equipamiento de auriculares ha sido el Leben 300 CS300 y Audeze LC2 y LC3, Sennheiser 800 y Beyerdynamics Tesla T1.

    Los DACs que utilizo habitualmente son el Berkeley DAC y el Benchmark DAC USB.
    El Neko D100 ha mostrado estar al nivel de los mencionados en muchos aspectos. Es curioso como muchos audiófilos, cuando nos referimos a las fuentes digitales, valoramos la percepción de las mismas por comparación con las fuentes analógicas. Cuando decimos, "suena a plato" solemos hacerlo como un halago. Y éste es el caso del Neko.

    Además de tener una excelente resolución y extensión en frecuencia, buen equilibrio tonal y dinámica, no he percibido la "digitis" que tanto nos desagrada a muchos aficionados.
    Podemos estar escuchando horas y horas nuestras grabaciones favoritas sin atisbo de fatiga auditiva.

    Si tuviera que definir su sonido en una sola palabra podría ser: NATURAL.
    Sin duda es una opción a tener muy en cuenta en su nivel de precio.

    Saludos
    Rodrigo

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