Massdrop x Grace Design Standard DAC Balanced (SDAC-B)
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A Compact Balanced DAC That Can Hang With the Big Guys
Following the success of the Massdrop x Grace Design Standard DAC, we’re excited to release the much-requested balanced version. It’s the least-expensive small standalone balanced DAC on the market, designed to complement high-end balanced amplifiers like the Massdrop x THX AAA™ 789, the Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Liquid Carbon X, and more. Grace Design is known for its incredibly accurate, transparent gear, and this new DAC doesn’t disappoint. Based on the single-ended SDAC, it has the same objectivist-minded performance, USB bus-powered design, and simple plug-and-play operation. Plus, it boasts a number of advanced features and supports sample rates up to 384 kHz and DSD256 in USB 2.0 mode.
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Advanced Features
The SDAC-B is equipped with the AKM AK4452 digital-to-analog conversion chip from the same family as the one used in the m9XX DAC/amp, our first collaboration with Grace Design. On the back panel, you’ll find a balanced output, three-pin XLR outputs, and a coaxial SPDIF digital input, which will allow the DAC to interface with balanced amplifiers and single-ended amplifiers at the same time. The three-pin XLR outputs also give you the ability to connect to powered speakers and use software volume control. On past projects, the community has been vocal about wanting a USB-A connector, so we added one to the SDAC-B, too!
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About Grace Design
In Lyons, Colorado, near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Grace Design produces some of the most innovative, highly respected pro audio gear on the market. Brothers Michael and Eben Grace started the company 27 years ago, and today, their products can be found around the world, from home studios to the scoring stage at Skywalker Sound. They’re widely praised for delivering a combination of non-fatiguing performance, extremely detailed sound, and legendary reliability.
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Specs
  • Massdrop x Grace Design
  • Anodized aluminum chassis
  • USB bus-powered design
  • If using SPDIF only, requires external USB charger - 5V, 1amp wallwart (not supplied)
  • AKG AK4452 DAC chip
  • Latest-generation XMOS xCORE-200 USB processor
  • 0.5% precision thin metal film resistors in the signal path
  • No capacitors in the signal path
  • Audiophile components and design throughout
  • Coaxial connector for SPDIF (IEC-60958) audio input (transformer coupled and ground isolated)
  • SPDIF input decoding and clock recovery is done with AKM 4117 input receiver
  • Sample rates up to 192 kHz are supported
  • USB 2.0/1.0 input type-B
  • 3.5mm stereo line output jack (2.15VRMS)
  • 3-pin XLR balanced line output(4.3VRMS)
  • USB 1.0 connectivity: Driverless plug-and-play operation on Mac and Windows PCs, supports sample rates up to 96kHz with 24-bit precision
  • USB Audio Class 2 operation via toggle switch: Driverless operation on Mac OS and Windows 10, supports sample rates up to 384 kHz and DSD256
  • Dimensions, L x W x H: 3.9 x 4.1 x 1.2 in (100 x 104 x 30 mm)
  • Height with rubber feet: 1.4 in (34 mm)
  • Weight: 7.44 oz (210.8 g)
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Massdrop Link
Head-fi Showcase Page
 

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Drop is now live. I liked the original SDAC and will be also picking one of these up for my living room to feed some powered monitors from an HTPC.
 
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I just got the LCX+SDAC unit and I have to say that I'm seriously impressed with it! It's going to completely replace my Jot.
 
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Estimated shipping date is May 24th, 2019 (!!). I hope I don't move before it's delivered :thinking:
 
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not only a crazy extended shipping time the chip this uses i do not believe can do true balanced unless in wrong i believe this would be phase splitting. anyone have more input on this? i may pick one up to play with but i really wish it would have been the normal form factor they have been using for the lcx, cth etc im torn on this one.
 
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not only a crazy extended shipping time the chip this uses i do not believe can do true balanced unless in wrong i believe this would be phase splitting. anyone have more input on this? i may pick one up to play with but i really wish it would have been the normal form factor they have been using for the lcx, cth etc im torn on this one.
I don't know how many times I've joined and left this drop but ultimately I think I will roll the dice considering how good the regular SDAC was for the price. The lack of dual mono is of note, but as my first ever balanced DAC, I may leave the standard SDAC (I know...) In the livingroom and bring this one along with an SMSL SAP-9 to the office for the cheapest balanced desktop setup I could find. Must resist the call of the THX 789...
 
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posted by cee tee "Hello! We do have confirmation from AKM that there is one data stream from the modulator which is fed to the switched capacitor output filter acting as a phase splitter into balanced output."
 
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So, the SDAC-B is out in the wild now, right? I caught the open drop a couple days ago at random. We'll see how it goes with a Jotunheim and Little Dot when it gets here.
 
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If anyone feels like swapping for an SU-8 hit me up, The SU-8 is OTT for my needs at office.
 
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I was using a D10 for my LCX and now have a fully balanced setup using this. In fact I can adequately drive a T50RP in low gain whereas before with D10 it had to use high gain.

Is the gain that much better on balanced?
 
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Ken G

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I was using a D10 for my LCX and now have a fully balanced setup using this. In fact I can adequately drive a T50RP in low gain whereas before with D10 it had to use high gain.

Is the gain that much better on balanced?
I'm by no means and expert but I believe that the voltage on the DAC balanced XLR outs are usually twice as much (around 4vrms) as a DAC's unbalanced RCA outputs (2vrms). It shouldn't necessarily affect the sound quality (outside of ground loops) but maybe the volume.
 
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I'm by no means and expert but I believe that the voltage on the DAC balanced XLR outs are usually twice as much (around 4vrms) as a DAC's unbalanced RCA outputs (2vrms). It shouldn't necessarily affect the sound quality (outside of ground loops) but maybe the volume.
It seems louder to me, maybe the D10 has a low output?
 
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The D10 has a line level output of 2 VRMS.
While the SDAC Balanced has a line level output out of the XLR of 4.3VRMS.
 
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The D10 has a line level output of 2 VRMS.
While the SDAC Balanced has a line level output out of the XLR of 4.3VRMS.
It is very noticeable on my T50RP's.

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