As more audiophiles migrate from CD-based systems to audio systems based on computer sources, they will find their new systems capable of higher resolution and higher fidelity music. To experience the best that digital audio has to offer, we recommend installing our new Da Vinci DAC as part of a computer-sourced system. Below are a few of the reasons why.
The Quality Goes In...
Even compared to a high-end CD Player, Da Vinci shines. One reason is advanced technology that includes such features as USB 2.0 asynchronous transmission and Light Harmonic's exclusive three-layer (3L) buffering system. Combined, they guarantee bit perfect playback with the least jitter.
...Before the Lights Turn On
Another reason is simplicity. Digital audio files are easier to use and manage than CDs. Da Vinci users do not need to maintain an endless CD collection that eats up time and space. Or search for misplaced CDs. Or find a favorite CD marred by scratches. Or even change discs. Gone are the confusing manuals describing playlist creation on home stereos. And digital audio files, unlike CD tracks, can't get scratched, misplaced or 'borrowed' by friends and never seen again. Enjoying music with Light Harmonic's Da Vinci-based system is as easy as ripping a CD or downloading a favorite song or album off the Internet.
Last of the Rings
Many DAC manufacturers spend a great deal of energy tweaking digital filters to minimize pre-ringing or post-ringing artifacts, or spurious signals. Generally speaking, pre-ringing brings a very unnatural feel to the way music sounds. It smears sharp audio transitions, or transients, earlier in time, meaning before the transition, while post-ringing smears transients later, after the transition. But truth be told, there is always be some degree of ringing before or after each musical note. Light Harmonic believes this is one of the biggest culprits behind the so-called 'shrill digital sound.'
That's why Da Vinci does not use digital filters or upsampling, contrary to the conventional approach taken by most DAC makers. Digital filters and upsampling degrade music's integrity. Even state-of-the-art digital minimum-phase filter algorithms offer no pre-ringing solutions, and leave the music they process full of post-ringing artifacts, which is unacceptable. With Da Vinci, no rings!
Da Vinci possesses a Duet Engine that can double the effective sampling rate without using upsampling, digital ﬁlters or other digital manipulations. Instead, the Engine applies analog interpolation to parallel output modules using highly precise clocks so that everything remains bit perfect: perfect input, perfect output.
The Duet Engine can be thought of as comparable to a two-cylinder combustion engine. Each cylinder works with the other to help double system performance and run more smoothly. Achieving this requires precise timing control over each cylinder's operation — which is where Light Harmonic's proprietary 3X clock technology comes in.
Da Vinci's Duet Engine is especially effective in processing Red-Book CD-Digital Audio ﬁles that use a 44.1-kHz sampling rate. The Duet Engine doubles the sampling rate to 88.2-kHz, a higher resolution that delivers smoother high frequencies and eliminates any need for a so-called brick-wall ﬁlter, which is a low-pass filter that suddenly and completely, rather than gradually and gently, cuts off all audio signals above or below a selected frequency. CD resolution, confined to 16-bit/44.1-kHz parameters, is simply no longer the best digital audio has to offer.
Whatever its virtues, every computer is also a high-frequency noise generator, and eradicating high-frequency noise consumes time and energy. Da Vinci's patent-pending USB ground isolation solution, which includes Light Harmonic's unique, non-optical, ultra-low jitter USB isolation module, solves this problem.
Da Vinci's USB interface connects to the noisy computer ground, but with the USB ground isolation module, the rest of system is completely separated. No power line, ground line or signal line directly connects them to the larger system. This guarantees Da Vinci the least amount of high-frequency noise introduced by a computer ground in the industry.
Da Vinci's isolation module is also ground-braking fast, as it's capable of operating at 480 million bits per second, the fastest of the three speeds — "low," "full" and "high" — authorized for the USB 2.0 standard. Other available isolation solutions run slower than 12M/bps in USB 2.0's "full" speed specification, or in USB 1.0.
64-Bit Digital Volume Control
Da Vinci's audio processing unit runs at a stunning 1000 million instructions per second (MIPS). It includes ultra-precise 64-bit gain control. Da Vinci will always get bit perfect music samples from its USB interface. When a music-serving computer changes the volume setting, Da Vinci takes over and calculates the digital gain. This is approximately 4.3 million times more precise than today's popular 32-bit solution.
A good 64-bit volume control, like Da Vinci's, enhances music's transparency, and better preserves its dynamics for more accurate, more engaging listening.