With some carefully selected tweaks here and the removal of a couple of features you may not use there, the Audiolab Q-DAC delivers awesome processing of digital music but places it comfortably into most hi-fi users budget. Like it's larger stable mate the M-DAC it still holds some impressive features and employs a powerful Sabre 32-bit DAC to bring streaming or digital music to life with complete authority. The Q-DAC uses most of the important features of the award-winning M-DAC but loses the remote control, front selector dial, a smaller OLED display, two less digital inputs, XLR outputs and replaces the Sabre 32-bit DAC with the next model down. If you're using an entry to mid-level hi-fi then the Q-DAC becomes a far more suitable addition to your kit after shedding those features that would be somewhat frivolous on anything other than high-end kit. Not only is the Q-DAC a superb digital processor, but its ability to act as both an headphone amplifier and a digital pre-amp gives you so much flexibility for such little outlay. The 32-bit 192kHz ESS Sabre DAC handles full bit depth and extension to high-res audio files such as FLAC or Apple Lossless, and even draws out impressive vibrancy from washed out lower bit-rate files and streaming audio. A couple of finish options is available for the Audiolab Q-DAC; black or silver ensuring this superb DAC will grace almost any hi-fi rack.
Based on the award-winning M-DAC but at two-thirds the price, the Audiolab Q-DAC is hard to beat.
Every aspect of the Q-DAC's design has been optimised for the finest sound quality. At its heart is a 32-bit DAC from ESS Technology. This high resolution DAC ensures outstanding levels of detail and note definition. Attention has also been paid to all the other components used. Quality components and circuit boards are used to ensure you hear the most detail possible.
In addition to coaxial and optical digital inputs, the Q-DAC also features a USB interface. This asynchronous device controls your computer's audio output stage for lower levels of jitter and a purer sound. Supporting up to 24-bit/96kHz streaming, you'll be able to listen to music in 'better than CD' quality stored on your hard drive.
Digital pre-amp and built-in headphone stage
If you have active speakers or a power amp and no analogue sources, such as a record deck, then simply plug the Q-DAC straight in and adjust the input and volume to suit. Similarly, the headphone stage is higher quality than most built into integrated amps and is ideal for monitoring music, perhaps whilst sitting at your desk.
As we all prefer slightly different nuances of sound quality, the Q-DAC comes with Audiolab's selectable filter system. Select from seven different filters to find your ideal sound. What's more, the filters' software is fully upgradable via the USB port.
More than just a simple DAC, the Audiolab Q-DAC can be at the heart of your entire digital system.
- Technical Specifications
Colour Silver Warranty 1 year (local) Availability Available Product Type Amplifier (Headphone), Amplifier (Preamplifier), DAC (Digital-Analog Converter) Style/Type Desktop Features Line-in, Line-out, Optical Input, Optical Output DAC ESS Sabre 9016 Sampling / Bitrate 192kHz/32bit Frequency Response (Hz) 20Hz - 20kHz (±0.2dB) Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) <0.002% Input Connectivity Coaxial, Optical, USB Output Connectivity 6.35mm Stereo, TOSLINK Optical (SPDIF), Coaxial (SPDIF), RCA / Phono Microphone None
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