Old-School/New-Breed DAC from Italy

by The Audio Beat | November 28, 2013

he Aqua Acoustic Quality La Scala Mk II (4890) bridges the gap between older digital-to-analog converters meant for use with separate digital transports and newer ones connected primarily to computers. It's rife with design features that translate to better sound. These include the unit's lack of a digital filter, its discrete circuit that uses high-speed photocouplers for isolation between the digital stage and analog ground, a virtual-battery power supply, and the company's AQlink connection, which takes advantage of the IS protocol. The heart of the DAC is its four BurrBrown PCM1704K DACs in a true differential dual-mono configuration and a hybrid 12AT7-MOSFET direct-coupled, class-A, zero-feedback analog stage.

Inputs include the aforementioned AQlink IS, S/PDIF BNC, S/PDIF RCA, USB and optional AT&T glass fiber. All inputs will decode up to 24-bit/192kHz data, although AQlink tops out at 384kHz. Analog outputs are both single-ended RCAs and balanced XLRs.

Even the La Scala Mk II's chassis is meant to provide better sound. Its Nextel coating is said to be anti-resonant.

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