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We Love to Listen

Computer Audio Design

DAC 1543 II

1543 MKII DAC is optimised to work with a computer or audio server. There is one USB input and there is one set of unbalanced RCA outputs. Along with working with our own CAD Audio Transport (CAT) ...

Brand: Computer Audio Design
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£8,950.00

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1543 MKII DAC is optimised to work with a computer or audio server. There is one USB input and there is one set of unbalanced RCA outputs. Along with working with our own CAD Audio Transport (CAT) the 1543 MKII DAC is “Plug & Play” and will work with almost any audio server on the market, including: Innuos, Auralic, Melco, Aurender and Fidata. The CAD 1543 MKII DAC has used as few components as possible in the signal path. For that reason we do not offer additional inputs or outputs. The digital signals travel less than 1 cm from the USB board to the DAC chips. Due to there being only one input the digital signals do not pass through any switches. Digital signals run at extremely high frequency (MHz) and sound quality can be significantly reduced when switches are used in the digital domain.

Aimed at computer music listeners, the DAC aims to deliver the best possible results from hi-res music files.

Designed by Scott Berry, a self-confessed "vinyl junkie" with a career in electrical engineering in the US, the CAD 1543 DAC has extensive internal isolation, power supplies with dedicated mains conditioning and visco-elastic polymer feet for superior damping. The devil's in the detail.

Modular in design, the Computer Audio Design USB DAC allows for future upgrades and updates to be added over time.

DAC chips are isolated from the USB input

Computers do not have very good power supplies for audio equipment. But many DACs on the market make use of this power to drive the DAC. The 1543 MKII DAC has proprietary galvanic isolation from the connected computer. Galvanic Isolation means that no current from the computer flows into the DAC chips. The +5V connection inisde the USB cable is not used and is not necessary with the CAD 1543 MKII DAC.

Asynchronous USB input

With a normal USB (either synchronous or adaptive) input the data is sent by the computer using the computer’s clock. The DAC must extract the data when the computer sends it. A serious issue with this process relates to a type of digital distortion called jitter. Computers have high amounts of jitter and we believe jitter is a major cause of poor sound quality.

With Asynchronous USB input the DAC receives the data from the computer and then using its own clocks the data is sent on to the next stage in the DAC .

We use custom fixed frequency oscillators in our DAC. We supply these oscillators with power supplies that we have developed to achieve the best sound quality possible.

Power Supplies

One of the first questions we usually get about our DAC is “what chip do you use?” We agree that the DAC chip is very important, but most people do not realise is that the power supplies are at least as important! We have spent a huge part of our research on developing the power supplies for the 1534 MKII DAC. Our power supplies are our own design and unlike anything else on the market.

Non Over Sampling DAC

We are trying to reproduce a more natural “analog” sound that is typical of well-designed turntables. We are convinced that Non-Over-Sampling DACs achieve a more realistic natural musical experience.

R-2R resistor ladder DAC chip technology

CAD believes that sigma delta technology used in current DAC chips does not sound as natural as resistor ladder technology. The CAD 1543 MKII DAC is so-called because it uses sixteen vintage Philips TDA1543 chips, which undoubtedly contribute to its signature sound quality.



We use only the highest quality parts available

Our parts come from the finest manufacturers in the world. We work closely with small manufacturers in the UK, USA, Australia and Europe and have sourced the highest quality components available.

Acrylic Case

The 1543 MKII DAC case is made from laser cut 10mm thick acrylic. CAD does not use acrylic just to be different, it is actually vastly more complex and expensive to manufacture than aluminium or other metals. However acrylic has mechanical and electrical advantages that work extremely well with our design

Custom colours and finishes are available please contact us for more information.

Computer Audio Design

Computer Audio Design does one thing and does it well they produce DACs that are hand-built from the ground up and designed from a standpoint of working well with a computer. If you’re looking to get the most out of your digital music collection then you’re going to need a DAC which is up to the task, and that’s where Computer Audio Design can help. Founded by Scott Berry, the CAD DAC is aimed solely at computer music listeners who are looking to get the best from their systems. 

The CAD DAC takes a focused approach in that it only has one USB input as well as a single set of unbalanced RCA outputs in order to create as few components in the signal path as possible. As well as being designed for high-resolution digital music the CAD DAC features a modular design which allows for future upgrades and updates to help futureproof it. 

If you’re looking to get the best sound from computer audio sources then the CAD DAC is the automatic choice for you. View their latest DAC below and to find out more get in touch with our knowledgeable team today on 01865 790 879.