CAD 1543 USB DAC

Computer Audio Design, universal serial bus, digital to analogue converter. Enough TLAs already. Scott Berry, an American from London, demonstrated his dedicated USB converter to me and I am very impressed. It’s the least compromised computer oriented DAC that I’ve encountered, a state of affairs illustrated by the single USB input, single ended RCA phono only output and captive mains lead that are the only accoutrements on the back panel of a rather sexy matt black acrylic case. Inside things get even more hardcore, it has mains conditioning and a class A shunt regulated power supply that feeds a NOS (non oversampling) converter made up of 16 TDA1543 chips. You guessed it, this is a 16-bit DAC, a killer 16-bit DAC that can run at up to 192kHz.

Because of this dedication to the file streaming cause it sounds dramatically revealing, subtle and real. I didn’t get to enjoy it for long enough to get the full picture but for a few hours I heard more in familiar pieces than has been revealed in weeks with other components. Being handmade in the UK using parts sourced from Europe means that it’s not cheap, retail looks like being £6,900 which could mean more in reality, but it would be very interesting to put it next to some of the best in class. CAD has three UK dealers so far so if you’re serious about digital audio track one down and have a listen.