The Longdog VDT1 (£3,650) may look like A.N. other DAC but under the subdued, precision casework lies a veritable humdinger of a converter. I won’t go into much detail as the full review is destined for another publication, but this is such an enjoyable, entertaining and downright musical piece of kit that I couldn’t keep completely quiet.
The VDT1 is a valve DAC with coax and USB inputs on very high quality sockets and analogue output on RCA phonos of the same ilk. I mostly used the coax input with a streamer and a CD player and in both instances had considerable difficulty turning the music off. It has the musical agility of tubes with very little of the rosy glow that they tend to add to the result, but the sound is nonetheless abundant with vibrancy and freshness. Something is either being found in the signal that others miss or the tubes are adding a soupçon of joy to the proceedings. Either way it works so well that I would rather listen to this converter than most. The coax seems to sound better than the USB but this could well be because the coax source I used is far more serious (see expensive) than the computer, both deliver loads of detail but the coax makes more engaging music. If you want to rediscover your (digital) record collection, look no further.