LEVEL 5 / The Big 5 DSD DAC

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Level 5 is the culmination of our main DAC line that starts with Level 3 and gets improved in Level 4 and Level 5 is the best we can do. 

Consequently other DACS are another “branches” - Level 6 was red-book only, and level 7 is ultra simplistic 2A3/DHT/300B specialized music machine.

What is different from our award winning, most popular Level 4?

Many things are similar. The sound signature, the whole concept is the same. We use slightly upgraded PCB for digital section, with better regulators and CLC filters. We use 10 separate supplies for L5 digital section.

We also use a notch higher DAC chip, in fact - the best known to us period. The same that we use in Level 7 and GG.

We use such large size box to house the biggest part - the power section. we like the power source to be as close to “consumers” as possible, we make the last section of each supply in close proximity of consumers: namely DAC PCB and tube section. This way we get the best of both worlds: power separated far away and at the same time - it is super close.

In Level 5 the tube power supply (which is 70 % of all DAC budget) is dual mono. One common huge toroid transformer (100 VA) with 8 separate secondaries for each task, a rectifier tube is directly heated diode 5c3S , two CLC filter sections with prime chokes and caps.

We use mostly electrolyte-less supplies for L5, we use MKP caps which for power supply section are obscenely expensive, bulky and inconvenient but the MKP is 100X faster and less noisy than any electrolyte even black gate. MKP as power reservoirs are a whole different ball game than electrolytes. This gives us super pure sound and ultra dynamic response to power requirements. Not to mention longevity: the MKP will outlive any electrolyte by 50 years.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  1. 32 bit compatibility via USB truncated to 24 bits.

  2. 380 kHz compatibility via USB

  3. 192 kHz/24 bit via SPDIF or AES/EBU

  4. 64 and 128 X via USB - DSD

  5. Maximum 3 digital inputs: USB, RCA S/PDIF and one more: Toslink, BNC, RCA or AES/EBU

  6. 40 Watts power consumption

  7. Maximum 3 extra analog inputs for ACTIVE ANALOG PREAMP function

  8. Possibility of SE RCA outputs, XLR balanced or both.

  9. Possibility of VC03 volume control with display, remote and preamp functionality

  10. DSD as paid option (via the same USB as out PCM signals)

  11. Duelund Copper Cast caps as paid option. Jensen Copper PIO as standard.

  12. Two tube rectifier tubes from 6X5 style compatible with any replacement that has indirectly  heated cathode: heaters on pin 7 and 2 and output on tube pin 8.


DSD: we recommend J-River, Foobar and JPlay software to play DSD. The switch between 64X and 128X is automatic but the dac requires manual (remote) switch between DSD and PCM functionality because to maximize sound quality we used TWO DIFFERENT BOARDS with different circuits. It is like two products in one.


For music analog section we will use triodes of our choice but we are open to suggestions / preferences. We normally source the best tubes in the world like Ecc81, Ecc82, Ecc180, E88cc, Ecc88, 6DJ9, 6922, 6H23, PCC88.

They all are very good and our choice depends on availability.

SPECIFICATION:

  1. Auto detect DSD 64 and 128 in DSD mode, as an option - 256 DSD with auto detect

  2. Manually selected PCM engine. In PCM mode auto-select all known file formats and speed and resolution, up to 24 bit 384 kHz. Optionally DSD-ONLY version without PCM at all.

  3. USB input plus RCA S/PDIF and one more digital input.  (choose BNC, RCA, AES/EBU, Toslink)

  4. Jupiter Copper paper /Wax caps (USA) . Optionally Duelund Cast Copper.

  5. Ecc81, Ecc88 and Ecc82 tubes. Optionally 5687, E182CC, VT99, 6SN7GT

  6. 274B or 5c3S rectifier diode

  7. Dual mono, current output converter chips

  8. dimensions 430 mm W, 130 mm H,500 mm D

  9. Black or silver aluminum front panel

  10. SE analog outputs or XLR balanced (plus RCA as well)

  11. Possibility of Volume Control with full preamp feature set. (up to 2 extra analog inputs)

  12. 115 or 230 V or dual voltage.

  13. Warranty 5 years excl. tubes