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Audio-gd overhaul Digital Interface for 2014 edition

  • Audio-gd’s Kingwa has a bit of reputation for changing his product line up at a moment’s notice. Blink once and that PCM1704-based DAC you were saving for has been discontinued. Blink again and it’s been replaced by an ESS Sabre-chipped version with balanced outputs.

    One of Audio-gd’s more enduring products, the Digital Interface re-clocker (reviewed here), was nixed in early 2013 and it’s taken Kingwa over a year to design and manufacture a replacement.

    audio-gd_digital_interface_2014_3

    It looks like it was worth the wait.

    The ‘DI-2014’ washes it hands of the two-box approach of its predecessor (the DI-V3) for a single-chassis solution that’s powered from an internal potted transformer. No more deciding between an umbilically-linked PSU and USB power.

    Kingwa is at pains to point out the improvements to the 2014 edition’s internal power supply regulation, particularly the extra attention paid to juicing its USB input. He’s promising an even more sophisticated implementation than that found in his current range of DACs.

    Remember how the older DI would take 5V from a (possibly noisy) USB port? Here, the USB input completely severs ties with the power coming over USB. The internal transformer juice is divvied up between five separate Class A power supplies that in turn feed the USB-DSD 32 receiver chip, S/PDIF receiver chip, PLL, clock and output stage.

    audio-gd_digital_interface_2014_2

    Yeah – but what’s it do? The DI-2014 is USB-converter and S/PDIF re-clocker, the latter being of specific interest to users of Apple TV and Sonos. Three inputs – USB (32/384), coaxial (24/192) and toslink (24/96) – see the digital audio stream re-timed to remove jitter before being output over BNC, coaxial or ethernet-terminated I2S. USB-to-I2S conversion handles up to 32bit/384kHz PCM and DSD 64/128 whilst coaxial outputs are restricted to a maximum PCM rate of 24bit/192kHz (with no DSD).

    There’s also a difference between BNC and RCA outputs that readers will have to decipher for themselves.

    A standard version of the 2014 Digital Interface is available for US$280 but I reckon most buyers will stump up the extra $20 for the upgraded TCXO clock to bring the grand total to a flat US$300 + shipping. And that’s the exact same RRP as Wyred4Sound’s Remedy S/PDIF reclocker. Interesting.

    Further information: Audio-gd

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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