Well after many months of designing, testing, prototyping & listening we have two new products, the Kompakt DAC (releasing next week) and the Kraftwerk II (releasing the week after).
We are doing things a bit differently with these products in that we have significantly improved the presentation with fully custom imported cases from Japan as well as standardized soft foam packaging to help give you a better unboxing experience and shipping safety. The case is formed with a clam shell design out of 2.5mm solid aluminium, with a robust black powder coated finish to add robustness to marks, and full metal aluminium silk screen printed front and back panels. Both units still feature Express Post Australia-wide shipping and a two year parts and labour warranty as standard.
Kompakt DAC - $1200
The Kompakt DAC uses a straightforward and efficient design using the AK4493EQ in hardware mode (PCM only) for coax, optical & USB inputs with the first upgrade being a new S/PDIF input stage based on the premium AKM AK4118A chip. This is considered the best device out there for this job and I have to admit it is a big improvement from the Wolfston chip used in previous models. Not only does it sound better but it is rock solid in terms of digital lock on & auto muting. Next up is the big 500mH choke in the all important on-board main pre-regulated power supply. The power supply has a big effect on sound quality & adding in a large choke produces a clear improvement in audio quality. Another addition is ten separate regulators so that there is no sharing of power sources for the DAC, S/PDIF and USB sections, which I think has added a lot in terms of separation and imaging. The other technical jump is the switch to a four layer printed circuit board, which provide a full unbroken ground plane, as well as a few other improvements, to really help performance with a digital device.
Bottom line – how does it sound? Well unavoidably I am biased but in my opinion, this is my best sounding DAC I have produced to date. This is to be expected as the circuit is basically an improved iteration to the Fein DAC II design with enhancements in the power supply, extra regulators & the engineering improvements from the four layer printed circuit board.
Kraftwerk II - $650
The Kraftwerk II is a new flexible design with adjustable output of 12v, 15v, 16v, and 18v all at 3A via a selector switch on the back. I will have a similar lower voltage version in a couple of weeks with outputs of 5v, 7v, 9v and 12v all at 3A. The big improvement with the Kraftwerk II is the incorporation of a large high quality choke and an high efficiency active mosfet bridge rectifier. The elegant new design features an automatic pre-regulator which helps evenly disperse the regulator heat emission at lower voltages, letting the PSU run cooler and more efficiently. The final regulator is a premium Linear Technology unit with emitter follower output topology, which rivals discrete designs. Main filter capacitors are premium Nichicon Gold Tune and final filtering using Nichicon MUSE caps. It is powered by a large high quality Australian approved Tortech 5A external transformer. The addition of extra very high quality parts has bumped the price up but in my (albeit biased) opinion performance is a step up from all my previous designs.
PS. Both products are visible on our website but will be set as out of stock until they release over the coming weeks (I'll keep you posted).
All the best,
Hey just to make this clear you do not need the Kraftwerk II to to power Kompakt DAC.
It comes with its own external 9 V transformer and that is all that is required to run it