Leema Acoustics Essentials USB DAC
There has been a seismic change in attitudes toward computer based music playback in recent years.
iTunes and similar services, have made purchasing and collecting music easy and convenient.
Now, high-resolution downloads are available from a number of sources such HDTracks.com, in various lossless formats, such as FLAC and Apple Lossless, making computer storage and replay attractive to audiophiles.
However, there is a problem: The inside of a computer is not the best environment to reproduce high quality sound – there is simply too much extraneous noise caused by the close proximity of internal audio components to computer components producing electro magnetic radiation. This results in noise and distortion in the resulting audio signal.
The solution is to convert the digital audio signal in to music outside of the computer using a high-performance external DAC (digital to analogue converter).
Of course, not all DAC’s are born equal. Many rely on the computer’s SPDIF digital output, which is severely compromised by its reliance on timing signals generated within the computer. These signals may be fine for the computer’s needs, but are far too inaccurate and noisy for high quality music replay.
Leema’s Essentials USB DAC uses a far more elegant solution called asynchronous mode transfer, enabled via the computers USB port. This allows precision clock signals generated inside the Essentials USB DAC to precisely regulate the rate at which the computer outputs the digital audio data by telling the computer when and how much data to send. This conversation is visible on the unit’s LCD display. Leema’s implementation of asynchronous transfer totally eliminates distortion and other artefacts caused by ‘jitter’, the term given to temporal fluctuations in arrival time of the audio data.
Using Leema’s renowned M1 USB module and featuring no less than three 32 bit microprocessors, the Essentials DAC employs cutting edge spinning electron technology to achieve complete electrical isolation of the audio side of the DAC from the noisy environment of the computer.
This purified digital stream then feed multiple Crystal Semiconductors CS43xx converter chips in Leema’s Quattro Infinity topology, for conversion in to stunning music.
The Essentials USB DAC supports all sample rates from 32kHz to 384kHz at up to 24 bits and is supported by Mac, Linux and Windows (using driver supplied).
The unit is housed in the same extruded and billet aluminium casework used for the award winning Essentials Phonostage.