When we launched our “USB only CAD 1543 DAC” a lot of people said : “you’re crazy”. Now, only six years later, people who make a DAC without a USB would be thought of as crazy.
Downloads and streamed data have overtaken CD sales as the way most of us listen to music. However, it is still a challenge to find a digital music player that is easy to use, looks cool and sounds special. We try to make things that fit that description. And we believe that we make things that don’t just sound good, they sound………..well, they can make you cry, laugh, sing and dance.
Our philosophy is driven by our chief designer, Scott Berry. Half German, he takes a meticulous approach to engineering. Half American, it’s not worth doing unless you aim to be the best. Combined with a willingness to try unusual approaches, this approach has led to some game-changing products. “The cat among the Digital Audio Pigeons”. (Jason Kennedy, HiFi Choice)
These days, most of us are using “computer audio” in one way or another. Any device that allows you to listen to digital music (whether stored on CD, disc or “streamed”) via headphones or speakers has a processor and operating system to manage the audio data. So any streamer, server, portable music player or smartphone has some kind of “computer” within it.
However, high quality Computer Based Audio is in its infancy. A Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC) is what is used to convert music from the digital format (“zero’s and one’s”) to analog format (what we listen to). The idea of having a separate audio component for doing just Digital to Analog Conversion was only something seen in esoteric audio systems until a few years ago.
CAD was one of the first companies to develop a computer-orientated music source; we remain at the forefront of developing digital music playback, but aim at sounding as “non digital” as possible. From the outset, we have believed in listening as the ultimate guide for our design work; that means we sometimes go against the trends – for example, we don’t “chase the numbers” – using vintage 16-bit DAC chips. We just remain unconvinced that higher resolution always means higher quality. We try to make things easy to use – but we don’t compromise when it comes to sound quality, so sometimes you might have to get to grips with a bit of technology, and things don’t always fit neatly into one box, or have glitzy cases with big buttons.
We have been doing this a long time, and when we learn something new we do try to share it, so you can find some free ideas on this site to help you if you fancy playing with your existing system at home. We hope if you find something helpful that you’ll mention us to your friends, or just come along to one of our events and maybe think about our products if you’re ever in the market.