VAD’s first product is a dual mono design based around VAD’s own 24bit dual DAC circuitry, which is coupled to its bespoke designed triode valve analogue stage. The DAC-10 features RCA COAX, BNC, TOSlink optical and AES/EBU (standard model only) inputs. DSD connectivity is included via a separate USB connection in the DAC-10 DSD, in place of the AES/EBU socket on the standard model.
Based on VAD’s own ‘Sound Pure Design’, both models of the DAC-10 feature virtual signal pass through circuits, with zero low-pass or high-pass filtering in the audio frequency range or any up-sampling in the digital domain. The SPDIF digital processing includes a HF Triode valve in its circuit and the built-in 32-bit/192kHz asynchronous USB is connected via i2S transmission standard, for the very purest data transmission possible.
The triode valve analogue output stage operates in pure Class A and is point-to-point engineered. Featuring NOS (New Old Stock) valves, the stage consists of a pair of 6SN7 drivers, a pair of CV574 rectifiers and a pair of 6N6P double triode valves, all of which have been selected and matched. To personalise the sound, VAD encourages experienced users to ‘valve roll’ the 6SN7 drivers and CV574 rectifiers to suit and is happy to recommend alternatives based on a users tonal preference.Wired in pure Class A, output is via a stereo pair of RCA single-ended and XLR balanced analogue outputs.
A specially designed direct-coupled remote-controlled analogue gain control is fitted to the front panel to accurately match to your preamplifier. For digital-only systems, this gain control can also facilitate direct connection to power amplifiers.
VAD has paid particular attention by not only separating out the digital and analogue power supply sections but also the left and right channels. All power supplies are designed for the specific application, are choke loaded and feature inductors, polymer and film capacitors and ‘series’ resistor-less components.
VAD’s casework is designed as a monocoque structure with the aim of giving the circuitry an extremely high mechanical rigid base, EMI & RFI screening and vibration damping. Polymer coated with additionally polyurethane to ‘silence’ it from any mechanical ringing, the only structural parts fitted with screws are the aluminium top cover and removable valve cover. It is also directly fully grounded via the safety `earth` pin in the fused IEC socket.
Each unit is soak tested for 24 hours prior to shipping and VAD is so confident with the reliability of its products, that it issues a seven-year guarantee from date of purchase.
The DSD (Direct Stream Digital) module in the DAC-10 DSD replaces the AES-EBU socket of the standard model with an additional USB socket dedicated to DSD playback.
The DSD circuitry is retro-fitable to those wanting to upgrade DAC-10 PCM-only DAC’s in the future.
We’ve been using one of the early versions of the DAC here for some time now and have been enjoying it a great deal!
The Valve Audio Devices (VAD) DAC-10 is available in both versions now, with the standard DAC-10 having a UK SRP of £6499.00 and the DAC-10 DSD at £6999.00