We continue this newly acquainted with the products of the British company Astin Trew. Her line of Concord is still in the formative stage; Release of the scheduled transport CD-integrated amplifier, DAC and possibly something else is only available to customers until the last of these components.
This marker device intended to be placed in the rack – your PC will have to settle with him. At Astin Trew Concord DAC 1 USB is the digital inputs for every occasion: AES \ EBU, SPDIF connectors BNC, RCA and TOSLINK, and even non-certified I2S (we met at a component PS Audio), HDMI-cable connected to a compatible source – is planned that they will be CD-range transport from Concord. But the hottest normal user an option – it’s all the same computer. And for him a choice of FireWire or much more common USB-port – asynchronous implemented on-chip XMOS.
Even in the external design DAC Astin Trew feel special corporate approach
There are two outputs: balanced XLR and unbalanced tube stage equipped with RCA. Digital to analog conversion is done a couple of chips Burr-Brown PCM1794.
Developers Astin Trew Concord DAC 1 USB traditionally have made great efforts to combat the interference of different origin; to this end, shall apply six separate power supplies for the internal circuitry, as well as body vibration-proof design – even its walls are covered with a special material.
Comparing the sound track CD, read transport Esoteric X-03 connected to the coaxial input Concord DAC 1, and copies of the PC via USB-port, we found that playing music from a computer that manages the DAC is not worse than in the first case. Therefore, we focused on listening to it with the more modern and promising source.
As a rule, the sound quality when balanced connection above, but DAC Astin Trew RCA-output has a feature – lamp circuit. This gives an effect. For example, the suite “Mars” from “The Planets” Holst when connecting the amplifier to the XLR-connectors supplied powerful, big, dynamic, emotionally rich. But we no longer liked the sound via the RCA-out: details a little bit less, but the music is much better organized information, in a spacious stage more air, and is particularly noteworthy that the bass noticeably bigger and deeper, and they are velvety, but the texture and emphasize wealth sound and splendor. Microdrivers also more elaborate and expressive, and RF – rounded and mobile, without that crystal fragility that we saw with the XLR.
HD-audio gives even better results. In the album Ten Lives Gwyneth Herbert format 24/48 bass line filled, elastic rhythm and clear vocals perfectly focused and very lively. And again, we prefer the lamp output, enjoying the smooth and refined detail that it provides.
Astin Trew Concord DAC 1 USB – rather remarkable component. He has a comprehensive set of inputs and two distinct variants of sound – to choose from. We recommend a closer look.
Price: $ 7500
Pros: Variety of inputs; balanced and “tube” outputs sound quality on both
Cons: No support for DSD; would not be an extra level control
Verdict: Solid DAC with a number of useful features and a choice of sound character
in terms of figures
Digital inputs: USB, HDMI (protocol I2S), AES \ EBU, BNC, coaxial, optical
Analog Outputs: XLR, RCA
Lamps: 2 × Electro-Harmonix 6922
Dimensions (H × W × D): 12 × 43 × 28 cm
Weight: 6.9 kg
Finishing: black or silver front panel and black case
Astin Trew Concord Powered USB Cable System $ 1120
USB-connection usually provides power to peripheral devices, and this accessory allows Astin Trew dissolve the desired signal and power to reduce their interference.
When connecting a PC to DAC with it significantly increases the attention to detail on the XLR-output, the sound becomes smoother, more natural bass deeper. With HD-audio difference between the semiconductor and vacuum-tube output levels, and higher quality sound are both options. But, for example, CD-copy of the Rapture of the Deep Deep Purple’s for balanced output we liked more – straightness, roughness and pressure here are just what we needed.
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