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The ANK Audiokits DAC Range
General Product Information

Audio Note UK realized at a very early stage that when it comes to the digital-to-analog conversion phase, simplest was best. Although many manufacturers' DAC's may measure well on the test bench using their upsampling or oversampling techniques, the Audio Note method of no oversampling (also referred to as 1x Oversampling), direct-from-disk technique simply sounds better. This method means that no digital filtering is performed on our DAC's. What's more, analog filtering has also been eliminated from our designs to yield yet another improvement over the accepted norm.

Digital Board Standardization

Digital Board
Once the Digital-to-Analog conversion side of things was finally decided upon, we settled on two digital boards that could be used throughout our DAC kit range. All our digital boards come fully assembled and the Signature version includes a digital input transformer.

The digital board offers switching between any two digital sources. The two sources can be chosen from S/PDIF, XLR, or USB (using the optional USB add-on board).

Having same sized digital boards in combination with a common chassis meant that we could offer a range of DAC's that are highly upgradeable. It also allowed us to concentrate on component and design qualities throughout the range and provide excellent performance & value-for-money at each price point.

In fact, we are so confident in our DACs performance, it would be difficult to find this level of sound quality at two or three times the asking price.

The DAC Range Explained

So what are the differences throughout the range? The important things in a DAC (and most other audio products) are:

Various component qualities are provided at each level in our DAC range. We offer two digital circuit layouts for the 2.1 (levels A and B) and two component quality levels for the 3.1 (Standard and Signature). In the case of the 4.1 LE we use the best components throughout plus our own remarkable C-Core Output Transformers. it is possible to further improve any of these models if required, although costs can be a significant issue. Please enquire if you wish to know more about extreme component upgrade possibilities for your AudioNoteKits DAC.

Let's now look at our DAC range in more depth in terms of how they change from one model to the next:

DAC 2.1 Kit Level A and Level B
The whole DAC kit range use our highly acclaimed M2 power supply (taken from the Audio Note UK's finished product of the same name). It uses valve rectification (6X5) and valve regulation (EL82) for its H.T. supply. It also provides two solid-state filament supplies. We believe the M2 power supply provides an excellent quality / value ratio - it has also proved itself in terms of both its reliability and sonic virtues many times over in our other product lines.

Output Stage

The DAC Kit 2.1 kits both use a dual 6922 output stage with Audio Note Coupling Capacitors.

I/V Transformer Coupling

DAC 2.1 Level B version is identical to its Level A counterpart but adds I/V Transformers to couple and maximize energy transfer from the digital converter to the analog section.

The I/V transformers can be seen at the left side of the picture opposite contained in circular metal cans.


DAC 3.1 & 4.1 Kit Balanced / RCA

DAC 3.1 Output Transformers
The DAC 3.1 takes the DAC Kit 2.1 Level B and completely replaces its output stage with a transformer coupled output arrangement as used in many of Audio Note's higher level finished products. It actually uses the same output stage as our top-of-the-line pre-amplifier kit - the L3 Line Mk2. The output stage uses a dual 5687 based analog board to drive two 33:1 output transformers. These transformers are available as Single Ended or Balanced configuration.

DAC 4.1 Output Transformers
The DAC 4.1 goes even further by using new high quality C-Core Output Transformers for the ultimate Balanced Output stage.

Transformer coupled outputs have many advantages both sonically and for matching purposes. Its low impedance, for example, means it will match with virtually any pre-amplifier or integrated amplifier - valve or solid-state - making it highly versatile.

DAC Kit 3.1 Output Stage

Never before has such an advanced DAC as this been made available to the DIY market.


I hope that this article has been informative and clearly describes the differences between each model in our DAC range. To look at a specific DAC model, click the link at the foot of this page. If you would like to purchase a DAC please follow the SHOP top navigation button to select your options.