Light Harmonic DaVinci 384kHz DAC

With the rise of digital-audio servers, the role of digital-to-analog converters (DACs) is becoming ever more important. Those who want the very best DAC might do well to consider the DaVinci from Light Harmonic.

The DaVinci is an asynchronous USB DAC with a sample rate up to 384kHz and a resolution up to 32 bits. It includes a jitter-free, three-layer buffer mechanism and three temperature-compensated, crystal-oscillator clocks—one dedicated to USB signal transmission, another for files at multiples of 44.1kHz, and a third for files at multiples of 48kHz, up to 384kHz—and each one is selected on the fly according to the sample rate of the input file. A proprietary Duet Engine uses analog interpolation to effectively double the file's original sampling rate without digital upsampling, oversampling, or noise shaping.

According to Light Harmonic, the distribution of harmonic-distortion components is more important than the total harmonic distortion (THD), and distortion in the higher-order harmonics—say, the fifth or sixth order and above—causes far more audible damage to the sound than lower-order harmonic distortion. To address this concern, the DaVinci includes a proprietary Lower Order Harmonic Distribution (LOHD) system that distributes any distortion into the second-, third-, and fourth-order harmonics, which is said to eliminate any sense of harsh or edgy sound.

In addition, the DaVinci uses no digital filter to minimize digital ringing. Instead, there is only a pure analog lowpass filter whose corner frequency is automatically selected for each sample rate. Other audiophile features include complete isolation of the power circuits in the lower module and the digital and fully balanced analog circuits in the upper module, which also includes gear-shaped heat sinks that eliminate the need for a cooling fan.

Such a high-end DAC must carry a high-end price tag, right? You bet—$12,000 to be exact. But if you want the ultimate DAC, this could well be it.

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applebyter's picture

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts about the need for higher sampling rates and/or greater bit depth. How much of a benefit do you think they'll bring to digital music? Which is more important the bit depth or sampling rate? When, or if, will music be sold at these depths and/or rates?

I currently have a Squeezebox Touch feeding a digital signal to a Lexicon MC12. So far the only thing I've heard that provides a significant improvement on sound has been a Linn Klimax DS. So, this DaVinci fits right into the price range.

b00le's picture

Nothing in this article or the Light Harmonic site

lightharmonic's picture

Dear b00le
Thank you for your feedback! We are in the process of upgrading our webpage and will surely add more information about our products accordingly.
However, to answer your question...

These pictures are rendering pictures with the purpose to capture the layers of this tightly designed DaVinci DAC. These gears are actually there. The DaVinci DAC have 2 decks. The upper deck consist of all the circuitries whereas the lower deck is the power supply (AC to DC). The purpose is clear, noise isolation and heat control. To control the heat dissipation of the unit, the upper and the lower decks can be slide open smoothly via these gears; exposing the metal surface to the surrounding. (see the first picture in the blog article) These surfaces now acts as a heat sink.

The DaVinci DAC weighs over 50 lbs with 7 layers of aluminum alloy and special damping acrylic to control both the Vibration and any possible signaling interference or coupling. Within the upper deck, there are metal tracks that are carefully designed to further isolation the interconnects with the purpose of maintaining the cleanest, purest signal from one to each phase of the circuits, with the final output out of the DAC.

The objective of this DAC is to bring the best sounding analog-like music to your home and also not forgetting making it a piece of art that the owner can be proud to show it off as well. Adding fans or holes in the unit might not be the best looking solution. These gears are functional and we also uses it to create a unique look to our product. The production unit will feature the automatic sliding mechanism during power-up.

For more information, please do not hesitate to visit our website and send us more feedback!

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