Let’s start from the outside and work our way in. Here you can see the natural proportions of the completely handcrafted DAC 2004. It’s quite a heavy piece of gear at 8.5 Kg (18.74 lbs) and contains more than 400 parts.
Colors: Silver or Black
The faceplate of the DAC 2004 comes in two colors. Both are anodized and brushed aluminum with laser engraved lettering. At the bottom of the housing you can see the four feet which are individually lathed from solid stainless steel.
The body of the unit is matte black with a very fine, somewhat sandy feel. This is achieved by electrostatic application of fine granules and then baking them together at high temperature. The silver-colored or dark black faceplate is mounted to the sandy dark black colored body with no visible screws or bolts on the faceplate.
The two buttons located on the front panel are also individually lathed and are fit by hand directly into the precisely drilled faceplate, without the use of plastic washers, inserts, or the like. The buttons move about half a millimeter when lightly pressed. The actual switching takes place via multiple high quality relays. The audio signal does not travel through these relays. These are to override the internal automatic battery charger if desired.
The laser engraving is carried out by calibrating a wavelength of a laser light beam to react with the material it is to engrave. This is esentially a controlled burning process of the top layers of anodized metal and instantly performs a controlled permanent oxidization of the surface. There will never be any paint weathering off of the DAC 2004. There is no paint to wear off. Both front and back panels are laser engraved.
The design is purposely kept simple and elegant. The sound quality achieved by the LessLoss DAC 2004 is incompatible with trendy fashion and calculated shelf-life terminology.
Quality, not Quantity
The decision to laser engrave all of the lettering on this unit allows the designers to delve into detail where standard speedy production processes would yield but a fair approximation. The laser used is only 12 microns wide.
Because DACs are often the top unit in a system, the design for the top of the DAC 2004 includes a hand-inlayed brushed and anodized aluminum placard. This is a little extra luxury for the sake of beauty.
Let’s turn it around.
The DAC 2004 standard features include balanced and unbalanced signal outputs. The SPDIF input and Superclock output are also standard. For some applications, the Superclock can be ordered as Wordclock. 110 or 220 Volts Mains Power are configured by us prior to shipping. If in the future you would want to change the power voltage, it can be easily reconfigured by the owner of the unit.
Let’s see the guts.
The LessLoss DAC 2004 has a hybrid power supply. After much evaluation of all sorts of power supply solutions, this is the result: you can't beat a balanced battery power supply for the audio signal and you can't beat a well-filtered mains power supply for digital signals. There is power filtering before the transformer, after the transformer, and at every power leg of every IC. No short-cut has been taken anywhere. Even the batteries are selected for their lack of distortion, and then additionally shielded within the shield of the device itself.
The rechargeable batteries are quite large and heavy. This is what you'll be seeing when it comes time to change the batteries (in about two or more years). The shields for the batteries are removeable by two bolts for each battery. You unscrew the bolts, remove the shields and the batteries and then put in the new ones. It shouldn't take but 10 minutes. The electrical connections are easily visible and immediately obvious.
The recharging of the batteries is completely automatic. If you want to charge them immediately, you can press the Charge button. If you want to interrupt the charging process, you press the Play button. A completely automatic charge initiation takes place if you leave the unit on over night. In the morning, you will have a completely charged system and will be able to play music without a second thought. Many users completely forget that this device contains batteries.
No Mask -- Less Dielectric Distortion
Note that the LessLoss DAC 2004 circuit is completely maskless: it is not green or red as it would be using today's standard production methods (robotics). Because of the meticulous production method we employ, we control the entire soldering process and make sure that no unintentional shorting occurs anywhere. This way, we avoid all undesireable dielectric effects of the mask which is always employed in robotic production methods.
Balancing short signal paths with wise circuitry.
The layout is extremely compact. A dual-layer circuit board is employed. Because this device is hand-built sculpture, even the exact dimensions of all of the parts including the losses due to the actual lengths of the various legs are incorporated into the layout. The digital ground is galvanically separated from the analogue ground, and the integrated circuits and other numerous components at the bottom of the circuit board (not visible here) are extremely well shielded from interference. Only top quality parts are used throughout the DAC 2004.
The carefully formed, pristine audio signal is carried to the outside of the DAC via solid silver wire, using only the dry air of the interior of the DAC as dielectric. The audio signal passes through only 5 top quality discrete components (7 for balanced) before it exits the device. No capacitors are used in the signal path. This signal path is only ~4.5 cm long to minimize loss and undesired induction.
Distortionless Volume Control
As an option, the customer can choose an integrated 21 discrete position volume control, which is a manual shunt-to-ground volume control located after the DAC chip but before the output stage, resulting in a customized output level at every turn of the switch. This enables direct output to active loudspeakers or a pair of mono amps for the least possible loss in signal integrity.
The DAC 2004 features a hybrid power supply which, together with the galvanically separated digital and analogue grounds, makes the best power supply method available for both the digital and analogue circuitry. The double shielding of the batteries protects the analogue power supply from parasitic frequencies. Because the analogue ground is galvanically separated from the digital ground, distortion is kept to within the limits of the DAC chip.
Thank you for your interest in the LessLoss DAC 2004!
We take much pride in our work, and are always seeking ways to perfect the State-of-the-Art. It would be our pleasure to serve you and share with you the joys of extremely high quality sound reproduction.