S5:
TDA1541A reference, that simple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designed on the principles and standards set with previous Audial S DACs, the S5 takes another step forward, bringing the highest resolution and precision, in a delightful way.

It is also the best equipped TDA1541A DAC ever, with USB, S/PDIF, optical, and I2S direct input, and optional transformer coupled output. And two S5 units can even operate as a four channel USB DAC.

 

 

 

 

Performance and connectivity

 

The S5 mates so many things which usually don’t come together in the audiophile world. No-compromise performance and ultimate connectivity. Non-oversampling D/A conversion and high resolution capability. Advanced topology and fancy parts. Firm soundstage and natural ambience. Definition and natural colors.

 

 

Under the hood

 

● Non-oversampling, real multibit TDA1541A DAC

● Master USB device (“asynchronous USB”), operating up to 384 kHz, with galvanic isolation and two low jitter master clocks

● True 75 Ohm BNC S/PDIF input

● Audial proprietary, high performance, zero feedback, hybrid discrete / IC output analog stage

● Output impedance 3 Ohm coupled by 23 uF capacitors, or 30 Ohm transformers coupled (optional)

● High-quality parts, including Renesas and Toshiba semiconductors, Panasonic PPS and OS-Con and Rubycon ZA capacitors, Allen Bradley and Vishay carbon resistors

● Ten fully separate supplies, with three-stage passive common-mode filtering

● Fully discrete, low noise, zero feedback regulators

● Extremely optimized layout

● Mains isolation transformer, acting as a mains filter and balanced power source

 

Versatility

 

In addition to the USB, coaxial S/PDIF and optical S/PDIF (Toslink) input, the S5 also includes a PCM / I2S direct connection, using the interface with HDMI connectors, per our specifications. By using this connection, and due to the S5 four channel capable USB stage, two S5 units can also operate as four channel USB DAC.

This interface specifications are available as open source (please check out the documents below).

Toroidal output transformers

 

Back in 2018 we worked with designer Menno van der Veen and transformers manufacturer Trafco, and came with high performance, very unique devices, designed exactly for our needs. They were first employed in the S4 DAC, and we continue using them in the S5 too.

The low external field of toroidal transformers ensures unbeatable resistance to environmental noise, so they clean out the artifacts caused by the system grounding issues, not picking up the noise on their own at that.

 

Documents

 

  User manual

  PCM / I2S direct specifications

 

 

Software (requires login)

 

 

 

 

 

Graphs

 

Harmonic distortion, capacitor coupled output, 1 kHz, -6 dBFS dithered sinewave, THD = 0.0022%

 

Harmonic distortion, capacitor coupled output, 1 kHz, -60 dBFS dithered sinewave, THD = 0.886%

 

Intermodulation distortion, capacitor coupled output, CCIR IMD = 0.0015%