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  • Writer's pictureSteve Elford

Ideon Audio Absolute DAC

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Digital is not easy. I know because I've developed a DAC and a streamer myself. So what Ideon have done with their products, and the Absolute DAC in particular, is impressive. But two specific design characteristics stand out so I though I would expand on them here.

First up is linear power supplies. Pick up the Absolute DAC and you immediately notice it's 28Kg heft. But look in detail at the design and you will find that this is much more than one large transformer and a few big reservoir caps. In this machine Ideon have then added regulation, regulation and then even more regulation. Multiple stages of analogue regulation always pays off in the sound quality of every part of the digital processing in a DAC – I know because I've done it. I've listened to a DAC rigged up in a test box and then made no other change than adding an extra stage of regulation feeding one of the chips say and straight away you hear the improvement. So when Ideon quote sixteen regulators in the Absolute DAC, I don't need to count them – I can hear them.

And then there's clocking. But again there's that Ideon trait that always pays off (a bit like the regulation) – don't just do something once when clearly it sound quality terms doing it again and again really pays off. Something else I had experimented with in the past was upgrading clocks in even basic CD players and straight away you hear the improvement. And when you do that a few times you find you become very aware of the specific sound of bad and good clocking. One way of describing clocking improvements is it always expands the tonal palette – instruments and voices sound more different from each other as clocking gets better. Old instruments or new instruments, or perhaps the age of different singers in the choir. With the Absolute DAC you get far more separation within the tonal palette than any other DAC I've heard. To me that's the three independent ultra-low jitter clocks at work.

There's a lot more to the Absolute DAC of course – I've focussed on just two of the elements of this great machine.

Find out more here...

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