LessLoss Echo's End DAC caught a lot of attention. Here is an official update for this new discrete R2R DAC…
Echo's End, our high performance discrete R2R DAC, develops and grows! So far, (let me count,) no less than 12 businesses are in one way or another related to this DAC's development. People are adding their professional input and enthusiasm at every encounterm, and Echo's End is growing very quickly and beautifully. Progress in measured in terms of reflecting our goal, which is an elegant, super DAC performer which leaves nothing to be desired and can be listened to indefinitely without fatigue.
We thank you for your pre-orders and are excited at the prospects. Because this is a more pricey piece of equipment, we want to leave a little more time for people to make their final decision and look forward to hearing from more who have voiced initial interest but have not yet made up their mind. Those who have placed informal pre-orders already are in for some privately sent good news pretty soon!
Meanwhile, there are more particulars we'd like to share with you so you'd know what's going on here.
"The full case" for the case
We've been visiting our production partners at the milling station and going over every last detail. We modified the thickness of the top and bottom to 3mm thicker for a more robust approach.
Perfecting the location and angle of every single milling robot action requires meticulous measurements which need to be repeated several times until the desired outcome is exactly achieved. This takes a lot of seemingly repeated work, but it pays off in the end when the robot can be left for quite a while unattended, knowing everything will be spot on, especially since we are dealing with real wood material.
Below, some early views of a few Echo's End prototypes from the inside. The multiple Firewall modules direct integration is a very exciting feature of this device and makes it entirely unique. As more an more reviews of the Firewall module's performance appear online, you will have an inkling for the overall performance horizon which will be achieved by Echo's End final implementation of 11 Firewall units. In other words, off the charts! Read those new reviews!
So often when creating electronic solutions, engineers will focus on their circuit and forget (or even dismiss) other essentials such as the interaction of metals used or vibration control as "immature" or "too tweaky to consider". Well, we don't think so. We've been at this for too long to be able to dismiss these steps as altogether non-influential or of too little consequence to heed.
Below is also a picture of the kind of thing we are rejecting from our design. These are standard internal pin connectors for internal connections between circuit boards. We are going all the way with this DAC. The brass in the pins, even if they are gold plated, are detrimental to the overall performance of the device. A coldness of sound creeps in which is not alleviated by even the most advanced high resolution processes of conversion, of high bit rates or of large bit depths. The intervention of such connecting parts within the device can all be alleviated by simply not using them. This means assembly will take longer because we can't buy and use standard busses with standard pin connectors. Instead we have to hand solder each contact with wires. But throughout the unit the number of metal-on-metal transitions and overall length throughout the unit of brass in the signal path is reduced significantly and this has dramatic effects on overall performance. The Firewalls allow one to hear everything.
The most basic upgrade
Anyone seriously upgrading any high end electronics is best advised to start at this point and to replace all such brass pins and plastic connectors with directly soldered copper wires. When done throughout an entire piece of gear, the resulting quality boost is simply undeniable. The thing lives and breathes another life! So we are doing this for you from the outset. This means the audible burn-in will be longer because the ultimate results thereafter will be better. Burn-in time seems to depend on the ultimate resolution of the system. When there are no brass transitions throughout the unit (save the outboard connectors), the ultimate resolution increases to a significant degree.
True, our external connectors will contain brass, but the these will be the shortest on the market for the least possible sonic influence. Ours are about 20% the length of the ones pictures above. Yes, it would be easier to use the ones pictured above, by soldering them directly into the circuit board, but we know that solid copper connections are better and therefore trade off ease of assembly for more complicated labor which results in much better sound quality. We know you will appreciate this, even though you might not have known exactly why. Now you do... :)
Some simple philosophy about how to choose a smart production path
Although the outboard connectors we chose to use in Echo's End do contain brass, they represent the most physically used connections in the unit and therefore need to be most robust for long life. Think about it this way: when designing the gear, we need to weigh at every step the design decisions in terms of cost according to the gains or losses in sound quality. If we pay less for the outboard connectors, but at the same time avoid some 160 brass pin connections within the unit itself, why spend huge audiophile budget on copper outboard connectors? The balance is obvious: we win much more quality by avoiding some 160 internal brass connections than we do avoiding only a few on the outboard brass connections. And the only available outboard copper connections mean exorbitant prices. So we lower the overall cost of the unit while at the same time making huge gains in sonic quality. It's a no-brainer! Why use expensive outboard connectors while maintaining over 160 brass connections within the unit? That makes no sense!
Getting seriously ready to make DACs. For this we have already pre-ordered many of the parts needed.
Another great feature of this case is that it contains a precision gasket around the entire closing lip. When closed, the unit becomes 100% water-tight. There is an included ventilation valve to make sure that fluctuating ambient air pressure does not impact the seal (like what happens in an airplane with your eardrums).
There is no extra charge for this case! Every Echo's End DAC will come in this case and will be protected by a further cardboard box immediately surrounding it. The complete irony here is that UPS charges more for delivery of items which contain a handy handle than they do for cardboard boxes without a handle. Go figure...!
Echo's End is where hearing turns into listening. That pretty much sums up the feeling you get when you listen to the attractive sound of this DAC. While listening we are moved, yet we retain a little of our distance in order to make room for comprehension. Something goes on in that state, something which is thoroughly catered for in Echo's End. This 'something' is both externally stimulated and internally processed. You can't help pondering this mystery while enjoying the sound of Echo's End.