Leema Acoustics’ £6,000 super-DAC brings ex-BBC engineering expertise to your digitally connected audio devices.
Leema Acoustics’ new Libra DAC brings replaceable, upgradeable audio technology to digital music collections everywhere. Implemented by two ex-BBC sound engineers, Lee and Mallory, and handmade in Wales, Libra is cutting-edge, fully future-proof and ready to rock with HD playback, Bluetooth and high-end performance for discerning music lovers.
Leema Acoustics, the internationally respected hi-fi manufacturer founded and run by two ex-BBC sound engineers, has launched the Libra DAC/preamp, an astonishingly featured- packed high-resolution ‘digital hub’, enabling users to get the latest sound quality from their digitally connected devices.
Designed and built by Lee Taylor and Mallory Nicholls (Leema), Libra’s simple-yet-elegant looks conceal a staggering array of class-leading technologies. The new Libra crystallises Leema’s decades of experience in digital audio for professional studios worldwide.
Music lovers can now apply the very latest audio technology to their digitally stored music, connecting via USB and Bluetooth to phones, tablets, laptops and more. Plus, serious audiophiles can plug-in via a class-leading array of high-end connectivity options (including some ‘pro’ options: just look at that back panel!
Studio-master-tape sound quality becomes a reality
The high-resolution Libra DAC has been designed for today’s (and tomorrow’s) HD audio world and is fully future-proofed (see below). In addition to standard audio playback from common devices, the Libra also offers extreme high-resolution playback for audio connoisseurs, giving studio-master-tape sound quality when used with the increasing number of high-res music downloads available today – Libra will playback: DSD 64; DSD 128, DXD and 384kHz PCM via USB – playing music at recording studio quality.
Future-proof: upgradeable and replaceable DAC modules move with technology
The new high-resolution DAC/preamp is thoughtfully future-proof, too. It contains Leema Acoustics’ new fully balanced Quattro Infinity dual-mono DAC modules which are field- replaceable; should conversion technology improve in the future, the modules can be upgraded, giving long-lasting flexibility throughout the product’s lifespan. The advanced Quattro Infinity modules also feature user-selectable output filters, so you can tailor the sound to your own preference.
Comprehensive connectivity for the digital age
The Libra boasts a class-leading range of connectivity options for the digital age, bringing the latest digital audio engineering to a wide range of connected devices. The Libra offers three coaxial and three optical inputs for hi-fi buffs, capable of accepting high-resolution 24- bit/192kHz audio. For super-high-end partnering equipment, the Libra also offers some more esoteric options, including two I2S inputs via RJ45 connectors. With fully programmable pin-allocation on one of these inputs in software, any high-end source with an I2S interface can easily be accommodated. Source components with professional standard AES/EBU outputs can also be connected: the Libra offers two input connections available via industry standard XLR connectors.
Luxury sound for electronic devices
Leema's class-leading M1 USB module provides a connection for computer audio replay from both Windows (driver software included), Macintosh and Linux machines. This interface is fully asynchronous, allowing the Libra to precisely regulate the data rate coming from the computer and deliver incredibly low jitter levels. This feature, together with full galvanic isolation using cutting-edge spinning-electron technology*, ensures that music delivered over USB is as good as current technology will allow. *Yes, really!
At the heart of your audio system
Of course, Libra is more than just a high-resolution DSD DAC. It can be used as a preamp – simply connect it to a power amp or active loudspeaker and your all set to play music. Libra offers three separate analogue inputs, each of which can be individually configured as unbalanced, via RCA Cinch connectors, or fully balanced via XLR connectors. The entire signal path, both digital and analogue, is fully balanced from the digital data stream, to the balanced analogue outputs.
Flexibility features again in the output section. The Libra is able to operate either as a conventional audio component with fixed output level, or as a high-end pre-amplifier with full analogue volume control on-board. Outputs are provided via unbalanced RCA/Cinch connectors and balanced XLR connectors. Libra is also a full LIPS controller (see below) and can control Leema Acoustics’ range of power amplifiers directly.
Bluetooth, headphone stage and more...
For added flexibility in the digital age, the Libra also has an optional Bluetooth interface, allowing high-quality music replay from suitably equipped tablets, smartphones and other compatible devices, quickly, easily and wirelessly. For personal listening, a very high-quality headphone amplifier is also included, further enabling the Libra as the ideal single-box D/A conversion solution.
LIPS is an acronym of Leema Intelligent Protocol System. It is a communication bus that enables Leema Acoustics components to communicate with other units in the range. The communication enables simple control of power on/off from one unit, right up to the control of all functions in a Leema Acoustics system, comprising up to 15 individual components.
Price and availability
The Libra DAC/preamp is priced at £5,995 and is available now.