The Nagra HD DAC has been acclaimed the world over as the most “analog” sounding D/A on the market and is considered as a reference. Following the Nagra product strategy - to offer a complete range in two distinct lines both CLASSIC and HD, Nagra is revisiting the HD DAC to create a more affordable alternative to fit in its CLASSIC range, it will be called Nagra CLASSIC DAC.
The Nagra CLASSIC DAC comes in the same chassis as the HD, so it looks very similar. In terms of features it is almost identical though it does not include volume control or a headphone amplifier. The digital input and conversion boards are the exact same as those found in the HD DAC, only the analog stage differs.
For the digital section, the CLASSIC DAC features the same digital input board and conversion module as the HD DAC. It makes use of the most advanced conversion techniques available today. The converter comes from a joint-venture with Andreas Koch, AKDesign, pioneer engineer in the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) format, used in professional music studios. The circuits of the Nagra CLASSIC DAC use the DSD 2x version of the format: they operate at a level 128 times superior to that of traditional CD and twice that of SACD. The sampling frequency reaches 5.6 MHz and the internal calculations use 72 bit precision. This method produces a signal with such quality that the steep-slope input filters on the analog section can be eliminated. The result is that the harmonics and transients are perfectly maintained allowing the music to conserve its natural depth and essence.
The USB input is Nagra proprietary and can handle signals up to DXD (384 kHz 32 bits) and DSD 2x. It is compatible with PC and MAC computers.
On the analog stage: Nagra engineering team worked extensively on a more affordable solution, yet offering striking performance both in terms of measurement and sound perception. As an example, the signal-to-noise ratio of the output stage boasts an impressive 145 dB (not weighted)! A number rarely reached by any competitive product at any price level. The output section is based on a class A discrete transistor topology. It includes no less than 9 matched transistors, of military and high-end origins, per channel.
The Nagra CLASSIC DAC features a built-in mains power supply that offers excellent performance, but can be further improved by the use of the Nagra MPS full-chassis power supply, though a 12 V DC Lemo connector. The power supply has also been carefully designed and includes no less than 25 dedicated internal power supplies. In typical Nagra way, each stage is carefully decoupled to ensure the best performance.
The Nagra CLASSIC DAC will be available in April 2016.