There is a constant product output from Audio Analogue Italy, which with each new version of products strives to bring out something new and meaningful. One of the latest products that the Audio Analouge team has introduced is AAdac, from the PureAA line. The Italian manufacturer of high-end audio products, which has long been producing a wide range of products that are widely accepted by audiophiles and music lovers always seems to take extra efforts to deliver a notable step-up in performance.

A few months ago I was asked by Giuseppe Blanda to take a closer look at their AAdac. A few weeks later the DAC arrived directly from their premises. 

As with all Audio Analogue products that I have enjoyed reviewing or listening to on various occasions, a lot has been done to ensure that their proud creations both look and sound good and to constantly progress closer to the real essence of the music.  


The PureAA line recalls the philosophy used for the most successful Audio Analogue products: a mixture of simple design and reference sound performance to create products with a good price/performance ratio. Thanks to the collaboration with the Airtech laboratories in the development of the Jubilee Line, some key points and ideas in design have been shared in this line. 

Each model in the PureAA line was designed from the ground up to perform their given task in the best way and to provide a wider range of functions and connections concentrated in a single product without making compromises.

The new AAdac is the latest product in the PureAA line. Just like the AAcento and the AAphono, it is a product designed to strictly follow Audio Analogue philosophy.

AAdac resembles the recognised minimalistic design, was tuned for a stand out sonic performance, and as all Audio Analogue products, the great care was taken with the selection of materials and built-in parts.


In 2016 Audio Analogue celebrated its twentieth birthday with some brand new "anniversary" editions of the company's earlier classic amplifiers. Two years ago PureAA line was launched taking up the main ideas of the anniversary amplifiers and added a number of additional features. After the AAcento amplifier and AAphono,  the AAdac was introduced. 

Audio Analogue's PureAA realizes some of the best ideas and features of the Anniversary amplifiers, yet they are implemented differently. While Anniversary amplifiers are following the minimalistic design approach, the PureAA line comes with a variety of extra features that were added to attract audiophiles and music lovers who are looking for a more universal approach. 

Under a modern, minimalistic, yet stylish AAdac chassis there are a lot of things hidden to the eye. All the built-in parts were carefully selected and everything is made out of discrete components with the dedicated power supply. 

Only high-quality components are used in the digital stage that is fully balanced and comes with extremely low noise and distortion. 

Like every single Audio Analogue product also the AAdac was carefully voiced to deliver the recognizing sonic performance true to the brand's name. 

From the very start, the AAdac was envisioned as an elegantly looking high-end audio device with an exquisite fit and finish and with the ability to deliver highly engaging music reproduction. 

AAdac flexibility and variety of functions include the ability to select one of seven different digital filters, to set the unit to volume regulated mode to allow it to operate as a preamplifier, to change the channels’ balance, and even to regulate the brightness of the LED display.


Here are a few of the AAdac main highlights and features...

  • High performance D/A converter up to 32bit/768Khz using Sabre ES9038 
  • Amanero USB converter up to 32bit/392KHz Native DSD up to 512 
  • 7 different digital filters 
  • SPDIF, Toslink, AES/EBU digital inputs Bluetooth aptX® high quality audio wireless input 
  • Separate boards for each stage 
  • Separate power supplies dedicated to digital and analogue sections 
  • Fully balanced and discrete audio grade components output stage to perfectly support ultra-low noise and ultra-low distortion digital stage 
  • High quality headphone output 
  • Possibility to use in direct(DAC) or volume regulated mode(DAC + preamp) 


The only true value of a high-end audio product is of course listening. Especially with the audio front-end components, the proof is in the pudding. It all starts at the source, where the signal that either passes through the device, is amplified to varying degrees or is transcoded by the analogue or digital medium, enters the system, and reveals how well the transcoding is handled. 

As always, I spent a lot of time going through the extensive playlists and albums, but there are always some of the references that deal specifically with the product in the critical area of evaluation and point out the positive particularities. Here are some of the sonic virtues and objective points of what makes the AAdac such a universal DAC.

"Reblop" by Ricardo Villalobos, Max Loderbauer from the album RE: ECM with its sheer energy and dynamic foundation in low registers is not for the faint of heart. No mediocre digital front-end can fully capture this unique album, and especially "Reblop" acts as a real tour de force. The juxtaposition of the Ricardo Villalobos composition, which in an amazing way mixes the dark sides of energy with the gargantuan dynamics, is sublimely spiced with a wealth of detail. Most importantly, it is not the usual cut-and-paste sampling, but a careful recomposition. Manfred Eicher, the cult owner ECM Records would certainly not embrace anything that does not meet his high standards, and this track is a frequent reference that not only quickly shows the ability of the product being evaluated, but is also an inspiring voyage to the very different aural realms. 

AAdac handled the dynamic shifts with surprising authority and unexpected smoothness of density, whereby the details, notes, and tone attacks were not lost in translation or changed in their origin. What an achievement at the price point!

The sublime Edward Gerhard's rendition of "Moon River" from the album Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar Acoustic Guitar Solos is sublime expertise that captures a web of complex harmonies and vibrant notes that overlap in abundance. This piece requires a certain amount of dynamism and vibrating freedom to unfold fully. AAdac's inner core revealed the essence of Gerhard's cover of this classic with more than the expected foundation.

AAdac's ability to decode the Batik's Headland was a continuation of the balanced dynamic. The "Dharma" is the personal favorite of the album, as it contains so much hidden information that not only the front-end, but the whole system must have a certain, higher-level aptitude in order to reveal the full capacity of the "Dharma" and deserve the name high-end audio product. 

Audio Analogue DAC has proven once again that it's not the size that matters, but the correct implementation of the technology and a powerful core that makes it possible.

The bass and the level of the anchor points that AAdac conveyed was something that my listening notes kept pointing to. 

This was further confirmed with Thunder's album Please Remain Seated. The whole album is really well recorded and mastered, but perhaps the "Future Train (2019 Version )" offers the most impressive sonic expansion. You need a highly refined system to play this song without pushing and shouting it too much. Everything is shaped at the beginning of the signal chain, and AAdac offered plenty of headroom and transparency to let the "Future Train (2019 Version )" expand properly without sounding overdone.

The beautiful and soulful "Blue [Live 2003/The Fillmore, San Francisco]" from Live @ The Fillmore is another very well evenhandedly recorded album, that readily points to deviations from the norm. This live performance by Lucinda Williams also shows whether the system is proficient in conveying the full range of sounds. 

Audio Analogue DAC was no shy to fuse instruments and Williams' voice in a deeply felt emotional and beautiful sound journey. This shows that not only the digital but also analog parts were conducted in the right way!


At its given price, the Audio Analogue AAdac is delivered as a feature-rich 21st-century digital hub. The AAdac can also be used as a remote-controlled preamplifier. This allows the AAdac to function as the heart of a modern high-end audio setup. 

I have tried the Audio Analogue DAC with several sources and acting in both roles, as DAC and DAC/preamp. Both ways the operating was hassle-free, engaging, and highly effective.   

It's also worth noting the AAdac headphone output and the high-quality Bluetooth aptX® wireless audio input. This is a practical feature that makes it easy to use and also more interesting for younger audiences, although many music lovers seem to enjoy listening to music in this instant "plug-in" option. Sometimes it's just a matter of connecting to the music without obstacles. Let's not forget that at the end of the day it's all about music, no matter how it's served. Seldom is all about convenience and a direct music intake!

The high-performance AAdac DACs are based on the proven Sabre ES9038 with the ability to process signals up to 32bit/768Khz (32bit/392KHz via USB). DSD enthusiasts will be pleased with the native DSD decoding up to 8xDSD (DSD 512). 

I liked the way AAdac handled the overall gain of the system by providing enough resolution and weighted, musical sound to fit well in the system with components well above Audio Analouge DAC's price point. 

Like all Audio Analogue devices, their PureAA line DAC is not disappointing. It serves all the qualities of music without entering brittle or saturated areas, and that alone is a feature that is on the map and above expectations. 

The DAC is seductively Italian without getting in the way of its presence, and that is quite a compliment. It also never enter the complicated realms of sounding too warm. 

While the AAdac is the digital device, it manages to remain true to its heritage and name. Audio Analogue certainly points to the analog nature of sound, and it's not easy to keep up with such qualities within the domain of ones and zeros. Nevertheless, AAdac manages to transmit the music without the "digititis" that is often embarked upon. It combines the required level of analog qualities and transparency and a high level of detail is not foreign to it. 

The AAdac has the proportions of a so-called shoebox, but it's well-proportioned size works. It can fit easily on the shelf and show its presence even when positioned as the epicenter, thanks to the beautifully crafted brushed aluminum body and stylish design cues. Like the sound, the aesthetics are obviously contemporary Italian. Minimalist in nature, but with just enough complexity and it instantly captivates with its sound. 

It is not easy to pack so many functions into convenient and contemporary looking housing and still offer a great sounding device. 

Well... they Audio Analogue did their homework as expected, and the result is a great sounding DAC at a price that is more than worth investigating for anyone looking for a high-end audio DAC/preamplifier, with a lot of features and with the sound quality that invites for countless listenings.⧉

Matej Isak


- €3490.00


Output level
2.9 µV (22 Hz ÷ 20 kHz )
Output level(A weighted)
2.1 µV
Output voltage - balanced(1kHz/0dB)
3.35 VRMS
Output voltage - unbalanced(1kHz/0dB)
3.35 VRMS
Dynamic range(A weighted)
124 dB
THD+N(1dB, 1kHz, FS = 48 kHz)
-108 dB
17.65 BIT
Standby power consumption(230VAC)
100x220x390 mm
5.5 Kg


Viale Cesare Battisti 126/G 
51015 Monsummano Terme(PT) 

Tel: +39 0572 030964)