DSD as audio format didn’t exactly took over the high-end audio scene by storm, but it surely made an impact with the lasting effect. And as it seems, its not going anywhere. Even more surprisingly, it took its strong and important place within the libraries of audiophiles and music lovers.
I wouldn’t say, how there is an abundance of the DSD files out there, but there is more then enough music available in this format to enjoy for years to come. Quite few online digital record labels are offering the past and present albums in DSD format and many of them, especially connected with the classical music, started to record music directly into DSD years ago.
For anyone, that wants to lurk on the shadowy side of the net there was always a grand choice to find Sony Playstation rips of the SACD albums as a lot of people transferred their own SACD collections into the DSD64 format and shared it with the world or in more private way.
In the era where physical mediums are loosing its importance (at least on the digital side) the trouble-less dealing with the digital audio files became a simple process. Anyone (more or less) should be able to enjoy their beloved collection from the sofa with an iPad or mobile device acting as the remote controller in their hands.
Yes, you can say, that digital audio finally embarked its silent revolution. The movement and mechanics are running for quite few years now.
DSD AND DSD ALONE?
Before any of you stops reading and get scared away when the writing is tied to the pure DSD dealings, let me elaborate a bit about the RT Audio Design Orpheus DSD DAC state of the affairs :)…
You’re not exactly tied down with the DSD only files to enjoy the DSD technology. These days, once can choose from many digital audio players, that support multiple formats.
One of them is iconic and let us call it legendary HQ Player, that lets you enjoy any digital audio format. HQ Player mighty software core allows the exploration of multiple settings, that helps fine-tune and tailor the sound to he one’s specific likings.
HQ Player and RT Audio Design DSD DAC acted as great matching partners and this is the the combination, that I’ve used for the evaluation.
RT AUDIO PURE DSD CONVERTER
So whats different and special about RT Audio Design Orpheus as a concept?
RT Audio Design new Pure DSD converter was designed from ground up for audiophiles and music lovers, that are particular keen for the DSD audio file format. There are specific sonic traits, that are associated with this format, but this was covered already many times.
RT Orpheus converter doesn’t use any standard DAC chip, but reconstruct the original “analog” signal directly thought the analog filter.
RT Orpheus DAC implements the audiophile grade XMOS 500 MIPS processor in asynchronous mode, that is known as low jitter oscillator with galvanic isolation (the outputs, two oscillators and reclock all comes after the isolator).
Tsvetan Tsencov and his team have choosen separate ultra low noise power supplies (under 40uV ) for both digital and analog stages. In the analog filter stage the high grade output transformer was selected for best sound without noise interferences, phase shifts and for its ability to bring low THD. Its worth noting that converter is fully balanced.
All high grade filter capacitors comes from Nichicon and Panasonic and there are no capacitors and resistors in signal path.
The refined design choices continues will fully silver wired connections and 12V/4Ah battery operation, that is automatically charged from special separate power supply and powers all the stages.
RT Audio Design team did their homework well with both, the design concept and selection of the parts. Tsvetan Tsencov goal was clear from the start; the making of the natural and musical sounding DSD DAC and everything followed this direction throughout the R & D.
I’m no rookie when it comes to computers and digital, so there was no need for the manual, but it worthy to know your digital audio hub a bit more intimate.
RT Audio Design Orpheus DSD DAC can play automatically DSD Native DSD64 (2.8224MHz and 3.0720MHz), DSD128 (5.6448MHz and 6.1440MHz) and DSD256 (11.2896MHz and 12.2880MHz) on both Linux and MAC OS.
The only connection coming from computer is USB. Analog outputs are either RCA or XLR (selectable via switch) and there is additional SPDIF digital output that transmits only 24bit/192Khz PCM audio.
Being hard core Mac user, I’ve partnered RT Orpheus with HQ Player and this is where all digital momentum happened. HQ Players’s wide array of settings can seriously alter the sound via modulators, upsampling etc. HQ Player act as the Koenig Specials Software Tuning :)…
Even more importantly HQ Player is a digital hub where all the digital files meet for their replay. But, wait. There’s more. HQ player hardcoded implementation with the Roon (my favorite digital audio player) is another neat feature, that takes the complete experience a step up. It only takes few clicks to get this combo running, without much hassle or complications. Anyone, that is craving for a bit more graphical interface, this optional symbiotic partnering is a way to go. On top of it Roon far out meta-data handling and its own set of options, makes it even more interesting and potent.
Jazz at the Pawnshop – Arne Domnérus and Georg Riedel
I don’t think this particular album need any introduction. Yes, we all heard it hundred, if not thousands of times and I’m more then sore that some people might even run for their lives, if they hear first few notes from the intro. Nevertheless, this particular album represents one of the kind live spirit, expertly recorded by Gert Palmcrantz in 1976, at Jazzpuben Stampen in Stockholm, Sweden.
Stand out amount of acoustical data is hardcoded deep within this live recording and the Jazz At The Pawnshop encapsulate extraordinary density as well as abundance of spatial and spectral cues.
RT Audio Design Orpheus DSD DAC shared a striking similarity to the many attributes of the real music in real time. This was even further evident with the subtle attack formations and the ambient focus points.
RT Audio Design Orpheus DAC rendered this particular album with signal integrity, that shouldn’t operate so well and by all means in such simple and direct way. This is the point, where I’ve felt, how technology is of actual service to the music then rather other way around.
Any live acoustical music fails to be reproduce correctly without articulate timbre in place and RT Audio Design DSD DAC acted surprisingly less cognitive and more emotional, that it should.
This has even further revealed with few more direct DSD recordings of classical music where the traces of digitits and listening fatigue moved backwards and have managed to disappear in the prolonged involving listenings.
My listening notes described the experience as non technical, highly involving and stress free. Lately, I’ve to often (in a good way) stumble across the attributes, that was in the past, as a hard rule only connected with analog…
Jan Gunnar Hoff – LIVING
There is something mystically mesmerizing about the mood, that some of the north European piano composers and their compositions have in common. In a way, Jan Gunnar Hoff shares similar DNA, that radiates throughout Tord Gustavsen recordings.
I’m sure this music won’t addresses anyones dopamine triggers, but it surely triggers my “safe side of melancholy”.
This album was captured and released by one and only Morten Lindberg from multi Grammy Award nominee label 2L. Morten is the real expert when it comes to the recordings of the live music in the real acoustical spaces. By default, 2L’s recordings convey impressive amount of drama and density, that are needed for the believable rendition of the live atmosphere.
Among all the acoustical instruments, the piano is especially hard to reproduce at the full scale and its complete rendition is too often taken too easily. There are too many attributes to be addressed. You can recheck the agenda even with the “simple” studio recordings with any recording engineer.
RT Audio Design Orpheus Pure DSD DAC resonated surprisingly close with the acoustical core of the recording. Finding the right weight of piano notes and recreating its physical presence represents a challenge, that even quite few of the top tiers fails to deliver, yet RT Audio Design Orpheus established a firm bridge between the inner core of the happening and its mirrored portray.
I’ve played around with numerous DAC, perhaps with too many 🙂 and I can assure you, that RT Audio Design DSD DAC reproduction of the Jan Gunnar Hoff’s Living is among the mightier presentations, when it comes to the gestalt piano reconstruction. The ability to strike through the layers of acoustical relief structure was inspiring and captivating.
Ultimately, the most complex things are destined to operate in most simplistic way. RT Audio Design Orpheus DSD DAC represent a pure reflection of such approach. There’s no unneeded hype associated. Everything points toward the real essence, packed into the understated black box with one and only goal – to play pure DSD files at their best.
While few years back, a sole DSD DAC would be considered a completely closed system with little or almost no audio files to fool around with, past decade brought a wide array of “options” and with the program like HQ Player, no PCM file is a stranger to the DSD DAC world.
Tsvetan Tsencov managed to create a DAC, that strives for the purity and as such demand potent partners across the complete system. In order to embrace DSD for what its known – the vibrancy and analog feel the complete system needs to be properly balanced.
If you’re ready to experience digital audio in quite different way and with THE very vibrancy, usually reserved (in a grander portion) for the analog, then RT Audio Design Orpheus might addresses the bold audio minds.
As seclusive and and exotic RT Audio Design DSD DAC might seems, it’s actually a potent and great sounding DAC, ready to serve a bit more daring contemporary audiophiles and music lover.
RT Audio Design Orpheus can bring a refreshing and highly involving sonic portraits, when paired with the potent partners. Its scenic sense and ability to reproduce a collective music’s vision makes it irrepressibly involving even with the long hour listening.
If I would be in the position of reviewing the RT Audio Design DSD DAC couple of years back I would have a hard time recommending it to the larger crowd or even willing to go more in depth with the valuations. But… Times have changed and we’re finally living in the era of digital (r)evolution where the world of digital audio is opening many of the doors, that were tightly sealed.
Its a great a great time to be in the high end audio and RT Audio Design Orpheus DSD DAC is a “child” of this new era where among other things, digital formats are breaking down the walls of unneeded exclusivity.•
Digital input : USB only DSD
Audio files:DSF and DFF
Resolution: DSD Native DSD64 (2.8224MHz and 3.0720MHz), DSD128 (5.6448MHz and 6.1440MHz) and DSD256 (11.2896MHz and 12.2880MHz) on Linux and MAC OS
Digital output:SPDIF only PCM mode 24bit/192Khz
Analog outputs :1 XLR (5Vpp) 1 RCA(2,5Vpp)
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Frequency response :10 Hz -70 kHz +/-0.5 dB @ 0 dBU
Dimensions 330X280X100mm ,4kg
Optional :SE(special edition) EX(exclusive)
kv. Bratya Bukston
blok:204 vhod:B floor: 2