The latest Tubadour III "SE"- Signature Edition is the upgraded version of the base model including upgrades not available on previous model. It is a Non - oversampling DAC based on Analog Devices best sounding and most musical chip. It is a all format DAC with tube IV conversion stage. It employs AES, Coax. Optical, USB and I2S input. 16-32 bit up to 384kHz. It plays natively PCM. DSD can be played by using the option "convert on the fly" on most of the music players. For example Audirvana, Amarra, Foobar, Roon, Euphony and many others can do this "on the fly". Conversion doesn't compromise the quality in any way. So yes you can enjoy DSD files also. Signature edition comes with Duelund caps on the signal path. They are considered one of the best sounding caps. It also includes Z-Foil "naked" Vishay resistors in the IV and tube section. It has better lower noise power supplies for the USB and I2S inputs with better OSCON caps. IEC power inlet is Furutech - Gold. One of the new features is the IsoAcoustics "GAIA" vibration absorbing/isolation feet. They improve the clarity and focus of the sound. It's like you replaced the interconnect cable with a High-End one. Silver RCA unbalanced outputs. Balanced outputs are optional. After long journey for many years, trying ESS Sabre dac chips, Delta sigma dacs over and non-oversampling dacs, single bit and multibit dacs we are back to the best sounding chip - Analog devises multibit R2R DAC. This is the most analog, musical and no artifically sounding DAC. Base price is $2500.
TUBADOUR III SE Nonoversampling Tube DAC $2500
S/PDIF, AES 44.1 - 192kHz
Optical/Tosslink 44.1 - 96kHz
USB, I2S, PCM 44.1 - 384kHz
DSD - coverterted by player to PCM "on the fly"
Up to 24 bit over S/PDIF, AES, Tosslink
Up to 32 bit over USB and I2S
optional balanced output
13 x 12 x 3 inches
TUBADOUR III NOS R2R TUBE DAC
This is a non-oversampling, all format, vacuum tube DAC.
It is based on Analog devices AD1865N-K flagship DAC chip. This is the best and most analog and musical sounding DAC chip ever made.
Tubes used in the DAC are 5977 subminiature tubes. They are mounted on a special tube adaptor, which is plugged into a regular 9 pin tube socket. You can just unplug the adaptor and use regular 9pin tubes, which can be any of the following tubes: 6N1P, 6DJ8, ECC88, 6922 and 6H23P. After experimenting with many tubes we found that 5977 is the best sounding tube for this application. Second best sounding tube is 6N1P. After all it’s a matter of taste. All the 9pin tubes mentioned above have almost twice the gain of 5977, therefore you will have twice higher output level from the DAC - around 2V. Expected tube life for 5977 subminiature tubes is >5000 hrs.
DAC has a build in slow ramping up high voltage (HT) supply to prevent shortening the tubes life. Due to this the DAC will perform with full scale level and sound quality after approximately 10 min after it’s turned ON. Do not leave the DAC ON for long period of time (24 hrs. or so) if you are not listening to music. This will only shorten the tubes life.
Tube equipment is the opposite of solid state one which sounds better if it’s warmed up for long period of time. 15min or so for DAC warm up is quite enough. DAC parts has a break in time of between 50 -70hrs. The most noticeable improvement in sound will be in the first 20-25 hrs.
Duelund caps need much longer break in time 100-150 hrs.
DAC does not have MQA capability.
DSD files can be played if the player used - convert DSD to PCM.
Most players like Foobar, Audirvana, Amarra etc can do this on the fly.
DAC has two knobs on the front panel.
Left one is POWER ON/OFF
Right one is input selector.
DAC has COAX(SPDIF) TOSSLINK(OPTICAL) AES, USB and I2S inputs, selectable from the front right switch.
DAC has Blue LEDs on the front panel showing the selected source.
The most left LED is a white color and it indicates when the DAC has locked into the source, applicable only for Coax, Optical and AES inputs.
DAC outputs are Unbalanced RCA. Balanced outputs are optional.