Graham Slee Majestic DAC - Multi-Input Stereo Digital Preamp
With a DAC and a Pre-amp in one box this is a pre-amp for the Digital Age!
More music sources today are digital, with perhaps one exception - you could also want to play vinyl records. The Majestic digital preamp/DAC was designed with this in mind.
It has three S/PDIF coaxial inputs and three optical "toslink" inputs for items like a CD player, DVD player, TV, Apple computer, DBS radio tuner, music streamer, wireless adapter - in fact, all of the digital sources that are becoming more common every day. These inputs accept up to 192kHz 24 bit on coax, and 96kHz 24 bit on optical. It also accepts USB up to 48kHz 24 bit.
But additionally, it has a stereo analogue input so you can connect the output of a phono stage, or any other line-out analogue source. Stereo analogue outputs comprise of a fixed level output that can be used with a headphone amplifier for private listening; and a balanced level-controlled output which can be used single-ended if required.
Because we've gone to serious lengths to protect signal purity, the volume is controlled manual only as preferred by a growing number of high-fidelity enthusiasts.
*Optionally we can make the fixed level output adjustable via the level control, and/or adapt optical input:1 to receive at 192kHz for only amp;pound;100 more. Please specify in writing at time of order.
The digital performance of the Majestic is as dependant on implementation as much as its chip-set. In the digital domain signal transitions are measured in nanoseconds (ns), and one nanosecond is the cycle time of a 1GHz frequency.
The Majestic stereo DAC splits switching, digital and analogue circuits between three optimised ground plane printed circuit boards, preventing ground return currents from modulating each other or transmitting themselves to different parts of the circuit.
Multiple voltage regulators (9 in total) isolate the various functions from each other.
That results in the Majestic's very low distortion, intermodulation, and appreciably low jitter (140 ns, 100Hz corner - actually measured and not quoted from the chip manufacturer's data-sheet!).
To ensure a smooth yet highly detailed analogue sound the D-A converter is run below full scale to prevent signal clipping. It is also run in hardware mode so there is no microcontroller adding its own signature through power supply modulation or interference. Even its mute function is deprecated to a manual front panel switch to remove another layer of complexity.
The Majestic stereo DAC uses a digital oversampling filter sending the Nyquist frequency to 364 kHz, thus allowing for a gentle roll-off and a more natural sounding analogue low pass filter.
The differential DAC outputs drive modified Sallen-Key third order instrumentation amp low pass filters, so there is no analogue pass-band ripple. Phase lag reaches 45 degrees beyond audibility, yet it achieves 47dB sampling frequency attenuation.
The low pass filter and level control buffer are operated in our proprietary 'ultra-linear' mode, which sounds remarkably similar to valves (tubes), but with lower noise and distortion as well as the ability to drive much lower impedances.
The level control is a true analogue channel matched dual gang potentiometer, allowing for precise level adjustment. The scale is marked as an indication of the balanced output level. When driving 600 Ohm loads the output will be 6dB lower than indicated.
Prior to the level control an input for a stereo analogue source is provided, and for users who have only one analogue source the Majestic stereo DAC is an ideal manual operation preamp.
DACs operate at high current to be able to process all their digital functions. This usually means that high performance DACs run hot, but that can be disastrous for electrolytic capacitors, shortening their lifespan.
The Majestic stereo DAC voltage regulators are optimised for minimal power dissipation (but are still linear regulators) which keeps working temperatures low, prolonging lifespan, and alleviating the need for re-capping.
Shipping typically 2-3 days