Mystique v3 DAC Balanced

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Excerpts from a review of our Mystique v3 DAC by Anthony Kershaw:

"...the Mystique [v3] handled every thing it threw at it easily, but it was the layering and deep, deep bass...that was so compelling."

"Voices of all sorts, ranges and styles sounded beautifully natural and lifelike."

"I urge anybody in the market for a 5K DAC...I don’t think you’ll have to look further. And I would encourage the rich kids wanting to spend 10K and up...Your dollars’ll thank you for it."

"Very highly recommended. "

We are proud to be awarded "Star Component" by Audiophilia

Awarded "Best in Show" (cost is no object) at AXPONA'17 by The Absolute Sound

Awarded "Best Innersound at the Show" at AXPONA'17 by Part-Time Audiophile

Unparalleled harmonic coherence.

Our Mystique v3 digital-to-analog converter is a no-compromise design. Keeping our ultra-purist non-oversampling direct-coupled R-2R topology, we've upgraded to monolithic 20-bit AD1862 DAC chips, five independent choke input power supplies, and an anti-resonant polymerized aluminum composite chassis.

The result is the most natural time, tune, and timbre possible from a digital source. Effortless micro-dynamics and incredible micro-detail preserve the tones, textures, and spatial cues that bring you closer to the original musical performance.

Error prevention vs. error correction.

With no pre- or post-digital filtering, digital noise shaping, upsampling, oversampling, or error-correcting algorithms, our digital signal path is the purest possible. This is not true of many so-called non-oversampling designs that still incorporate algorithms for noise shaping and error correction.

The analog output stage is direct-coupled to provide the most linear and extended frequency response possible by eliminating output coupling capacitors and transformers that narrow bandwidth and cause phase and time distortion. For ultimate transparency the output stage incorporates Sparkos discrete op amps and Vishay's best TX2575 "Nude" resistors laser matched to 0.01% tolerance.

Unlike most non-oversampling designs that use a single logic gate for demultiplexing the left and right channels, our discrete demultiplexing circuit assures 100% phase and time coherency between channels by using a bank of logic gates to perfectly align the bits of the left and right digital words to the same clock cycle. To optimize linearity left and right channels each have an independent circuit that adjusts the voltage of the most significant bit (MSB) at the zero voltage crossing.

To isolate each stage and eliminate bit read errors, our five independent choke input power supplies incorporate Mundorf M-Lytic AG+ 4-pole capacitors feeding twelve Belleson SPZ ultralow-noise ultrahigh-dynamic regulators with 1,000uf Sanyo organic polymer capacitor.

For isolation from EMI we use a thick ferrous barrier between the power supply section and the signal section. For isolation from grounding noise an advanced hybrid star/plane grounding schema is used to isolate input, digital, and analog grounding planes. We even incorporated a DC ground lift and chassis grounding post to allow system grounding to be optimized.

To minimize mechanical resonance we've developed a new rigid C channel polymerized aluminum composite chassis. Stillpoints standoffs "float" the signal board in its ferrous shielded compartment and optional Stillpoints Ultra Mini feet decouple the entire chassis from external vibration.

Three 24-bit 192KHz PCM digital Inputs.

Converts PCM format files up to 24-bit 192KHz via galvanically isolated USB, coaxial S/PDIF, or TosLink optical formats.

In addition to Femto audiophile clocking, our high-performance USB input is galvanically isolated. The fifth independent power supply 100% isolates our USB from all other power supplies in the DAC - not even a ground plane is shared. This eliminates the need for any external USB reclocking or regeneration devices.

To minimize input signal degradation, our digital input stage uses five dedicated ultralow-noise Belleson SPZ regulators and over 5,000uf of organic polymer capacitance. Each stage is independently powered and all stages are completely isolated from USB buss power.

Uncompromising design.

  • Built around Analog Devices' legendary monolithic AD1862 non-oversampling R-2R ladder DAC chips.
  • Converts PCM format files up to 24-bit 192KHz via USB, coaxial S/PDIF, or TosLink optical formats.
  • Ultrahigh-performance Sparkos discrete op amps for I/V conversion and anti-aliasing.
  • Vishay TX2575 0.01% tolerance "nude" metal foil resistors and foil polystyrene film capacitors.
  • Direct-coupled analog stage with no capacitors or transformers between the DAC chip and output.
  • Left and right channel digital word synchronization to ensure perfect phase and time coherency.
  • Independent circuits to adjust the MSB for the left and right channels at the zero voltage crossing.
  • Five independent choke input power supplies feeding twelve Belleson SPZ ultralow-noise regulators.
  • Ultra-fast soft recovery diodes, Mundorf M-Lytic AG+ 4-pole and Sanyo organic polymer capacitors.
  • Laboratory grade filtered IEC with multistage AC filtering that is extremely tolerant of line noise.
  • High-performance Furutech connectors connected to the PCB with cotton covered UniCrystal silver wire.
  • Anti-resonant polymerized aluminum composite chassis with ferrous internal EMI shielding.
  • Stillpoints standoffs and Sorbothane feet come standard - optional Stillpoints Ultra Mini feet upgrade.
  • Field convertible from 110VAC to 250VAC both 50Hz and 60Hz. Special order 100VAC available.
  • Solid brass ground post and DC ground lift for optimized system grounding.
  • 17.5"W x 3.25"H x 12"D and 23 pounds.

Additional Info

Additional Info