Linen Mountain U: C: A in the Test

Compact, high-quality D/A converter for desktop audio on the computer are the absolute hit. One that particularly well can it comes from Germany: the u: c: a linen mountain audio.

Linen mountain audio? There was something…”, experienced HiFi fans will remember. Right: the sword at the Ruhr-based company developed in 1993 the legendary Power-DAC, the world’s first combination of D/A converters and power amplifier. A similar concept, followed however with prepress output, the pre IIC presented in the year 2000.

So even then, company boss Ivo Lamin mountain proved a good nose for technology trends. Exactly this pairing from prepress and D/A converter is now absolutely said: supplemented with high-quality active monitors or a fine pair of headphones, make such DAC pre-amps focus on space-saving desktop HiFi systems around on the computer and that is not only in the workplace.

The “D/A-Converter meets pre-amp” approach because even the recent creation of linen mountain audio, the nearly 1,200 euro u: c: a – on behalf of what for “USB Ccoaxial Aa” is available. So almost everything is said to the fundamental way: pure digital’s via USB or S/PDIF-coaxial input, out against analog via RCA socket pairs or front-mounted headphone jack.

The signal path at the u: c: a is therefore very short and minimalist – which however requires a rather complex inner workings. Of course, the small stag mountain converter receives digital music data from the computer via the asynchronous working USB interface, which allows particularly low-jitter operation.

Also he’s unrestricted – no matter whether USB or S/PDIF input – high resolution suitable for up down to the format 24 bit/192 kHz. Not without a reason c: uses a u: while the USB controller chip from Cypress: Ivo Lamin mountain holds especially for Windows machines which because of its very “thin” driver environment for the better solution. However Mac users for the u: need to install a driver c: a.

Always nice to keep clock

Not only the USB, but also of the S/PDIF input is especially jitter-arm: specially for this purpose a digital Phase-locked loop circuit (PLL) in the input receiver module (Wolfson WM 8804) is responsible: similar like the Naim DAC or the 777 AMR DP changes the stag mountain not continuously, depending on the input signal, the clock frequency but works much jitter poorer with switchable fixed frequencies, provided by an out sophisticated monitoring circuit for the input signal buffer.

So that the analog filter after D/A conversion without greater phase-rotations sounded relatively flat and particularly neutral fails, the DAC chip in the stag mountain works, a high-quality Burr Brown PCM 1794A, permanently with 192 kilohertz frequency in upsampling mode.

Uncompromising analog

A real treat is the two-stage, fully discrete output amplifier: after D/A conversion takes place first the precise power voltage conversion, which completely dispenses with feedback.

The high-quality volume control by ALPS downstream the headphone end level, is the load impedance between 8 Ohms and 600 ohms is capable of driving: provides also the RCA outputs.

Lengthy sound potential exploit or pros deliberative off and cons discussions were able to save themselves the judges at the hearing test . No matter, whether via USB or S / PDIF – u: c: a sound always already almost outrageously good.

What was without limitation for headphone listening particularly critical: with top headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 800 showed the stag mountain an expressive, extremely luminous sound picture of natural richness of detail and remained free of any effort even at higher volumes. Bottom line: Music in the workplace could be little better.

 

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