DACs

Neko Audio D100 Mk 2 Stereo DAC

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

Neko Audio is producing only this one product so far. Owner Wesley Miaw told me that he has some other products in development but the DAC has been his passion so far. Passion is the word for it too. This little gem has quite a bit of polish on it: Gold plated connectors, gold plated solder pads on the internal printed circuit boards, 9400µF of capacitance overall and pi filtering (capacitor – inductor – capacitor) on the power pins of every IC. These things are rare but perhaps the most unique design feature of this DAC is an all analog output stage consisting of 0.1% resistors and Jenson JT-11-EMCF transformers. Those resistors are performing the crucial current to voltage conversion step that is typically done with an Op Amp. The resistors are directly across the inputs if the transformers which similarly replace what is usually another Op Amp in typical CD players or DACs. The D100 Mk2 features new Jensen transformers that provide an additional 6dB of gain over the original model while maintaining the same sonic characteristic of the D100. I reviewed the Mk2.

The inputs on the DAC are S/PDIF only by RCA cable or optical Toslink selectable by a large knob on the front. There is no USB input. Outputs are to your order, balanced or single ended. Neko Audio also supplies balanced to single ended interconnects if needed.

I've listed the specifications above as they are listed in the printed Neko's owner's manual. There are a couple of sampling rates that you might perceive as missing from that list of supported frequencies. Namely 88.2kHz and 176.4kHz. Wesley Miaw told me that 88.2 is indeed supported however and my own tests confirm it. It's double however, 176.4 is not. I have favored 88.2 for recordings I make from vinyl on the presumption that the downsample to 44.1 will be a simple, less destructive affair than the compute intensive conversion from 96kHz would be. And there is the by-now well known Faulkner downsampling program that attempts to ensure that. I'm starting to wonder why I bother though. If I do a conversion to 44.1 it's to make a CD that I can use in the car. Enough said. Neko Audio is a web based business and the plan is to stay that way. The D100 is available for 30 day home trial.