Concert Fidelity DAC-040BD Vacuum Tube Digital-to-Analog Converter

apologies for the crappy photo

The Concert Fidelity DAC-040BD Vacuum Tube Digital-to-Analog Converter ($12,000) has been around for a while but this battery-powered, non-oversampling, filterless, 16-bit/44.1kHz max DAC sporting NOS Philips multi-bit 16-bit DAC chips makes it perfectly en vogue. The DAC-040 employs a pair of 12AU7 vacuum tubes for gain and a 6CA4 for rectification, checking off all of the items on the "I want analog-like sounding digital" checklist.

photo credit: Concert Fidelity

There is a single coax S/PDIF input and a pair of single-ended RCA outputs which means most computer audiophiles with computer-based servers will need to add a USB to S/PDIF converter to get their bits from point A to point B. While I did not get a good listen to the DAC-040 due to room noise, i.e. people talking, I have to admit that this uber-minimalist, the hell with hi-res approach can sound downright non-digital. Then again, so can hi-res capable NOS DACs.

hltf's picture

I have this DAC myself in the older non-BD version which is also 16/44 only. I find it extremely analog sounding, and it puts out so much detail in a natural way that I always wonder to myself how much more info or anything else you could find in a hi-res recording. I should mention that it is very responsive to good tubes so one can do some sound tuning there to your preference. I use Synergistic power conditioning, cables and their excellentt Tranquility Base with it as well as about 20 of their ECTs plastered inside the DAC. BTW those ECTs placed close to the PCBs internally work wonders although I have very little clue what they actually do. Be curious if you plan to review this yourself. I would be curious what you think of it in comparison to your TotalDAC.