Mola Mola DAC

Speaking of speaking to people I enjoy talking to, I was lucky enough to encounter On A Higher Note's Philip O'Hanlon and Mola-Mola designer Bruno Putzeys in Philip's room where we listened to music through Bruno's Mola-Mola Preamp/DAC ($13,450 + $5,000 for the DAC), the Mola-Mola Kaluga Power Amp ($18,000), and the Vivid Giya G3 speakers ($40,000). This pairing always sounds wonderfully musical to my ears and this year was certainly no exception. What I enjoyed even more, was listening to Bruno talk about his DAC.

This was the room last I covered on the last day of show as the last minutes of the 4:00PM show closing time approached. Even in my freshest, most alert moments, I still would not be able to follow everything Bruno says. That's just a fact. At RMAF 2015, I became overfull even faster than normal. So I'm going to cheat:

"On the first board, all incoming digital audio is upsampled to 3.125MHz/32 bits and converted to noise shaped PWM. The two remaining boards are mono DACs, in which a discrete 32-stage FIR DAC and a single-stage 4th order filtering I/V converter convert the PWM into analogue with a breathtaking 140dB SNR. This is near the theoretical limit for 24-bit files and far beyond that of even quad-speed DSD. Uniquely, distortion remains below the noise floor even for full scale signals. A quick look at current and historic trends of high-end IC’s indicates that for the foreseeable future this kind of performance will remain unavailable to manufacturers forced to rely on the same 'chip du jour' that also powers their competitors’ products."
Of course there's much more to learn so I'd suggest following that link to the Mola-Mola website. The DAC supports up 32-bit/384kHz PCM and quad-rate DSD. Note that Bruno had a hand in designed the Grimm A/D converter as well as the Grimm LS1 active loudspeaker. If you know about these products, you'll know that DSD is a big part of them and if you think your average hi-fi hobbyist can make a good argument against DSD by talking about HF noise or some other trifle, you'd be wrong.

After being treated to a number of great-sounding tunes via Mola-Mola, Philip took over and turned my attention to the Merging Technologies multichannel NADAC which was able to send music through the same system as above with the addition of a pair of Vivid Oval B1 speakers (17,000) sitting behind me. I was limited in time to two tracks which were convincingly lovely and nearly uncomfortably coming at me in a very real manner from every angle.