Korg DS-DAC-100 – high-quality USB DAC for stereo sound reproduction with 192 kHz, 24 bits and support of DSD for 320 USD

External USB digital to analogue converter Korg DS-DAC-100
External USB digital to analogue converter Korg DS-DAC-100

Among high-quality USB audio interfaces of Korg there is a Korg DS-DAC-100 – external Digital to Analogue Converter, able to reproduce stereo sound with 192 kHz sampling rate, 24 bits precision and with support of native hardware decoding of DSD signal for 320 USD. Besides maximal frequency and precision it also supports 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 and 176.4 kHz and 16 bits. On its frontal panel there are TRS 1/4″ jack output for headphones, volume control and work and chosen sampling rate indicators. On back panel of device there are : USB 2.0 Type B port for connection to computer and powering, unbalanced RCA left and right outputs, as well as balanced XLR left and right outputs.

External USB digital to analogue converter Korg DS-DAC-100 ( back panel )
External USB digital to analogue converter Korg DS-DAC-100 ( back panel )

Korg DS-DAC-100 supports hardware decoding of DSD sound and PCM signal playback via ASIO 2.0, WDM and Core Audio interfaces in Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 and Mac OS X operating systems via specialized drivers. Digital to analogue conversions are handled by Cirrus Logic CS4398 processor with following characteristics : THD+N 0.005%, signal to noise ratio 105 dB and working frequencies range 10 Hz – 40 kHz ( with +- 1 dB deviation ). Linear outputs of device have following characteristics : impedance is 10 kOhms, nominal signal level -6 – +6 dBV; headphones output : 16 Ohms impedance and maximal power 85 + 85 mW with 32 Ohms impedance. Korg DS-DAC-100 draws maximum 2.5 W of energy and 500 mA of current, its sizes are 207 ( width ) x 160 ( depth ) x 60 ( height ) mm and mass is 862 g.

Package contains monitor dynamic headphones PHONON SMB-02 DS-DAC EDITION, Korg DS-DAC-100 can decode in hardware DSD sound with 2.8224 or 5.6448 MHz encoding frequencies. Also in package with Korg DS-DAC-100 digital to analogue converter there are : USB cable, 3 spikes-pins, optical disk with drivers and software, warranty card and user’s guide.

From one side : DAC is quite good and has good audio characteristics, native hardware DSD sound decoding and high-quality digital and analogue components; but from the other side in technical area it is no better, than even entry and middle level professional studio audio interfaces of Steinberg, Behringer, Focusrite, Roland, ESI, M-Audio, Alesis and other companies. Which often are far better, than it in digital and analogue specifications, have much larger amount of output channels, have professional inputs for recording of high-quality audio, MIDI connectors and digital inputs and outputs, as well as loads of other functions, and cost 1.5 – 2 times cheaper, than Korg DS-DAC-100. So, purchasing of this device has no big sense, because human will not be able to hear difference between software sound decoding and playback on professional studio audio interface and its native decoding and playback via Korg DS-DAC-100 – whatever its manufacturer would marketingly say in this respect.

Korg – is a Japanese company, founded in 1962 year in Tokyo, previously it was known under names Keio Gijutsu Kenkyujo Ltd. and Keio Electronic Laboratories. It produces MIDI keyboards and other musical controllers, audio processors, electronic tuners, audio interfaces and other sound equipment. Under Vox brand name it also manufactures electric guitars and amplifiers for them. Currently company is one of the largest world manufacturers of audio devices with rich history of production of high-quality musical instruments, which are used by artists and musicians in studios and on concerts all around the world.

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