Magic for the Masses

If you have been following my posts about Mojo2 but are still skeptical that it can be the basis for the best DAC... then this is not for you; or if you prefer subjectivity in sound over the absolute, you can stop here; or if you wish to remain spellbound by the pervasive misunderstandings about digital audio then, again, please move on.

When I started AudioWise in 2016, I heard hints of 'magic' transparency in high end systems and I became obsessed with wanting to understand it and I explored means to recreate it... cost effectively. I was science based and used my engineering background to find root causes. I went where the evidence led me and now, almost eight years later, I find myself in a strange place. I know that RF/EM noise impinging on the DAC is causal to destroying transparency but I may be the lone voice telling it as it is.

For sure, products do matter as analog waveforms must resolve air movement at the speakers in complete fidelity with the DACs analog output. However, to achieve ultimate transparency, it's the fidelity of the DACs analog output that is the issue. The value proposition of digital gadgets, sources, network servers, cables, etc. is not that they improve sound at their point of application, but that they lower RF/EM noise telegraphed to the DAC. It's incredible to think that electromagnetic noise emanating through wires and radiating across open air can affect the DAC so profoundly, but this is exactly where I have landed. I'm frustrated that so few in the industry will acknowledge this—preferring instead to perpetuate ignorance as to the true nature of what is going on. 

Inside a DAC, the conversion from digital to analog (bits to volts) is subject to errors or deviations from the theoretical and it's here that digital signal reconstruction and electrical implementation both matter and it's here that RF/EM noise perturbs small signal accuracy (in timing and amplitude) which our impossibly sensitive ear/brain perceives as a loss of transparency.

Hence, I focus on PGGB upsampling technology because perfect digital reconstruction requires ultra high mathematical precision with contribution of all samples and noise shaped energy redistribution. Anything less compromises transparency. I focus on Chord Electronics DACs because they respond best to my isolation/filtering solutions. I focus on battery power because the wideband noise inherent in AC mains is impossible (or impossibly expensive) to tame. I focus on complete DAC isolation because any galvanic conduit (signal, power) or radiated is an access for RF/EM noise.

Now, with Mojo2, I have decided to put much of my focus on this DAC. I have a complete appreciation for how good it can sound and frankly, no other DAC matters. At a street price of $600 with an incredibly low noise floor, ultra low output impedance, DC power, a powerful headamp and the latest FPGA design work of Rob Watts, Mojo2 may be his crowning achievement: an affordable DAC for the masses that can be raised to absolute transparency in 4 easy steps. Not 'class leading' transparency; not 'for the money' transparency; absolute, world leading transparency.  See my next blog post