: Edgar Kramer 
Financial Interests: Click here 
Source: Yamaha CD-S2100 as transport, TotalDAC d1-core DAC with twin Power Supply upgrade, MacBook with BitPerfect player and AIFF files, DEQX PreMate as DAC and preamplifier  
Preamplifier: Supratek Reference DHT with Bendix rectifier tube; NuForce P20, Lightspeed Attenuator 
Amplifier: Gryphon Antileon EVO; NuForce Reference 18 monoblocks
Speakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia 
Cables digital: Cerious Technologies; Harmonic Technology Magic; NuForce digital cables analog interconnects: Bocchino Audio Morning Glory; Cable Research Laboratory (CRL) Gold with Bocchino XLR and RCA; Cerious Technologies; DanA Digital Reference Silver; ETI Quiessence Reference; Exakte IC; Harmonic Technology Magic; MIT Giant Killer MPC; NuForceIC-700; PSC Audio Monolith AG; PSC Audio Pristine R30 Ribbon speaker cables: Cerious Technologies; ETI Quiessence Reference; Exakte speaker cable; MIT Giant Killer GK-1 loudspeaker cables; NuForce SC-700 power cords: Cerious Technologies AC; Eichmann eXpress AC power cables; Exakte AC; Harmonic Technology Fantasy; PSC Gold Power MKII; Shunyata Research Diamondback 
Stands: SGR Signature racks 
Sundry accessories: Burson Audio Buffer, Bright Star Audio IsoRock Reference 3 and BSA IsoNode feet; Bocchino Audio Mecado isolation diodes; Black Diamond Racing cones; Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions, Shakti On Lines; Densen & IsoTek CD demagnetizer; Auric Illuminator CD Treatment 
Room size: 6.4m wide by 7.1m long with high ceiling and narrow cavity behind speakers. Room has been professionally measured and found to be extraordinarily flat and neutral. 
Review component retail: €4'700 - add €1'000 for server/streamer option

There are instances when progress occurs
on the basis of a newly discovered or more efficient production technique; or because of commercial reasons revolving around marketing and the need to generate income for the sake of corporate operational sustainability. This can, in some cases, translate to technological changes that take a product category on a sideways step or even backwards. When it comes to digital-to-analogue converter chips, many enthusiasts argue that, despite being more economical to produce and having high-resolution playback capabilities, the current Delta-Sigma single-bit chips are inferior to the much older multi-bit types that were the original chip technologies for decoding digital playback. And of these latter types (and ladder types, pun intended) the Philips TDA1541A and Burr Brown PCM1704 chips were generally considered to be the very best for audio quality.

Where the vast majority of current DAC offerings are now using the far cheaper-to-produce Delta-Sigma 1-bit chips, many niche manufacturers continue developing new DACs with remaining inventories of older multi-bit chips (Abbingdon Music Research comes to mind first due to personal ownership of their outstanding CD-77.1 with TDA1541A chips). FPGA-based conversion too has been taken up by high-tech companies such as Chord Electronics, Playback Designs, PS Audio and others. And yet another niche within a niche is found in designers who eschew chips altogether and produce resistor-based ladder networks (known as R2R converters) in finely-matched multiple groups to provide the conversion. Leading the platoon with this methodology are companies such as—by no means a definitive list—MSB, Acoustic Quality, LampizatOr, Audio-GD, Rockna and Metrum among others (with some using a combination of R2R and FPGA tech) while an increasing number of newer brands develop and produce budget R2R DACs out of several Asian countries, the Holo Audio Spring DAC being one of the latest to cause a stir.

One of the strongest on the leader board of resistor-ladder conversion is French digital specialist TotalDAC, a company led by engineer and founder Vincent Brient who has been building highly acclaimed DACs for a number of years now. The new d-1 core DAC is his latest thinking on resistor-based conversion which he aims squarely at the latest-tech Delta-Sigma leaders by combining his preferred conversion methodology along with—if you opt for the server option—Roon, external NAS/thumb drive connectivity plus streaming capabilities. Further, a MicroSD slot allows for future firmware updates as TotalDAC continue development to result in iterative refinements and further abilities.