New from Antelope Audio is the Zodiac Platinum DAC, designed to push the limits of digital-to-analogue conversion by offering a 768kHz USB input and the first upsampler for DSD content.
Using a custom-designed USB chip, the Zodiac Platinum is designed to 'reducing clock jitter and push the envelope of the USB streaming with sample rates four times higher than those offered by similar devices', while the DSD upsampling, taking DSD64 content all the way up to DSD256, 'greatly extends the accuracy and transparency of the audio reproduction as well as the overall system performance'.
The design also bypasses the digital filters built into the four DAC chips by implementing both the custom 64-bit 8X upsampler and high-precision linear phase filters in a Field Programmable Gate Array, and uses 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking and an ultra-low jitter oven-controlled crystal oscillator.
Oven-controlled? Antelope explains that this involves housing the clock in a shielded assembly where the temperature is kept constant, for consistent performance.
Inputs on the Zodiac Platinum run to two S/PDIF electrical, two optical, an AES/EBU electrical input and a B-type USB, and the DAC also has de-jittered digital outputs: two S/PDIF and one AES/EBU.
Analogue outputs are provided on both XLR and RCA sockets, and there are also analogue inputs in both balanced and unbalanced forms. These enable the DAC to operate as a digital/analogue preamplifier, using its stepped relay volume control, which gives an accuracy of 0.05dB.
There are also two headphone outputs on 6.3mm jacks, complete with dual stage drivers and impedance adjustment, and the DAC can be controlled using a custom application available for PCs, Macs, and Android/iOS portable devices, or the remote handset provided.
Further upgrade options are provided by inputs for Antelope's Voltikus power supply, and the Zodiac Platinum can also be used with Antelope's Isochrone 10M Rubidium external atomic clock via its 10Mhz input, the clock claiming an accuracy 100,000 times greater than the quartz oscillators commonly used.
The Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum will go on sale in July at $4895, or $5495 when bundled with the Voltikus PSU. UK pricing is yet to be set.
MORE Read our Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold/Voltikus review
Written by Andrew Everard