LA VOCE S3   Digital to Analogue Converter

By combining dedicated research with creative thinking, our research and development has brought forth a range of innovation aimed at recreating the experience of live music.

 

It has always been aqua’s singular focus to produce the very best digital to analogue converters and digital sources (La Diva) possible.

Today, the product line includes three DAC models (La Voce S3, La Scala MKII Optologic, Formula xHD) and one CD transport (La Diva).

 

Key Features

 

  • R2R resistor ladder network D/A conversion

  • High performance proprietary FPGA-based digital decoding without digital filter

  • Jitter free digital interface AQlink (I2S protocol), uncompromising digital connection to La Diva cd transport

  • Zero S/PDIF Jitter design, digital receiver stage PLL (phase locked loop) technology

  • Discrete Regulator (MOSFET, J-FET, BJT) for analog and digital DAC’s power supply

  • MODULAR DESIGN with upgradeable multi board platform

  • 2 separate low noise transformers, one for the analog and one for the digital section

  • Fully discrete analog stage

  • Electronically-balanced XLR outputs

Performance Characteristics

  • Proprietary USB Firmware / driver : Apple MAC OS – Linux OS : USB asynchronous native support, no need to install drivers software

  • Fully upgradeable high-speed USB Audio Class 2 module, PCM 44.1kHz to 384kHz PCM up to 24 bits, DSD64 / DSD128, operates with computers running OSX 10.7 and above, WINDOWS 10, 7, 8, XP with ASIO bit perfect

  • Digital phase selector on front panel

  • High-quality parts selected for sound quality: – 105° long life capacitors low noise Metal Foil ultra-precision resistors – metallized film pulse capacitor – ultra-fast diodes

  • Analog output: RCA single-ended – XLR balanced asymmetrical

  • Aluminum anti-resonant cabinet with Nextel

  • Designed and handmade in Italy



MRSP  $ 4,300   /  Silver or Black 

 

LA SCALA MKII OPTOLOGIC   Digital to Analogue Converter 

​A never ending story: upgrading to the Optologic DAC

Again, La Scala D/A converter proves that an instant classic does not mean a product whose destiny is to become obsolescent, like most of the products in the high-end world.

 

After the first appearance in the flagship Formula DAC, the proprietary D/A conversion system developed by Aqua is now available for La Scala MkII dac.
 

So, current Owners, have the opportunity to upgrade their unit in order to reach to the revolutionary Optologic D/A conversion system. 
 

The already extraordinary sound quality of this icon is now improved in every aspect: time coherence, microdynamics, timbre, and without losing that magic atmosphere for which La Scala is widely renowned.
La Scala MkII keeps the VALVE / MOSFET hybrid circuitry, with now a pair of selected Telefunken ECC81 tubes - a High-Frequency triode - for its low noise main feature

Key Features

• High performance proprietary FPGA-based digital decoding without digital filter

• Galvanic and magnetic isolations between the FPGA and R2R ladder converter

• Discrete R2R ladder DACs with low noise precision resistors

• Jitter free digital interface AQlink (I2S protocol), uncompromising digital connection to La Diva cd transport

• Zero S/PDIF Jitter design, digital receiver stage PLL (phase locked loop) technology

• High-performance AQ Discrete Regulator (MOSFET, J-FET, BJT) for analog and digital DAC’s power supply

• Valve-Mosfet direct coupling analog stage in pure class-A without negative feedback

• MOSFET Virtual battery circuit for analog anode supply

• Soft-start power up for extended tube life

• etherCON RJ45 (AQlink) input connection, employs CAT6 cable can connect both RJ45 and professional etherCON RJ45

• 2 separate low noise power transformers, one for the analog and one for the digital section

• MODULAR DESIGN with upgradeable multi board system

• Regulated DC filament supplies with soft start for tubes

• Fully discrete analog stage, not even a single Op-Amp is used

• Proprietary USB Firmware / driver :
Apple MAC OS - Linux OS : USB asynchronous native support, no need to install drivers software

• Fully upgradeable asynchronous USB module with resolution 44.1kHz to 384kHz PCM up to 24 bits, DSD64, DSD128, operates with computers running OSX 10.7 and above, WINDOWS 10 , 8 , 7 and XP ASIO - WASAPI bit perfect high-speed

• Digital phase selector on front panel

• High-quality parts selected for sound quality:
   - 105° long life capacitors
   - low noise Metal Foil ultra-precision resistors
   - double metallized film pulse capacitor
   - ultra-fast diodes
   - halogen free cables

• Aluminium anti-resonant cabinet with Nextel

• Designed and handmade in Italy

• Input:
- RJ45 AQlink (I2S serial bus) - PCM 24 bit / 384kHz - DSD64, DSD128 via DoP
- BNC coax (S/PDIF) 75 ohm  -  PCM 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64 via DoP
- RCA coax (S/PDIF) 75 ohm  -  PCM 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64 via DoP
- AES/EBU balanced 110 ohm  -  PCM 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64 via DoP
- USB port  -  PCM 24 bit / 384kHz - DSD64, DSD128 via DoP

- AT&T (ST Fiber) -  PCM 24 bit / 192kHz - DSD64 via DoP (optional)

• Analog output:
- RCA single-ended
- XLR balanced with transformer

 

 

MRSP $ 7,700​   /  Silver or Black 

 

FORMULA DAC   Digital to Analogue Converter 

The Optologic R2R conversion system

Aqua believes that the more musical D/A conversion system is based on the circuit usually identified as "resistor ladder".
This technology has been substituted in the mass-market by the so-called sigma-delta converters.
The sigma-delta converter is a near-completely digital circuit and for this reason it can be can be integrated on silicon and produced at low-cost. 


A quality resistor ladder DAC instead uses a circuit based on a set of high precision discrete resistors: at least 2 resistor banks, one for each stereo channel.
The Formula DAC is the first in the Aqua’s production to show a proprietary D/A conversion system, that we name Optologic.
The signals sent to the resistor ladders are generated by a proprietary digital circuit, implemented inside an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array).


Formula has a sign-magnitude converter structure, and this requires not two but four 24 bit resistors banks, each one made of very low tolerance discrete resistors.


In order to separate the digital section from the sensitive analog circuits,  galvanic and magnetic isolations are implemented between the FPGA and the four branches of the R2R ladder converter.
This creates complete isolation of all digital circuitry - including the clock - from the analogue section, for a clean, noiseless ground plane. It also plays the main role in the differential management of the R2R ladders, achieving perfect symmetry between the counter-phase halves. The result is the highest tonal contrast and naturalness.



Pure 1x native sample rate DAC 

The FORMULA, like the other Aqua models, is a digital filter-less DAC.
Our conviction is that in spite of the instrumental measurements showed by upsampling / oversampling DACs, they rarely are able to produce the same emotional and realistic results.
  


Modularity

A third important aspect in the Aqua production is the modularity of the various electronic circuits.
Aqua equipment are not short life products: as modular, they are open to future improvements and to follow the evolution of the technology.
Formula is made of a set of circuits every one developed on a separate printed circuit board easily interchangeable.
As an example, each of the four resistors banks of the converter is separate and mounted on connectors.



State of the art digital and analog electronics

As explained before, the Formula DAC uses no digital filter or any other compensation, relying instead on maniacal attention to each sub-circuit.
The separate analog and digital power supplies are executed purely by extensive use of discrete BJT, Mosfet, J-Fet and ultra-fast diodes.
Passive parts were selected not just for the best sonic result but also for their top quality, longevity and reliability. With the exception of six superior quality electrolytics, all other caps are Tantalum, solid-polymer OS-CON and double-metalized MJP.
The signal path itself is direct-coupled and completely capacitor-free.
The two output stages (one single-ended, one transformer-coupled balanced) use discrete BJT and J-Fet with metal-film resistors. All the electronics parts show an ultra-low RF noise.
An advanced ARM microcontroller manages the user interface on the front panel, the IR remote command and the communication port (serial, RS232 standard).

 

 

Key Features

  • Proprietary Optologic D/A conversion system. Pure R2R ladder - FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) based without digital filter

  • Galvanic and magnetic isolations between the FPGA and the four branches of the R2R ladder converter

  • Jitter free digital interface AQlink PRO (I2S protocol), uncompromising digital connection to La Diva cd transport

  • Discrete R2R ladder DACs with low noise precision resistors

  • Zero S/PDIF Jitter design, digital receiver stage PLL (phase locked loop) technology

  • High-performance AQ Discrete Regulator (MOSFET, J-FET, BJT) for analog and digital DAC’s power supply

  • 2 separate low noise C-Core power transformers, one for the analog and one for the digital section

  • MODULAR DESIGN with upgradeable multi board platform

  • Transformer-based true balanced audio output stage

  • Fully upgradeable high-speed USB Audio Class 2 module, PCM 44.1kHz to 384kHz PCM up to 24 bits, DSD64 / DSD128, operates with computers running OSX 10.7 and above, WINDOWS 10, 7, 8, XP with ASIO bit perfect

  • Proprietary USB Firmware / driver :

  • Apple MAC OS - Linux OS : USB asynchronous native support, no need to install drivers software

  • Digital phase selector on front panel

  • High-quality parts selected for sound quality :

    • Tantalum, solid-polymer OS-CON and double-metalized MJP capacitors

    • Low noise Metal Foil ultra-precision resistors

    • Double metallized film pulse capacitor

    • Ultra-fast diodes

    • Halogen free cables

  • Aluminium anti-resonant cabinet with Nextel

  • RC5 IR remote controller (optional)

  • Designed and handmade in Italy

 

 

MRSP $ 16,200​   /  Silver or Black 

AQUA ACOUSTICS

AQUA Acoustic LA SCALA DAC - Open

LA DIVA    Digital CD Transport

 

 

The Art of the digital domain

Uncompromised in every respect, La Diva cd transport is the culmination of aqua’s R&D in the areas of electronic and mechanical engineering.

FEATURES

• High performance proprietary ISDC (Isolated Synchronous Discrete Circuit) digital decoding  and clock manager

• Custom designed discrete circuit with high-speed photocouplers for Galvanic and magnetic isolation between CD drive unit and digital output

• Ultra massive chassis construction and newly developed high-rigidity sub chassis with Nextel for CD drive unit cancels internal and external acoustic and mechanical vibrations, enabling exceptionally accurate "Red Book" RF signal

• DC disc drive motor allows to read the data accurately and minimize Jitter

• Moplen clamp to avoid flywheel masses and vibrations

• Sophisticated signal processing technology assures excellent CD Red Book signal

• High-performance multi-stage voltage regulator (high-current stage for accurate servo DISC drive rotation, tracking and focus)

• Jitter free digital interface AQlink (I2S protocol), uncompromising digital connection to La Scala DAC, La Voce DAC

• etherCON RJ45 (AQlink) output connection to DAC, employs CAT6 cable can connect both RJ45 and professional etherCON RJ45

• Separate custom-built toroidal transformers for digital and servo motors/actuators

• MODULAR DESIGN with upgradeable multi board system

• Precision Philips CD-Pro2 transport customized

• High-quality parts selected for sound quality:
   - 105° long life capacitors
   - low noise Metal Foil ultra-precision resistors
   - metallized film pulse capacitor
   - ultra-fast diodes
   - halogen free cables

• Aluminum top loading tray machined from billet

• Non-magnetic low-resonance aluminum chassis with Nextel

• Field upgradeable firmware

• Fluorescent display (VFD) with user off-selectable illumination

• Designed and handmade in Italy


• Output:
- etherCON RJ45 - AQlink (I2S serial bus)
- XLR AES/EBU
- BNC coax (S/PDIF)
- RCA coax (S/PDIF)
- ST fiber (AT&T) 
- BNC word clock

MRSP  $ 8,600   /  Silver or Black 

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