Audiobyte Hydravox DAC and ZAP Power Supply
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The VOX is a unique D/A converter with a headphone amplifier and external power supply. Its entire architecture is built from the scratch using Audiobyte proprietary technologies. Every feature was developed through extensive research to provide a natural audio experience.
The VOX is built around a Xilinx 7-series FPGA device. FPGA = Field Programmable Gate Array – a piece of silicon which allows development of custom hardware. All main functions of the device are specifically made inside the Xilinx device which is updatable, meaning new software will refresh the dac on the hardware level.
The architecture of the VOX is pure 1 bit. All incoming sample rates are converted inside to a sample rate equivalent to DSD256/512 (firmware dependent), after which analog conversion is done using current segment technology.
A unique feature of the Hydra.VOX is the seamless integration between analog and digital filters in orders to preserve accurate phase of the audio signal. It is well-known that any analog low-pass filter will add a phase distortion input-to-output altering sound quality.
To avoid this from happening, the digital filters inside FPGA are programmed to exhibit a “mirrored” phase response, thus cancelling the phase error from the analog domain. The result is a perfect phase response over the audio band.
The quality of the conversion clock is crucial in a high-speed 1-bit system. The VOX uses a high-quality DPLL clock generator which is integrated into a jitter reduction architecture. By design, it does not require any Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion solutions to achieve this.
ANALOG FILTER / BUFFER
While trivial in general applications, the analog buffer stage of the 1-bit DAC is a critical component. Not only must it eliminate the residual noise, but also it should have extreme performance in terms of low distortion and noise floor. In the VOX, the analog buffer stage is realized using low noise bipolar discrete devices.