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DAC-100 Solid-State USB Digital to Analog Converter

This product is no longer manufactured and is replaced by other Cary Audio digital sources.

The Cary Audio DAC-100 is made in the USA and designed to provide high-quality music reproduction from today’s digital sources. All digital audio information needs to be turned back into analog to be handled by the amplifier and speakers/headphones so we can listen to it. Whether from a computer, handheld music players, cable or satellite boxes, disc players, or streaming from cloud-based storage, digital data streams suffer from distortions caused by jitter (timing errors in processing the digital information) and the poor quality of built-in digital converters. An outboard digital to analog converter (DAC) is the solution to these problems.

The heart of the DAC-100 are two high current custom built toroidal transformers, one each for the digital and analog sections of the unit. We, at Cary Audio, understand the importance of a good power supply and have spared no expense in designing transformers that perform above their normal requirements. The separate analog transformer has a Faraday shield to reduce noise, and the audio circuits are designed to drive a wide variety of impedances to better match other associated equipment.

The audio output section, responsible for providing the actual musical signals, is based on proven Cary Audio designs for the best sound quality. The DAC-100 audio output uses high speed monolith buffers operated with non-global feedback to ensure optimum sound quality. The audio section is fed with its own discreet low noise power supply. The digital bitstream is handled by a new front end designed in conjunction with one of the industry’s acknowledged digital leaders. A Wolfson WM8805 chipset is used as the input receiver for the four (4) (2-coaxial and 2-Toslink) SPDIF digital audio inputs, as chosen by many of the finest DACs in the world. The USB input uses XMOS processing for asynchronous processing of USB computer based music, stripping away the computer’s timing and replacing it with a much more accurate master clock for a more stable bitstream. It is able to handle multiple 24 bit/192kHz channels with extremely low latency, all at 500 MIPS.

Once the digital bitstream is managed it is sent to the digital to analog conversion section, comprised of two (2) ESS Sabre ES9023 24/192 DAC chipsets. These circuits accurately recreate the analog musical signals and send them to the buffered solid state analog output stages, and then out to the gold-plated RCA or XLR balanced outputs. All of these processes are designed to have no compromises in sound quality, and provide the very best musical reproduction in its price class.

PC & Mac USB   24-192Digital inputs

The following section describes the DAC-100 basic specifications. The specifications are subject to change without notice or obligation.

USB Processor XMOS Asynchronous processing
SP/DIF Input Receiver Wolfson model #WM8805
Digital to Analog Converters 2 X ESS Sabre ES9023
Digital Inputs 5 selectable inputs – (2) coaxial (gold plated), (2) Toslink, (1) USB
Analog Output RCA analog output (gold plated)
XLR Balanced
Input Sample Rates Accepted* 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz
Bit Depths Accepted 16 – 24 bit, LPCM 2-ch audio stream
Power Transformer Toroidal transformer (Digital Supply)
Toroidal transformer (Analog Supply)                                      
Dynamic Range 112dB
Signal to Noise Ratio 109dB
Noise and Hum -101 dB below rated output
Audio Output Level 2.0V RMS
Frequency Response 20Hz – 22KHz
AC Power Requirements 120 VAC @ 50/60 Hz
240 VAC @ 50/60 Hz
Finish Black powder coated matte cabinet with silver anodized aluminum faceplate standard (black optional)
Weight 21 lbs
Dimensions 3 1/2″ H x 17 1/4″ W x 15 1/2″ D

*To achieve higher then 96kHz over Toslink requires that the Toslink transmitter of the digital source and Toslink cable both be compatible and capable of outputting greater than 96kHz. Many times, this is not the case. Please check with your digital source and Toslink cable documentation.