Here is an interview with Igor Levin published by Audio Times in 2012. Igor answers questions about some critical aspects of A/D and D/A converters and master clocks design.
Irrespective of the sampling rate, what are the really important elements within successful A/D and D/A converters designs?
About 20 years ago when I built my first D/A converter I had also to build a clock for it. At that time, clocks were not something that you just go out and buy. So I built my first clock for my first D/A converter. People liked the converter, but what they really appreciated was the clock. This was when I realized the importance of the stable clocking reference for digital audio.
I still believe the accurate clock is the basis for successful conversion. In fact as the chips get better and the circuit artifacts we struggled to overcome fall away, the significance of good clocking has come to the fore as never before. Today I would say it amounts to at least 75% of the overall sound. Of course there is a list of other important factors such as proper layout, stable power supply, the analog-based volume control etc.
May 03-06, 2012 – Munich, Germany: The entire range of high-tech products could be found under a single roof including warmly glowing tubes, stylish turntables and multichannel audio streaming. With over 360 exibitors, 14.600,00 visitors and more than 480 journalists, the HIGH END Munich was a remarkable proof for the enhanced interest in audiophile technologies. Among all those hifi gear, our innovative Rubicon Atomic AD/DA Preamp attracted a high amount of visitors and international journalists at our booth. While on the one side the outstanding design was vividly discussed, on the other side the integrated Rubidium Atomic Clock led to many talks about AD/DA conversion and high resolution audio content with our staff, including mastermind Igor Levin.
No wonder, why he was the first of four speakers at the HIGH END lecture “High-resolution: The future of digital audio”. Followed by mastering engineer Morten Lindberg, highres audio distribution CEO Lothar Kerestedjan and CEO Daniela Manger from Manger Audio, the lecture made clear, that 384 kHz audiofile content is not a theoretical marketing issue, but a huge benefit to experience music.
Btw: Special thanks to the munich people, that allowed our staff to taste the wonderful german bear and food variations and led them listen to original bavarian tunes.
Rubicon is a 384 kHz converter, phono stage preamp and headphone amplifier with an integrated atomic clock.
Santa Monica, CA, April 19, 2012 – Antelope Audio will introduce Rubicon, a groundbreaking 384 kHz digital audio preamplifier which integrates the world renowned 10M Rubidium atomic clock. Rubicon caters for the ever-increasing interest in high resolution audio, addressing the specific needs of high end consumer electronics enthusiasts for accurate audio representation and detailed soundstage of both analog and digital recordings. The new device will be presented to the public during the Munich High End Show, May 3rd – 6th.
Rubicon is the first DAC to integrate a Rubidium atomic clock, which is 100,000 times more stable than a traditional crystal oscillator. Coupled with Antelope’s 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking technology, the Rubidium achieves a breakthrough in jitter management, improving the sound quality in an unprecedented way. The same technology is implemented in the company’s flagship master clocks used for scoring blockbusters such as Avatar and available at the best recording and mastering studios around the globe.
Musikmesse in Frankfurt is the biggest event of its kind in the music industry and one of the most exciting. It was especially exciting for our new Antelope Audio team members about to visit it for the first time.
The city welcomed us on Monday with a pleasant, mild climate and clear skies. We took it as a positive sign for a successful show in the upcoming week. Having checked into the hotel, we headed for the van rental company, then straight on to Ikea to buy the furniture for our stand. (Looking around the Messe in the next few days proved that we weren’t the only ones that had this idea.)
This is the next of the series of video-posts in which Igor Levin talks about Antelope Audio technologies.
It is time to discuss Antelope’s D/A converters (DACs) and in particular the design of the volume control.
In this post Igor talks about the specifics of the volume control within Zodiac DACs and explains why Antelope implements it in the analog part and not in the digital. The result is a much more accurate stereo placement of the audio especially in the lower listening volumes.
12-Time GRAMMY Nominee Morten Lindberg Specializes in Capturing Essence of the Performance in Various Norwegian Concert Halls, Cathedrals and Churches
Oslo, Norway, February 28, 2012 — Morten Lindberg is well-known in the audiophile community as head of 2L (Lindberg Lyd), a recording label based in Oslo, Norway that has been exporting its premium classical and folk recordings from Scandinavia for over a decade. Lindberg, who insists on extremely high quality production values throughout the entire recording, manufacturing and packaging processes, uses the Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold to ‘proof’ the carefully recorded 352.8 kHz/24-bit stereo master files before they are ever duplicated or distributed to the company’s discriminating international customers.
Although it was a cold weekend in Stockholm, the reception from the organizers, Life Consulting Ab was anything but chilly. In only their second year of running the show, the team headed By Robert Grubstad and Likki Luukinen made an excellent impression on all attendees. The team they had assembled was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and fun.
Those music lovers who didn’t attend the show would do well not to miss out next time around.
Listeners Can Now Enjoy Up To 384 kHz High-Resolution Audio Files, Played from Their iPads
Santa Monica, February 14, 2012 — Antelope Audio’s Zodiac D/A converters are now compatible with iPad, allowing music lovers to enjoy pristine audio of up to 384 kHz, played and controlled from their iPad through the Zodiac DAC.
It is easy to connect and operate. Simply plug an Apple® Camera Connection Kit jack into the iPad and then plug in a USB cable to the Zodiac DAC – that’s it. The devices are connected. Then swiftly tap the Music App on the iPad and play the track.
World Renowned Mastering Facility Has Also Installed Several Zodiac DACs at Listening Stations to Maximize its Quality Control
New York, January 30, 2012 — Masterdisk, one of New York City’s foremost mastering facilities, has installed several of Antelope Audio’s Isochrone Trinity Master Clock and 10M Rubidium Atomic Clock units in its mastering suites, to maintain stereo imaging and the overall sonic integrity of projects passing through its studios. Masterdisk is installing multiple Antelope Audio Zodiac D/A converters at listening stations throughout the facility for quality control purposes.
According to owner Scott Hull, Masterdisk’s mastering suites were constructed with very high quality acoustics and solid grounding, and were already well clocked —therefore they did not appear to be candidates for improvement. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” he says. Yet, the Antelope 10M — which incorporates a reference generator that is 100,000 times more accurate than the quartz oscillators in most equipment — and the Trinity, which offers 64-bit DSP and up to 384 kHz audio streaming, have had a noticeable impact on performance clocking the digital audio converters in the rooms.
Tokyo, January 26th, 2012 – Pony Canyon Inc., a major leader in the Japanese music, film, anime and games industry, jointly produced a special seminar/liveshow/wine-tasting with Antelope Audio’s Japan Office. Held at Pony Canyon’s HQ, more than 150 guests including engineers, producers, artists and audiophiles attended the three-hour event – a showcase of vocal/piano talent, Antelope equipment and fine wine.
The audience were thrilled by Korea’s No.1 Jazz vocalist, the beautiful Woong San, and subsequent panel-discussion on “the making of” her new CD in which Antelope Audio’s masterclocks played an intrinsic role. The evening also featured an extensive presentation on the power of clocking, as told by Pony Canyon’s award-winning jazz/classical engineer Yoshihiko Kawasaki.