Introducing the Aletheia DACs

The Aletheia DAC designs are systematically engineered, 16 bit, non-oversampling (NOS) DACs of superlative performance.

To understand the Aletheia DACs we need to first remember the core principles behind the Vertex AQ products. Vertex AQ’s USP is focussed on the reduction of system interaction faults caused by RFI/EMI and microphony. In essence, systems will pickup, generate and pass around large quantities of of RFI, EMI and acoustic vibration, which adds significant amounts of distortion to the hi-fi’s output. The Vertex AQ products significantly reduce these effects, bringing huge gains in performance. The idea of Aletheia is to take this ‘Systematic Approach’ inside the box and down to all the individual internal processes.

A Serious Investment

Because of all the effort that goes into hand-building each Aletheia DAC they take a significant number of man-hours to put together. Add to that the exotic materials and components that go into them and, without apology, you end up with a DAC that’s a significant financial investment.

The DAC is a no-frills design, certainly externally. Your money is going into all the internal work, the sections of the DAC that are built as individual sub-asseblies and the multiple layers of defence that protect those sub-assemblies from polluting each other with noise and vibration. And the quadruple layers of power supply filtering, vibration reduction and regulation, plus the world’s best electrical components at key points in the design.

But it’s also the underlying concepts in the design which are critical – the goal to ensure that our DACs deliver the musical pace, flow, scale, drama and emotion, that in our view greatly exceeds all other digital converters in their price sector. This performance is achieved by our unique approach to systematic interactions, and also by avoiding high levels of digital processing.

What is so important is that the DAC system as a whole is able to remain accurate in the time domain with complex musical signals. We have learned from our research partners Acuity Products, that sine wave measurements using FFT analysis is a fundamentally flawed basis to deal with the reproduction of audio signals for high-fidelity listening. And if you carry out algorithm design with the sine wave/frequency response/FFT mentality you make a product that is only good for reproducing constant sine wave signals!

August 2015 – Aletheia DACs Now At MkII Version

From time to time we review all our designs. We are always learning more about systematic faults, EMI and RFI techniques and so-on, and also from time-to-time new and exciting components (resistors and capacitors etc) become available on the market. So we have now modified the output stages of the Aletheia DACs for a significant improvement in performance.

See more about this change in philosophy and design.

Listening Pleasure

So what is it like when you switch over to an Aletheia DAC in your system? Well at first you will notice considerable improvements in all the basic hi-fi attributes – accuracy, transparency, perceived bandwidth, imaging and so-on are all excellent, but that’s only the start. What then slowly occurs is a huge change in your relationship with your music collection. It dawns on you first that the DAC does not produce that increasingly harsh and horrible distortion in the upper midband and treble as the music gets more complex – none of it. Then you start to hear whole new layers in the mix, delicate and quiet parts behind stronger elements in the recording, that you simply did not know where there before. But then the whole ‘time domain’ thing kicks in – your sudden realisation of just how coherent the structure of the music remains through even the most complex passages.

Now you start reaching for more albums in your collection, all sorts of genres and even quite ropey recordings come up fresh as a daisy. The structure of the music is now fundamentally correct, so you relax. You sit there like you were present on the day they made the recording, your senses heightened as if you are right there, charged with all the emotion that the performers were feeling. You are enveloped in it, you connect right into the heart of the music, you anticipate the swell, the change of tempo or that blistering guitar solo. And when each track ends, its like you’ve been on the ride of your life – and you just have to come back for more.

Perhaps these last paragraphs sound a little over the top. But for people who have bought an Aletheia DAC, that’s exactly how it is.

Aletheia oblique 1The Aletheia dac-1