We have literally been searching the world for an amazing DAC/Preamp/headphone component that fits this price range. Some had loads of features and sounded like a toy. Others sounded just ok and lacked key features we know our customers demand. Then we heard about the return of a legend. Then we read Robert Harley's incredible review in TAS April 2016 where he states, "The return of Audio Alchemy is welcome news for those seeking the highest possible price-to-performance ration in electronics." After talking with legendary Peter Meadnick we were sold! -- TA
As a linestage, the DDP-1 is amazingly clean and transparent. Unlike mostelectronics of this price, the DDP-1 doesn't add a patina of electronic harness over instrumental timbers. Nor does it add opacity to the soundstage or compress dynamics. The DDP-1's DAC section is simply sensational; this level of sound quality would be outstanding in a $4000.00 stand-alone DAC, Clarity, openess, detail, and exceptional dynamics define the DAC's performance.The DDP-1 and DPA-1 bring terrific sound and stunning value to the category." Robert Harley. The Absolute Sound, April 2016
We are going to get in-depth about it. If all you need to know is Editors Choice and an incredible value you can stop and hit 'add to cart'.
If you want to fully understand what a wonder it is please read on.
The Audio Alchemy DDP-1 is a surprising. There are many supulatives we can toss around. TAS also called it "Value City" and "A new Price/Performace Standard". The reason for these comments is grounded in audio truth. Its the return of a legend. Audio Alchemy built a solid brand a while back then the designers went off and created a cost-no-object line. After many years, customers and distributors kept telling them to figure out a way to get all those new advances into component regular audiophiles could easily afford. Hence, the return of Audio Alchemy to a price range that makes sense to anyone wanting a budget component that performs like an expensive one.
The DDP-1’s preamp section uses fully discrete JFET circuitry with MOSFET outputs. For wider frequency response and flat phase response, the circuit is DC coupled with no coupling capacitors that would reduce bass or affect imaging.
The DDP-1 uses a pair of professional-grade AKM DACs, one per channel. The DACs are set up in a special filterless configuration because we have our own DSP filters. These are Audio Alchemy's proprietary DSP filters.
Audio Alchemy uses the very best head headphones to test the circuitry for clarity, dynamics and soundfloor. The amp is based on an integrated circuit that's used in some very highly regarded audio products. After finding the performance outstanding, Audio Alchemy realized it was actually better than some fully discrete circuits. The output of this amp is 1 watt at 32 ohms, enough to drive even the most insensitive headphones to high levels.
Volume control differences
A high-quality pot delivers the best ratio of performance and cost. Getting a digital volume control to sound good is very costly, and would have added a lot to the DDP-1’s price.
The pot is four-gang because one section is devoted to each phase of each channel. Less-expensive designs use a double-gang pot and control the volume single-ended. Audio Alchemy created a balanced output straight from the DAC and keep it balanced all the way to the output jacks.
The motor on the four-gang pot allows the unit to work with a remote control, but without sacrificing audio quality in any way. The pot has a great feel -- smooth, with just the right about of physical resistance required for precise adjustment.
The display shows the basic information needed for day-to-day operation, plus additional information needed for less-frequent adjustments and for updates to the operating software. It has basic and advanced functions that allow you to dial in the sound to your exclusive listening.
Upgrade firmware like you do your computer
Normally audio units have to be sent back to the manufacturer to be software updated. Not with the DDP-1. Connect your computer (PC or MAC) to the DDP-1 through USB (the DDP-1 has a dedicated USB jack for firmware updates). The app walks you through the simple process: Just confirm the software version you want to upload, then activate the uploading process. When improvements are discovered you get them and install them yourself for free.
The DDP-1 accepts DSD digital audio signals, in standard and fairly available DSD 64 format. They are considering an upgrade that will let it do DSD 128 (double resolution), when the need arises and sufficient media exists.
There is so much much more about this amazing device including its machined aluminum chassis. If you want to know even more please contact us.
As you can see in our store we are very cautious about where products are made and their reliability before we even sit down to listen. So it was another wonder after everything to find out that the new Audio Alchemy products are made right here in the U.S.A.
±0.05 dB, 20 Hz to 20 kHz
±0.1 dB, 10 Hz to 80 kHz
Nominal THD+N (1 volt)
<0.001% at 10 volts output from analog input
0.009% at 7 volts from XLR output, 3.5 volts from RCA output
Signal-to-noise ratio (1 kHz)103 dB unweighted
Headphone amp output
1 watt at 32 Ω
Maximum digital input sampling rate/bit depth
32-bit/216-kilohertz on PCM