“Using it with an iFi Pro iDSD DAC resulted in excellent definition of fine detail, transparency and instrumental tone, the latter a factor of the converter’s character that the Link allows to shine through by virtue of delivering such a pristine signal.”Jason Kennedy, The Ear
“The first thing you notice about this is it’s fast. Transients happen quickly here, a bit like a really well set-up CD player compared with first-generation streaming. Play something with a lot of fast beats (‘Fuzzy Monkey’ by Morton Granau, streamed from Tidal) and it arrives with almost supernatural speed.”Alan Sircom, HiFi+
It is possible to take a digital signal straight from a PC or laptop and connect it to a DAC. However, as with analogue systems, digital systems can be plagued with noise.
Computers have many integrated circuits and power supplies tightly packed together with software processes running that generate noise.
This noise easily jumps onto the data bus that is used for moving files through the computer; this is often described as ‘parasitic’ noise which can effectively mask and blur the file being played back. The result of damaging the critical phase and timing information is a perceived reduction in dynamic contrast and a loss of musical nuance. This digital timing error is known as ‘jitter’ and if left untreated tends to give harshness to the sound we hear.
When it comes to hearing we as people are very perceptive when it comes to phase/timing accuracy. Phase accuracy is vital to a true analogue representation of your music.
The clock system is the heartbeat of any digital system, it manages and creates a mathematical reference for the various protocols to work from, be that Ethernet or USB.
In our world, that of digital audio file playback, multiple clocks, all running at different speeds tend to cause noise and jitter problems. We typically hear this as it gives an edgy or brittle quality to the sound.
The accuracy and reliability of the clock system, therefore, has a direct influence on the performance of the product.
The LINK II uses an ultra-low phase noise oscillator. Here at Stack Audio we went to great lengths to extract the absolute performance from this clock. It starts by powering it with an exceptionally clean supply. In addition to this, we synchronised the ethernet, USB and the PSU to the audio master clock resulting in one coherent and extremely accurate device.
This ensures that the fluctuations of the switching circuit are in time with that of the audio clock reducing fluctuations and noise. The three independent switching regulators are synchronized to the audio clock So when the PSU switches frequencies it is in time with the master audio clock removing clashes and interference.
What is an endpoint?
The LINK works as an endpoint for the following protocols/programs
- Airplay® (Shairport-Sync )
- Spotify® (Librespot)
HQPlayer (coming soon)
The music player for music lovers.
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- Power circuitry is synchronized to the USB audio clock
- Ethernet input is synchronized to the USB audio Clock
- Multi-stage ultra-low noise linear regulated power circuit
- USB audio optimized output provides jitter free audio layback
- The advanced clock circuitry re-clocks any USB input
- Machined from a solid billet of aluminum
- Incorporates EMI absorbing material to remove internal EMI
- The mass of the case dissipates air-borne vibration
- Incorporates AVDC vibration trap
- 1 x dedicated USB audio output
- HDMI out (not i2s, or used)
- Airplay® (Shairport-Sync)
- Spotify® (Librespot)
- HQPlayer (coming soon)
- Lossless: DSF (DSD), DIFF (DSD), DoP (DSD) DoP and Native DSD up DSD 256
- PCM Lossless: FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, AIFF Compressed (lossy) Audio: MP3, AAC (in M4A container) MQA (only if DAC supports hardware unfolding) PCM up to 384 kHz /32 bits
- Finish : Available in anodised silver or black
- Dimensions: 174mm(W), 140mm (D), 25mm (H), 1kg (without external power supply)
- 2 x USB inputs (Future use)
- 1 x USB B detox input
- Ethernet input
- 18v 1amp- 1.5amp DC input
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