The importance of high quality Digital to Analogue conversion cannot be stated enough. Take a look in any professional recording studio, and you’ll see a rack of D/A converters worth the same as a terrace house. It doesn’t matter whether your digital source begins as a 24 bit 192khZ PCM file, an MP3 or even a good old Compact Disc – at some point down the line those ones and zeros have to be converted to an analogue waveform. The ability of your DAC to do this successfully – and musically, is a defining stage in any hi-fi setup.
With that in mind – let’s take a look at the Oppo Sonica DAC. A quick glimpse over the specifications reveals a unit that looks equally at home in a professional application as it would in a high-end audiophile setup.
Let’s dig into that and find out more…
DAC’S the way to do it! – The Oppo Sonica DAC.
The heart of the Oppo Sonica DAC is based around a high end DAC chip – and a beastly power supply unit (more on that later). Oppo have chosen ESS Technology’s Sabre Pro D/A chip for the Sonica DAC. ESS themselves describe the Sabre Pro as being part of their, “professional series of Digital-to-Analog Converters targeted at premium audiophile and recording studio equipment”.
This alone should hint at the intentions Oppo have for the Sonica DAC in terms of audio fidelity. As a conventional D/A converter, the Oppo Sonica DAC supports conventional S/Pdif digital inputs on coaxial (RCA) and optical (Toslink) – as well as a USB input for streaming from a connected computer.
One of the Sonica DAC’s party-pieces that it supports extremely high bit depth (32 bit) and sample rates – up to a giddy 786kHz! On top of that – the Oppo Sonica will support DSD upto DSD 64.
HIGH QUALITY POWER SUPPLY
The power supply for the Sonica DAC uses a traditional, linear power supply with a large torroidal mains transformer. Linear power supplies cost more, and the added size and weight of a transformer can add design headaches. However – one area in which they are unsurpassed (especially when coupled with torroidal transformers) is in low noise and interference; essential features in any serious DAC. Oppo claim an exceptional 140db signal to noise ratio for the Sonica DAC. Impressive stuff!
A PLETHORA OF CONNECTION CHOICES
Analogue outputs are provided on both conventional RCA outputs, AND balanced, XLR connectors – yet another indication that this is a true ‘crossover unit’ between high end hi-fi and professional equipment.
One could happily end an overview, right here and proclaim the Oppo Sonica to be an extremely well designed and well featured DAC for the money. The features don’t stop here though. On top of the already impressive D/A features, the Oppo Sonica DAC can function as a highly competent media streamer/player.
Using the dedicated Oppo Sonica app for Android and iOS opens up a raft of options. Bluetooth wireless streaming is supported, as is streaming using apple’s airplay. The Sonica can also play back music from a USB connected drive, or a DLNA server – either via an RJ45 LAN connection – or over a local wireless network. One final trick, is that the Oppo Sonica can be used to broadcast to Oppo’s own, Sonica, multi-room speakers.
Want to play an LP in the front room, but listen to it in the bedroom? No problem! There is even provision to connect an external analogue line level source to the Sonica DAC.
It seems whatever situation one could find themselves in, with digital sources, the Sonica DAC’s got you covered.